Blue Jays avoid arbitration with Guerrero Jr., Chapman, Hernandez with last-minute deals
DUNEDIN, FLA.—When the Blue Jays traded for third baseman Matt Chapman last week, they knew they were going to have him for at least the next two years. Now they know what he’s going to cost them.
Chapman and the Jays beat Tuesday’s deadline to exchange arbitration numbers by agreeing to a two-year contract worth $25 million (U.S.). That means no arbitration hearing this year and no need to worry about it next year, either. The Jays don’t gain any years of control with this contract, and Chapman doesn’t lose any.
The 28-year-old was set to earn somewhere in the neighbourhood of $9.5 million this season through arbitration, with a raise due next season if he has his typical huge defence/solid power type of year.
Signing this contract now guarantees Chapman that healthy raise, even if he doesn’t bounce back from a 2021 season in which his OPS declined for a third straight year.
Chapman’s reward for the new contract was to get spiked by Ender Inciarte as the Yankees’ base runner was caught stealing third base in the top of the fourth inning. He left the game bleeding from his left forearm, but didn’t require any stitches.
The Jays also announced late Tuesday they had reached a one-year deal with Vladimir Guerrero Jr. for $7.9 million.
Teoscar Hernandez, who is day-to-day with a sore wrist suffered diving for a ball in practice last week, also avoided arbitration. The outfielder, who slugged 32 home runs last season and led the team with 116 RBIs, agreed to a one-year contract worth $10.65 million.
The Jays have also agreed to one-year contracts with the remainder of their arbitration-eligible players, including Cavan Biggio, Ryan Borucki, Adam Cimber, Danny Jansen, Tim Mayza, Trevor Richards, Ross Stripling and Trent Thornton.
Press one for fastball
In the sixth inning of Tuesday’s 9-2 win over the Bronx Bombers, Jays’ catcher Danny Jansen didn’t put any signs down for pitcher Trevor Richards.
Instead, Jansen wore a wristband onto which he could press a button that sent a signal to an earpiece Richards was wearing, through which the pitcher heard which pitch to throw.
“It’s just a weird thing,” said Jansen of the new technology. “I think using it today, I didn’t mind it way more than I thought I would. At first, I was kind of skeptical about it. It’s kind of a big change, but there were definitely some benefits to it.”
One of the bigger things to get used to is all the extra time the pitcher has, since he can hear the pitch selection even before the batter steps into the box.
“(Pitchers are) so used to looking at the signs and having focus there instead of already knowing it and (not having to) look there,” explained Jansen. “Then it’s just kind of looking … anywhere … instead of honing in on the hands and the signs.”
Richards attempted to compensate for that by still looking in at Jansen and nodding his head as though the catcher was putting a sign down.
The pitch call is not only audible in the pitcher’s ear, but in the dugout, as well.
“That’s funny, because you can always say ‘No, no, no, don’t throw that pitch,’” joked manager Charlie Montoyo after the game.
Springer in his step