With all of the off-season acquisitions, the Toronto Blue Jays are the trendy pick to win the American League East right now. Although everyone is on the bandwagon, it’s hard for me to disagree with that sentiment, especially if Brett Lawrie plays up to his potential. I will take the blame for Lawrie’s sophomore slump, seeing as I wrote about him becoming the next version of Evan Longoria before the 2012 started. Even with the slump, however, I am expecting big things out of Lawrie in 2013, which is why there are MLB rumors circulating about the Blue Jays locking him up for years to come.
In the not so distant future, Lawrie – who is a native of Canada – could receive the “Longoria” extension in order to avoid arbitration. When Longoria signed his first extension with the Tampa Bay Rays, he was only in the big leagues for a week, but signed a deal that guaranteed him $17.5 million over six seasons. If you know anything about Evan Longoria’s career thus far, it’s that he has played way beyond his $17.5 million that he was guaranteed. And there’s zero doubt in my mind that Lawrie would play up to whatever contract Toronto would give him, too. I feel the Longoria/Lawrie comparison is a valid one: they both have an above average stick and can field their position better than anyone else. But there is one thing Lawrie has that Longoria doesn’t, and that is the stolen base potential.
There isn’t a better time to extend Lawrie, because he is coming off a season where he doesn’t look that valuable. The Blue Jays will be kicking themselves when they have to pay Lawrie $10+ million in arbitration, so hopefully they make the wise move and sign Lawrie now.