In this space you will find a list of all Blue Jays arbitration filings or agreements as soon as they are announced. If the player has signed, the dollar amount will be listed next to their name with their MLBTR projection in parentheses, followed by some analysis. If the team and player file, you will see both numbers listed, with the MLBTR projection once again appearing in parentheses.
Keep in mind that the Blue Jays are a “File and Trial” team, which means that once arbitration numbers are filed, they will not meet at the middle on a one year deal. They will only avoid a hearing with a multi-year contract, similar to the Josh Donaldson situation from last year.
There are four Blue Jays eligible for salary arbitration: Darwin Barney, Aaron Loup, Ezequiel Carrera, and Marcus Stroman.
Darwin Barney – $2.8875M ($1.6M)
According to Jon Heyman, the Blue Jays and Darwin Barney have avoided salary arbitration for the upcoming 2017 season with a one year, $2.8875M deal. This number may come as a surprise given that MLBTR had Barney pegged at just $1.6M, but the reason for that error is that the model MLBTR uses is based off of the player’s most recent salary. The actual arbitration system takes into account all previous salaries, and Barney made $2.525M in 2015 with the Los Angeles Dodgers (and then Toronto).
After a hot start to his 2016 season, Barney ended up right around his career numbers with a .269/.322/.373 line. His value is not with his bat, however. The versatile infielder provides elite defense at both second base and shortstop, while also filling in capably at third base. That being said, the Blue Jays being willing to commit this much money to Barney to be a true backup is somewhat surprising given that Ryan Goins is making the league minimum and is out of options This is especially true when the club apparently has budget issues as they attempt to fill holes on the roster. Either the Jays don’t have much faith in Devon Travis health, or they believe Goins will clear waivers.
Ezequiel Carrera – $1.1625M ($1.2M)
Once again according to Jon Heyman, the Blue Jays and Ezequiel Carrera have avoided arbitration and agreed to a one year, $1.1625M deal. This one actually comes in right under the MLBTR projection, but easily within the margin of error.
Carrera is an interesting piece. His early season and playoff performances left many feeling that he could be a big league regular, but his overall line of .248/.323/.356 was actually worse than his 2015 numbers. His biggest issue is that despite being a left-handed hitter, he can’t hit right handed pitchers. He’s a career .245/.304/.345 hitter against righties, including a paltry .218/.307/.320 last year. With Melvin Upton Jr. still on the roster, a player who actually does hit lefties well, Carrera becomes superfluous.
The 29 year old did make big strides defensively last year, however, and turned himself into a very viable corner outfielder. That makes him worth the salary, so he could have some value to another team in a minor trade, or as the fourth outfielder if Upton is dealt.
Aaron Loup – $1.125M ($1.2M)
Accoring to Ben Nicholson-Smith, the Jays have avoided arbitration with Aaron Loup on a one year, $1.125M deal, which is right around his MLBTR projection. The second-time arbitration-eligible lefty spend most of the 2016 season in Buffalo, after opening the season with an injury. In limited MLB-action (just 14 2/3 innings), he posted a 5.02 ERA including a .250/.321/.500 line (with two home runs) to left-handed batters. He has had a problem with hitting lefties the last couple of years, and the home runs were an unwelcome addition. He’ll need to be better to be worth this money, but as the only real lefthanded option in the bullpen right now, the money is about right.
Marcus Stroman DID NOT AGREE ($3.5M) – Blue Jays Filed at $3.1M, Stroman at $3.4M
According to Shi Davidi, the Blue Jays and Marcus Stroman were not able to agree to terms ahead of this afternoon’s filing deadline.
Stroman was the Blue Jays’ highest profile player set to go through the arbitration process this offseason and unless he and the Blue Jays come to terms on a multi-year deal, it appears as though he will see the process through to a hearing.
While an up and down season in 2016 led to an fairly league-average overall line from the 25-year-old (9-10, 4.37 ERA,), Stroman was a vastly improved pitcher in the second half of the season – his K/9 rose from 6.44 to 8.49 which combined with his MLB-best 61.6 percent groundball rate to see his ERA dropped from 4.89 to 3.68. There is also reason to believe that an improved pitch mix can help him continue to improve on his late-season gains.
Stroman, who threw 204 regular season innings last season, was the pitcher the Blue Jays turned to on both Opening Day and the in the do-or-die American League Wildcard game against the Baltimore Orioles, and they will count on him (along with Aaron Sanchez) to lead their rotation once again in 2017.
As a Super Two player, Stroman’s missing most of 2015 also likely contributed to some disagreement about his price tag, as he only has just under two years of active service. Whatever the reason, the teams could not come to an agreement. There will be more to explain once the filing numbers show up, as the closer they are, the more likely that the Jays will be able to come to agreement on a two (or more) year deal as they did with Donaldson last year.
It should be stressed that while hearings are not ideal, the long term impact of the adversarial system if often heavily overstated. The Blue Jays took Josh Donaldson to a hearing- and won – in 2015, and all he did was go on to win the MVP award. So if Stroman does go to trial, it’s not the end of the world.
According to Jon Heyman, Stroman and the Blue Jays have filed at $3.1M, with Stroman asking for $3.4M, a mere $300K apart (with both numbers surprisingly coming below the MLBTR projection). That still represents a difference of almost ten percent of the contract from the Blue Jays perspective, and thus is different than the $450K gap between the Blue Jays and Donaldson last year. In fact, that gap is pretty reasonable for a first time through arbitration. That being said, the similarity in the filing numbers should make a multi-year deal palatable, as they would be starting with a very similar year one salary. We’ll keep an eye on this going forward, with a full post coming once Stroman either agrees to a contract or heads to a hearing.
Lead Photo: © Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports