Toronto Blue Jays get business done ahead of arbitration deadline

Marcus Stroman #6 of the Toronto Blue Jays celebrates after striking out the side. (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
Marcus Stroman #6 of the Toronto Blue Jays celebrates after striking out the side. (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images) /

After the Toronto Blue Jays traded Russell Martin to the Los Angeles Dodgers, the team confirmed their next order of business with their arbitration-eligible players.

Trading Russell Martin was not the only headline of the Toronto Blue Jays day on Friday as they also took care of important contracts with their arbitration-eligible players. 

Kevin Pillar, Marcus Stroman, Aaron Sanchez, Randal Grichuk and Ken Giles highlighted the players needing new deals for the upcoming season. Unfortunately, the team could not come to an agreement with Ryan Tepera and they are expected to have a hearing.

There wasn’t a major surprise when it comes to the deals signed especially for Stroman who didn’t have a great 2018 going 4-9 with a 5.54 ERA in 19 starts. He received a $7.4 million deal and will look to re-establish himself as a front end rotation starter and possibly earn a long-term deal to stay in Toronto.

More from Toronto Blue Jays

For Sanchez, the number one priority should be his health going into this season because when he is able to pitch without any concerns about his blister/finger issue, he is one of the more dominant pitchers in the American League. While the Blue Jays want their ace to be healthy, they should be relieved that he can come in at a reasonable salary but they will have to make a decision with his future at some point.

Pillar and Grichuk will be important leaders in the clubhouse especially Pillar at 30-years-old. Both have had their struggles but have also shown their ability to contribute.  Grichuk showed that by hitting a career-high 25 home runs, and 32 doubles after a sluggish start to his season.

The Blue Jays have young outfielders looking to make their way up the ranks but for now, Pillar and Grichuk should have a lock on starting jobs next season. One player who should be a bit concerned about his future is Devon Travis considering the emergence of Lourdes Gurriel Jr., the trade to bring in Brandon Drury last season and the eventual arrival of Bo Bichette.

Expect Travis to compete for the starting second base position and possibly split time with Drury who might see his spot taken by Vladimir Guerrero Jr. sometime in April.

It will be interesting to see what Giles has to offer this upcoming season considering he is under team control until 2021. The 28-year-old went 26-for-26 in save opportunities but finished with a 4.65 ERA last season averaging 97.3 MPH on his four-seam fastball.

He was a key piece in the Roberto Osuna trade and if enough teams show interest in him down the road, the Blue Jays could consider trading him. At this point, there is no reason to move considering his value wouldn’t be great as teams might be concerned with his past issues where he threw a couple of tantrums.

Regardless, he is the Blue Jays most important relief pitcher and if he gets back to form, it could be a bonus considering Houston was willing to let him go even though Toronto would rather have Osuna.

Next. Russell Martin trade signals end of an era. dark

Expect more moves from the Blue Jays between now and spring training as the team still needs to find arms for the rotation and fill out the rest of their pitching staff going into next season.