Some news items from the AL East…
- Toronto's payroll could end up being in the $80-$85MM range, tweets FOXSports.com's Jon Paul Morosi. The Blue Jays currently have just under $49MM committed for 2011 (according to Cot's Baseball Contracts) and have eight players eligible for arbitration. Jose Bautista will get the biggest raise of this group, but even with notables like Yunel Escobar and Brandon Morrow also arb-eligible, the Jays should have a bit of money left to spend beyond settling their arbitration cases.
- Perhaps the Jays' extra money could be spent on Brian Fuentes? We heard about Toronto's interest in Fuentes earlier this week, and now SI's Jon Heyman tweets that the Jays are still "pressing for" the free agent reliever.
- Did Scott Boras wait too long for a Rafael Soriano market to develop? Fangraphs' R.J. Anderson thinks this might be the case, and that Soriano might have to settle another one-year contract with the hopes of finding a long-term deal next offseason.
- A bit of early reaction to Tampa Bay's agreement with Kyle Farnsworth: CBSSports.com's Danny Knobler thinks the signing is risky, but believes the Rays need to take chances on their bullpen if they want to contend. Meanwhile, Dave Cameron of Fangraphs thinks the Rays made a better deal for Farnsworth than Boston did with Bobby Jenks, given that Farnsworth and Jenks put up comparable numbers over the last two seasons.
- Bronson Arroyo tells Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald that he enjoyed pitching for the Red Sox and wouldn't mind returning: "Even though I can safely say that I’ve cemented myself in Cincinnati for a while, [Boston] definitely still feels like home and in the back of my mind I know that there is no better place to play than in Fenway Park." Arroyo said when his three-year extension with the Reds runs out after the 2013 season, he would be interested in pitching for the Rays (to play close to his family), returning to the Red Sox, or staying in Cincinnati.
- MLB.com's Brittany Ghiroli has details on the vesting option included in Kevin Gregg's contract with the Orioles. Gregg's 2013 option will become guaranteed if he finishes 50 games in 2012, or if he finishes 100 games total in 2011-12. As SI's Jon Heyman tweeted in the previous link, Gregg will earn between $6-$10MM in 2013 if his option vests.
- Matt Bush, the first overall pick of the 2004 draft, talks to MLB.com's Dawn Klemish about his battle with alcoholism and the progress he's made in the Tampa Bay organization.