Blue Jays Offseason Primer: Free Agents, Payroll, Offseason Needs

Your one-stop-shop for Blue Jays offseason information.
Tampa Bay Rays v Toronto Blue Jays
Tampa Bay Rays v Toronto Blue Jays / Vaughn Ridley/GettyImages

Now that the Blue Jays' season is over and the World Series has ended, it's time to officially turn our attention towards the offseason. The trade market is going to open back up (although there aren't usually a ton of trades made as soon as the offseason begins) and in short order, players will begin filing for free agency.

Things didn't go exactly as they were predicted to for this year's Blue Jays, but there's reason to believe that there are good things coming for the organization. Ross Atkins and Co. (should) have a very clear idea of how their roster needs to be upgraded this winter to turn this unit into a true playoff contender.

Blue Jays projected payroll for 2024

Estimated 2024 payroll: $206,914,255

Estimated 2024 luxury tax payroll: $197,780,952

With some pending free agents and arbitration decisions, these numbers are likely to shuffle around a bit between now and Spring Training. MLB's luxury tax ceiling is set at $237M this year, so it remains to be seen how close to that the Blue Jays will get.

Blue Jays free agents

At the big league level, multiple players will be coming off of the books. Their former clubs have five days to exclusively negotiate with them on a new deal. In the five days post-World Series, teams must make their decisions on who they will extend Qualifying Offers to. Players have until Nov. 14 at 4pm ET to determine whether they will accept or decline the QO.

  • OF Kevin Kiermaier
  • INF Matt Chapman
  • INF Brandon Belt**
  • INF/OF Whit Merrifeld*
  • LHP Hyun Jin Ryu**
  • RHP Jordan Hicks**
  • RHP Chad Green*

* Whit Merrifield has an $18M club option that the Blue Jays are unlikely to pick up.
* Chad Green has a complicated contract that includes multiple different options. Read more about them here.

** Notably, none of Belt, Ryu or Hicks are eligible for a QO as the former two have been offered one in the past and the latter was a mid-season trade acquisition.

Blue Jays players eligible for arbitration

  • C Danny Jansen
  • C Alejandro Kirk
  • INF Cavan Biggio
  • INF Santiago Espinal
  • INF Vladimir Guerrero Jr.
  • OF Daulton Varsho
  • RHP Adam Cimber
  • RHP Trevor Richards
  • RHP Erik Swanson
  • RHP Jordan Romano
  • RHP Nate Pearson
  • LHP Tim Mayza
  • LHP Génesis Cabrera

Nearly every single one of these players will be brought back next year on new contracts. Cimber is the most obvious non-tender candidate, but Espinal, Pearson and even Richards are also outside possibilities.

Blue Jays offseason needs

The easiest answer to this is that the Jays could use some thump in their lineup. The club went for a defense-first approach last offseason and while that plan technically worked to perfection, the lack of offense is exactly why they fell early in the postseason. Teoscar Hernández, Jorge Soler or J.D. Martinez feel like solid fits, as they would instantly add 20+ home runs to a lineup that could really use it.

Other than that, a depth starter could be helpful, as Alek Manoah's future could not be more uncertain. He's been sharing videos on Instagram of him being hard at work, but it remains to be seen how that will translate during next year's regular season.

Noteworthy Blue Jays players eligible for the Rule 5 Draft

There's sure to be some shifting around of the 40-man roster because not only do Cimber, Hagen Danner and Otto Lopez need to be reinstated from the 60-day injured list, but prospects need to be protected from the Rule 5 Draft.

Ricky Tiedemann, the organization's No. 1 prospect, isn't eligible yet, but there are certainly other names who need to be under consideration.

  • INF Rainer Nunez
  • INF Alex De Jesus (No. 19 prospect)
  • OF Dasan Brown (No. 29 prospect)
  • OF Gabriel Martinez (No. 26 prospect)
  • INF/OF Rafael Lantigua
  • INF/OF Adrian Pinto (No. 25 prospect)
  • LHP Adam Macko (No. 22 prospect)
  • LHP Jimmy Burnette
  • RHP CJ Van Eyk
  • RHP Trent Palmer
  • RHP Dahian Santos (No. 11 prospect)
  • RHP Lazaro Estrada