Blue Jays Morning Brew: Grass, Arbitration & Contention


Welcome to this morning’s collection of Blue Jays goodness.  Let’s get to it.

Remember when Paul Beeston threw out the 2018 season for the goal for having natural grass at the Rogers Centre? Everyone was so excited. Well, John Lott at the National Post, with help from David Dowe outline for us the process that has been started and has yet to be completed. Let’s just say, it is a lot of work. That’s an understatement. Not only would they have to dig up everything that is under the players’ feet, install plumbing for watering, etc. they’d have to figure out how to work with a severe lack of daylight (given the whole roof thing) and how to deal with the sweat grass gives off as it transpires. It is going to be quite an involved issue.

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However, it is an issue that has actually been ongoing for over a year now. Negotiations started back in December, 2013 for research to be done out of the University of Guelph. The university has been trying to get the club to finalize this deal (so it can begin the quite lengthy process) ever since with reminders in January, April, May, June and September. The good news is that Jays’ senior VP of business operations says that this deal should be sealed “within a week or so”. Then the real work begins. For a look at all that is involved, I suggest you check out Lott’s piece.

At, Ben Nicholson-Smith gives us a look at guys who are up for arbitration and how they will impact the payroll. He uses their projected salaries via to show us what we can expect the Blue Jays to fork over. The club has 5 guys who are eligible: Marco Estrada, Josh Donaldson, Michael Saunders, Brett Cecil, Danny Valencia. 

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  • Already, Jays Journal has looked at Cecil (HERE) and Saunders (HERE) as possible guys to have their contracts extended as they look forward to arbitration. The club still has until Friday to reach deals with each player. Barring that, they can decide to head to arbitration. The hearings go from Feb 2-20. Once filed, the club can still work out a multi-year deal before the actual hearing date. The last time they did so was with Casey Janssen. The last time the Blue Jays actually went to arbitration with a player was Bill Risley in 1997.

    Over at The Score, Brandon Wile fills us in on Detroit Tigers manager, Brad Ausmus and his evaluation of Anthony Gose. Ausmus says that Gose has the ability to be an impact player for the Tigers. Anthony Gose. Impact Player. For the TIGERS. Think about the impact players on that team already. That’s high praise indeed for the guy who could never really put together a solid run at the major league level for the Blue Jays. No one questioned his defense in CF. It was the bat that earned him the ‘yo-yo’ treatment. 

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    Here are his new manager’s words from a TigerTalk show : “I don’t want to put pressure on him and say, ‘impact player,’ because he’s probably not going to be that for us right away. But he has that type of ability inside him.” He’s probably right in that Gose is not going to be that right away…

    At, Tracy Ringolsby looks at 3 American League teams that have done major work this offseason and have turned themselves into contenders. The Chicago White Sox certainly would be on that list. I’m surprised to see the Seattle Mariners listed, though. The other team? Why, it’s your Toronto Blue Jays. Ringolsby refers to the 2012 retooling efforts as an attempt to compete. But, this year feels different. This off season may have done more to put them closer to that title. What is more disturbing is the implications of all of this blowing up in our faces. The writer uses the words “remake” and “regroup” to describe what could happen if this coming season is not a success. Gulp.

    Finally, I’ll leave you with this (with no comment):