Every year I try to anticipate how the Blue Jays' payroll and a big component of that is estimating how much they will spend on arbitration-eligible players. I think I've gotten pretty good at this. Here's an excerpt from last year's version of this post in which I projected payroll showing what my predictions were for the arb guys:
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
Here's what they actually got:
Frasor - $2.65
Tallet - $2.0
Accardo - $1.08
Camp - $1.15
Marcum - $.85
Janssen - $0.7
Total = $8.43
That's a swing of about 10% over my guess and almost half the difference was from Tallet where I missed by 25% and I think that's pretty good.
I noted a small discussion last week about the Jays' payroll based on a tweet by John Paul Morosi to the effect that the Jays would probably spend $80-85 million in 2011. Unless there's a big acquisition or two coming that's not going to happen.
Here's a breakdown of the jays projected roster as of this writing - with the exception that for the sake of this breakdown I'll include Villianueva in the arb group:
Under contract (9 players) - figures in millions of course:
Wells - 23
Lind - 5
Hill - 5
Dotel - 3.5
Encarnacion - 2.5
McDonald - 1.5
Molina - 1
Romero - 0.75
McGowan - 0.45
Total = $42.7 million
(note here that McGowan will certainly be on the DL so we'll need 26 players in all)
Arbitration eligible. these are my projections, on the latest revision, which I'll include my projection for Villianueva here while noting his actual agreement:
Bautista - 8
Frasor - 3.5
Camp - 2.2
Davis - 1.9
Escobar - 1.7
Janssen - 1.45
Morrow - 1.25
Villianueva - 1.1 (1.415)
Listch - 0.9
Total projected = $22 million
A caveat here, arb settlements always seems to be in non-round numbers (i.e. Villianueva at 1.514 instead of, say, 1.4) but no one can guess to such a fine detail so I round to the closest 100k. Also note for later reference that one agreement has already been reported.
That's 17 of 25 active roster spots. That leaves me to project that the other eight spots will be filled by pre-arbitration players. that might not happen but as of this writing, it's what's next. the 17 players we have (not counting McGowan) fill three of the five projected rotation spots, five of seven bullpen spots, and nine of 13 offensive positions.
We can easily assume, for the other eight, that this group will include Snider, Cecil, Purcey, Drabek and Arencibia. That leaves at least one more reliever which I'm going to arbitrarily assign to Zep, but might be Carlson or Roenicke or someone else - the difference in pay should be negligible.
It also leaves two more bench jobs. These are the toughest calls.
One of these will be a 4th outfielder (assuming the alignment of Snider/Wells/Davis in the outfield) and the other will probably but not absolutely be an infielder. Again, this is as of now - since I can't base my projections on a theoretical Chavez or Ramirez signing.
For the infielder, we'll go with Mike McCoy, since he's already on the roster. The outfielder might be a surprise player like Mastroianni but it also might be a boring re-tread like Cory Patterson. Again, the difference in pay shuld be negligible unless Patterson got more promised if he makes the roster than he should be worth. All that said, don't quibble about the last three guys because it will make well less than half a million difference in the total.
The new major league minimum is #414,000. That figure times eight players is $3,312,000. round that up to $3.5 million to allow for Snider, Purcey, and Paterson making a noticeable amount more than the minimum.
Total all this and you get $68.2 million. Add in Villianueva's extra $3ook and say a guy gets hurt and you add a minimum wage fill in and you are right around $69 million. Until and unless the Jays sign (or trade for) a significant addition, they are not going to significantly break $70 million for the opening day roster. I think that's pretty firm.