Last week the Toronto Blue Jays announced that they’d be heading to arbitration with star shortstop Bo Bichette. The hearing was announced after the two sides failed to reach an agreement before the deadline. This will be the Blue Jays first arbitration case since 2019 with the now Los Angeles Angels pitcher Ryan Tepera.
The 24-year-old shortstop filed for seven point five million, while the team filed for five million. A significant gap between the two sides will now be up to a third-party arbitrator for the deciding factor.
Bo Bichette made a total of seven-hundred, twenty-three thousand and eight hundred dollars last season with the Blue Jays. In a season full of ups and downs, Bichette slashed .290/.333/.469 with twenty-four home runs with ninety-three runs batted in over one hundred and fifty-nine games. Bichette had a monster September being a key factor as the team clinched a playoff spot.
With both sides failing to reach an agreement, could this have any long-term implications? As Blue Jays fans know when the team went to arbitration with now Chicago Cubs pitcher Marcus Stroman. It didn’t necessarily end up all that well, as seen in the tweet below, a direct quote from Marcus Stroman.
The former Blue Jays pitcher was traded on July 28th, 2019, to the New York Mets. After being one of the team’s building blocks during the Alex Anthopoulos era, the right-hander was off to New York.
Now times are different between that Blue Jays squad and the current team. When Stroman was dealt with at the time, the team was heading for a rebuild. Now, as a roster looking to contend, it may seem vastly different. However, this isn’t the first time Bo Bichette and the Blue Jays haven’t been on the same page regarding value. The 24-year-old shortstop rejected the Blue Jays pre-arbitration contract offer last year.
Now at first glance, the difference between the two sides may not be all that staggering. However, it’s important to note that the jump between the two sides is significant when dealing with a player in an arbitration year. The next contract will always proceed higher than what was given, as it will be used the following season as a base. So Bichette and the Blue Jays being off around two point five million dollars could be significant down the road.
In my eyes, for what Bo Bichette has given the Blue Jays organization, he deserves to be well compensated. However, the team was reluctant to pay Bichette his $7.5 million. It could very well hurt the Blue Jays in the long run. With how teams pay shortstops on the open market, it’s hard to imagine these times will be forgotten by Bo Bichette and his team.
What makes this interesting for me is General Manager Ross Atkins and Blue Jays management has been so committed to the defensive aspects of the team this offseason. After the additions of outfielders Kevin Kiermaier and Daulton Varsho, for example, it’s clear the team’s priority is to get better defensively.
What makes this interesting about Bo Bichette is that Bichette’s defensive play wasn’t exactly great in 2022. The shortstop made twenty-three errors last season and has a minus seven outs above average. With management so committed to defending, it’s not exactly out of this world to imagine if Bichette is in the team’s long-term plans. There was already lots of talk this offseason about the addition of former Red Sox, now San Diego Padre shortstop Xander Bogaerts.
At the end of the day, I hope the two sides can get this done with a healthy relationship still intact. Bichette has been one of my favorites since his debut with the team. If Bichette can make strides defensively and find that offensive production from the second half, it’s not impossible to see Bichette become one of the absolute highest-end shortstops in the game.
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2 thoughts on “Could Blue Jays/Bichette Arbitration Hearing Lead to Negative Implications Long-Term”
How does Bichette justify a ten fold increase in his salary?
Bo has a good stick but is pretty streaky. Although he carried the team to a playoff berth throughout September, the previous months he was mostly inconsistent. I suspect his batting will improve with more experience. All that said, he was a defensive liability and led the majors with 23 errors this past season. The guy has a great work ethic but clearly lacks a strong arm. He will not likely be any more than an average defensive SS. In his mind, he will command $30M+ annually in a long term deal. Don’t see that happening quite honestly. So for the Jays to hold firm on the $5M offer seems to make good sense. IMO this would seem to suggest that the FO respects Bo’s value to the club, but that he has certainly not yet shown enough to earn Vladdy money. This may ultimately lead to a trade within the next 12 – 18 months.