Blue Jays: Management will need to spend wisely this off-season

TORONTO, ON - JUNE 29: General manager Ross Atkins of the Toronto Blue Jays speaks to members of the media before the start of MLB game action against the Detroit Tigers at Rogers Centre on June 29, 2018 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - JUNE 29: General manager Ross Atkins of the Toronto Blue Jays speaks to members of the media before the start of MLB game action against the Detroit Tigers at Rogers Centre on June 29, 2018 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images) /
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BALTIMORE, MARYLAND – SEPTEMBER 19: Lourdes Gurriel Jr. #13 of the Toronto Blue Jays hits a solo home run against the Baltimore Orioles in the fourth inning at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on September 19, 2019 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MARYLAND – SEPTEMBER 19: Lourdes Gurriel Jr. #13 of the Toronto Blue Jays hits a solo home run against the Baltimore Orioles in the fourth inning at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on September 19, 2019 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) /

Payroll for 2020

The Blue Jays will head into the 2019 offseason with only two players who have long-term contracts in Randal Grichuk and Lourdes Gurriel Jr. Their salary next year plus Troy Tulowitzki’s salary (which the Blue Jays are on the books for one more year even with his retirement), means the Blue Jays have a total monetary commitment of $29,928,571 before arbitration factors in.

Using the MLB Trade Rumours arbitration projector, and factoring in the high probability that the Blue Jays non-tender players like Devon Travis (injury problems), Luke Maile (Reese McGuire wins the second catcher spot) and Ryan Dull (no room on 40 man roster), the organization will most likely owe another $17-20 million to a total of five players.

The arbitration players the Blue Jays will most likely keep include Matt Shoemaker, Ryan Tepera, Brandon Drury, Derek Law and Ken Giles. There is some obvious discretion with this analysis considering the Blue Jays could offer arbitration to all or maybe sign players to longer term deals (avoiding arbitration), but let’s stick with this scenario.

I should note that MLB Trade Rumours states Derek Law is heading to arbitration this offseason, but Sportrac and Baseball Reference both say he is pre-arbitration eligible. If he is indeed arbitration eligible, it would factor in roughly $1-1.5 million against the salary, and I will include him as arbitration eligible for this scenario per the MLB Trade Rumours source.

Sportrac also has listed that Buddy Boshers, Ryan Feierabend, and Brock Stewart are also arbitration eligible while MLB Trade Rumours has not listed them as such, as well as Baseball Reference only having Feierabend listed as arbitration eligible out of the three this offseason. This most likely has to do with Super Two designation and service time (with all being minor league players at times over the season), which you can find more information here.

I am just going to consider them all non-tendered, as this will most likely happen anyways if they were arbitration eligible and assumes the following scenario stays as such. If they were pre-arbitration eligible, they would factor in another $1.5 million if all three were to remain on the Blue Jays roster.

The Toronto Blue Jays also have three players going to free agency in Justin Smoak, Clay Buchholz and John Axford. With the rebuild and the controllable years being a big deal to the Blue Jays front office, the probability that any of these three will be re-signed is very slim. They will not be factored into this scenario.

The Blue Jays have the advantage of a significant amount of roster players who are pre-arbitration eligible, which is codeword for “the Blue Jays front office can pay the player what they want for the upcoming season”. The typical practice from teams across the league is to offer the league minimum, which is $555,555.

With that in mind, the Blue Jays would fill out the rest of the roster with pre-arb players if they were to not sign any free agents this offseason. With the above scenario factored in at seven players committed to the roster, there will be 19 spots filled with pre-arb players due to the roster expansion next year to 26 players.

Mathematically, the Blue Jays will approximately sit at an estimated $30 million for two players (plus Tulo’s money), $20 million for five arbitration players (high side evaluation for risk factor and possibly extensions for one or two players I said they would not offer but did), and $10.5 million for pre-arbitration players.

This is obviously not going to be the exact number considering the Blue Jays will work some magic and probably throw in some surprises, but given the above scenario and all the sources I could find on the web, the organization will have a total financial commitment to the 2020 season at roughly $60.5 million dollars.

Again, I understand this will change given players not being tendered, not making the team out of spring training, free agency, etc., but these values are what we have to work with given the current roster moving forward and give an accurate representation of the general consensus: the Blue Jays have money to play with this offseason

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