Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and the Blue Jays agreed to a one-year, $7.9MM deal to avoid arbitration, though the Jays also had some interest in discussing a longer-term contract, Jon Heyman of The New York Post reports. However, Guerrero and his representatives at Magnus Sports preferred to wait until after the season before “exploring something significant.”
As a Super Two player, Guerrero still has three more years of arbitration eligibility, so he isn’t scheduled for free agency until after the 2025 season. Guerrero will be only 27 years old on Opening Day 2026, so it would be likely that Guerrero could command a decade-long (or more) free agent contract if he keeps up his current level of production.
The 2025-26 offseason is a long ways away, yet Guerrero may already seem like a pretty safe bet. Regarded as baseball’s best prospect prior to his 2019 debut, Guerrero posted good numbers in his first two big league seasons before exploding to 48 home runs and a .311/.401/.601 slash line over 698 plate appearances in 2021. This performance earned him a Silver Slugger, the AL Hank Aaron Award, an All-Star nod, and a second-place finish in AL MVP voting.
Guerrero hasn’t missed a beat in the early days of the 2022 season, hitting five more homers over his first 32 PA. As much negotiating leverage as Guerrero and his camp already has in contract talks, that leverage would only grow if Guerrero delivers another MVP-level season. Waiting until next winter to discuss a long-term extension also carries some risk of injury or a dropoff in performance, though Guerrero already has the financial security of this season’s $7.9MM, some type of arbitration raise for next year’s salary, his $3.9MM signing bonus as an amateur, and three seasons of minimum salaries.
In short, the only real question with a Guerrero extension might be how it would stack up against the largest contracts in baseball history. Going beyond the $300MM threshold seems a given, and considering Guerrero’s age, his agents can make a case that their client should top Mookie Betts’ 12-year, $365MM extension with the Dodgers as the biggest “new money” deal ever. (Mike Trout’s current extension with the Angels gave him only $360MM in additional guarantees, as Trout was already owed $66.5MM over the final two seasons of his previous contract.)
As a first-base only player, Guerrero is a bit more of a defensive question mark than Betts, Trout, Francisco Lindor, Fernando Tatis Jr., or other high-salaried players who play more premium defensive positions. However, Guerrero acquitted himself quite well at first base in 2021, posting +2 Defensive Runs Saved and +2.5 UZR/150 (though the Outs Above Average metric rated him a -3).
Bo Bichette’s status is another factor, as the young shortstop has also made himself a candidate for a very lucrative extension. Bichette recently said that his agents had some extension talks with the Jays but nothing really materialized, and like Guerrero, Bichette is also a free agent after 2025. Blue Jays president/CEO Mark Shapiro said that “during that time, it’s safe to say we will continue both formally and informally to explore extensions with” the two players, and that “it’s not like we are a small market where if it gets towards the end of the contract and we can’t extend them, we need to panic and trade them for prospects.” Jose Berrios, Kevin Gausman, and George Springer are the only players signed beyond the 2025 season, so Toronto does have long-term space available for inking one or both of Guerrero and Bichette.