Will arbitration win give Blue Jays enough money to re-enter relief market?


Depending on how you look at it, the arbitration win for the Toronto Blue Jays over Josh Donaldson could be a very good or a very bad thing. It has certainly been a topic of much debate internally for the Jays Journal staff, as well as I’m sure it has been throughout the fan base as well. Did the Blue Jays actually win much of anything or did they hurt their cause with Donaldson down the road?

For the sake of today’s argument, let’s assume that the future negotiations between the Blue Jays and Josh Donaldson are a moot point. Yes, they are realistically in the future and there will undoubtedly be some sour grapes over the way this contract discussion went down. However, we’re going to focus on the here and now and assume that the two sides can work things out down the road through some intense therapy or something.

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When all was said and done, the Blue Jays saved $1.45 million in salary for the 2015 season. However, the savings could be sizable over the course of their four years of control they have with Donaldson. With each subsequent year based on the previous year’s salary, Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith pegged that savings at nearly $6 million over the life of the contract. That may not seem like much, but given the limited financial availability of the team, $1.5 million may be significant.

Say, in regards to acquiring a proven relief arm.

Prior to the arbitration win over, the Blue Jays were believed to have between $5-$6 million available for additional players. Assuming that number may have anticipated that the Blue Jays and Donaldson would meet in the middle  somewhere, that would still mean that the Blue Jays could add another $700k to that number. That would give Toronto a shade over $6.5 million to spend.

The question though, is whether the team desires to spend it now or chooses to hold onto it and upgrade the team later in the season. Judging by the lack of movement by the Blue Jays at the trade deadline in both 2013 and 2014, I think most Blue Jays fans would be more inclined for the team to address their needs now rather than down the road.

Toronto Blue Jays
Toronto Blue Jays /

Toronto Blue Jays

That means getting aggressive and trying to find a taker for those funds. Francisco Rodriguez and Rafael Soriano may be looking for a bit more than that, especially considering some of the contracts already handed out this winter and not to mention that they are both represented by Scott Boras. However, finding a suitable set-up man like Joba Chamberlain or reuniting with Dustin McGowan may fit into that budget and still leave a little nest-egg for a mid-season acquisition.

It all comes down to whether or not the Blue Jays press their luck and or try to save a few dollars and go into the season with what they have, hoping for the best along the way. Personally speaking, I’ve always found that it’s best not to go on a long trip with a potential for a flat tire.

Next: Josh Donaldson: 2nd Best 3rd Baseman in MLB