The Toronto Blue Jays have an interesting decision to make by the end of the day, November 30th. As the last day that they can tender contracts to arbitration-eligible players, the Blue Jays have a relatively short list of players in which to worry about. Of those players, Colby Rasmus and Emilio Bonifacio are certainly expected to receive their offers before the deadline.
Bobby Wilson may or may not be so lucky.
Wilson, claimed by the Blue Jays off waivers on October 22nd, is eligible for arbitration for the first time in 2013. MLBtr has projected that Wilson will see a pay raise from $487,500 to $600,000.
The dilemma is that the Blue Jays will currently have an abundance of catchers on the roster, including John Buck and J.P. Arencibia. Toronto would prefer to trade one of those two in order to fill other needs, but it is not likely that they will get a deal done before the non-tender deadline.
That leaves Anthopoulos with a decision to make on Wilson, who essentially will become the back-up catcher should one of the two above moved. $600,000 is not too much to gamble on being able to move either Buck or Arencibia through a trade. However, Wilson is also out of minor league options, so if the Blue Jays choose to designate him down the road, they would be on the hook for his entire deal unless his is claimed by another team in the process.
That said, given that the Blue Jays held on to Jeff Mathis all of last season, and that Wilson is essentially a fall-back option, one would expect to see Wilson tendered a contract before the end of the day. The only motivation Toronto would have to non-tender him would be that they have a secondary move in mind where they would need the additional roster spot, but even for that to happen, the Blue Jays would need to either keep both Buck and Arencibia or be able to guarantee that Travis d’Arnaud is ready to make the leap.
For what it is worth, expect Wilson to tendered a deal.
UPDATE: The Blue Jays opted to non-tender Wilson just prior to Friday’s deadline. That leaves J.P. Arencibia and John Buck as the starter and back-up respectively, with Travis d’Arnaud expected to start 2013 at Triple-A.