2013 Contract Issues: Toronto Blue Jays

The Blue Jays are next in MLBTR’s 2013 Contract Issues series:

Eligible For Free Agency (7)

  • Omar Vizquel - The 45-year-old has said he expects this will be his final season.
  • Jason Frasor – Fortunately for Frasor, he won't be tied to draft pick compensation when he hits free agency in the offseason.
  • Edwin Encarnacion – Here's a question for GM Alex Anthopoulos: does Encarnacion warrant a qualifying offer in the $12-13MM range? It seems a bit rich for a player with limited defensive value, but Encarnacion's production would be hard to replace. Perhaps the sides could work out a multiyear deal at a lower average annual value. I think a qualifying offer is unlikely.
  • Carlos Villanueva – Villanueva seems to be headed for a one-year, Major League contract next offseason.
  • Jeff Mathis – Mathis could be deemed expendable given the presence of J.P. Arencibia, Travis d'Arnaud and Yan Gomes.
  • Francisco Cordero - Cordero has struggled to limit hits, walks and home runs in the early going, which could limit his leverage as a free agent.
  • Kelly Johnson - The Blue Jays figure to be looking for second base help next offseason, when Johnson will be among the best options available. They could make him a qualifying offer, but doing so would mean offering Dan Uggla/Brandon Phillips money. The industry doesn't appear to value Johnson as a $12-13MM player, so perhaps the Blue Jays will look to retain him more affordably.

Contract Options (2)

  • Darren Oliver: $3MM club option with a $500K buyout. The 41-year-old Oliver continues pitching effectively. If the season ended today, the Blue Jays would probably exercise this option.
  • Rajai Davis: $3MM club option with a $500K buyout. Though $3MM is on the pricey side for an extra outfielder, Davis adds value as a right-handed hitter with speed.

Arbitration Eligible (6)

The Blue Jays have a relatively small group of projected arbitration eligible players and it could diminish even more in the coming months. Cecil and Snider won't necessarily pick up enough service time to go to arbitration this coming offseason. Laffey could be non-tendered, and depending on the severity of Litsch's shoulder injury, he could be cut loose as well. Francisco may also find himself on the non-tender bubble if his slow start at the plate continues. That leaves Rasmus, who's on track for a raise from $2.7MM.

2013 Payroll Obligation

The Blue Jays have committed nearly $52MM to next year's payroll, according to Cot's Baseball Contracts. The team's payroll has been approximately $80MM three of the past four seasons, but attendance is up, so perhaps payroll will also rise. The Blue Jays maintain that they'll be able to spend more aggressively when the time is right.

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