The Toronto Blue Jays and Ezequiel Carrera have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year, $1.1625 million contract.
Earlier today, the Blue Jays and infielder Darwin Barney agreed to a one-year, $2.8875 million contract for 2017, his final year before being eligible for free agency.
Much like Barney, Carrera went from on-the-bubble role player to legitimate asset for the Blue Jays last season. Appearing in 110 games, Carrera hit .248 with an OPS of .679 and a career-high six home runs. This earner Carrera a WAR of 0.7 (FanGraphs), also a career best.
That boost in value was due in large part to Carrera’s defence, an area that was not necessarily expected to be a strength coming off a poor 2015 season in the field. Carrera posted a -10 DRS (Defensive Runs Saved) that season but improved to +7 in 2016 (all outfield positions, cumulative).
Carrera offers MLB-level value and is under team control until 2020, but he is out of options and is not guaranteed a spot on the opening day roster.
Toronto’s outfield moves over the next two months will impact Carrera greatly. Kevin Pillar is firmly entrenched in centre, but since Carrera does not have the ideal splits to platoon with Melvin Upton Jr. in one corner, the Blue Jays could opt to take a different approach to their fourth outfielder. This is, of course, assuming that the Jays add a starting outfielder in right (and only carry four outfielders instead of five).