colby rasmus january 2014The Toronto Blue Jays have avoided going to salary arbitration with outfielder Colby Rasmus and pitchers Brett Cecil and Esmil Rogers as the American League MLB club signed all three players to contracts yesterday.

Rasmus signed a one-year deal worth $7 million, while the left-handed Cecil came to terms for $1.3 million and the right-handed Rogers will make $1.85 million for the 2014 season.

The signings mean the Blue Jays have avoided arbitration hearings again since 1997. The last player to take the club to arbitration was right-handed pitcher Bill Risley 17 long years ago.

Rasmus was rewarded for his work in the 2013 season with a raise of about $2.3 million. The 27-year-old was one of Toronto’s most consistent hitters last season and he also showed he has pretty good power to boot.

He finished the season with a batting average of .276 and belted 22 home runs to go along with his 66 RBIs. His power numbers would likely have been higher, but he missed a part of the season due to injury.

However, while Rasmus and the club didn’t have much of a problem coming to terms on a new deal, the Blue Jays could lose him after the 2014 as he’ll become a free agent after the season. He could possibly remain with the club after this term if he signs an extension sometime during the 2014 campaign.

If the outfielder can repeat last year’s numbers or improve on them then he should find himself in a good position for a long-term deal with the Blue Jays or if he decides to try out the free agent market.

Good center fielders typically get paid quite handsomely when they become free agents, especially if they can hit as well as they can field. The key for Rasmus this season will be to remain healthy and to make sure he doesn’t slip into an extended batting slump.

If he can keep it up then he should be in for a pretty big pay day next year. Rasmus, who is a former first-round draft choice, has a career batting average of .248 along with 98 home runs and 312 RBIs. The Blue Jays acquired him from the St. Louis Cardinals after the 2011 season had started.

For pitchers Rogers and Cecil, it was the first time in their careers they were eligible to take their employers to arbitration. Cecil has received a raise of about $800,000 and Rogers has been given a raise of over $1.3 million.

Cecil pitched his way onto the American League All-Star team this summer after just hanging onto his position in spring training. The 27-year-old reliever struck out 70 batters last season in 60 and 2/3 innings of work and had an ERA of 2.82.

The Blue Jays figured that Rogers would be a long reliever for them in 2013, but he was forced into the starting rotation due to injuries to the Blue Jays regular staff. He started 20 games out of 44 total appearances and finished the season with a 5-9 record along with an ERA of 4.77.


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