TORONTO -- Yangervis Solarte survived one important roster deadline last week, but he's not out of the woods yet. Another deadline looms Friday.All Major League teams have until 8 p.m. ET Friday to tender each of their arbitration-eligible players a contract for 2019. Toronto has 10 players who fall into
TORONTO -- Yangervis Solarte survived one important roster deadline last week, but he's not out of the woods yet. Another deadline looms Friday.
All Major League teams have until 8 p.m. ET Friday to tender each of their arbitration-eligible players a contract for 2019. Toronto has 10 players who fall into this category, and while most are expected to stick around, the same cannot be said about Solarte.
Toronto does not have any open spots on its 40-man roster. Before the club signs a free agent or adds players through trade, additional space will have to be created. Non-tendering a player is one way to do that, and with that in mind, here's a closer look at the Blue Jays' arbitration-eligible players.
Solarte's departure has been a foregone conclusion ever since the Blue Jays decided to buy out his $5.5 million club option for $750,000 earlier this month. Toronto has spent the past two months gauging trade interest, but a decent offer has yet to surface and a move seems unlikely to happen by Friday. Solarte's club option likely would have been cheaper than his cost through arbitration, so all signs point to him being non-tendered and then becoming a free agent.
Outfielder Kevin Pillar
Pillar made $3.25 million in his first year of arbitration and is due another significant raise. It might not be this year, but at some point, the Blue Jays will have to determine whether the price tag is worth the investment. Pillar slashed .252/.282/.426 last season and has put up similar numbers for most of his career, but his Defensive Runs Saved dropped from 15 in 2017 to -2 in '18. It would be a surprise if Pillar was cut loose, but Toronto has alternatives with Randal Grichuk as a possibility to shift from right to center.
Right-hander Joe Biagini
The 2018 season was nothing short of a disaster for the former Rule 5 Draft pick. Toronto didn't do Biagini any favors by frequently shifting his role from starter to reliever over the past two years, but even that doesn't fully explain his struggles. Biagini once held a key setup role, but last season he struggled to hang onto a roster spot while posting a 6.00 ERA. The 28-year-old is eligible for arbitration for the first time and will only command a modest salary, so unless his spot on the 40-man roster is needed for someone else, he should stick around.
Second baseman Devon Travis
Travis, a second-year arbitration-eligible player, is coming off a season in which he made $1.45 million. He doesn't make much sense as a non-tender candidate, but there are some legitimate questions about his future with the organization. Brandon Drury will become an option at second base when Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is promoted to the Majors. Lourdes Gurriel Jr., Bo Bichette and Cavan Biggio are among the prospects who could eventually land there as well. The Blue Jays could look to deal Travis this offseason, but if he's still around next spring, the 27-year-old will need a fast start to secure long-term playing time.
Right-handed pitchers Marcus Stroman, Aaron Sanchez, Ken Giles and Dennis Tepera are all arbitration-eligible, as well as Drury and Grichuk. Barring an unexpected trade, Stroman and Sanchez will be called upon to anchor the rotation while Giles and Tepera will assume the late-inning duties out of the bullpen. Drury likely starts the year at third until Guerrero is promoted at the end of April, while Grichuk would start in either right or center field depending on what happens with Pillar.
Gregor Chisholm has covered the Blue Jays for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast.