This time of year a lot of numbers get thrown out about how little money MLB teams have committed. The Toronto Blue Jays, for example, could be said to have as little as $29.9 million on their payroll right now.
A number like that is deceptive, though, because it doesn’t include players who make the MLB minimum who will add up to a few million — especially for a young team like the Blue Jays — and arbitration-eligible players. The latter group is far more expensive, and on Wednesday MLB Trade Rumours released their arbitration projections, which are a fine starting point for understanding what the Blue Jays’ current crop might cost.
The total number for Toronto is $21.15 million, but that is a little bit deceptive because it assumes the Blue Jays won’t be non-tendering anyone — which is probably an unfair assumption. Here’s what each projection looks like individually:
Ken Giles - $8.4 million
Whether the Blue Jays trade Giles or not, he’s a steal at this price and there’s no way they would non-tender him. Giles is one of the best relievers in the game and a salary like this would give him plenty of surplus value.
Matt Shoemaker - $3.8 million
Shoemaker is well worth this salary if he’s even remotely healthy and it’s seems like he’s coming along from an ACL tear. It’s conceivable that the Blue Jays non-tender him and try to come to an agreement on a different contract, though.
Brandon Drury - $2.5 million
Drury is versatile and legendarily hard-working, but he hasn’t been better than replacement level since 2017. Non-tendering him would be justifiable, but the Blue Jays may like him more than most. This decision could go either way.
Devon Travis - $1.95 million
As much as the Blue Jays love what Travis brings on and off the field, he simply hasn’t been able to stay healthy. It would be a shock if the club tendered the second baseman a contract. The 28-year-old may call it quits or try to fight for a role elsewhere on a minor-league contract, but a return to Toronto seems awfully unlikely.
Ryan Tepera - $1.6 million
Considering the Blue Jays’ shortage of MLB-calibre relievers and this modest projection, it’s very likely the Blue Jays keep Tepera around. Whether he’s able to regain his footing as a high-leverage guy will depend on who else they bring into the fold.
Derek Law - $1.3 million
Law has a big arm and can miss bats, but his command is a serious concern. There’s an argument to be made that he’s not much more than a replacement-level reliever, but the Blue Jays bullpen needs filling and he could easily be back at a modest price.
Luke Maile - $800,000
After a strong 2018, Maile had a brutal 2019. With the emergence of Reese McGuire, his road to making the 2020 Blue Jays seems completely blocked. The veteran’s only chance of sticking around, even at a modest salary, is if Toronto insists on sending one of McGuire or Danny Jansen to Triple-A so both can have regular at-bats.
Ryan Dull - $800,000
Dull was waiver fodder down the stretch, and he may not even be on the Blue Jays’ 40-man roster by the time the non-tender deadline comes.
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