I keep reading that the Blue Jays will still meet or exceed last year's $137m payroll even as measured in American dollars and presuming that to mean ~$140m it is generally reported that means the team has $5-7m to spend. That math doesn't work based on commonly available figures. That would put current commitments at around $132m. By my calculations that's about 5 million too high.
All these figures are per Cotts where a figure is set.
The players under contract total $104m for 2015 for 12 players.
Taking the high side of the two arbitration deals, figure another $7.425 million.
That leaves 11 spots but I calculated 12 assuming they won't carry 3 catchers. Rounding upward from the always odd figures the teams assign to those players, I think approximately $5.66m is a good figure.
I did not include Romero above, as his contract and buyout amount to a presumably sunk cost of $8.1m
Finally, the recently noised about assumption that you must include presumed buyouts. I don't believe there is any reason to assume there will be a need to buy out Bautista or Encarnacion. That leaves Dickey and Izturus at $1 million apiece.
That's a total of $127.185
So I make it at $10-$13m at least.
Which brings me to James Shields. MLBTR point to rumors that Shields would sign within the next week and there is considerable buzz that not only is his opportunity for $100 million is past but so is the chance to sign for even five years. The price has dropped and the remaining question is how much.
Too more data points of interest: AA said on the radio that the Jays were not going to be signing someone for $20 million, NOT that they were not going to sign Shields; Tuesday, Paul Beeston said on the same program that what the team didn't have was that one dominant starter who'd go out and win 18-19 games and specifically "which we need to get this year"
Assuming he's not dreaming big on one of the young guys doing that, it has to mean that either he's just babbling or they are in on Shields. Now obviously they are not the only ones and the lower the price goes the more teams might find money but obviously, other than the bottomless pockets of the Yankees, hardly anyone is prepared to make a big signing in February. Moreover, the Jays HAVE to still have a bitter taste in their mouth over Santana last year.
So, here's what I'm thinking: If the price for Sheilds gets down to an AAV of $17 or less for 4 years or less, that AA and Beest will go to Rogers and ask for an extra $10m to make it happen. In so doing they not only get another 200+ inning workhorse at the front of the rotation but as good a candidate for 8th/9th inning quality as they are likely to find in the person of Sanchez which adds to to total value of the acquisition.
I've not been a fan of the Shields lust when the price was $10m but this idea I'd be all in on.
4 weeks until the first games people, it's time for all parties to get serious.
ETA: MLBTR relays a report from Bob Nightingale suggesting Shields strongly prefers the West coast and it's know San Diego is interested in adding a top starter so that's an issue for the Jays.