Blue Jays reportedly given ownership approval for large payroll increase

President and CEO Mark Shapiro of the Toronto Blue Jays talks to general manager Ross Atkins. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
President and CEO Mark Shapiro of the Toronto Blue Jays talks to general manager Ross Atkins. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images) /

The Toronto Blue Jays are apparently in line for a significant influx of cash from ownership to help a payroll which was ranked 12th in 2021.

According to Spotrac, the Toronto Blue Jays had a total payroll of $150.14 million last year, good enough to be ranked 12th in the Majors. If the latest report is correct, they will be in line to move up even higher whenever the 2022 season begins.

As per Joel Sherman of the New York Post, the Blue Jays have apparently been given ownership approval for a large increase in payroll. This speaks volumes about the mindset of the organisation, considering how much has already been invested in the likes of Kevin Gausman and Jose Berrios during the off-season.

It seems clear the Blue Jays are focused on being genuine contenders and they know they need to spend big to bring this to fruition, especially playing in the AL East. For some perspective, last year the Yankees ranked second in payroll while the Red Sox were sixth, at just under $205.67 million and $188.23 million respectively.

The outcome should result in the Blue Jays moving into the top 10 for MLB team payrolls. In fairness to the organisation though, they were also in the top 10 in four of the previous eight seasons.

It’s evident the Blue Jays have an extremely talented roster, which came up agonizingly short in the chase for a wild card spot last year. The general consensus was they would have been a dangerous playoff team for others to face.

At the same time, ownership knows the ball club still needs to improve — especially after losing the likes of Marcus Semien and Robbie Ray — but who do they have their sights set on? One player being mentioned is Freddie Freeman, given the Blue Jays’ wish to add a left-handed bat to their potent lineup.

It was originally believed Freeman would likely re-sign with the Atlanta Braves, but this is now apparently not so clear-cut. During a recent appearance on Sportsnet‘s Tim & Friends, MLB insider Ken Rosenthal said he expects the Blue Jays to be in the mix once the lockout ends.

Certainly, adding the first baseman would be an excellent coup for the Blue Jays. Even at 32, Freeman is as good as ever, coming off a year where he was named an All-Star, picked up a Silver Slugger Award and won his first World Series.

Other names the Blue Jays have been linked with, include Carlos Correa and Tyler Mahle. Of course it’s all speculation at this point, particularly until the lockout ends.

Another thing the Blue Jays could use the extra money towards, is the situation surrounding Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Bo Bichette. Both players are under team control through the 2025 season, but the preference is understandably to keep them around even longer.

The respective values of Guerrero Jr. and Bichette are only expected to increase in the coming years. As such, as Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi wrote, the Blue Jays would be smart to sign both players long-term sooner than later.

Overall, the increased payroll is clearly good news for the ball club and their fans. Now all everyone needs is for the lockout to be resolved as soon as possible, so the Blue Jays can get down to the business of strengthening their roster.

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Whilst appreciating the current MLB lockout has dampened spirits for baseball fans, what is your opinion of the report surrounding an increase in payroll? Do you see the Blue Jays being genuine contenders whenever the 2022 season begins? Let us know in the comments section below.