The Toronto Blue Jays won’t be heading to arbitration with shortstop Bo Bichette after all.
Bichette, whose hearing was reportedly set for Thursday, agreed to a three-year deal with the franchise on Tuesday to avoid arbitration. Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports the deal is worth $33.6 million but could rise to as much as $40.65 million.
Bo Bichette’s with the Blue Jays is $33.6m guaranteed for three years, source tells @TheAthletic. No options. Escalators and awards can bring three-year total to as much as $40.65M.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) February 9, 2023
After failing to reach an agreement by last month’s deadline, Bichette and the Blue Jays exchanged salary figures, with the team offering $5 million and the 2021 All-Star filing at $7.5 million. That $2.5-million gap was tied with Houston’s Kyle Tucker for the largest MLB-wide.
Once both sides exchange financials, the only way to avoid arbitration before entering a third-party hearing is by agreeing to a multi-year contract, which the Blue Jays have since done with their starting shortstop.
Toronto took a similar route shortly after acquiring Matt Chapman last spring, buying out his final two arbitration years with a $25-million extension that carries through 2023. The 29-year-old can enter free agency after this season.
Bichette’s new contract does not impact his free agency timeline, as he remains eligible to reach the open market after the 2025 season. The fact that both sides found common ground involving a short-term extension could bode well for a long-term one, though.
But as of now, Bichette and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. are scheduled to become free agents in less than three years. Guerrero, avoiding arbitration earlier this winter, will make $14.5 million as a second-year ARB player.
Bichette has been a critical member of Toronto’s core since arriving to the majors in 2019, logging 393 games and 1,727 plate appearances during his career. He owns a career .297/.340/.491 slash line, a 127 wRC+ and has been worth 11.8 fWAR.
The right-hander hit .290/.333/.469 with 24 home runs, 93 RBIs and a 129 wRC+ across 159 contests while compiling a career-high 1,374.1 innings at short last season, worth 4.5 fWAR.
More from Yahoo Sports