Let’s check in on the latest regarding the Blue Jays, all coming via Sportsnet …
- President Mark Shapiro covered a variety of matters in a recent chat with the Writers Bloc show (audio link). Of particular interest was his discussion of the team’s potential young extension targets. Shapiro obviously wasn’t willing to address specifics, but did indicate that the team is inclined to reach deals where possible. On the possibility of extensions, he said fans can “assume we’ve explored it or are exploring it with every one of our young players that we have a strong belief are going to be good players and here for a long time.” Actually getting a deal done is obviously a different story; there, Shapiro spoke of negotiations as “sharing risk” for the future.
- Most of the team’s top potential extension targets have little MLB service time, so they’re in the class of players that have no effective control over their salaries. As Shi Davidi of Sportsnet reports, the Jays were able to get agreement on 2020 earnings with all of their pre-arbitration players, rather than being forced to renew certain players who weren’t pleased with what was offered. (Contract renewals are a symbolic gesture but can impact a team’s relationship with a player. We discussed this in a recent MLBTR YouTube video.) While there has been some grumbling around the game, the Jays seem to have earned plaudits for enunciating and sharing a complete list of their salary offers with an explanation for the formula utilized in reaching them. You can find all of the specific Jays salaries in the above link. Budding stars Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Bo Bichette, and Cavan Biggio each landed in the $570K to $580k range. The MLB minimum for the coming season is $563,500.
- Newly inked righty Shun Yamaguchi isn’t making things easy on his new club — in a good way. As Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith writes, the former Japanese star has worked through some difficulties to turn in a strong recent outing. As we explored recently, he’s one of many conceivable candidates for the fifth starter job. Nicholson-Smith writes that Trent Thornton remains the front-runner, but the Jays will surely be glad to maintain some competition and feel good about the status of their depth. Yamaguchi, 32, will slide into the pen if he doesn’t crack the rotation.