Toronto Blue Jays 2013: A Look at Upcoming Offseason Decisions

Tim MackayCorrespondent ISeptember 9, 2013

Toronto Blue Jays 2013: A Look at Upcoming Offseason Decisions

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    Toronto Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos has gone through a crisis of confidence in 2013. 

    After making massive moves to objectively improve his roster during the offseason, everything that could go wrong has gone wrong once the baseball games actually started to be played. 

    As a GM, you have to be a little confused, frustrated and nervous going into the upcoming offseason. 

    One of Anthopoulos' prized acquisitions has diminished into something barely passable as a major league starting pitcher. His center fielder has emerged as a productive offensive and defensive weapon directly before being arbitration eligible. And he has a few team options to weigh before getting into free agency and trades during the winter months.

    Here's a look at some of the players Anthopoulos will have to make decisions on during the initial stages of baseball's offseason.   

Adam Lind

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    2013 Stats: 126 GP/.280 AVG/.829 OPS/19 HR/54 RBI

    2014 Contract Status: $7 million Team Option

    Adam Lind has had a nice, productive season in 2013, recovering from major setbacks over the last three years. 

    After a fantastic May and June, Lind struggled in July, which brought his numbers back to earth. Perhaps the most encouraging facet of Lind's game has been his improvement in plate discipline. In 2010 and 2011, Lind had a terrible time getting on base, striking out more than 100 times. 

    This season, his walk rate has jumped to Lind's highest mark ever. Approximately 10 percent of Lind's plate appearances in 2013 resulted in a free pass. 

    The bottom line on Lind's season was that he was productive. He posted a solid 1.4 WAR and did a nice enough job at first base when needed. 

    The question that Anthopoulos will need to ask himself is whether he thinks Lind is the most productive hitter the Jays can find out of the DH spot. Is Lind worth $7 million a year? Probably. But more importantly, the Jays are not likely to find another hitter who can post a .280 average and a .358 wOBP at that price tag this offseason. 

    This is an easy decision for Anthopoulos to pick up the club option on Lind.  

Colby Rasmus

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    2013 Stats: 112 GP/.273 AVG/.813 OPS/18 HR/60 RBI

    2014 Contract Status: Arbitration Eligible

    Colby Rasmus is in for a payday. 

    He posted his most productive and consistent season as a Blue Jay in 2013, bringing his numbers close to where they were in his breakout campaign with St. Louis in 2010.

    His strikeout rate has skyrocketed this season, but that may be more indicative of Colby's comfort level than anything else. His strikeout rate was also very high during his 2010 season, which perhaps reflects Rasmus' level of confidence at the plate. 

    Either way, the Jays center fielder has been productive with his bat and distinguished himself as one of the top defenders at his position in the major leagues. 

    Since Rasmus is arbitration eligible after the end of this season, the Jays will either have to offer Rasmus big money or have a judge order them to give him big money. 

    Rasmus and his agent may look at Michael Bourn's contract from a year ago ($48 million over 4 years) as a comparable deal. Bourn was on the free-agent market, and Rasmus will be going through arbitration, likely dropping the term and value of the deal in favor of the Jays. But a judge will likely give the center fielder a very nice salary boost over the $4.7 million he made in 2013.

    The Jays need and want Rasmus. It's just a matter of hammering out the details of his next contract. 

Josh Johnson

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    2013 Stats: 16 GS/2-8 WL/6.20 ERA

    2014 Contract Status: Free Agent

    Baseball's collective bargaining agreement has eliminated all of the confusion with Type A and Type B free agents, making things a little simpler going forward. 

    Before this season, teams would receive draft picks in compensation for free agents who signed with other teams. Anthopoulos made great use of this rule, acquiring several high draft picks for essentially nothing on several occasions. 

    Now, instead of Type A and Type B free agents, teams can submit a one-year qualifying offer to their free agents. You can read more about how this all works here

    Why are we talking about this? Josh Johnson, whose first season with the Blue Jays has been an absolute train wreck, likely has no choice but to accept a qualifying offer from the team.

    As explained in the link above, the value for a qualifying offer is determined by averaging the top 125 player salaries from the previous year. 

    This year's qualifying offers will be approximately $13.33 million. 

    If you were Josh Johnson, would you take $13 million to have a second chance to prove you're a major league starting pitcher? 

    Of course you would because you're not crazy. 

    The bigger question is whether the Jays want to hold on to Johnson for that price tag. Given the team's struggles with their starting rotation and Johnson's stellar career numbers, the Jays would be smart to bring Johnson back for 2014 and hope that this season was a strange abnormality in an otherwise impressive career. 

    It's a risk, but it's one the team has to take.

Other Decisions

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    Casey Janssen

    2014 Contract Status: $4 million Team Option

    Casey Janssen has been the anchor of one of the strongest bullpens in the major leagues this season. He'll be 32 in a couple of weeks, and while some may think $4 million is too much for a closer, the Jays would be smart to try to keep their bullpen intact. 

     

    Rajai Davis

    2014 Contract Status: Free Agent

    Whether or not Rajai Davis remains in a Blue Jay uniform depends on what type of term and value he's looking for on his next contract. Considering he'll likely fit in as a bench/utility player on the Jays next season, Davis will seek work elsewhere this offseason.

     

    Darren Oliver

    2014 Contract Status: Free Agent

    Poor Darren Oliver thought he had one last shot at the World Series with the Jays this season. Unfortunately for all parties involved, that blew up in everyone's faces, and Oliver will retire like he wanted to last season.

     

    Arbitration Eligible: Brett Cecil, Esmil Rogers, J.P. Arencibia

    All three will be back next year, and we will have to wait and see for what price.

     

    All statistics courtesy of FanGraphs.com