Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos was fully prepared to head to an arbitration hearing, if necessary. That’s something Toronto has not done with a player since 1997. If any eligible players didn’t sign by Tuesday, negotiations would be cut off and a hearing it would be.
It never came to that.
On Tuesday, the Blue Jays settled the 2010 contracts for arbitration-eligible pitchers Jeremy Accardo, Shawn Camp, Jason Frasor, Casey Janssen and Brian Tallet. Shaun Marcum signed on Monday, while Dustin McGowan and Jose Bautista avoided the process earlier this winter.
So, the streak lives on and the biggest winner of the bunch on Tuesday was Frasor. After a career year, Frasor received a $1.2 million raise and will make $2.65 million in the upcoming season. Tallet signed for $2 million, Camp for $1.15 million, Accardo for $1.08 million and Janssen for $700,000.
That brings us to the payroll…
Before the Halladay trade, I wrote more than once that the team’s payroll would likely remain around $80 million. Well, turns out that’s almost $20 million too high. After the Doc deal, and with Rios off the books, the player payroll will probably be in the $60-63 million range for the 2010 season. That’s NOT including the $10 million owed to B.J. Ryan or the $6 million sent to Philly as part of the Halladay trade.
As Anthopoulos says, though:
“We don’t have any needs or financial restrictions or limitations with respect to payroll. It’s really a fluid number and it’s going to be predicated on what we deem — the baseball operations staff, obviously with the approval of ownership — the right baseball moves for this club. There really isn’t a finite number to the payroll. Certainly, everything that we do, every free agent that we look at, trades and so on, we’re just trying to evaluate it with respect to the direction that we are going in and the value of the player.”
Here is a monetary breakdown: CF Vernon Wells ($21 million, including $8.5 million), 1B Lyle Overbay ($7 million), 3B Edwin Encarnacion ($4.75 million), 2B Aaron Hill (4 million), LHP Scott Downs ($4 million), SS Alex Gonzalez ($2.75 million), RHP Jason Frasor ($2.65 million), OF Jose Bautista ($2.4 million), LHP Brian Tallet ($2 million), C John Buck ($2 million), SS John McDonald ($1.5 million), RHP Shawn Camp ($1.15 million), RHP Jeremy Accardo ($1.08 million), RHP Shaun Marcum ($850K), RHP Casey Janssen ($700K), RHP Dustin McGowan ($500K).
Total: $58.33 million
Other contracts: OF Joey Gathright will earn $550K is he makes the Major League roster. C Raul Chavez is also signed to a Minors deal and will likely have a similar salary when/if he is placed on the Major League squad as well. McGowan and Jesse Litsch will count against the payroll even if they aren’t on the OD roster. Litsch, at least, will be on the DL. That leaves roughly eight spots for players who make the Major League minimum.
FALSE: A rumor quickly spread online today that the Blue Jays had signed veteran slugger Carlos Delgado. I wrote last week that Toronto was not pursuing Delgado and Anthopoulos went on the record to shoot down the latest rumor on Tuesday. Delgado’s agent was also quick to shoot down the rumor.
“There’s no truth to it,” Anthopoulos said. “Normally, I don’t comment on rumors, but I have come out and said that we have gone to see him play and so on. This is the exact reason why I don’t comment on rumors. I’ve spent the past 30 minutes getting hammered with this.”
MINOR SIGNINGS: The Jays also signed OF Jeremy Reed and RHP Steven Register to Minor League contracts with invites to spring training on Tuesday. Anthopoulos said Reed, like Gathright, will be given a chance to compete for a backup job or a full-time job in the Jays’ outfield.
The main reason for Reed and Gathright? They play center. With Rios gone, the only backup to Wells in center right now is Bautista. Reed and Gathright could provide depth at the position and one will probably be on the roster come Opening Day. Snider and Bautista are also in the mix for starting roles in the outfield.
ROLES: Anthopoulos said that manager Cito Gaston will determine who will be the club’s closer during Spring Training. Last year, the duties were split between Frasor and Downs. Frasor seems to be the top choice right now, but that could change in the preseason. Anthopoulos also noted that Tallet’s status as either a starter or reliever has not been decided yet. If the club doesn’t feel some of the young arms are ready, Tallet could open the year in the rotation.