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Jimenez contract gives Jays framework for a Guerrero Jr. deal

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TSN Baseball Insider


We’ve seen millions upon millions of dollars paid to superstar players this off-season.

In fact, the money paid to Bryce Harper (13 years/$330 million), Manny Machado (10 years/$300 million), Nolan Arenado (eight years/$256 million) and Mike Trout (12 years/$426.5 million) is more than the total amount of money the Tampa Bay Rays have paid every single player that has played for them in the franchise’s 21-year history (per writer Jayson Stark of The Athletic).

But this isn’t just the season of big free-agent signings. It’s also shaping up as the season of the massive contract extension.

Certainly, Harper and Machado led the way in free agency, while Arenado and Trout crushed it with their extensions. There has been a number of other extensions as well, including first baseman Paul Goldschmidt (reportedly five years/$130 million) with the Cardinals, third baseman Alex Bregman (six years/$100 million) with the Astros and reigning Cy Young winner Blake Snell (five years/$50 million) with the Rays. We’re seeing both proven veterans and young players with far less experience making deals.

What we’re experiencing is players and agents finally adapting to the changing landscape of player valuation and free agency. If clubs won’t pay players big money in free agency because of declining performance due to age, then get the team to buy out free agent years before players get there. In some of these cases, teams are basing value upon projections with less tangible data.

One extension that should interest Jays fans is the White Sox signing of stud outfield prospect Eloy Jimenez to a deal that guarantees him $43 million over six years, with the value rising as high as $77.5 million if the White Sox exercise a couple of club options.

Jimenez is ranked as the third-best prospect in baseball behind Vladimir Guerrero Jr. His deal is just the third of its kind given to a player with no major-league service. In 2014, the Astros signed first........