Matt Swartz has developed a very accurate model that MLBTR uses to project arbitration salaries, as explained in this series of posts. We've heard from many MLB teams and agencies that reference the projections in their work. The Blue Jays are next in our series. Estimated service time is in parentheses, and estimated 2014 salary follows.
- Colby Rasmus (5.000): $6.5MM
- J.P. Arencibia (3.059): $2.8MM
- Esmil Rogers (3.135): $1MM
- Brett Cecil (3.152): $900K
With big-time power and a solid .276 batting average, Rasmus finally showed the star potential that compelled the Blue Jays to trade for him in 2011, though an oblique strain knocked him out for a month. His career-worst strikeout 29.5% rate portends a return to his low average days, but Rasmus will remain a major asset in center field. 2014 will be his contract year, and he won't turn 28 until August. With free agency so close, it will be difficult to extend Rasmus for less than B.J. Upton money.
In his first full season in the bullpen, Cecil posted a 2.82 ERA in 60 2/3 innings and made the All-Star team. His season ended a little early with an elbow injury. The Jays have been willing to do small multiyear deals with players like this in the past, so if the injury is minor that could be possible with Cecil.
Arencibia continued to hit home runs, many of them in April. However, his .227 on-base percentage was the worst for a player with at least 400 plate appearances since Rob Picciolo's .218 mark as a rookie shortstop for the A's in 1977. FanGraphs suggests Arencibia was below replacement level overall this year, but it still seems someone would pick him up via trade prior to the December 2nd non-tender deadline.
Rogers moved into the Jays' rotation in June, posting a 4.89 ERA in 20 starts. The hard-throwing 28-year-old righty is cheap enough to retain as a swingman.
Assuming Rasmus, Arencibia, Rogers, and Cecil are tendered contracts, the Blue Jays are looking at an estimated $11.2MM for four arbitration eligible players.