Blue Jays avoid arbitration with 11 players, including Vladimir Guerrero Jr.

Bo Bichette was the Blue Jays' only arbitration-eligible player not to reach a deal on Friday.

Blue Jays slugger Vladimir Guerrero Jr. avoided arbitration with a new deal for 2023. (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
Blue Jays slugger Vladimir Guerrero Jr. avoided arbitration with a new deal for 2023. (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)

Friday was the final day for arbitration-eligible players to exchange salary figures in Major League Baseball, and the Toronto Blue Jays were extremely busy, agreeing to 11 deals, most notably with Vladimir Guerrero Jr.

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The Toronto first baseman is set to earn $14.5 million in 2023. MLB Trade Rumors projected the 23-year-old to earn $14.8 million on his deal.

Guerrero Jr. enjoyed a productive 2022 campaign, slashing .274/.339/.480 with 32 home runs in 160 games. The numbers were a step back from his MVP-calibre 2021 season but he still made the All-Star game and won the first Gold Glove of his career.

His new salary represents a significant raise from the $7.9 million he earned last season in his first trip through the arbitration process. He has two arbitration-eligible years remaining before he is scheduled to hit free agency after the 2025 season — if he does not agree to a long-term extension with Toronto before then.

Earlier Friday, Danny Jansen avoided arbitration by signing a one-year contract worth $3.5 million for 2023. Jansen earned $1.95 million last season.

Jansen, coming off his fifth major-league season, was projected to earn $3.7 million in his second year of arbitration, according to MLB Trade Rumors. The 27-year-old is eligible to enter free agency following the 2024 campaign.

Toronto’s backstop hit 15 home runs with 44 RBIs and a 140 wRC+ across 72 games in 2022. The right-hander, plagued by injuries throughout his career, missed significant time due to a fractured hand and a strained oblique.

Closer Jordan Romano also inked a contract for 2023, earning a shade over $4.5 million ($4.4 million MLBTR projection). The 29-year-old made the All-Star team last season and recorded a 2.11 ERA to go along with 36 saves.

Newcomer Daulton Varsho, who was acquired from the Arizona Diamondbacks for Gabriel Moreno and Lourdes Gurriel Jr., will make $3.05 million to narrowly beat his $2.8 million projection. He hit .235/.302/.443 with 27 home runs, 74 RBIs and a 106 wRC+ across 151 games in 2022.

Cavan Biggio also beat his projection by $200,000 and was rewarded with a $2.8 million pact. Biggio is settling in as a role player at the MLB level and posted a disappointing .668 OPS last season.

Santiago Espinal will make $2.1 million — precisely MLBTR’s projection — after landing on a one-year deal. The 28-year-old is a first-year, arbitration-eligible player and can enter free agency after 2026.

The right-hander slashed .267/.322/.370 with seven home runs, 51 RBIs and a 99 wRC+ across 135 contests in his third big-league campaign with the Blue Jays. He was also worth a career-best 2.3 fWAR, up 0.4 points from 2021.

Relievers Adam Cimber ($3.15 million), Tim Mayza ($2.1 million), Trevor Richards ($1.5 million), Erik Swanson ($1.25 million) and Trent Thornton ($1 million) also avoided arbitration, signing one-year deals.

Shortstop Bo Bichette was the Blue Jays' lone arbitration-eligible player not to reach an agreement on Friday.

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