The Blue Jays are next in our 2013 Arbitration Eligibles series. Matt Swartz's salary projections are below.
- First time: Cory Wade ($700K), Bobby Wilson ($600K)
- Second time: Colby Rasmus ($4.5MM), J.A. Happ ($3.8MM)
The Blue Jays have a relatively small arbitration class that includes two of the players who project as key contributors in 2013.
One of those players, Rasmus, seemed like an emerging extension candidate when, midway through the season, he had 17 home runs and an .821 OPS. Rasmus' numbers dropped off substantially in the second half and while his season totals of 23 home runs and 75 RBI will lead to a substantial raise in arbitration, the center fielder no longer seems like an definite candidate for a long-term deal. He’ll do reasonably well as a second time eligible player, with a projected salary of $4.5MM.
Happ recovered from a slow start in Toronto to finish in impressive fashion. In six late-season starts he limited walks and home runs while striking out more than a batter per inning. Small sample size warnings apply, but those six starts were a definite positive for a Toronto team in serious need of starting pitching. Though Happ looked like a borderline non-tender candidate immediately after arriving in Toronto, he's now expected to be tendered a contract -- expect a salary in the $3.8MM range.
Neither one of the team’s other arbitration eligible players has played as much as one inning for the Blue Jays. GM Alex Anthopoulos claimed Wade and Wilson off of waivers last month and so far they’ve held onto their 40-man roster spots. Wade allowed eight home runs in 39 innings this past season despite a strong strikeout to walk ratio and appears to be a non-tender candidate. Wilson provides the Blue Jays with depth, but it's hard to see a role for him if both J.P. Arencibia and Jeff Mathis are healthy members of the organization at the end of Spring Training. If the Blue Jays need 40-man roster space this month, Wilson’s spot could be threatened. Otherwise, he provides the team with affordable, low-risk depth at a key position.
For a while it appeared this class would be bigger. The Blue Jays lost David Herndon on waivers to the Yankees; Jesse Litsch would have been arbitration eligible again, but he lost his 40-man roster spot; Rajai Davis and the Blue Jays recently agreed to terms on a deal for 2013.
If the Blue Jays tender contracts to all four eligible players, they're looking at an estimated total just shy of $10MM.
Matt Swartz's arbitration projections are available exclusively at MLB Trade Rumors. To read more about his projection model, check out this series of posts.