Thursday, 21 August 2008

Dollars and Sense

One of the great mysteries of the universe is baseball economics. Everything from the Elias formula, to how the signing bonus is paid and accounted seems to be purposely designed to confuse the average fan. So whenever fans discuss there favorite team there is consequently more confusion than anything else about what a team can or will afford to do in the upcoming off-season.

However, in the last few years the baseball world has been greatly blessed by a number of great on-line resources which help cut through the jungle of obfuscation. Among these is the wonderful Cot's Baseball Contracts.

Every informed fan should have it bookmarked (or, have our humble site bookmarked knowing that there's a link here). It is with the invaluable information found there that I shall attempt to inform you what the Jays budget situation looks to be as we drift ever closer to another winter of wheeling and dealing.

First, some basic assumptions: I assume for the sake of this discussion that the Jays have a $100 million payroll ceiling for next season since we are a negligible distance from that figure in 2008. In my opinion, Rogers will quite possible raise that figure, and they will certainly be willing to discuss a specific increase for a specific player but you have to assume some benchmark in order to make sense so I assume essentially a renewal of the current one. That said, understand it as "approximately" since going (for instance) 225K over or under is irrelevant.

Secondly, I assume that JP was honest when he implied strongly last night that the team would exercise the option on Rod Barajas. So I will speak of him as "under contract" but be advised the technically, they have not yet made that happen.

Finally, as always, one has to estimate the pre-arbitration contracts and the amount the arb eligible guys get, but I think these are pretty close.

So, here's the list. There are 27 guys here because I include McGowan even though he won't start the year on the roster, and another pitcher will make up for that. I chose Wolfe as the familiar name but if you prefer Parrish or Richmond, so be it, the payroll impact is minuscule. A similar thought led to the inclusion of Janssen. Bolded players are under contract, the three with "*" are arbitration eligible, and the rest are pre-arb.

Halladay  14.25
McGowan 0.415
Marcum 0.42
Purcey 0.395
Listch 0.4
Janssen 0.405

Ryan 10
League 0.415
Accardo 0.4
Downs 3.75
Tallett 1.2*
Frasor 1.8*
Carlson 0.398
Wolfe 0.402

Barajas 2.5
Diaz 0.39

Overbay 7
Stairs 1

Hill 2.59
Inglett 0.42

Scutaro 1.1
McDonald 1.9

Rolen 11

Bautista 2.5*

Lind 0.42
Wells 10
Rios 5.9

The totals break down like this:

Under contract: $70.99 million (includes Barajas)
Arb-eligible: $5.5 million (estimated)
Pre-arbitration: $4.88 (estimated)

Total: $81.37 million

Now, that said, Frasor will almost certainly be traded or non-tendered (It would not shock me if he were the player to be named in the acquisition announced today of Jose Bautista). Likewise, I expect Tallet to be traded (easier to do than with Frasor, so no non-tender there) and Baustista may well be non-tendered as well (though given the uncertainty around Rolen he would also be potentially brought back for less money.

I also think that there's some likelihood that the Jays will try to include a contract in any trade they might make (for instance, you trade for Khalil Greene and you try to get them to take Scutaro in the deal).

So, bare minimum, the Jays have $19 million in play this winter. Move the arbitration contracts off the roster and you have $24-25. Again, that assumes no budget increase. And while JP made budget-conscious remarks last night, I don't see a pattern lately which would imply a static payroll budget. So while there is no doubt we can afford a Manny or a similar sort of player in 2009, what we can spend past that is uncertain.

Among the other things JP said last night is that the Jays were unlikely to pursue high-cost pitching to replace AJ (assuming AJ gets away which seems likely) and the team likes its internal options. I actually like that. I've never been in favor of a big long term deal on another SP.

(I do have a smaller idea that intruiges me but I don't want to get too far off topic here.)

One final note:

You can look at other sites which give you a different projected team total and different specific salaries for certain players. the reason this happens is signing bonuses. When I do a total I follow the contracted terms of payment of signing bonuses when Cot's tells me there is a specific schedule, otherwise I pro-rate it. Many other sites pro-rate all bonuses regardless of the contracted schedule.

So, there you have it. Discuss!



Anonymous said...

70.99 = Rolen Halladay Ryan Wells Overbay Rios Downs Stairs McDonald Scutaro Barajas Hill

To fill out the roster, you'd use Marcum Litsch Purcey McGowan/Janssen, and Wolfe Carlson Accardo League DRomero out of the bullpen. Lind in LF with Diaz and Inglett on the bench. All 12 of those guys should make at or near the MLB minimum, so let's say 400k x 12 = 4.8m

I see a total of around 76m with 24 players and the team still needing a DH.

Anonymous said...

I expect the 2009 payroll to be around 100 mill and the 2010 payroll to be between 110-115 mill based on the fact that I dont think Ted Rogers would tie up 20% of the payroll in Vernon. That said, this is how I would fix this team...
-Trade for a young starter such as Matt Cain/Scott Olsen (I'd be willing to give up Litsch, Campbell, Cooper which I'd say is fair and would address SanFran/ Florida's needs)
-Sign ManRam for 3 years and 60 mill (this is just a guess at his cost)
-Trade for a SS such as Khalil Greene or a young SS prospect (i.e. Tallet for Jason Donald)
-Trade Lyle Overbay for prospects
-The main thing I'd do is use prospects, either in my lineup or in trade and rid myself of an average player such as overbay and use the savings on him and burnett on ManRam

2010 Blue Jays

SP:Halladay/McGowan/Cain/Marcum/ Cecil or Purcey
RP: Ryan, Downs, Carlson, League, Accardo, Janssen, 7th Reliever
Batting Order 1-9:
Rios, Lind, Wells, ManRam, Snider, Arencibia, Rolen, Donald, Hill
Bench: Scutaro, Inglett, Jeroloman, 4th Outfielder such as Ryan Patterson

Personally, I feel this is a much better team than we have today and could easily be the best team in baseball - it would keep us within our 2 yr payroll of around 215 mill and we wouldn't have to drain our farm system with trades either.

Jays2010 said...

Further to my last post as "anonymous", on my version of the 2010 Blue Jays, these are my approximate payroll totals (I would pay Manny 15 mill in 2009 and 2010 and 20 mill in 2011 while giving him a 10 mill signing bonus in 09, which would effectively make him cost 25 mill in 09...even with this, my 2009 Jays would hover around 100 million)

Halladay - 15.5, Cain - 4.25, Marcum - 2.5, McGowan - 2.25, Cecil - 0.4; Ryan - 10.0, Downs - 4.0, Accardo - 1.25, League - 1.25, Jannsen - 1.0, Carlson - 0.4; Wells - 21.0, ManRam - 15.0, Rolen - 11.8, Rios - 9.7, Hill - 4.0, Scutaro - 1.5, Inglett - 1.5, Lind, Snider, Arencibia, Donald, Jeroloman, Diaz at 0.4 each

Total: 109.1 mill for 25 players

Jays2010 said...

While I'm at it, I may as well do the 2009 team - while I do think that certain players (McGowan, Donald, Arencibia, Snider etc) will not start with the Jays, their "fill-ins" would more/less cost the same:

Halladay - 14.5, Cain - 2.65, Marcum - 0.4, McGowan - 0.4, Purcey - 0.4; Ryan - 10.0, Downs - 3.75, Accardo - 0.75*, League - 0.4, Jannsen - 0.4, Carlson - 0.4; Wells - 10.0, ManRam - 25.0, Rolen - 11.8, Rios - 5.9, Hill - 2.59, Barajas - 2.5, Stairs - 1.0, Scutaro - 1.1, Inglett, Lind, Snider, Arencibia, Donald, Diaz at 0.4 each

*Accardo appears to be arb-eligible

2009 Total: 96.34 million

-I am converting Lind to a 1B
-we could still be under 100 mill by keeping Johnny Mac until Jason Donald is ready
-I'm not certain exactly what it would take to acquire Cain (or Olsen, Greinke etc) and Donald (or Brandon Wood, Elvis Andrus etc) but I definately think that between Litsch, D and R Romero, Mills, Campbell, Cooper and all the Lansing prospects that we'd have enough without draining the farm system and having enough triple A pitching protection when injuries inevitabely hit the pitching staff...

Anonymous said...

I will cut my dick off if Manny signs for 1) 3 years and 2) for $20 mill a year.

Parkes at DJF has really put Holliday and his $13.5 million a year in my head. He wouldn't mash like Manny, that is for sure, but he wouldn't be an embarrassment either. Plus trading for him doesn't max their budget out which enables them to fill another hole or two.

I also would like to see who may be interested in B.J. Ryan. Not that I think Ryan is doing a poor job, I just think Downs is capable of doing it and for around $6.5 million less.

Anonymous said...

(I will not actually cut my dick off)