Blue Jays CEO Mark Shapiro says goal is to play deeper into October, expects 2024 payroll to “stay in the same area”
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By Cam Lewis1 month ago
Just like last year, the goal for the Toronto Blue Jays is to be better next year.
President and CEO Mark Shapiro addressed the media in Toronto on Thursday, just over one week after the Blue Jays were swept in the Wild Card playoff round for the third time in four seasons.
He said “it’s not acceptable” that the Blue Jays let their fans down and fell short of expectations but confirmed that Ross Atkins will remain as the team’s general manager, citing the importance of stability and continuity within the organization. Shapiro also said that the team’s budget for the 2024 season hasn’t been yet confirmed but he expects the Blue Jays will “remain in the same area” as last year.
The Blue Jays were in the top third on Major League teams in payroll last season, coming in just ahead of the Atlanta Braves and right behind the L.A. Angels at $214,630,885, per Spotrac. They were also one of seven teams to surpass the luxury tax threshold of $233 million, which is based on average annual salaries rather than dollars paid in a given year.
With Matt Chapman, Hyun Jin Ryu, Brandon Belt, Kevin Kiermaier, and likely Whit Merrifield coming off the books this winter, Atkins will have a nice amount of financial flexibility when it comes to making changes to the roster. George Springer, Kevin Gausman, Chris Bassitt, Jose Berrios, Yuseu Kikuchi, Bo Bichette, and Yimi Garcia are locked in at roughly $115 million and Toronto’s arbitration salaries should come in at around $50 million.
The big prize on this winter’s free-agent market is two-way superstar Shohei Ohtani, who won’t be able to pitch in 2024 but plans to return to the mound in the future. Cody Bellinger, who’s coming off of a huge rebound season after being non-tendered by the L.A. Dodgers, is the consolation prize for whoever doesn’t land Ohtani’s elite lefty bat. After that, familiar names like Chapman, Teoscar Hernandez, and Lourdes Gurriel rank toward the top of a fairly underwhelming group of free agents.
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