Report: Blue Jays payroll optimism from Rogers?


The Toronto Blue Jays’ payroll is the unicorn of MLB offseasons. Mythical and unknown, but always discussed. It’s been a particularly hot topic since the takeover of president Mark Shapiro, who ran a tighter budget by necessity with the Cleveland Indians. Earlier in the week, we passed along the rumor-ish suggestion that payroll cuts were coming, but now, a report to the contrary.

Until something concrete takes place, payroll talk in the offseason is little more than PR. That’s not to say anything is falsified or fluffed, but it’s a topic we cannot truly verify until the beginning of the coming season. At the very least, this report is an encouraging change from the payroll doomsday scenario that Bob McCown has been pushing.

The Toronto payroll finished the 2015 season higher than it began, as well, which is very important to remember in these discussions. Anthopoulos intentionally left money on the table heading into April, something he’d learned from past seasons while hamstrung towards the trade deadline. The Opening Day payroll of last year’s team was in the neighborhood of ~$125 million.

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Which “situation” merits an increase even from $140 million? We could easily argue that the current one does, with gaping holes in the starting rotation and only one more guaranteed year of Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion in blue and white jerseys. Would Rogers be willing to increase from $140 million prior to April, or would they take a “prove it” approach, asking Shapiro to get them within striking distance before another deadline surge?

Some careful reading between the lines should get us closer to the truth once Toronto pulls the trigger on their first move or two. Especially in any trade action, it will be important to pay close attention to the net dollars. So take this report for what it’s worth, and whether this changes your mind or you fully discount it, there is, at least, cause for some added optimism.