4:00 PM Eastern
The Blue Jays had a nice little surprise for us waiting at Rogers Centre ahead of the home opener. We knew that Alex Rios would sign his deal today, though we thought it was for $65 million plus an option, turns out it’s $64 million. Maybe that was why we had to wait a week and a half for the announcement.
So I walk into Rogers Centre, and Rios comes into the elevator lobby right behind me with his beautiful fiancee. I said “Congratulations on the thing we can’t talk about for another 15 minutes,” and he just had a huge smile on his face. He was starving, so he took the stairs (I don’t know what one thing has to do with the other, but that’s what he said) and I hopped onto the elevator. When I got up to the third floor, I headed to the broadcast booth and as I turned the corner, there was Aaron Hill in a finely-tailored suit. Surprise, surprise!
I looked at Aaron and said, “Do I have to congratulate you, too?” and he answered, “I was told to be here at 3 o’clock for Mr. Rios” with a smile on his face that, in a family publication, could best be described as akin to the cat that ate the canary.
Hill’s deal is a very interesting one. He’s signed up for four years, through arbitration, for $12 million. The Jays then have the choice to exercise a one ($8 million), two ($16 million) or three ($26 million) year option, or to walk away.
Hill probably leaves a bit of money on the table here, assuming he stays healthy and continues to develop the way he has the last three years. He was going to make close to the minimum this year, then would probably get about $1.8 next year, maybe $4.2 or so in 2010 and then, if all goes well, maybe $7 or $8 million in 2011 before free agency. So he stood to make about $14 million over the next four years had everything gone very well. Now, he’s protected, and will only make $2 million or so less. As Hill said afterwards, he could have waited on gone year-to-year, but “how greedy can you be?”
Compare the deal to Ian Kinsler’s 5-year, $21 million deal with Texas – Hill will make $20 million over the next five years, and has those other two years and $18 million waiting for him.
OK, that’s it for me until post-game. Gotta go downstairs and work.