Dollars and cents

When the news first broke about Toronto’s massive 12-player trade with the Marlins I admit to feeling a little bit skeptical. The issue wasn’t talent – there’s no denying that Jose Reyes, Josh Johnson, Mark Buehrle, Emilio Bonifacio and perhaps even John Buck fill obvious needs. Sure, there’s risk associated with each player but almost every trade will have at least an element of that.

My biggest problem with the deal was the amount of salary heading north of the border. I figured that if this gamble didn’t pay off the Blue Jays would be saddled with the type of immovable contracts that would once again create a slow rebuilding process and set the franchise back a decade. If it worked out, Anthopoulos would go down in Toronto sports history but if it didn’t then it would be years before the Blue Jays could compete again.

Upon further review, though, that’s not really the case. Based on information from Cot’s Baseball Contracts, I crunched the numbers on Toronto’s payroll through the 2018 campaign. It’s true that the Blue Jays won’t have a whole lot of flexibility for the next few seasons but the club could get out from under almost all of its major commitments following 2015.

That gives the Blue Jays the next three seasons to compete with almost all of its core completely in place. It’s a very reasonable timeframe to see whether this team can take it to the next level. If they do, then presumably some of these players will have their contracts extended again. But if it doesn’t, the club once again will have a lot of money to spend.

Another benefit of clearing contracts by 2015 is that Toronto’s next wave of Minor League talent should be ready by then. Even after this week’s trade with Miami, the Blue Jays still have one of the best Minor League systems in all of the baseball. The thing is, most of that talent can be found in the lower levels and needs at least a couple of years to develop. With the exception of Anthony Gose and Travis d’Arnaud there really aren’t any potential impact players that will be ready before then.

The only major piece of the Blue Jays’ roster that is eligible for free agency prior to 2015 is Johnson. The newly acquired right-hander is set to enter the final year of his deal and there are a few ways this scenario could play out. Assuming he stays healthy this season (which is far from guaranteed) the Blue Jays could deal him at the deadline if they are not in contention or they could opt to re-sign him at the end of the season.

If Toronto makes a strong run at the postseason then there will be even more increased pressure on ownership to strike a deal with him. That becomes a pretty realistic scenario because of all the funds available after 2015. A reasonable salary in years 2014-15 could then be offset by a backloaded contract, which as you can see below would definitely be feasible.

Payroll commitments:


J.P. Arencibia  — (**500,000)
Edwin Encarnacion – 8,000,000
Emilio Bonifacio – (*2,500,000)
Jose Reyes  — 10,000,000
Brett Lawrie – (**500,000)
Melky Cabrera – 8,000,000
Colby Rasmus – (*4,500,000)
Jose Bautista – 14,000,000
Adam Lind – 5,000,000

John Buck – 6,000,000
Maicer Izturis – 3,000,000
Rajai Davis – 2,500,000
Mike McCoy – (**500,000)

Josh Johnson – 13,750,000
Mark Buehrle – 11,000,000
Brandon Morrow – 8,000,000
Ricky Romero – 7,500,000
J.A. Happ – (*3,800,000)

Casey Janssen – 3,900,000
Sergio Santos – 2,750,000
Darren Oliver  — 3,000,000
Steve Delabar – (**500,000)
Brad Lincoln – (**500,000)
Esmil Rogers – (**500,000)
Brett Cecil – (**500,000)
Dustin McGowan — $1,500,000

Approximate 2013 Total – 122,200,000

Extras – Potential deals for Bobby Wilson, and Corey Wade. Also contracts for players on the 40-man roster such as Luis Perez, Drew Hutchison and Kyle Drabek. Miami reportedly is sending $4-million to the Blue Jays as part of their deal so some savings will be found here as well.

*Arbitration eligible. Salary projection taken from MLBTradeRumors
**Contract can be renewed by the club as player is not yet eligible for arbitration. This is a very rough estimate for the salary.


Edwin Encarnacion – 9,000,000
Jose Reyes – 16,000,000
Melky Cabrera – 8,000,000
Jose Bautista – 14,000,000
Adam Lind – 7,000,000 ($2-million buyout)
Maicer Izturis – 3,000,000
Mark Buehrle – 18,000,000
Brandon Morrow – 8,000,000
Ricky Romero – 7,500,000
Casey Janssen – 4,000,000 (club option – no buyout)
Sergio Santos – 3,750,000
Dustin McGowan – 1,500,000

2014 Guaranteed Total – 77,000,000 (10 players)
2014 Total With Options – 99,750,000 (12 players)


Edwin Encarnacion – 10,000,000
Jose Reyes – 22,000,000
Jose Bautista – 14,000,000
Adam Lind – 7,500,000 ($1-million buyout)
Maicer Izturis – 3,000,000
Mark Buehrle – 19,000,000
Brandon Morrow – 10,000,000 ($1-million buyout)
Ricky Romero – 7,500,000
Sergio Santos – 6,000,000 ($750,000 buyout)
Dustin McGowan – 4,000,000 ($500,000 buyout)

2015 Guaranteed Total  — 78,500,000 (Six players)
2015 Total With Options – 103,000,000


Edwin Encarnacion – 10,000,000 ($2-million buyout)
Jose Reyes – 22,000,000
Jose Bautista – 14,000,000 ($1-million buyout)
Adam Lind – 8,000,000 ($500,000 buyout)
Maicer Izturis – 3,000,000 ($1-million buyout)
Ricky Romero – 13,100,000 ($600,000 buyout)
Sergio Santos – 8,000,000 ($750,000 buyout)

2016 Guaranteed Total — $22,000,000
2016 Total With Options — $78,100,000


Jose Reyes – 22,000,000
Sergio Santos – 8,750,000 ($750,000 buyout)

2017 Guaranteed Total — $22,000,000
2017 Total With Options — $30,750,000


Jose Reyes — $22,000,000 ($4-million buyout)

2018 Guaranteed Total – 0
2018 Total With Options –$22,000,000


If the blue jays decide to buy out Adam Lind in 2014, do they have to pay 2 million or 3 million because of the additional 1 million from 2015?

I originally thought the Jays would be on the hook for all of Lind’s buyouts. However, during a conversation last summer with Anthopoulos I learned that’s not the case. The Blue Jays would only have to pay the one buyout. So, in this case it would be $2-million.

Nicely done, Gregor. It looks as if the only contracts that would really tie them up long term are Buehrle and Reyes. If the fecal matter really did impact the rotary air impeller, well AA did trade Vernon, didn’t he?

Pingback: TheRichardAndMartin Notes on Young Men, Living. » The Trade, The Signing & The Return

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