Three players on the Blue Jays' 40-man roster were not tendered contracts today, according to the New York Post's Joel Sherman. Outfielders John Mayberry Jr. and Andy Dirks, as well as first baseman Justin Smoak are now free agents and can sign with any team (including re-signing with the Blue Jays)
#Bluejays non-tendered Mayberry Jr., Smoak and Dirks— Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) December 3, 2014
Dirks and Smoak were both waiver claims after the season ended and Mayberry Jr. was acquired in an August trade for minor leaguer Gustavo Pierre, getting into 15 games with Toronto. Smoak (whose contract option was bought out) and Mayberry Jr. were heading into their second year of arbitration while Dirks was eligible for the first time this season.
According to MLB Trade Rumors' salary arbitration projection model, the three players were projected to earn a combined $6.5 million in 2015. The non-tender move allows for the Blue Jays to gain around that much in payroll flexibility, as well as open up three more spots on the 40-man roster, which stands at just 35 members right now.
It is important to note that the Blue Jays may wish to re-sign one or more of the non-tendered players at a salary figure lower than what the club thinks they will get in arbitration. Basically, the club may want to keep the player, but just not for as much (of course, when J.P. Arencibia was non-tendered last year, it was pretty clear that he was not about to re-sign).
Four other Blue Jays who are arbitration eligible were tendered contracts:
- Pitcher Marco Estrada (projected $4.7 million)
- Third baseman Josh Donaldson (projected $4.5 million)
- Pitcher Brett Cecil (projected $2.6 million)
- Infielder Danny Valencia (projected $1.7 million)
Those four players will be eligible to exchange salary proposals with the Blue Jays and can either settle on a deal by themselves or be assigned a salary figure by an arbitrator at a hearing. The Blue Jays have not entered into arbitration with any player since reliever Bill Risley in 1997.