Rasmus, Cecil, Rogers avoid arbitration
Blue Jays lock up trio with one-year deals, will skip hearing process yet again
TORONTO -- The Blue Jays' streak of avoiding arbitration has been extended yet again after the club reached agreements with outfielder Colby Rasmus, left-hander Brett Cecil and right-hander Esmil Rogers on Friday morning.
Rasmus is set to earn $7 million, while Cecil signed for $1.3 million and Rogers will get $1.85 million. The signings came just before Friday's 1 p.m. ET deadline to exchange salary figures in advance of a potential arbitration hearing.
Toronto hasn't taken anyone to arbitration since right-hander Bill Risley in 1997. There have been some close calls in recent years, but the club's streak remains intact.
Rasmus earned a raise of just over $2.3 million following his breakout season at the plate in Toronto. The 27-year-old was one of the few players on the roster to exceed expectations by posting a .276 average, 22 homers, 66 RBIs and an .840 OPS.
The fact that the Blue Jays and Rasmus agreed to terms rather easily would seem to indicate there hasn't been much progress in talks regarding a contract extension. Rasmus is set to hit free agency at the end of this season, but there has yet to be any indication the two sides have had any type of serious negotiations.
Rasmus will be able to secure the lucrative contract he's undoubtedly seeking with a repeat performance of 2013. The free-agent market has been very rewarding for center fielders with impact bats in recent years, and it would appear that Rasmus is headed for a very large payday if he can avoid injury this season.
The former first-round Draft pick is a career .248 hitter, with 98 homers and 312 RBIs. He was acquired from the Cardinals midway through the 2011 season for a package of players that also included Edwin Jackson.
This is the first time Cecil and Rogers were eligible to go through the arbitration process. Cecil will see a raise of approximately $800,000, while Rogers' contract rises by more than $1.3 million.
Cecil was one of the Blue Jays' biggest surprises in 2013. He went from barely making the team out of Spring Training to becoming an All-Star reliever by July. The 27-year-old finished the year with an impressive 2.82 ERA while striking out 70 batters in 60 2/3 innings.
Rogers was expected to be a long reliever out of the bullpen, but he was pressed into the starting rotation when a series of injuries devastated the staff. In total, Rogers went 5-9 with a 4.77 ERA in 44 games (20 starts), and the higher-than-expected innings total certainly played a role in his raise.