The Toronto Blue Jays have four players set to go through arbitration this year. We at Jays From the Couch take a quick look at them here.
With the deadline for teams to tender their arbitration and pre-arbitration eligible players contracts looming on December 2nd. We decided to take a look at the Toronto Blue Jays’ arbitration eligible players which management will need to make a decision on this week. Fortunately the list for the front office is relatively short with only four players on the active roster, and only one who should see a significant financial bump.
Darwin Barney: Utility Infielder
Service time: 5.085
2016 Salary: $1,050,000.00
MLBTR Projected Salary: $1,600,000.00
While Barney was a fairly valuable piece for the Blue Jays in 2016, it is quite possible that his expected arbitration increase for 2017 could have him looked upon as redundant going forward. The Oregon native will be going into his 3rd arbitration process, and was non-tendered by Toronto this time last year. When he was brought back as a free-agent his salary was cut nearly 60% from its 2015 total of $2,525,000.
While MLBTR has him listed as possibly being awarded $1.6 million, it is difficult to determine as he will probably be looking to get closer to his 2015 salary. Had Barney kept up his first half production of 296/345/392 it would be easier to justify a raise; however, his 215/279/333 slash from the second half could really hurt his case. Toronto already has an all-glove, no-hit utility infielder in Ryan Goins, who would be making the league minimum.
The possible addition of a 26th man being added to the MLB rosters in this years CBA could work in Barney’s favour should the Blue Jays decide they are willing to pony up the money. As could his 306/361/418 slash line versus LHP in 2016.
Ezequiel Carrera: Outfielder
Service time: 3.039
2016 Salary: $521,800.00
MLBTR Projected Salary: $1,200,000.00
With this being Carrera’s first crack at arbitration is his professional career he should be looking to get well above the league minimum he earned last season. While it’s obvious the native Venezuelan is not, and will probably never be a full-time player on any major league roster, his 2016 proved he has value as a fourth outfielder.
Carrera’s season really was a season of ups and downs. After hitting a respectable 281/370/407 during the first half, he slipped mightily during July and August with a combined 153/229/224 slash. His dip in production in July, in fact, is partially what prompted the front office to trade for Melvin Upton at the deadline. Just when it seemed Carrera was going to lose playing time he put together a 304/353/457 September over 22 games to help keep the struggling Blue Jays offense afloat.
While it is understood his play leans towards the inconsistent side of things, there are a few factors that could see him get the raise that he seeks. First being his much improved defensive play in the outfield during 2016, with a DRS total of 7, and a UZR/150 rating of 10.3. Both were, by far, career highs for Carrera. The second would be his postseason performance. After being thrust into a more full-time role, the LHH posted a .303 average, along with a .342 on-base average over nine games. It would be fool hearty to latch onto the playoff numbers; however, they do play well in negotiations.
Aaron Loup: Relief Pitcher (LH)
Service time: 4.040
2016 Salary: $1,050,000.00
MLBTR Projected Salary: $1,200,000.00
With the lefty specialist, Loup, the outlook is fairly simple. He will most certainly be tendered, and get the raise that MLBTR mentioned, but he should not get much more than the projected $150,000. After posting career highs in ERA (5.02), FIP (4.33), WHIP (1.326), with a career low in appearances with 21, his bargaining position is tenable at best.
On a positive note, the lefty did put together a respectable September. In total he appeared in nine games while posting a 0.00 ERA over 4.2 IP. The lack of depth in the bullpen, along with Brett Cecil‘s departure, will give Loup a slight advantage, but not much of one.
Marcus Stroman: Starting Pitcher (RH)
Service time: 2.148
2016 Salary: $515,900.00
MLBTR Projected Salary: $3,500,000.00
Stroman is the only Super-2 candidate on the roster, which means he will get four arbitration years as opposed to the traditional three. With his spot in the rotation being cemented, this will greatly benefit him financially before he hits the free agent market in 2021.
The Duke graduate had his struggles in the early part of the season, that is no secret; however, his second half 3.68 ERA, and 8.5 K/9 should help his case during arbitration process. It should be noted that previous negotiations with similar players typically plays a larger roll in determining the dollar amount settled upon.
With other Super-2 candidates Matt Shoemaker, Kevin Gausman, and Danny Salazar each having put together more complete seasons, it’s not unreasonable to see Stroman come in just behind all three in negotiations. Each of the three are expected to earn somewhere between $3.8-$3.9 million, so Stroman’s $3.5 million projection seems to be on par.
It would not be overly surprising if Toronto’s front office comes in with a figure closer to $3.0 million in hopes of keeping the future arbitration numbers as low as possible. This should be looked upon as a mere long-term business tactic as opposed to an attempt at slighting the excitable young pitcher. If this should be the case, it will be taken care of during the arbitration hearings, and things will move forward as scheduled.
Should any of the players mentioned above not sign before the mid-January* deadline for filing. The players and clubs will submit their respective cases to the arbitration panel for a decision. If the two sides remain apart on their filed figures, arbitration hearings typically begin during the month of February, and can run into Spring Training. It is important to note that both sides can agree to a contract of any size before the hearing date despite filing.
*Please note the exact date has not been set as of yet due to the current collective bargaining agreement remaining unsettled.
*Featured Image Credit: jcsullivan24 (flickr) – UNDER CC BY-SA 2.0
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Wade is a long time baseball fan who has been involved with the game for over 30 years. Including as a former college player, amateur pitching coach, and blogger.