* Yesterday, the Jays avoided arbitration with recently acquired first baseman Lyle Overbay and pitcher Scott Downs. Today, they avoided arbitration with Ted Lilly, who is set to become an unrestricted free agent after the season.
Here's the salary breakdown for '06:
Overbay - $2,525,000
Downs - $705,000
Lilly - $4,000,000
In addition, Lilly could earn a maximum of $200,000 in incentives:
$25,000 each for 190, 195, and 200 IP
$50,000 for 210 IP
$75,000 for 215 IP
Considering each player's Major League service time, the amounts they signed for aren't all that surprising. Although, if Lilly's output is similar to last year's, he won't come close to earning his '06 paycheck. If Dustin McGowan proves he's capable of starting every fifth day, the Blue Jays would be wise to strongly consider trading Lilly prior to the season. Not only would it help them financially, but I don't think it's much of a stretch to project McGowan as the better pitcher, right now.
* In other news, espn.com recently reported rumours that the Blue Jays are one of three teams that still have interest in signing free agent catcher/first baseman/DH Mike Piazza:
I don't place much credence in the rumours section at espn.com, and the possibility of this occurring seems remote. All three positions at which positions Piazza can play are blocked by a superior player, and the 12-time all-star probably wouldn't accept the role of a bench player.
Carter was the better baserunner, probably even better in the field.
Yet he's done, dropped from the ballot a year ago after getting less than 5% of the vote the first time around. He must see the votes Rice gets -- 65% -- and wonder why not him. His career may not have been Hall of Fame material -- but there's no way 337 votes separate him and Jim Rice. No way.
His argument is solely based on cherry picking the numbers. Although it's true that some of their career numbers are very similar (they're also born only one calendar day apart), many of the important ones are not. For one, Carter struggled to post a carrer OBP over .300; his career line is .259/.306/.464 compared to Rice's .298/.352/.502. In addition, Rice created 270 runs above average throughout his career, while Carter could only amass an RCAA of 28 throughout his.
Here's how they compare in terms of the Hall of Fame tests listed at baseball-reference.com:
Black Ink: 9 (Average HOFer ~ 27)
Gray Ink: 103 (Average HOFer ~ 144)
HOF Standards: 31.2 (Average HOFer ~ 50)
HOF Monitor: 89.0 (Likely HOFer > 100)
Black Ink: 33 (Average HOFer ~ 27)
Gray Ink: 176 (Average HOFer ~ 144)
HOF Standards: 42.9 (Average HOFer ~ 50)
HOF Monitor: 146.5 (Likely HOFer > 100)
* Two Blue Jays, Roy Halladay and Vernon Wells, were selected to team USA's initial roster for the inaugural World Baseball Classic. Halladay has stated that he will likely not participate, according to Globe and Mail writer Jeff Blair (scroll down to view story).