Even after the qualification offers to Semien and Ray, work for the Blue Jays has only just begun

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TORONTO – Now that the Toronto Blue Jays have extended qualification offers to Marcus Semien Other Robbie Ray but no Steven MatzThe work really begins to keep the first agents free or to replace their production.

None of the decisions were unexpected, although Matz’s non-qualification offers some insight into how GM Ross Atkins and the front office are evaluating the southpaw, as they weren’t willing to risk paying him $ 18.4 million for a season for. guaranteeing compensation for the draft pick should start.

Matz recently turned down a multi-year bidding deal from the Blue Jays, according to Jon Heyman of MLB Network, an indicator that even parties have divergent views on how it fits into the market.

The 30-year-old now enters free agency with no strings attached, unlike Semien and Ray, who have 10 days to accept or decline their qualifying offers. Spoiler alert, they will decline and, once done, the Blue Jays will receive draft picks if they sign elsewhere.

Hence, mostly procedural acts there.

What will complicate the Blue Jays’ job in the coming weeks – beyond the impending expiration of the collective bargaining agreement – is that not only do they have to replace the trio’s cumulative 13.3 fWAR, but they have to do it with the financial efficiency of their combined Predicted. 2021 salary of 31.2 million dollars.

Blocking Matz at $ 18.4 million would have covered one of two rotation gaps with a known commodity, but it would also have dented their available payroll, which is expected to be finalized in the next week and a half.

Between book warranties and screenings for arbitration-eligible players and 0-3 serving time, the Blue Jays are already looking at around $ 110 million- $ 115 million in 2022 salary. Blue Jays president and chief executive Mark Shapiro recently said he expects the club’s payroll to continue to grow in proportion to the team’s competitive cycle, which means an increase from the roughly $ 140 million spent this season. .

How high is going to decide the exact amount of wiggle room Atkins has to work with, and it also helps explain why the Blue Jays didn’t want to tie their hands up with such a significant chunk of Matz money anytime soon.

The question is whether they can find equally successful games this winter.

Matz was chosen for the depth of the 40-man roster by the New York Mets with a salary of $ 5.2 million. Ray was re-signed for $ 8 million and delivered the most complete season of his career. Semien took out an $ 18 million pillow deal and like Ray, he is ready to sign for nine figures.

Maybe one, two or three come back, but an eloquent comment from Shapiro recently was that “he doesn’t think you have to return anyone. I am convinced you need to improve.”

This was essentially a public nod to the fact that the Blue Jays will be somewhat different again in 2022. Identifying a combination of add that makes them better, with or without the trio, is the new priority.

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