By Danny Gallagher
Canadian Baseball Network
We’re a few days into March and there is no word on a contract for star pitcher Aaron Sanchez, who isn’t eligible for salary arbitration.
At this time of the year, though, most clubs including the Jays cut off their talks with the agents for non-arbitration players. The Jays also have a policy of not even making an announcement that non-arbitration players have even signed contracts so you will see nothing in that regard in the Transactions section of your favorite newspaper.
It will be interesting to see what the Jays do with Sanchez if they do not give him a multi-year deal. If the Jays really wanted to be cheap with Sanchez, they could give him the minimum salary of $535,000, which compares to the $517,800 he earned in 2016 when he went 15-2.
Following the increase of the minimum wage to $535,000 from last year’s $507,500, you are going to see a slew of major-league players pencilled in at $535,000.
I’m sure Sanchez and his agent Scott Boras are looking at the $605,500 salary the New York Mets gave Noah Syndergaard on March 3. It was actually more than generous because Syndergaard has only one year and 149 days of service, compared to the 2.069 service time listed for Sanchez.
As a matter of fact, Syndergaard refused to sign the contract on the advice of his agent so the Mets renewed his deal.
Exactly 20 years ago this month, I wrote in the Globe and Mail that Jays’ players Carlos Delgado, Shawn Green and Alex Gonzalez were upset with contract negotiations with the Gord Ash regime and like Syndergaard, all three were renewed -- at a very generous stipend of $500,000.
Delgado, Green and Gonzalez all felt that they should have received more than $500,000 when most other teams like the Expos were paying players no more than $315,000. The Blue Jays had set the $500,000 bar several years with Pat Hentgen and Ed Sprague.
Based on the fact Blue Jays president Mark Shapiro has some history in dealing amicably with Boras, it’s conceivable that the Jays will give Sanchez closer to $600,000. For the Jays to merely give Sanchez a raise of about $17,500 to the major-league minimum of $535,000 would be a grave injustice.
Can you imagine the venom Boras would spew if Sanchez’s salary increased only to $535,000? What I see is a multi-year deal for Sanchez to make both sides happy. Two years, three years? Maybe longer.
While we’re on this topic, it will also be interesting to see how the Jays deal with Roberto Osuna, Kevin Pillar and Devon Travis, who all enjoyed pretty decent seasons in 2016. All three have two years of service or more. Of those three, Osuna probably qualifies more than the other two for a multi-year deal.