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The Blue Jays have next to nothing in payroll obligations for 2012

Jan 22, 2011, 11:10 AM EDT

Alex Anthopoulos

Some teams have all the luck.

Just a couple of years ago, the Blue Jays were stuck with massive commitments to both Alex Rios and Vernon Wells. But thanks to some old fashioned generosity by White Sox general manager Ken Williams and Angels general manager Tony Reagins, the Blue Jays don’t have to worry about paying either of them anymore.

The Blue Jays are now blessed with tremendous financial flexibility moving forward. In fact, according to Cots Contracts, the Blue Jays have only $17.4 million in payroll commitments for 2012. This includes contracts for Adam Lind, Ricky Romero, Rajai Davis and prospect shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria and buyouts for Octavio Dotel, Jon Rauch, Edwin Encarnacion. Aaron Hill still has a series of club options from 2012-2014 and the club will have potential arbitration cases with several players, including Mike Napoli, Yunel Escobar and Brandon Morrow. There’s also the matter of whether they sign the arbitration-eligible Jose Bautista to a multi-year contract.

Don’t forget that the Blue Jays also have a boatload of early draft picks — seven in the first 80, to be exact — which should help bolster what is already one of the deepest farm systems in baseball. The American League East is a tough place to compete, but Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos is quietly building something pretty interesting in Toronto.

  1. Ari Collins - Jan 22, 2011 at 11:33 AM


    1. Escobar – ss
    2. Snider – rf
    3. Bautista – 3b
    4. Fielder– 1B
    5. Lind – lf
    6. Napoli – dh
    7. Hill – 2b
    8. Arencibia – c
    9. some center fielder

    1. Romero
    2. Morrow
    3. Drabek
    4. Cecil
    5. whomever

    And that’s just using the $20 million they’ve saved, when they could in fact spend another $30 million without breaking the $100 million mark. Maybe one of the many aces that comes on the market after 2012.

  2. purdueman - Jan 22, 2011 at 1:33 PM

    DJ Shorty must not know much about baseball to write an asinine comment referring to the White Sox “generosity” by taking on Alex Rios’ contract. If anything, it’s the Blue Jays who were incredibly generous by letting a young, legitimate 5 tool center-fielder go and get NOTHING in return. If Rios had hit the open free agent market after the season he just had, he would have gotten FAR more than the $10.5M/year he’s currently making. Shorty, before you post next time, do your homework!

    • D.J. Short - Jan 22, 2011 at 2:00 PM

      Thanks for the comment. Listen, when the Jays let him go, they were betting that Rios wouldn’t perform up to the level of his contract. He certainly exceeded his contract last season, although he batted just .258 with a .684 OPS after the All-Star break. Not denying that Rios is a good player — he’s also a fine defender — but I’m guessing that the Blue Jays don’t have any regrets right now, considering the flexibility that they have.

    • Jeremiah Graves - Jan 22, 2011 at 2:41 PM

      I’m going with DJ on this one.

      Since he signed that deal back in 2008 he’s hit .275/.322/.438, good enough for a whopping .761 OPS. He’s struck out three times as much as he’s walked and aside from the hot start last year, he’s been worth nowhere near the money he was getting paid.

      He’s a good young player, but the Blue Jays made the right move giving him to the White Sox when they did.

    • spudchukar - Jan 23, 2011 at 1:15 PM

      I am kinda with D.J. too on this one, but I will admit the jury should still be out. Rios has disappointed me. His 5 tool potential is accurate, but he continues to fail to live up to it. He is a bit of an enigma. One thing is consistent though, and that is that Rios isn’t.

  3. Jeremiah Graves - Jan 22, 2011 at 2:32 PM

    The Blue Jays are officially players for Pujols, Prince, Gonzo (assuming the Sox don’t work out an extension), Reyes and any starter on the market. That’s kinda awesome. Granted, they likely won’t land ANY of those guys, but they’re in the mix, so that’s something.

    • baseballisboring - Jan 22, 2011 at 6:02 PM

      Hell…I wouldn’t completely bet against it. They’re seemingly on the verge of contention, that’s gotta excite some potential free agents. I’m a Sox fan but I can’t wait to see what AA does with his new found payroll flexibility.

  4. machomaniac - Jan 22, 2011 at 9:43 PM

    The jays are going to be better than the yanks n sox in the coming years

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