Morrow, Janssen headed to arbitration
By BOB ELLIOTT, QMI Agency
|Blue Jays starter Brandon Morrow reacts after giving up a run against the Red Sox at Fenway Park in Boston, Mass., Sep. 13, 2011. (ADAM HUNGER/Reuters)
TORONTO - Blue Jays right-hander Brandon Morrow and reliever Casey Janssen are likely headed to salary arbitration.
The Jays went into the final few hours leading to the Tuesday’s 1 p.m. deadline with five unsigned players for 2012.
Morrow, who earned $2.3 million US last year, has four years and 91 days service, while Janssen, who earned $1.095 million last season, has five years, 63 days service.
Morrow’s agent filed for $4.2 million while the Jays countered with a $3.9 million offer. Now, numbers will be submitted by each side and arbitration hearings will be held between Feb. 1 and Feb. 21.
General manager Alex Anthopoulos signed second baseman Kelly Johnson, right-hander Carlos Villanueva and outfielder Ben Francisco.
“Our policy hasn’t changed, once the numbers are submitted. The only way we avoid arbitration is if we make a multi-year deal,” Anthopoulos told reporters in a conference call. “One side believes in one number, the other side has their number. We agree the players should get a raise, we can’t agree on how much.”
That’s where the independent arbitrator could come in and rule whether the club or the agent submitted the winning number. There is no middle ground.
Anthopoulos was asked what the upside was to insisting if numbers were exchanged the two sides were headed to arbitration. He said based on his past experience, “We’d spend two to three weeks talking, the landscape would change, we’d spend money on lawyers’ fees, man-hours and sometimes you’d wind up haggling over $40,000 or $80,000.”
“Two things get deals done: Momentum and deadlines,” Anthopoulos said. “It forces us and the players side to get things done.”
A year ago the Jays exchanged numbers with Jose Bautista and Jason Frasor. The Jays signed Bautista to a five-year, $60-million US contract and signed Frasor to a one-year, $3.5-million deal with a club option for 2012.
Morrow, who earned $2.3 million last year, has four years and 91 days service, while Janssen, who earned $1.095 million last season, has five years, 63 days services.
The Jays have not gone to arbitration since Bill Risley in 1997 as the ill effects of what lawyers say before an arbitrator can be long lasting.
The three Jays signed non-guaranteed contracts, which means they could be released in the spring and the player would only be paid one-sixth of his salary, much like the way the Jays chose to go with Shannon Stewart and release Reed Johnson in 2008.
The second baseman signed a one-year, $6.375 million deal, a raise from $5.85 million, which he earned last season which he started with the Arizona Diamondbacks and coming over in a deal for infielders Aaron Hill and John McDonald. Villanueva agreed to a one-year, $2.277-million deal, a raise from $1.415 million in 2011.
Francisco, acquired from the Philadelphia Phillies, signed a one-year deal worth $1.537 after earning 1.175 million.
The Jays gave infielder Mark Teahen, 30, his unconditional release Tuesday, meaning they’ll eat his $5.5-million salary. Earlier the Jays moved Teahen off the 40-man roster when they signed free-agent lefty Darren Oliver.
Acquired from the Chicago White Sox for right-hander Edwin Jackson and prospect Zach Stewart, Teahen hit ,200 with four homers and 14 RBIs in 78 games with the White Sox and the Jays.