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Blue Jays projected to have a 2019 payroll of $108.5 million

Imagine a baseball organization that went out and spent money just because they could? Wouldn’t that be some cool shit? Imagine being a fan of a team that doesn’t give a shit about the luxury tax? Wouldn’t that be some cooler shit? Imagine the two best 26-year-old free agents not being signed by the time Spring Training started? Now, that’s just crazy shit, right?

Well, for all you Jays fans out there, who have been howling the sign-Bryce-Harper-you-cowards tune all winter, this little piece of Blue Jays payroll news just came in thanks to a Ben Nicholson-Smith tweet (not like you didn’t already know this):

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So, that means that the Jays could offer Bryce Harper $40 million in the first year of his contract, and they would still be 18.6 million under last year’s payroll – cool stuff.

I am not writing this piece to bang the Bryce drum, I’m just sayin’ for the sake of sayin’. I mean, it still blows my mind that there are some Jays fans out there who actually think that signing Bryce Harper doesn’t make sense, but whatever. That narrative seems like many winter moons ago. We’re all past that stuff now and ready for Spring Training, but seriously how could any logical Jays fan think that signing Bryce Harper doesn’t make sense? Moving on…

The Jays have cash and they have a lot of it. And there’s no reason that they can’t spend a bit of it. I know that the Jays have had a pretty reasonable payroll over the years, and I’m not reaching for the low hanging ‘Rogers is cheap’ fruit from the dodo tree. It’s just the organization has some cash to spend this year, and they really should’ve tried to take advantage of the market in its current Bryce-Harper-and-Manny-Machado-are-still-free-agents state.

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Like imagine a world where Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, Dallas Keuchel, Craig Kimbrel, and like 96 other free agents haven’t signed by Spring Training?

And it’s kind of crazy because the Jays, who have the payroll flexibility to accelerate the rebuild process by diving into their pockets aren’t going to because they are ‘rebuilding’ and are going to wait another year or so until they make their financial move, which, I guess, is fine – sort of.

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I can understand why the front office probably isn’t comfortable handing out a ten-year contract to a player like Bryce Harper, but I don’t get why the organization isn’t trying to take advantage of the current market and sign someone, who they could flip at the trade deadline.

So the Jays have a payroll of $108.5 million. I guess it’s okay to think that is okay. It’s nice to know that the money will be there in the future, even though it is there right now in the present.

It really doesn’t matter anyway because when the CBA expires in 2021, the baseball strike of 2022 will be real dirty and every baseball fan out there, who was wailing that the players make too much money, will wish that billionaire owners just paid them what they are actually worth. I know it’s the battle of the 1%, but I’m all in on the guys who play the game.

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So there you have it Jays fans,especially the fans out there who care about Rogers’ bottom line, the Toronto Blue Jays have dramatically cut their salary. Now, just imagine what it will be when the organization unloads some players at the trade deadline.



  • Yick

    You’re like the worst of the Jays “fans”, the type who doesn’t understand the long game and how the business of baseball actually works. It’s all well and good to say “oh why should fans care about payroll” but at the same time the reality is that the teams DO care about payroll, so if blowing the budget in a season where the team cannot possibly compete makes more sense than blowing the budget in 2020 or 2021 when there’s a chance, I’m here for you. Or, we could use this season to evaluate what we actually have and see if Teoscar or McKinney or Grichuk can take another step, and then maybe the team spends that $40 million on pitching next year.

    Also, signing free agents and trading them midseason is a great way for the Jays to scare away any future free agent signings.

  • The Humungus

    These cowards need to sack up and sign Harper. Playing the long game is stupid in this sense, because getting 65% of Bryce Harper’s production from Billy fuckin McKinney for the major league minimum doesn’t help the facts that

    a) there are no marquee free agents the next two years who will fit the teams window or needs better than Harper (corner OF, LH bat, all-star calibre)

    b)you’d be running Billy McKinney out there every day to be 65% as good as Bryce Harper, severely hampering the teams ability to win.

    c)if you’re the team that’s willing to spend the money on a Harper now, then other free agents will actually look at your team in the future, instead of seeing Shapiro with his rep from Cleveland at the helm and saying “nope, I’m not even going to bother taking a meeting”. Shapiro and Atkins can do all the good things in the world, if they don’t pay players who deserve it top dollar, they won’t ever be in the conversation for top level free agents and won’t ever win anything of consequence.

    Fuck it. Just sign him.

    • Daninthai

      Tom, I’ve read and thought about the pros and cons of trying to sign Bryce and flip flopped but now I think they should, simply, 26 t0 36 is not a bad age bracket and there will be opt outs along the way but mostly if Vald is what we all hope he is, Jays don’t have anyone to discourage the opposing team from just walking him.
      Also please stop commentating about cheap Rogers, (Enough, from a lot of commentators) talk baseball

  • dolsh

    The fact that there are two players on track for inner circle HoF careers that *any* team can have with only money, and there isn’t a bidding war is just bonkers.
    This is actually an opportunity for a team for correct a wrong and pay a young player. Which…I think we can all agree that actually paying younger players is probably the solution.
    This isn’t giving Josh Donaldson 80M+ at 33/34.

  • Terry Mesmer

    The figure Ben cites is for only 16 MLB players. As he should know, team payrolls include everyone on the 40-man roster. Cot’s estimates the full Jays payroll at $125,630,714. (It’s on the same page as Ben got his number.)

    > the Jays could offer Bryce Harper $40 million in the first year of his contract, and they would still be 18.6 million under last year’s payroll

    That assumes Harper would be willing to sign with Toronto. Anyone believe that?

  • ErnieWhitt

    The Jays could give him the Stanton contract and still save Rogers $25M over last season. I’m not saying they should 100% do it.. but it does put into perspective the slashing that they’ve done. The Strike of ’22 is going to be a doozy. The players are going to have every bit of ammunition they need to win hearts and minds on this one. This would be like if Tavares came up for FA and instead of 10 teams meeting with him he had crickets. The system is very broken, whether intentional or not.

  • Oz Rob

    Ryan is one of the best writers about the Jays period. Please don’t insult him.

    Here’s a few things to consider. Perhaps the Jays don’t like the player (Harper) for reasons that are valid to them. Perhaps they know that the reality of Harper choosing to play in Toronto is zero. Give them a break already.

    Anyone read the latest article on The Athletic by Ken Rosenthal about Charlie Montoyo and Rocco Baldelli? If you are not impressed by Montoyo yet, this should seal the deal. I think Atkins and Shapiro have picked the right person to manage the team during this transition period.

  • bocajacob

    You guys are all commenting about free agency and Harper as if offers haven’t been made by several teams. Every year players push the envelope for desired salary which is done in conjunction with every other FA on the market. This is why players wait for others to sign to determine their value.

    All that is happening right now is a market correction as to the value of a player. Nothing more.

    If the players want to whine about the fact crazy(more like crazier) money isn’t being thrown around like what everyone thought EE would get, then they need to come to terms with the idea of revenue sharing like the other leagues do. That way they can ensure that they get their fair share of the pie.

    BTW, Harper’s BWAR for 2014, 2016 and 2018 ranged 1.1 and 1.5. He hasn’t exactly earned the kind of payday that is greater than what Washinton has already offered. Sure the uber talented OF is entering his peak years but that’s an absurd amount of money to be speculating with for just one player.

    • The Humungus

      “If the players want to whine about the fact crazy(more like crazier) money isn’t being thrown around like what everyone thought EE would get, then they need to come to terms with the idea of revenue sharing like the other leagues do. That way they can ensure that they get their fair share of the pie.”

      FOH with that noise. Players recieved 40.59% of baseball related revenues last year. That means that in the one sport where owners can spend like drunken sailors, they spent less on player salaries than in every other sport.

      This in a year where each owner (or ownership group) recieved an equal portion of the $2.59b that they sold BAMTech for, or $86.33M that wasn’t even included in the calculation of baseball related revenue.

      Signing guys who have this list of comparables is a no-brainer, especially when your top notch farm system and player development course is about to make the team really cheap.

      The list of Bryce Harper comparables through age 25:

      Andruw Jones (945.1)
      Ken Griffey Jr. (923.9) *
      Justin Upton (914.9)
      Ruben Sierra (908.6)
      Frank Robinson (907.0) *
      Mike Trout (897.6)
      Miguel Cabrera (896.3)
      Tony Conigliaro (895.5)
      Jose Canseco (893.9)
      Eddie Mathews (893.8) *

      • bocajacob

        FOH? 40%? You got to this figure how? I’m guessing you had a first hand look at all the team’s books? The breakdown is pretty close to 50-50.
        But that wasn’t my point. I’m directing the market correction and claims of crazy money on what the top FAs demand every year.

        With respect to the list you provided, how many of those guys were looking for 10 year, +300 million dollar commitments from teams to sign with them?

        • The Humungus

          Dude, MLB generated $10.3b in baseball related revenue last year, and, according to sportrac, they paid out $4.1b in salaries to players.

          I’m in valuations, bud, I don’t pull numbers out of my ass. Ever.

          FOH – fuck outta here, as in get the

          There is no “market correction”. Players are getting a smaller piece of the pie than their counterparts in other sports. They’re within their rights to ask for more, and maybe if they didn’t have a bootlicking coward at the top of their union they’d get it. There’s been too much made about bad 10 year contracts. The contracts were bad because the teams that signed them were stupid and expensed the future for the present, not because the players didn’t deserve them. Max Scherzer signed one (7 yrs because he was 30) and has been top 5 in Cy Young voting in the first four years while putting up 29 bWAR through his age 30-33 seasons. Elite players are elite players for a reason, and even their decline is above average.

          And the answer is none of them, because none of them were free agents after their age 25 seasons following back to back years of MLB generating over $10b in revenue. What a backwards way of thinking about things.

      • bocajacob

        Like I said, if the players want to whine, all they have to do is agree to a revenue sharing agreement where floors and caps are agreed to with respect to team salaries. It’s an endless tug of war between the 2 entitis and in the end, the fans end up paying for it. My commentary would be the same if the owners cried poor. Stop over committing on players and stop making outlandish demands from owners!

        Try not to take everything Boras states as gospel. If you are going to talk about the revenue split, stick to what maybe the actual player’s “union” says.

    • The Humungus

      By the way, when you cherry picked his bWAR, you picked a season in which he was hurt and only played 100 games (2014), an off year (which literally everyone but Mike Trout has; 2016), and 2018, in which his bWAR was severely hampered because he played a third of the season in CF, where he is just terrible and it’s not his position.

      How about we cherry pick his age 19 season, where he put up 5.2 bWAR as a goddamned teenager. Or the 10 bWAR MVP season. Like, shit man. Get a clue.

      • bocajacob

        Get a clue? Cherry pick? HUH? How is this statement cherry picking:

        “BTW, Harper’s BWAR for 2014, 2016 and 2018 ranged 1.1 and 1.5. He hasn’t exactly earned the kind of payday that is greater than what Washinton has already offered. Sure the uber talented OF is entering his peak years but that’s an absurd amount of money to be speculating with for just one player.”

        Get this straight tough guy! Nowhere am I suggesting that the team shouldn’t sign the player. HOWEVER, he hasn’t earned the dollars he’s seaking, FACT, and his demands are pushing the envelope in terms of money spent on a player…FACT! If I had grossly accentuated a small sample size from his career, I would understand the “cherry pick” statement. However, we are talking about 3 out of 7 years, AND you can throw in 2 more that were below a 5.0. SO, You advocate that Harper get TROUT money and yet, overall, the guy has produced HALF the total bWAR than Trout. ALSO, with respect to his fielding, he was JUST AS BAD as a RF as he was as a CF.

        Like I said, he’s uber talented and entering his peak years, but he hasn’t EARNED the money he’s demanding and it’s a considerable amount to invest and speculate on a player who’s only produced one season out of 5 that would deserve the money, and has “excuses” for performing considerably less than expected for roughly half of his carreer!

        GET A CLUE INDEED. HOW ABOUT GET A GRIP!

        • The Humungus

          You’re right. He hasn’t “earned” the money.

          But, baseball teams that paid guys based on what they had done signed bad contracts.

          Trout is underpaid, and Harper is an elite talent with a 10 win season under his belt.

          There is no reason not to give him the money. In fact, he’s already been offered it at least once, by the Nats.