Agent Scott Boras isn’t pleased with the Blue Jays after the organization renewed righty Aaron Sanchez at the league-minimum rate, Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca reports. (Bob Elliott of the Canadian Baseball Network first reported the renewal.) Davidi says the Jays’ formula for pre-arb salaries “is believed to be primarily based on a player’s service time,” and it seems the organization is one of several that offers only modest bumps over the $535K minimum. Even that raise wasn’t given when Sanchez declined to agree, leading Boras to criticize the organization both for its “low standard” in setting pay as well as the “poison pill” of renewing at the minimum when players don’t agree. GM Ross Atkins defended the system, which he says is a decade old and leaves the choice with the player whether to take the offered raise.
We have seen a variety of interesting pre-arb salary situations this winter as teams around the league increasingly diverge in their approaches to the process. See here and here for a few examples that compare interestingly to Sanchez, a 2+ service-class player who turned in a huge 2016 season (7th in the AL Cy Young voting, 3.00 ERA over 192 innings).
Here’s more from the AL East:
- Rays center fielder Kevin Kiermaier hasn’t yet officially wrapped up his extension with the club, but he tells Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times that he’s “grateful” to the organization for its commitment. As Topkin notes, the Rays have managed to lock up quite a few core players despite the organization’s low payroll levels. In this case, he argues, it’s a risk well worth taking.
- While there’s still plenty of time for 24-year-old Red Sox prospect Henry Owens to make good on his promise, Alex Speier of the Boston Globe writes that the clock is also ticking on the former top prospect. Owens says he’s staying positive despite struggling this spring, “working hard” but also “staying with an even keel.”
- Red Sox righty Tyler Thornburg was able to return to the mound today, as Speier tweets (with video available). The reliever threw 32 pitches and will now seek to advance towards Opening Day readiness. Thornburg hasn’t thrown in game action in over two weeks as he works to build back shoulder strength.