I have been doing one of these payroll review things every year for a while now. I see so much misinformation tossed about most of the time about what is committed and what is available that I like to at least put one voice out there who's saying something reliable.
In the past, I've done this ahead of the arbitration deals in order to test myself on how well I do those projections. last year I was very very close (I think under $200K off on the total spent on all arbitration eligible players) but of course, doing so means there will have to be an update later.
Also, since AA will surely still be making deals right up to and even into Spring Training, this is surely only a "snapshot."
All that said, I won't be able to say much this year about how much might be left to spend because the Jays simply no longer make us fans privy to the information regarding how much they want to spend. They might be at their budget or they might have $10 million in the hole waiting for a bargain - we simply can't know.
We'll begin with this reality: there's $16 million already committed to players no longer with the team. We'll be paying BJ Ryan $10 million not to play baseball, and we sent $6 million to Philadelphia with Doc. Whether or not WE consider that "payroll," Major League Baseball does so that counts as far as the league is concerned. But it is possible that Rogers considers that "sunk cost" and thus, we have some flexibility there that the total doesn't reflect - again, we simply can't know.
Breaking down the projected roster, and using Cott's Contracts (see the sidebar) as the reference of choice, we see these players who are under contract:
Vernon Wells - $21 million ($12.5 in payroll, $8.5 as a payment on the signing bonus)
Lyle Overbay - $7 million
Edwin Encarnacion - $4.75 million
Scott Downs - $4 million
Aaron Hill - $4 mil
Alex Gonzalez - $2.75 mil
Jose Bautista - $2.4 mil
John Buck - $2 mil
John McDonald - $1.5 mil
Dustin McGowan - $500k
Total = $49.9 million
The following players are arbitration eligible. They are listed with last year's salary in parenthesis and my projection for 2010 (I'm assuming here they all settle, I will refrain from guessing who'd win if they went to an actual arbitration decision):
Jason Frasor ($1.45) $2.4 mil
Brian Tallet (1.o15) $1.6 mil
Jeremy Accardo ($900k) $1.2 mil
Shawn Camp ($750k) $900k
Shaun Marcum ($405,200) $750k
Casey Janssen ($413, 900) $650k
Total = $7.6 million
Now, if we assume all those players are on the 25 man roster then there are nine remaining spots.
Lind will definitely occupy one, and I'm going to assume Snider will have one and that Chavez will serve as the reserve catcher. That leaves two potential spots for hitters, and for now we'll give one of those to Ruiz and leave the other one hanging for a bit.
That leaves spots for three more starting pitchers, and the other spot goes to Jesse Carlson who will surely make the team. (yes I know I'm presuming too much on health particularly in the case of McGowan but bear with me)
Half a mil on Chavez (about what he made last year);
Lind, Snider, Ruiz, Carlson, Romero, Zep, and Morrow all making slightly more than the minimum - We'll round this up a bit to an ever $3 million;
That's a total of $3.5 million with one unfilled slot, which might be an eighth reliever, but logically should be another bench player (which we'll plug in Gathright as a placeholder even though I think there's an acquisition pending) but however you juggle it we're sitting at just about $4 million to fill out the roster.
In addition, Jesse Litsch will collect a major league salary while sitting on the DL and if you assume McGowan won't be able to make it onto the field you can add another minimum wage guy (Cecil for instance) in his place so we'll toss in one more million for a sub-total here of $5 million.
So, grand total for the 25 man roster: ~$62.5 million. You can quibble a bit with the arbitration guesses but I'll wager I'm within +/- $500k on the total.
As I said, I'm assuming that there's the potential for one additional hitter (at least) - especially if Cito is serious about Bautista in RF and leading off (since I can't believe we're going to not platoon him if that's going to be his job) but if that were the case, then Lind would be the DH and that puts Ruiz in question. Still, however it plays out I allowed for a yet unidentified player in that budget.
Also, there is still the possibility that Lyle Overbay or possible one of the relievers is dealt albeit I don't really see much of a market. If AA manages to shed Overbay's whole salary before the season starts it might well be his slickest move yet. there's just not a lot of openings for a 1B. So Lyle might be here until July at least.
Finally, we remember the $16 million I mentioned at the start and the total outlay is just a bit under $80 million, which is roughly $1 million less than Cott's total for 2009.
Unless we have an unusually fortunate opportunity, my guess is that this figure isn't going up much for 2010.
And it might go down some more yet.