The Toronto Blue Jays enter the 2011 season with something they haven't had in quite some time: Financial flexibility.
Freed from the shackles of the Vernon Wells contractual albatross, the team now has the ability to add signature free agents, re-sign established players to extensions (as they did with Jose Bautista) and even make a trade or two for a big name player to assist a potential playoff push.
Currently the Toronto Payroll is $64,090,000 (which includes the raise given to Bautista), however this will fluctuate as the Jays finalize their final roster in time for opening day on April 1st. As it stands, this is a savings of $14,599,357 when compared to the opening payroll of the 2010 season.
That's a huge chunk of change to play with.
While I don't expect GM Alex Anthopoulos to make any major moves between now and the All Star break, there are a few scenarios where the need for a player addition could arise.
Regardless, whether its a trade or more likely, a free agent signing next off season, the windfall created by the Wells trade is burning a hole in the pockets of Blue Jays management.
Caveat Alert: The following slides are pure conjecture. I'm not attempting to spread any unfounded rumors nor am I trying to falsely represent myself as someone with a pipeline to insider information. I just looked at the rosters of teams who could be out of the playoff picture early and looking to shed some salary.
-Contractual data from Cot's Baseball Contracts: