Some teams have all the luck.
Just a couple of years ago, the Blue Jays were stuck with massive commitments to both Alex Rios and Vernon Wells. But thanks to some old fashioned generosity by White Sox general manager Ken Williams and Angels general manager Tony Reagins, the Blue Jays don’t have to worry about paying either of them anymore.
The Blue Jays are now blessed with tremendous financial flexibility moving forward. In fact, according to Cots Contracts, the Blue Jays have only $17.4 million in payroll commitments for 2012. This includes contracts for Adam Lind, Ricky Romero, Rajai Davis and prospect shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria and buyouts for Octavio Dotel, Jon Rauch, Edwin Encarnacion. Aaron Hill still has a series of club options from 2012-2014 and the club will have potential arbitration cases with several players, including Mike Napoli, Yunel Escobar and Brandon Morrow. There’s also the matter of whether they sign the arbitration-eligible Jose Bautista to a multi-year contract.
Don’t forget that the Blue Jays also have a boatload of early draft picks — seven in the first 80, to be exact — which should help bolster what is already one of the deepest farm systems in baseball. The American League East is a tough place to compete, but Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos is quietly building something pretty interesting in Toronto.
The Orioles singlehandedly kept the rumor mill churning this weekend. MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reports that the club is interested in making a play for free agent right-hander Lance Lynn, adding him to a list of potential candidates that also includes free agent righty Alex Cobb. The two are expected to command similar contracts in free agency, but Morosi notes that the Orioles may prefer Cobb based on his familiarity with the AL East.
Lynn, 30, is two years removed from Tommy John surgery on his right elbow. Despite missing the 2016 season, he bounced back with a respectable 11-8 record in 33 starts and complemented his efforts with a 3.43 ERA, 3.8 BB/9 and 7.4 SO/9 over 186 1/3 innings for the 2017 Cardinals. He lost several days with a blister on his pitching hand in early September, but managed to avoid any major injuries and can reasonably be expected to shoulder another heavy workload in 2018.
Lynn may not be the Orioles’ first choice to beef up their starting rotation, but there’s no doubt that he’ll be in high demand as one of very few viable starters on the market this winter. The veteran righty rejected his one-year, $17.4 million qualifying offer from the Cardinals on Thursday and will likely be seeking a multi-year contract, one that Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch estimates around five years and $100+ million. If the Orioles are willing to bite that bullet, they’ll still need to compensate the Cardinals with their third pick in next year’s draft.