Toronto Blue Jays get some deals done on arbitration deadline day

BOSTON, MA - JULY 19: Aaron Sanchez
BOSTON, MA - JULY 19: Aaron Sanchez /

After signing Josh Donaldson, the Toronto Blue Jays avoided arbitration with several other eligible players, but couldn’t settle with two core pieces.

The Toronto Blue Jays took care of some in-house work on Friday, signing 2015 AL MVP Josh Donaldson to a record one-year, $23 million arbitration contract.

The team wasn’t done there, however. They also avoided arbitration with starting pitcher Aaron Sanchez and second baseman Devon Travis. The former will receive $2.7 million this season while the latter will reportedly get $1.45 million.

Both individuals re-upped for a discounted rate after going through injury-riddled seasons in 2017.

After posting career numbers in 2016, Sanchez was the Jays’ ace going into the season. A string of finger injuries and blisters cost the righty his season. Sanchez made only eight starts, finishing the year with a 4.25 ERA, 1.72 WHIP, and 24 strikeouts across 36.0 innings.

His injury trouble first started when he was lifted from an April game against Tampa Bay, after a blister formed on his pitching hand. When he returned, he split a nail on his finger, putting him out for another period of time.

Sanchez couldn’t escape the blister issues in what became an epidemic of finger-related injuries around the major leagues in 2017, due in part to balls reportedly being wound tighter.

By all accounts, it sounds as though Sanchez is progressing nicely during workouts in Dunedin. If he’s back to full strength, the Jays will have one of the best rotations in the majors.

The Jays have shown their patience with Travis, who has battled injuries throughout his tenure with the organization.

Last season, Travis played in only 50 games before he went down in June with a knee injury. That same injury would eventually end his season before it could get into full swing.

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The 26-year-old comes in as the projected starter at second base, but the team has gotten insurance in Aledmys Diaz and Yangervis Solarte in case his injury history rears its head again in 2018.

Lastly, the Toronto Blue Jays reached deals with starting centre-fielder Kevin Pillar ($3.25 million) and reliever Dominic Leone ($1.085 million).

For all the signings, more was made about the two individuals that are headed to arbitration: Roberto Osuna and Marcus Stroman.

Stroman had a career year in the absence of Sanchez last season. He finished 2017 with a 13-9 record and a 3.09 ERA, 1.31 WHIP, 161 strikeouts in 201.0 innings pitched.

As was the case last offseason as well, the Jays and Stroman were apart in terms of asking price.

The two sides have a history of being apart in arbitration talks now. Stroman was rewarded $3.4 million in arb, which was $300k more than the Toronto Blue Jays had offered the starter.

Osuna is entering his first year of arbitration eligibility. The closer finished with a career-high 39 saves, which tied him for fourth-best in the MLB.

Both players will obviously be re-upped when a number is decided on; it just depends on how much both will get. If both Stroman and Osuna are rewarded the amounts they’ve asked for, then good for them. It’s only a combined $900k more than the Jays were offering anyways.

Next: Jays and Josh Donaldson settle on record arbitration deal

The Jays won’t be judged heavily on their handling of arbitration. Hopefully, they have some good news for fans over the next week.