Here are a couple quick notes from out of Toronto:
- The Blue Jays’ exchange of arbitration figures with MVP Josh Donaldson on Friday is a source of concern, Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca writes. Next offseason, the Jays will face the potential free agency of Jose Bautista, Edwin Encarnacion, R.A. Dickey and several other key players, and they’ll need to remake themselves around Donaldson, Troy Tulowitzki and Russell Martin. Their farm system is relatively weak in the upper levels after their midseason trades last year, too, so they’ll have to supplement that core without much initial help from their farm system. Arbitration hearings can be contentious, and the Jays already took Donaldson to arbitration once last winter. Davidi feels it therefore seems a bit worrisome that they’re apparently set to do it again, even though the difference between their filing numbers ($11.8MM versus $11.35MM) is only $450K. On the other hand, the Jays already have about $130MM committed to their big-league payroll in 2016, and need all the payroll space they can get, not only for the coming season, but for the future, when they’ll have to handle replacing or re-signing their long list of players who are eligible for free agency.
- New Jays president Mark Shapiro is not “Darth Vader,” he tells Brendan Kennedy of the Star in a lengthy profile. Jays fans haven’t exactly warmed to Shapiro, whose arrival helped lead to the departure of GM Alex Anthopoulos, who had just helped build the Jays’ exciting 2015 team. “It’s not consistent with who I’ve been for 24 years,” Shapiro says of certain aspects of his current reputation in Toronto. “I’ve got a pretty good track record of who I am as a person and who I am as a leader. So it’s a little strange to all of a sudden go from a guy who was considered to be a nice guy to a guy who’s Darth Vader.”