In the spotlight: Tim Raines, Jays salary figures

Tim Raines waves to fans as he circles Olympic Stadium in a golf cart. The Montreal Expos lead-off man will be inducted into the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown in July. 

Tim Raines waves to fans as he circles Olympic Stadium in a golf cart. The Montreal Expos lead-off man will be inducted into the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown in July. 

By Danny Gallagher
Canadian Baseball Network

MONTREAL -- Tim Raines hasn’t been marking down the number of text messages, emails, Twitter messages and phone calls he has received since Jan. 18.

“I’ve lost track,’’  the Montreal Expos’ star said Friday night after he was feted at Olympic Stadium.

He probably needs a secretary to help him sort everything out since that day in January, he was elected into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown.

Raines has been flooded with congratulatory messages. Since then, he has done umpteen interviews and made numerous appearances. 

With the lights out at the Big O, the spotlight was on Raines before the Jays-Pirates game on Friday. He was driven around the field on a golf cart.

“It was pretty cool,’’ Raines said. “In the past when I came back here, they introduced me as a retired major-league player but this time, they introduced me as a member of the hall of fame so it meant more to me.’’

What made it “really emotional’’ for Raines during the ceremony is when he took second base out of the ground and took it away as a souvenir. Then in a poignant moment, his twin daughters came running to him and he embraced his wife Shannon.

On hand to share in his glory were former teammates Warren Cromartie, Jeff Reardon, Steve Rogers, Bill Lee, David Palmer, Al Oliver and Dennis Martinez.

NOTES; Kevin Pillar will be the Blue Jays’ highest paid, pre-arbitration player this season
The acrobatic centre fielder will be paid $555,000, compared to the $521,100 he earned in 2016, according to information received this weekend. Pillar hit seven homers and collected 53 RBI last season in 548 at-bats but was also a major contributor on defence with highlight plays, putouts and assists ...

Next in line on the pay trough for prominent pre-arbitration players with the Jays is closer Roberto Osuna at $552,400 and outfielder Devon Travis at $545,200.

What is quite revealing is that little used Canadian-born outfielder Dalton Pompey will earn more money than star pitcher Aaron Sanchez. Pompey was given $539,000, $4,000 more than Sanchez, who actually was offered $550,000 but turned it down because he wasn’t happy with it. In the end, the Jays renewed Sanchez at the lower figure.

Scott Leventhal, Pillar’s agent with All Bases Covered Sports Management, declined to offer any thoughts on how the negotiations went. The Jays are much tougher with players under their control, compared to other teams. One can only assume that Leventhal pushed for much more than $555,000.

“I have no comment. It’s not appropriate for me to say anything about my clients about salaries,’’ Leventhal said in an interview with CBN.

Mets pitcher Noah Syndergaard, who has less service time than Sanchez, was given a salary of $605,500.

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