* When the deadline for offering contracts to salary-arbitration eligible players the Blue Jays made offers to 3B Josh Donaldson, RPs Brett Cecil and Marco Estrada, plus Danny Valencia. The Jays did not make contract offers to John Mayberry, Andy Diirks and Justin Smoak. …..
2016 Canadian draft list
Letters of Intent
By Jay Blue
While there wasn’t much else to distinguish it (aside from a snow-induced traffic meltdown in Toronto), the deadline for teams to tender contracts to arbitration-eligible players and the Blue Jays made some news by offering only four of the seven eligible players contracts.
What this does is free up some cash for the Blue Jays going forward. The three players combined would earn about $6.5 million in arbitration, according to MLB Trade Rumors and by not offering any of the three a contract, the Blue Jays believe that they can do more for less money or use that money towards players who would get more playing time at the outfield and 1B/DH positions.
By not having Dirks, a left-handed hitting left fielder, Mayberry, a right-handed hitting left fielder, and Smoak, a switch-hitting first baseman and DH, the Blue Jays are signalling that there are more moves coming as they have also freed up three roster spots, putting them at 35 players on the 40-man roster. As things stand right now, the Blue Jays don’t have a lot of options in the outfield.
With the other four players, the Blue Jays are just dotting the Is and crossing the Ts as we continue this offseason. By offering contracts, Donaldson, Cecil, Estrada and Valencia are all under team control and will continue to negotiate until arbitration hearings are scheduled.
The Blue Jays actually haven’t gone to arbitration since reliever Bill Risley in 1997 so it isn’t likely that they’ll do so in 2015.
Smoak and Dirks were acquired on waivers by the Blue Jays (Smoak from Seattle and Dirks from Detroit) this offseason while Mayberry was acquired in a trade with Philadelphia on Aug. 31 in exchange for minor leaguer Gustavo Pierre.
Notable players from other organizations who weren’t tendered contracts include infielders Gordon Beckham (Angels), Everth Cabrera (Padres) and pitchers Brandon Beachy and Kris Medlen (Braves). Both Beachy and Medlen are recovering from a second Tommy John surgery but have been excellent when healthy.
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