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Jays, Rios Avoid Arbitration

The Jays signed all-star outfielder Alexis Rios to a 1-year deal to avoid arbitration with their last eligible player for 2008. Rios will receive $4.835 million in the deal, which is much closer to the Jays' figure than Lexi's. With this deal, J.P. has extended his streak of consecutive seasons without an arbitration hearing (he has never gone to arbitration with a player).

The question now is whether the Jays and Rios will be able to work out a long-term deal that would negate this contract arrangement. In light of the deal recently given by Detroit to Curtis Granderson, such a deal could be extremely beneficial to the Jays. The Tigers will be paying Granderson 30 million over the next five seasons, including his first year of free agency. The club also gets a team option on Granderson's second year of free agency, for $13 million. I think this is a tremendous deal for Detroit. Of course, Rios is a little different because he's already in his first year of arbitration, but something on the order of 5 years and $45-50 million could get the job done and wouldn't bankrupt the team, no?

If you've been reading Bluebird Banter, you know we're a bit concerned about Vernon Wells. Well, Wells has been working out with new hitting coach Gary Denbo and the early reports are that he is swinging freely and feeling well. In fact, according to J.P., all the wounded Jays are feeling good and healthy, which is great news.

Spring Training officially starts next week when pitchers and catchers report to camp on February 15th, but several Jays are already in Dunedin, including Doc (who's surprised about that?), Greg Zaun, Aaron Hill, and Frank Thomas. No word yet on whether Zaun or Thomas is getting first dibs on the leg press.