From the great site, Cot's Baseball Contracts we should analyze the Jays finances. The Blue Jays have a unique system with their revenue based on the Canadian dollar and the exchange rate has played a huge factor in their financial situation in the past.
The Blue Jays should be flush with more finances despite an increasing payroll. Let's take a look so far with the contracts we have in 2008:
CF - Vernon Wells $0.5M + $8.5 M
RF - Alexis Rios ?? (Arbitration)
LF - Matt Stairs $2.25 M/Reed Johnson (??)/ Adam Lind (~300K)
3B - Troy Glaus $12.75 M
SS - John McDonald $1.9 M
2B - Aaron Hill (??)
1B - Lyle Overbay $5.8 M
DH - Frank Thomas $8 M
C - Gregg Zaun $3.75 M
Curtis Thigpen (~300k)
Russ Adams (~400k)
?? - likely to be filled
SP1 - Roy Halladay $10 M
SP2 - AJ Burnett $12 M
SP3 - Dustin McGowan (~300k)
SP4 - Shaun Marcum (~400k)
SP5 - Jesse Litsch (~300k)/ Gustavo Chacin (~400k)
CL - BJ Ryan $10 M
RP - Casey Janssen (~400k)
RP - Scott Downs (??)
RP - Jeremy Accardo (~400k)
RP - Jason Frasor (??)
RP - Brian Tallet (~400k)
There is a lot of guesswork involved when trying to predict the salaries of players under the team's control.
A few big cases for arbitration:
Reed Johnson - IF it is offered I think they will match it at $3.075 M
Alex Rios - I think he can get $4-5 M depending on who they can use as comps. Hint to Jays management: get this guy signed long term. I'll say $4 M here.
Scott Downs - I'm thinking between $2-3 M to keep his services. Considering the market, Downs could fetch 3 years/$15 million for his services once he hits free agency in 2009. I'll say 2.5 M.
Frasor - Arbitration eligible, I think he fits in the $1-1.5 M range. I'll say $1.25 M
Aaron Hill - Not sure but if he ends up being considered a Super 2 he may get around 800K.
With Sparky: $90.7 M
Without Sparky: $87.6 M
Last Year's Salary: $81.9 M
Last Year's Exchange Rate: 86 cents Canadian/US Dollar
Last Year's Salary in Canadian: $95.2 M
Current Salary in Canadian:
With Sparky: $87.2 Million
W/O Sparky: $84.2 Million
Depending on whether we choose to retain our lead off man. We CAN make one significant signing this off-season or do what we did last year and bring guys in as role players.
What would you do with the extra money?
There are plenty of things the Jays management can do. They can sign a catcher to have a platoon, Alexei Ramirez looks like an interesting player at SS, or how about trading AJ Burnett for Tejada and signing another pitcher?
All speculation but it's fun to do. Hopefully the Jays don't go quietly...