Just hours ago the Toronto Blue Jays announced they have signed Yunel Escobar to a contract extension. The extension is for two years, in which Escobar will earn $5 million per year. As is often the case with Alex Anthopoulos deals, he has also added on two option years for the 2014 and 2015 seasons, also at $5 million per season.
If you're a Blue Jays fan you expected this deal to happen. Escobar has been a great leadoff hitter for Toronto, getting on base quite often. This is the key role of the leadoff hitter. He is hitting with a .281 batting average, has two stolen bases and an OPS of .790. He has also belted eight homeruns.
Furthermore, he is a shortstop, which amazingly makes him that much better because most shortstops don't hit very well. This is why Anthopoulos calls shortstop and catcher premium positions.
What fascinates me is the deal itself. Normally Anthopoulos gives four-year deals and then adds on another few club option years at a significantly higher rate. In this case, he gave two years only, and the club options were the same amount.
This intrigues me. I always thought the reason the players accept the club options is because they are so high they expect to be earning that much then (and possibly less). However, this is not the case, so why was it structured like this?
The only reason I can think of is that it's only a four-year deal and Escobar will not earn significantly more than this in the next few years. The second reason is that Anthopoulos went up to $5 million as a high number, possibly wanting to pay less now and more later. But as he paid more, he figured he shouldn't pay as much later.
Regardless of all factors, I think this is an outstanding signing by the Toronto Blue Jays. This lets them get this out of the way, and now Anthopoulos can put his full attention on the trade market with the deadline fast approaching. I sincerely hope this works out well for everyone involved.
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