Jul 5, 2015; Detroit, MI, USA; Toronto Blue Jays second baseman Devon Travis (29) celebrates with teammates after scoring a run in the fifth inning against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
Pre-Arbitration or Arbitration Eligible
Toronto has an interesting mix of players still under control through pre-arb or arbitration years. While this group will often be stocked with young talent just breaking through at the MLB level, we also see names like Josh Donaldson, whose late MLB start gives the Jays a perennial All-Star at a fraction of the price.
Beginning with players that are first eligible for free agency in 2021, let’s work back through the long list of Jays who are set to remain critical, and affordable, parts of the organization.
[All contract details via Baseball Reference]
Earliest Arbitration Eligible: 2018 – Earliest FA: 2021
Devon Travis: Travis has been a revelation since coming over from the Detroit Tigers for Anthony Gose, and if it weren’t for injuries, he’d be near the top of the AL Rookie of the Year race. He should step back in as the full-time starter at second base in 2016 and beyond.
Kevin Pillar: After entering spring training as a possible fourth outfielder behind Pompey and Saunders, Pillar has risen to a locked-in starter at centre fielder. His bat has followed along, but it’s been his glove that has wowed Jays fans. The outfield could become crowded going forward, but that’s not a bad thing, and Pillar has the inside edge.
Ryan Goins: While he’s unlikely to be an MLB starter without a DL stint ahead of him on the depth chart, Goins is proving to be a valuable piece again this season. His defense remains strong and he’s even shown a little pop at the dish. With some work, he’ll remain as infield depth going forward.
Dalton Pompey: The Canadian is swinging a hot bat in the Minor Leagues right now, but has yet to get another look from the MLB club. His 2015 hasn’t gone as planned, but as the organization’s new #1 prospect, he’ll have a long look in 2016. The talent is there, but for Pompey, he must prove that he can hit at the MLB level.
Marcus Stroman: We’re all hoping that 2015 isn’t over for the Stro Show, but regardless, he’ll be one of Toronto’s biggest additions next season in the rotation. Fans love him, opponents hate facing him, and we can look forward to many more years of bubble-blowing on the mound in Toronto.
Aaron Sanchez: The Sanchize isn’t going anywhere, either. I’m already dreading the “bullpen or rotation” conversation we’re due to have again next year, but at the same time, I’m confident he can succeed in either role.
Roberto Osuna: Stroman, Sanchez, now Osuna? It’s an accomplishment that Anthopoulos made it out of the deadline with these young arms still in the fold. We’ll also have the bullpen/rotation conversation with Osuna, but this is a 35-year old veteran in a 20-year old’s body. Big things lie ahead for Osuna.
Bo Schultz: For every 10 relievers you throw at the wall, one will stick. Schultz has been that “one” for the Jays in 2015, helping to solidify the back end of their bullpen until reinforcements came along. He’ll be given every opportunity to break camp with the big club next season.
Next: Donaldson at a discount and more valuable control