Jose Berrios strikes 7-year extension with Blue Jays, pending physical: report
Veteran starting pitcher was set to reach free agency after next season
Jose Berrios made quite an impression on the Toronto Blue Jays after being acquired at the trade deadline last season.
The team plans to have him serve as one of the anchors of its rotation for years to come.
Berrios and the Blue Jays have agreed to a seven-year, $131-million US contract extension pending a physical, a team source confirmed to The Canadian Press on Tuesday. The source spoke on condition of anonymity because the deal has yet to be announced.
The right-hander, who was set to become a free agent after the 2022 season, was acquired in late July from the Minnesota Twins. Berrios was effective and reliable over 12 starts with Toronto, posting a 5-4 record and 3.58 earned-run average.
WATCH | What impact would re-signing Berrios have on Jays' off-season?:
On the season, he was 12-9 with a 3.52 ERA over 32 starts. Berrios had 204 strikeouts over 192 innings with a 1.06 WHIP.
The 27-year-old was Minnesota's unquestioned ace, a two-time all-star who has been as durable as any pitcher in the game. A native of Puerto Rico, Berrios was drafted 32nd overall by the Twins in 2012.
Jose Berrios has combined great stuff with underappreciated durability. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/BlueJays?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#BlueJays</a> are betting on both.<br><br>Most starts last 4 years:<br>Nola 111<br>Berrios 108<br>Corbin 108<br>Castillo 109<br><br>Most batters faced:<br>Nola 2721<br>Wheeler 2709<br>Berrios 2691—@jaysonst
The contract will become only the third $100 million-plus deal in team history.
- The Blue Jays signed outfielder George Springer to a six-year, $150-million contract last off-season.
- Vernon Wells and the Blue Jays agreed to a seven-year, $126-million pact in 2006. At the time it was sixth-largest deal in baseball history.
The Blue Jays have an emerging young core and can add major contracts before younger players such as Bo Bichette and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. earn a lot more.
Berrios, who struck out 204 in 192 innings last season, was 55-43 with a 4.08 ERA in his career with Minnesota.
Robbie Ray a Cy Young Award favourite
The extension provides some long-term stability for a rotation that could look significantly different next season.
Veteran left-handers Robbie Ray (13-7, 2.84) and Steven Matz (14-7, 3.82) are free agents, with Ray likely to sign a lucrative new deal after a campaign that has him a favourite to win the American League Cy Young Award on Wednesday night.
Whether Ray and second baseman Marcus Semien, also a marquee free agent, decide to re-sign in Toronto is a top off-season storyline for a franchise that barely missed the playoffs in 2021.
The Blue Jays recently extended qualifying offers to both players, which ensured Toronto would be eligible for draft-pick compensation if they signed elsewhere. Matz also increased his value with a bounceback '21 season but he did not receive a qualifying offer.
Toronto paid a steep price to land Berrios from the Twins, giving up a pair of highly touted prospects in shortstop Austin Martin and right-hander Simeon Woods Richardson.
A two-time all-star, Berrios was as advertised with the Blue Jays. A durable workhorse who regularly throws deep into games, he had 78 strikeouts and 13 walks over 12 games with Toronto and held opponents to a .238 average.
The Berrios deal sets him up to be a long-term showcase starter for a team that looks to be on the upswing in the AL East. Veteran left-hander Hyun Jin Ryu and young right-hander Alek Manoah are other key cogs in the rotation.
With files from The Associated Press