There’s Only One Thing We Say to Arbitration: Not Today!



Ok, so my title was a clumsy attempt at playing off the Game of Thrones dialogue between Arya Stark and her “Dancing Master” Syrio Forel. His line, “There is only one thing we say to Death: Not today,” was particularly memorable.



In a way, salary arbitration is a kind of death: the death of the relationship between the player and the team. Basically, it’s the team’s job to denigrate the player as much as possible in order to convince the arbitrator to side with the team on a lower salary than the player wants.


The Blue Jays have been very successful at avoiding this type of death, not taking a player to arbitration since 1997, I believe. With this track record in mind, there was never any real worry about any of Colby Rasmus, Esmil Rogers or Brett Cecil going to arbitration and slugging it out verbally and emotionally with the club.


Regardless, all three signed one year contracts today with Rasmus set to earn $7 million in 2014 with Rogers signing on for $1.85 million and Cecil agreeing to a $1.3 million contract. That’s all nice and tidy now we can see what effect the somewhat-higher-than-predicted figures will have on the team’s salary structure heading into 2014.


By my (possibly faulty) math, I have the Jays at $132.85 million in 2014, a figure that assumes $500,000 paycheques for all non-arbitration-eligible players. If, as I believe to be true (with absolutely no confirmation from anyone in authority), the Blue Jays are probably working with an unofficial budget cap of $150 million, this gives the Jays enough room to easily sign either Ubaldo Jimenez or Ervin Santana.


So, mazel tov to Colby, Brett and Esmil on their new contracts!