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5 largest contracts in Blue Jays history

As the Toronto Blue Jays push through a pivotal offseason, we take a look at the most lucrative contracts ever handed out by the team. (Getty)
As the Toronto Blue Jays push through a pivotal offseason, we take a look at the most lucrative contracts ever handed out by the team. (Getty)

Written by Compose.ly Staff

Now that the World Series is over and the Houston Astros have clinched the title, Blue Jays baseball fans eagerly wait to see what their team will do during the MLB off-season.

After finishing the 2022 season with a brutal loss to the Mariners in the AL wild-card game, the Blue Jays are looking for a diamond in the free agency rough (or trade) to beef up their pitching staff for 2023. The team is on the hunt for a bat or two as well, but how much will Toronto be willing to pay up?

The 5 biggest contracts in Blue Jays history

Over the years, the Blue Jays have dropped some serious money to bulk their lineup. So, as the team has done in the past with these five big contracts, they may surprise fans this season.

5. Russell Martin: C, five years, $82 million

Canadian catcher Russell Martin has been all over MLB — starting with the Dodgers in 2006 and then briefly stopping at the Yankees and Pirates. He landed with the Blue Jays in 2015 and, by that time, was known as one of MLB's best defensive catchers, with a great bat at the plate as well.

After signing the $82-million contract, Martin knocked 23 home runs with 77 RBIs and a .240 batting average. Before returning to the Dodgers in 2019, Martin smacked 66 home runs for the Blue Jays with a total of 211 RBIs.

However, it's Martin's reputation as a great leader and game-caller throughout his MLB career that made him so valuable to the Blue Jays during his four years on the roster.

4. Kevin Gausman: SP, five years, $110 million

The Blue Jays coveted Gausman for many years before he finally signed with the club ahead of the 2022 season, and his first campaign north of the border rewarded the front office's faith in him. The right-hander made 31 starts and pitched to a 3.35 ERA despite some terrible luck on batting average on balls in play.

Gausman led the American League in both FIP and strikeout-to-walk ratio, and is the Blue Jays' co-ace alongside Alek Manoah. He might decline toward the end of his contract, but Toronto should get a few more productive years out of him.

3. Vernon Wells: OF, seven years, $126 million

Until recently, Vernon Wells held the torch for the biggest contract in Blue Jays history. Unfortunately, this was one contract that Blue Jays fans regret.

The Blue Jays plucked Wells out of free agency in 1999, and at the time of the 2006 contract, the 27-year-old had a reputation as a top MLB outfielder. Between 2002 and 2005, the left fielder hit 107 home runs for the Blue Jays.

However, in 2008 he battled injuries and played in only 108 games that season. From there, injuries continued, and his numbers never recovered. He was eventually traded to the Angels in 2011 and played his final MLB game with the Yankees in 2013.

2. Jose Berrios: SP, seven years, $131 million

Berrios joined the Blue Jays ahead of the 2021 trade deadline in a deal with the Minnesota Twins and he hit the ground running with his new club, logging a 3.58 ERA over 12 starts down the stretch. The right-hander had been one of the most consistent pitchers in MLB since his first full season in 2017, which led Toronto to give him an enormous contract extension.

The native of Puerto Rico was awful in 2022, however, posting a 5.23 ERA in 32 games. Given their massive investment, the Blue Jays will be crossing their fingers it was just a blip on the radar and not a sign of things to come.

1. George Springer: OF, six years, $150 million

After seven seasons with Houston and earning the World Series MVP in 2017 — the first World Series win in Astros history — George Springer left Houston to ink a $150-million deal with the Blue Jays in 2021.

Though his debut was delayed due to injury, many Blue Jays fans believe the star outfielder's best has yet to come. With the Blue Jays' most expensive player skipping the 2022 All-Star game and undergoing surgery on his elbow to remove a bone spur, it's still undetermined if the $150 million gamble for the Blue Jays will pay off in the coming seasons.

Other Notable Deals:

OF Jose Bautista (2011) — five years, $65 million

OF Alex Rios (2008) — seven years, $69.8 million

SP Hyun-Jin Ryu (2019) — four years, $80 million

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