The Blue Jays entered the month with the most arbitration-eligible players in the Majors with nine, and were ultimately able to come to agreements with seven of those nine players.
Yunel Escobar, who managed a .275 average and .696 OPS in 60 games since coming over to the Jays in a mid-season trade, received a 1-year, $2.9M contract in his first arbitration eligible season, which was a $2.465M raise over his 2010 salary. Out of the players that were able to avoid arbitration, Escobar received the highest salary, and the Jays are likely hoping for him to return to his 2009 form, when he hit .299/.377/.436 in 141 games for the Atlanta Braves.
Brandon Morrow, who finished his year strong and has sparked chatter of being the Jays’ ace in 2011, received a 1-year, $2.3M contract in his first arbitration-eligible season as well, good for a $1.89M raise over his 2010 salary. In his first full season as a starting pitcher, Morrow set a new career-high with a 10.9 K/9, and a new career-low with a 4.1 BB/9 in 146.1 innings of work.
Shawn Camp, who has turned his career around with the Blue Jays and logged at least 72 innings in each of the past two seasons, nearly doubled his 2010 salary by agreeing to a 1-year, $2.25M contract for the upcoming season.
Rajai Davis, acquired this off-season from the Oakland Athletics for Double-A relievers Trystan Magnuson and Danny Farquhar, was the only member of the group that received a multi-year deal. He will earn $2.5M in 2011, $2.75M in 2012, and a possible $3.5M in 2013 through a club option. This multi-year deal gives the Jays cost certainty for Davis’ 2nd, 3rd, and possibly 4th years of arbitration-eligibility.
Casey Janssen, who had a very solid 2010 season with the Jays with a 3.67 ERA and 8.3 K/9 in 68.2 innings, received the smallest raise of the group by agreeing to a 1-year/$1.1M contract, $400,000 more than his 2010 salary.
Jesse Litsch, who appeared in just 9 innings for the Jays in 2009 and 46.2 innings in 2010, somehow doubled his 2010 salary by receiving a 1-year, $830,000 contract for the 2011 season, where he will try to slot into the #5 position in the Jays’ starting rotation out of Spring Training.
Carlos Villanueva, acquired for virtually nothing from the Milwaukee Brewers this off-season, was the first player to avoid arbitration with the Jays when he agreed to a 1-year, 1.415M contract for the 2011 season two days ago. Villanueva posted one of the best seasons of his career in 2010, his first as a full-time reliever, which included an impressive 11.4 K/9 in 52.2 innings.