Jays Notes: Octavio Dotel, Arbitration Elgibles, and Polls

As we so very quickly approach the new year and what should be a very interesting season of Baseball and Spring Training, here are some notes that were gathered from around the networks and friends:

  • The Octavio Dotel signing seems to be as official as it’s going to get until he passes a physical in the new year. It’s no formality at his age, so standby to standby as they say. The interesting part of the deal is the $2.5 million value with a $750,000 buyout of a second season which is a club option worth a reported $3.75 million if exercised. At first glance, you may think that this is to benefit the player, as he gets paid if the Jays decide to not resign him. However, this tool actually works to AA’s advantage as he can decide to keep Dotel around if his value goes below that of a Type-B or Type-A FA. Keeping him around another season allows him the opportunity to get back to that level, and to get the Jays a Kevin Gregg style draft pick. He’s a welcomed addition to a Jays pen that will need to depend on some new faces in 2011.
  • MLBTR has a great new Arbitration Tracker page that can be found here. If you click on the team heading, you can get all of the Blue Jays eligible together to see who still has to be signed. Some notes, however, include the fact that they still have Shaun Marcum listed as a Blue Jay and that they list Dustin McGowan as eligible when he has already signed a 2011 contract worth $450,000. That leaves the Jays with the following 8 eligible players: Jose Bautista, Brandon Morrow, Rajai Davis, Jesse Litsch, Yunel Escobar, Shawn Camp, Casey Janssen, and Carlos Villanueva. Needless to say, it’s going to be an expensive time for the Jays since the majority will be getting over $1 million and we all know Bautista may get close to $8-10 million.  It’ll be interesting to see how Alex Anthopolous approaches the Bautista decision.
  • Our friends at bluebirdbanter.com are having an interesting poll about fan preferences in terms of Jays coverage entitled “What is your next favorite Blue Jay’s blog?”. Let your voices be heard and enjoy their great content as they do excellent work over there and we will continue to provide you with links to some of their work!
  • Merging the last 2 points together, we had a poll of our own about Jose Bautista and his arbitration eligibility. Our question was as follows, with the results listed below:

What Will the Jays do with Jose Bautista?

  • Sign him to a 3-4 year deal averaging close to $12 million per season (34%, 45 Votes)
  • Sign him to a 2-year deal worth close to $20 million (22%, 29 Votes)
  • Trade him in return for Prospects (17%, 23 Votes)
  • Sign him to a 1-year deal worth $8-10 million (15%, 20 Votes)
  • Go to Arbitration with him and hope for the best (12%, 17 Votes)
  • Total Voters: 134

The poll results are exactly the results I’m hoping for in reality in that they reflect a commitment to retaining the best players the organization has first, before going out to bid on high-end FAs. I certainly hope voters are right and that the Jays can lock Bautista up for a minimum of 3-years. I am surprised that as many as 17% decided that it was better to trade him, mostly because it tells me that some think that the Jays won’t be competitive within 3 years – the time frame we can reasonably expect Jose to keep mashing. I understand the theory behind it, but I would contend that now that the Jays have the 4th best ranked system (according to an upcoming Baseball America ranking) it’s time to keep the stars in house and to wait for the younger stars to compliment them accordingly.

From what I saw last season, no pitcher or team had an answer as to how to keep the ball away from his wheelhouse. That tells me that unless they find a serious hole in his swing during this off season, he will continue to mash at a pace that makes an average of $12 million for his services a real bargain. Lock him up AA!

    Finally, we are getting some very positive responses to our Jays Journal Top 50 Prospects list and we want to take a moment out to thank all of those who read them thoroughly and took the time to let us know their thoughts, whether in agreement with the ranking itself or not. It’s always great to have positive feedback and it certainly drives us to continue the work we do.

    Cheers and Happy New Year to everyone in advance! Please drive safely and think ahead in terms of cabs and designated drivers!

    - MG

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    Tags: Brandon Morrow Carlos Villanueva Casey Janssen Dustin McGowan Jesse Litsch Jose Bautista Octavio Dotel Rajai Davis Shaun Marcum Shawn Camp Yunel Escobar

    • Mylegacy

      September 2009 Bautista tweaked his load – I don’t mean he adjusted his jock – but he did shift his load and started his swing earlier – the rest – as they say – is history. Or so we (we = AA) want to believe.

      Now the time has come to put our money where our belief is. IF – we really believe – it will cost many millions to get Jose signed to a 3 to 5 year contract – more likely 5. IF – we are wrong – AA will have twin albatrosses – one in CF and one in RF. Over 30 million per year could be tied up in two overpaid under performers.

      When all is said and done – what AA does – or does not do – with Babe Bautista will be the story of the 2010 off season.

      I want to believe so bad I can taste it – but deep inside – where only scotch and welsh rarebit dwell – deep in that place – I’ve doubts.

      What I would do is sign the Mighty One for 2011 and if by June he is still the Babe Bautista – then – I’d offer him a five year contract for more money than anyone not named Wells has made with the Jays. If he won’t bite then – either trade him for a Halladay like haul or at least get the two picks we’ll get when he signs with the Yankees. Shudder.

    • http://www.jayjournal.com Jared Macdonald

      Mylegacy, we share the same outlook on the Bautista contract situation. Pitchers will no doubt adjust to the way they pitch Bautista next year, and we’ll have to wait and see if Bautista can repeat some degree of his 2010 success.

      Bautista seems to really like Toronto and appreciate the everyday chance he was given, so I’m sure an extension could be worked out easily. Once Bautista (hopefully) continues his magic at the plate, AA can offer him a 3-4 year deal with vesting option(s) come June or July.