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Toronto allows Goins, Koehler to hit free agency

MLB.com @gregorMLB

TORONTO -- Ryan Goins and Tom Koehler are officially free agents after the Blue Jays declined to tender contracts to both players prior to Friday night's 8 p.m. ET deadline.

Goins and Koehler were scheduled to go through arbitration later this offseason, but instead will now hit the open market. Koehler could have been in line for a raise on the $5.6 million he made in 2017, while Goins was arbitration-eligible for the first time after making approximately $550,000 this year.

TORONTO -- Ryan Goins and Tom Koehler are officially free agents after the Blue Jays declined to tender contracts to both players prior to Friday night's 8 p.m. ET deadline.

Goins and Koehler were scheduled to go through arbitration later this offseason, but instead will now hit the open market. Koehler could have been in line for a raise on the $5.6 million he made in 2017, while Goins was arbitration-eligible for the first time after making approximately $550,000 this year.

The Blue Jays tendered contracts to their other eight players who were eligible for arbitration. The list includes third baseman Josh Donaldson, second baseman Devon Travis, outfielder Ezequiel Carrera, outfielder Kevin Pillar, left-hander Aaron Loup, and righties Marcus Stroman, Aaron Sanchez and Roberto Osuna.

The decision to non-tender Koehler hardly comes as surprise considering the amount of money he could have made through arbitration. He made at least 23 starts for the Marlins from 2013-16, but his performance dipped this past season with a 7.92 ERA in 12 starts for Miami. He was acquired by Toronto in a midseason deal and transitioned to the bullpen, but in the end, the Blue Jays could not justify the cost to let the experiment continue.

Video: TOR@NYY: Koehler fans Ellsbury to K side in the 7th

Toronto could still look to bring back Koehler on a more affordable deal, as the club did with Justin Smoak in 2015. Smoak was non-tendered because of a high arbitration cost, but he eventually signed a one-year deal at a reduced $1 million rate to remain with the organization. Following a lengthy audition in 2017, that's one avenue Toronto may consider taking once again.

Goins' departure may have been a little surprising earlier this year, but not after the Blue Jays made a pair of trades in recent weeks. The first came in mid-November when the club acquired infielder Gift Ngoepe, and the second happened Friday night when the Blue Jays traded Minor League outfielder J.B. Woodman to the Cardinals for infielder Aledmys Diaz. Richard Urena provides even more depth in the Minors, and as a result, Goins became the odd man out.

Koehler's stint with the Blue Jays lasted only a couple of months, but Goins had been with the club since the 2009 Draft. He posted a career-high 62 RBIs last season, thanks in large part to a .330 average with runners in scoring position. But overall he slashed just .237/.286/.356. Goins also was out of options on his contract and could not be sent to the Minors without first clearing waivers.

The latest roster shuffle leaves the Blue Jays with 38 players on their 40-man roster. Toronto currently has approximately $90 million in allocated payroll for next season, but that figure does not include pre-arbitration or arbitration-eligible players. When all cases are factored in, the Blue Jays' payroll is approximately $140 million. They spent $170 million on salaries in 2017, and a similar number is expected next year, but the club has not publicly commented on the amount.

The middle infield appears to be taken care of, but the Blue Jays remain in the market for a corner outfielder, fifth starter and left-handed reliever.

Gregor Chisholm has covered the Blue Jays for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast.

Toronto Blue Jays, Ryan Goins, Tom Koehler