Jays sign Grichuk to five-year extension

TORONTO – The Toronto Blue Jays capped off an active day of roster moves Tuesday by signing outfielder Randal Grichuk to a five-year contract extension worth US$52 million.

The new deal covers the 2019 to 2023 seasons.

“It’s definitely been a roller-coaster of emotions thinking about it,” said Grichuk, who grounded out as a pinch-hitter in the ninth inning of a 2-1 loss to Baltimore. “Obviously when I (first) signed, the goal was to make it to the big leagues.

“You kind of hope you can make a lot of money in this game and kind of set yourself up for life. But it’s one of those things that it feels like it’s a distant goal and you want to go out there and play. So it’s definitely an exciting day.”

The 27-year-old was slated to make $5 million this year. He was eligible to become a free agent after the 2020 season.

Story continues below advertisement

Sportsnet reported that Grichuk’s new 2019 salary will be $7 million plus a $5-million signing bonus. He will earn $12 million in 2020 followed by salaries of $9,333,333 in 2021-23.

GM Ross Atkins declined to detail the contract breakdown.

Grichuk said he believes the lucrative deal will actually help reduce pressure rather than raise expectations.

“Now you don’t have to worry about the future. You can go out there and play and let your talents shine and do what you do and don’t even think about it.”

The 27-year-old is coming off a 2018 season in which he hit. 245 with a career-high 25 home runs as well as 32 doubles and 58 extra-base hits. A native of Rosenberg, Texas, Grichuk has a .247 career batting average with 92 homers and 245 RBIs in six years in the majors.

Atkins cited Grichuk’s character and work ethic.

“Obviously the performance is a key part of it but we will rest well at night with his effort, with his professionalism, his commitment to being great. And being a part of something special is important to him,” said Atkins.

“The offence has always stood out. He’s always performed. He’s always hit the ball hard, he’s always hit it far and it usually goes over the fence at a pretty good rate. In our view he’s been an above-average defender and those are hard things to piece together.”

Story continues below advertisement

Atkins said the Jays believe Grichuk can play all three outfield positions, although he has spent most time in right.

The six-foot-two 213-pounder was acquired by the Blue Jays in January 2018 from the St. Louis Cardinals in a deal that sent right-handed pitchers Dominic Leone and RHP Conner Greene the other way.

News of the rich new deal came hours after Toronto sent outfielder Kevin Pillar to the San Francisco Giants for three players.

Atkins said the two moves were unrelated.

“The discussions with Randal started in spring training and it just so happened that this is when it culminated,” he said. “Complete coincidence.”

The Jays also acquired speedy outfielder Socrates Brito from San Diego and released 34-year-old pitcher Bud Norris from his minor-league deal.

Follow @NMeilMDavidson on Twitter


Sponsored content