The Blue Jays have declined to tender a pair of players contracts for 2018 this evening. One is not much of a surprise; the other is a big surprise.
The #BlueJays have declined to tender 2018 contracts to INF Ryan Goins and RHP Tom Koehler.— Toronto Blue Jays (@BlueJays) December 2, 2017
Goins has been with the organization since he was selected in the fourth round of the 2009 draft and has appeared in games with the major league club during each of the last five seasons. His versatile middle infield glove (248 games at second base and 190 at shortstop) has helped keep him around, but his career .228 / .275 / .335 (.611 OPS, 63 wRC+) batting line has also always kept him on the hot seat.
In 2017, he racked up 459 plate appearances thanks to the injuries to Devon Travis and Troy Tulowitzki. This type of exposure sank his WAR to -0.2 on Baseball Reference and -0.3 on Fangraphs.
Also of note here is that the Blue Jays recently acquired Gift Ngoepe from the Pirates. Ngoepe is certainly a cheaper option up the middle than Goins, and perhaps the Blue Jays also think he will be better.
*** Update *** And just as I finished writing this, the Jays also acquired Aledmys Diaz from the Cardinals. With these moves, Toronto’s middle infield plan for 2018 becomes clearer.
Tom Koehler not getting tendered a contract is no surprise as he was slated to make $6 million in 2018 according to MLB Trade Rumors. He was acquired from the Marlins mid season, mainly to fill out the pitching staff in August and September as the Jays limped to the finish line.
Earlier this week, Matt W ran a great series writing about four potential non tender candidates (Ryan Goins, Tom Koehler, Aaron Loup and Ezequiel Carrera) and included polls at the end to see what the community here thinks. The results were as follows:
The following nine players are all under Toronto's control next season and were tendered a contract by tonight’s deadline. (I’ve added their service time and projected 2018 salaries from MLB trade rumors):
- Josh Donaldson (5.158) – $20.7MM
- Marcus Stroman (3.148) – $7.2MM
- Roberto Osuna (3.000) – $5.6MM
- Kevin Pillar (3.113) – $4.0MM
- Ezequiel Carrera (4.039) – $1.9MM
- Aaron Sanchez (3.069) – $1.9MM
- Aaron Loup (5.040) – $1.8MM
- Devon Travis (3.000) – $1.7M
- Dominic Leone (2.123) – $1.2MM
With Goins and Koehler not being tendered contracts, the Blue Jays 40-man roster now stands at 37 players. *** UPDATE *** And now 38 players with the Diaz trade.