Blue Jays Contract Construction Key in Next Moves
After a few months of quiet, baseball fans everywhere have put the lockout in the rear-view mirror as we have enjoyed a number of signings and blockbuster trades over the last week. Blue Jays fans got a taste of that enjoyment with management signing Yusei Kikuchi, solidifying the back end of their rotation. Even after some of the excitement that has occurred, there are still several top end free agents available, along with rumoured pieces via trade.
During this process, Blue Jays have been linked to some key players, most notably Freddie Freeman and Kyle Schwarber. The refresh button has been a best friend for many fans waiting to read some sort of news as soon as it is released, only to see yet another “Blue Jays are in on…”. Or, hearing your sports news notification only to read something other than the Jays.
One thing is certain: Blue Jays will be upgrading their roster. It’s a fact. To what degree, remains to be seen. They definitely have the funds to make any move they please, but I don’t think they are going to spend for the sake of spending. If it’s the right person for this team, they will do what it costs. And Ross Atkins made some comments today about improving the team while thinking about both today and tomorrow.
However, I think at this point – especially after the Kikuchi signing – contract construction is going to play a big factor for enabling other moves as well. They will need to get creative in structuring a multi-year contract, and I wonder if that will matter in the player’s decision.
I think if the annual salary is equally divided by the term, I would like to assume they needed to do that to get said player and it could make other moves a little more challenging. However, I think a big part of negotiations will be having the annual salary fluctuate each year, and one way to entice a player is with signing bonuses – or hey, take a page out of the Washington Nationals book by deferring money.
Kyle Schwarber would certainly meet the Jays need for a left-handed bat with pop
Based on who they’re rumoured on, let’s use four years as an example. I could see the Jays going heavy this year including a signing bonus, light next year with a signing bonus to help – as 2023 payroll won’t really decrease – increase again in 2024 as Ryu, Grichuk, Gurriel and Teo are off the books, and finally light again in 2025 as the kids (granted they go through entire process) will cost the highest in their final year of arbitration.
To us fans, contract construction shouldn’t matter. We just want this team to get even better than they are. However, keep an eye on how the next free agent’s contract is structured. It will be very telling what else they are able to do – and not for just this year. Here’s to hoping a move happens shortly. Refresh!