Blue Jays Payroll: Arbitration Estimates High
By Shaun Doyle
According to one estimate, the Toronto Blue Jays are set to spend among the highest amounts in MLB for arbitration cases, which doesn’t leave much room.
If money talks, fans of the Toronto Blue Jays would like to put a gag in it. We’ve been hearing so much about payroll and the limitation thereof. Whether there is money or not, many feel that the budget is tight and prohibits the club from signing top free agent talent. Today, some light was shed on a possible reason for relatively meager spending this winter. According to MLBTR, the Blue Jays are looking at one of the more expensive crops of arbitration eligible players in MLB.
Toronto Blue Jays
MLBTR predicts that Toronto will spend a total of $37.8M, the second highest estimate after the Orioles ($42.9M). The Mets are just behind the Blue Jays at $37.7M. This initially high amount is thanks to a list of players that includes Steve Delabar, Brett Cecil, Michael Saunders, Jesse Chavez, Ben Revere, Drew Hutchison, Aaron Loup and Josh Donaldson. MLBTR includes Justin Smoak in the group, but he’s already signed for $3.9M for the upcoming season.
Despite the estimated increase to the contract of Donaldson, we have to remember the actual savings the club benefits from with regards to him. On the free agent market, he would never be a Blue Jay. Revere is set to see an amount of money that would make him a logical trade chip, but one that would be hard to move because of that high salary. The most curious of these, for my dollar is the case of Saunders. Given his injury history, etc we shouldn’t expect a huge raise for him.
Now, according to BaseballReference.com, the club has a total of $99.8M in committed contracts already. IT is interesting to note that BR predicts the arbitration class to see $33.9M. If we take Smoak’s money off of MLBTR (37.8 – 3.9) we get $33.9M. So, both sites agree on the potential upcoming addition to payroll. BR outlines the total cost of the 2016 season. While it is a prediction and could vary, it looks like the club will come in at just under that estimated $140 mark at $139.3M.
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Whether this is the limits of their budget is anyone’s guess. But, if we operate under the impression that the $140M mark is indeed the limit, you can see why there haven’t been any more significant upgrades. Add to that the recent concern over US-CAN exchange rates and the picture becomes more understandable. It may not be comforting or palatable, but it makes sense.
At least it would if there weren’t the need for more additions. At this point, the Blue Jays very well could run out the roster it has and certainly make a go at defending their AL East title. But, we must also remember that there are still some holes to fill as well as adding to depth. But, as the days go on and more info is revealed regarding payroll, the more likely it is that minor league deals and waiver claims just might be the way this club approaches Opening Day 2016.
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This may not be the news that fans want to hear, but at this point it has to be what we expect to hear. I am slowly coming around to the idea of competing with this current squad with no major additions. Rather than focus on what we don’t have, perhaps we should focus on what we do have. A full year with this lineup and defense just might be pretty exciting. As we approach the New Year, maybe we can approach a new attitude toward the Toronto Blue Jays.