Separate Ways (Worlds Apart in Salary Arbitration)
“Here we stand, worlds apart, hearts broken in two, two, two.”
It’s not every day that a Journey lyric leads off a blog post here, but I thought this one was rather poignant regarding the Blue Jays arbitration cases.
Before we get to the focus of this post, let me start off with my two cents on this song. I don’t care what anybody says about Journey; the guitar riff and keyboard solo on this track are amazing.
And although Steve Perry is the centrepiece of this video, my favourite character is the keyboardist; Jonathan Crain. Not only does he perform the long lost art of air keyboarding, but at the 54 second mark Crain is demonstrating a move which resembles that of a cat playing a keyboard.
Anyway, back to the matter at hand …
The Blue Jays didn’t come to terms with Jason Frasor and Jose Bautista, and thus they will go to arbitration if they cannot come to an agreement before the hearings. From what I understand, deals can still be signed before arbitration, which basically negates the whole point of having a deadline … doesn’t it?
Jose Bautista’s case is pretty straight forward: he and his agent Bean Stringfellow (no, seriously, that’s his name) believe he’s worth $10.5 million, and the club believes he’s worth $7.6 million. I truly believe if this goes to arbitration, they will rule in favour of the Blue Jays.
Jason Frasor’s arbitration case however, is much more complicated. There are some interesting conspiracy theories out there, one such proposed by the Tao of Stieb that this is merely setting the Blue Jays up to trade Frasor this offseason.
I can definitely see that as a possibility, as it doesn’t make much sense why the Blue Jays and Jason Frasor couldn’t bridge the gap for a paltry $500,000 dollars. Much like Parkes said over at Getting Blanked, there’s no reason why the club couldn’t concede that cash.
If the Jays can inexplicably give Yunel Escobar a raise from $435,000 to $2.9 million, then they can afford to shell out an extra 500K for Frasor. It’s the least to ask from a guy who’s spent his entire seven year career with the Toronto Blue Jays thus far.
There must be an ulterior motive here, whether it’s sending a message to players that the club isn’t afraid of going to salary arbitration anymore, or if it’s just that the Blue Jays are biding time to find a suitor for Jason Frasor.
Alex Anthopoulos already said that the door has closed on working out a one-year contract, so either they’re negotiating with Jason Frasor on a multi-year deal, or they’re anticipating the arbitrators will rule in favour of the club, and then the wheels can be set in motion for a trade.
Again, this is entirely just speculation on my part, and maybe we’re just fabricating a scenario that AA hasn’t even fathomed. I’m definitely guilty of tending to overthink things in the offseason due to the fact that there’s a surplus of time to ponder about these scenarios.
Whether or not the Blue Jays do in fact work out a contract with Jose Bautista and Jason Frasor remains to be seen. But by ending the arbitration streak at 13 years, Alex Anthopoulos has set a new precedent for negotiations in the future.
For any players wishing to play hardball at salary arbitration, it seems that AA has echoed this message which can be found within the lyrics of Separate Ways;
“If you must go, I wish you love. You’ll never walk alone,
Take care my love, Miss you love”.