Colabello among Blue Jays still waiting for negotiating power

By: Danny Gallagher

Canadian Baseball Network

What do you think Chris Colabello, Ryan Goins, Roberto Osuna, Aaron Sanchez, Marcus Stroman and Kevin Pillar have in common?

They comprise the Jays’ future, they are young and not yet eligible for salary arbitration. So what does that mean? It means they are under the team’s control and basically have no negotiating power.

Their agents can talk until the cows come home with Andrew Tinnish, Tony LaCava, Ross Atkins or whoever in Jays’ management, but they have no say in their clients' earnings. A figure is marked in the sand and there basically is no negotiating.

That’s because the Jays and many other clubs slot these young players into a salary category after their seniority reaches one or two full seasons. Service time has a lot to do with it and of course, how they fared statistically.

“Clubs have a formula and there is no negotiating,’’ Colabello’s agent Brian Charles said Saturday. “That’s what teams usually do, they don’t negotiate. It’s part of the collective bargaining agreement.’’

Although Charles might be frustrated by the process, he wasn’t about to say anything bad about the Jays. He said Colabello, who spent most of his career playing in independent leagues, will sign his contract rather than being renewed by the team. Some players elect not to sign their contract if they are unhappy with the amount they are getting. In that case, they are renewed.

Charles also thought that this season’s signing amount for Colabello would be somewhere “less than $530,000.’’ Last season, he earned roughly $512,000, the same as Goins and Kevin Pillar. Stroman’s pay was $514,700, Sanchez came in at $510,800 and Osuna earned the minimum of $507,500.

Strangely, the Jays are a number of teams that don’t announce that they have signed their non-arbitration players. You won’t see that stuff under "Transactions" in the agate/statistics section of any paper.

To Colabello’s credit, he will be eligible for arbitration next winter, not as a player with service time of at least three years, but as a Super 2 player, who slots in with seniority of between two years and three years of service. Of course, it’s always possible the Jays could send Colabello to the minors during this season to reduce his service time so that he might not qualify as a Super 2 player.

“Technically, they could send him to the minors. We don’t know,’’ Charles said. “He has one option year left. Assuming he’s on the roster every day of the year, he should be a Super 2 player.’’

Colabello hit .321 with 15 homers and 54 RBI last season, making him one of Toronto’s most pleasant surprises.

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Danny Gallagher

Danny was born in Ted Lindsay's hometown of Renfrew, Ont. but his roots are in nearby Douglas. He played 27 consecutive seasons of top-level amateur baseball in the senior ranks in Ontario, Saskatchewan and Quebec and thrived on organizing events himself, the major one being the highly successful 1983 Canadian senior men's tournament in Sudbury. He began covering the Montreal Expos in 1988 when he joined the Montreal Daily News. Later, he was the Expos beat writer for the Ottawa Sun and Associated Press. He has written four baseball books, including Remembering the Montreal Expos, which he co-authored with Bill Young of Hudson, Que. Gallagher and Young are currently working on a book about the ill-fated 1994 Expos squad. Gallagher can be reached here: dannogallagher@rogers.com