Scott Boras, Aaron Sanchez’s new agent, has wasted no time in striking up controversy, complaining about Sanchez’s league minimum contract to Shi Davidi of Sportsnet late last night. Sanchez, to be paid $535,000 in 2017, rejected a slightly higher offer calculated by Toronto’s “formula for calculating its pre-arbitration raises.”
As Davidi notes, the team has used this formula, largely based on service time, for the past ten years to determine the salary of arbitration-eligible players, and, should a player reject that offer, the contract is renewed at the league minimum, per team policy. Scott Boras had some thoughts against that process.
"They offered him a very small raise above the minimum, which is not commensurate to his performance peers. Some teams have very low payment standards but they say if you renew we understand, but you still keep the money we’re giving you. Toronto is so rigid, they not only have a very antiquated or substandard policy compared to the other teams for extraordinary performance, but if you don’t accept what that low standard is, they then have the poison pill of saying, you get paid the minimum. It’s the harshest treatment in baseball that any club could provide for a player. That’s why few teams have such a policy."
On the other side of the coin, general manager Ross Atkins disagrees with Boras’s statement.
"This is a policy that was put in place 10 years ago. I don’t see it as punitive, we don’t see it as punitive because it’s your choice to not accept the higher number... We focus on communication, resources, giving Aaron the best chance to be everything he can be and making sure we’re breaking down every possible barrier. There are times when there are disagreements and typically they’re about things like this, about areas of compensation. We try to be consistent and fair and not break precedents and not break policy. From our perspective, we’ll continue to focus on the relationship in terms of how we provide the best resources possible for him in terms of getting better."
Toronto’s talks with the city of Dunedin for an expanded spring training facility are progressing, per Noah Pransky of WTSP in Tampa Bay. Blue Jay president Mark Shapiro met with board members of the Pinellas county, explaining the financial uplift that the Blue Jays bring to Dunedin and the surrounding area.
Interestingly, the Blue Jays mentioned Arizona during their meeting. When asked whether the team was moving, one executive responded, “Our goal is to stay.” The executives were not to subtle in noting that Toronto stands as the only MLB team to never change spring training homes.
If some sort of deal comes through, Pransky notes that the Blue Jays would have to handle all maintenance costs on the expanded facility, a burden that the public is generally held accountable for.
After an off day yesterday, the Blue Jays will face the New York Yankees at Florida Auto Exchange Stadium. With the game starting at 1:07 PM EST, Aaron Sanchez will start for Toronto with Luis Cessa getting the nod for New York. The game will not be televised, but can be listened to on SN590 and with applicable MLB.com subscriptions.
Follow Mark Colley on Instagram and Twitter at @360BlueJayNews and @MarkColley.