Blue Jays rumors: Hard push on Petit, 2 years plus option


The Blue Jays pursuit of reliever Yusmeiro Petit reportedly had the organization willing to offer two years plus an option before losing out to Washington

What a week it’s been when the Yusmeiro Petit negotiations have been the most telling tale for the Toronto Blue Jays. We’ve checked in on Petit several times through the Winter Meetings as the Jays reportedly held talks with him on multiple days before losing out to the Washington Nationals late Wednesday.

Petit’s deal with the Nationals is worth $2.5 million over one year with a team option for the second year. That option also comes with a $500,000 buyout, bringing the total guaranteed value to $3 million. This isn’t an absurd value given the recent market, but according to Ben Nicholson-Smith, the Blue Jays pushed very hard to sign the 31-year old. 

He continued on this morning to report that Toronto’s two-year deal with a 2018 option came in at “competitive prices”. This salary will be the low-end price level Toronto faces if they are shopping for mid-level relievers, especially with Mark Shapiro (potentially intelligently) steering clear of the priciest bullpen arms.

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“It’s such a tough market to wade into and allocate so many of your resources to, but we know we’ve got to find some alternatives and we know we’ve got to play in that market,” Shapiro told Nicholson-Smith. “To play in the upper ends of that market it’s a dangerous place to play. You’d better have a lot of flexibility and your threshold for risk had better be very high.”

This might be a case of the area market working against Toronto with a player preferring to stay on one side of the border, but the likeliest scenario here is that Washington’s offer included a greater financial opportunity both now and in the future. This can mean two things.

On the surface level, the 2017 option offered to Petit could simply trump the dollars that Toronto had on the table. Past that, however, Petit and his representation could be looking at the current market and betting on themselves. If he’s able to tread water at his current production level, why not land back on the market in two years for a second payday? With the increased security of three years also comes the increased potential to be playing for a salary under your worth by the final year. It’s a tricky dance, especially for a reliever.

Role is also a factor in establishing future value in the league, especially with an arm like Petit that could be used in multiple ways. In missing out on Petit (if you can call it missing out), the Jays will continue their look for a mid-range arm capable of giving multiple innings out of the bullpen. If anything, they’ve at least shown a willingness to discuss multi-year deals with relievers that may be mutually interested.