Checking in on the Blue Jays' $48.85 million dead money team

Yahoo Canada Sports
Troy Tulowitzki is currently sidelined with a calf injury. (AP)
Troy Tulowitzki is currently sidelined with a calf injury. (AP)

On the field, the Toronto Blue Jays are one team composed of 25 guys, many of them hard to keep track of as the rebuilding roster churns away.

Things are a little different on the spreadsheet, where the Blue Jays occupy four columns.

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The first is the aforementioned club, which at this moment costs approximately $50.7 million, a number that ranks 29th in baseball, a hair below the Baltimore Orioles and in front of just the Tampa Bay Rays.

The second cohort, and most complicated cohort, is the minor league salaries. Those numbers aren’t all publicly available, but for what it’s worth the Blue Jays have increased the wages of their minor-leaguers and there’s money coming to players like Lourdes Gurriel Jr. buried in that column. So, it’s not nothing, but in the grander scheme of things it’s a small category.

Players on the injured list account for about $13.6 million, although that number is pretty fluid as guys like Clay Buchholz, Clayton Richard, and David Phelps are on their way back.

The final column is the dead money — or money the Blue Jays are paying players to play for other teams or not at all — and that total of $48,850,915 is by far the highest in baseball. The Los Angeles Dodgers have the second most deceased cash, and their number is almost $10 million less. In fact, if you combined the teams with the third and fourth highest dead-money allocations (the Padres and Rangers), their combined total would come in below the Blue Jays.

With such a staggering amount of money going out the window, it bears asking what other teams are getting out of the players the Blue Jays are still paying for:

SS Troy Tulowitzki, Yankees

Blue Jays are paying: $19,445,000

2019 stats: .182/.308/.545 with 1 HR in 13 plate appearances

Current status: 10-day injured list with a calf strain

How’s he doing?: Tulowitzki had a strong spring with the Yankees, and seemed confident that he could get his career back on track. After five games he strained his calf and hasn’t returned since.

His fit with the Yankees after the return of Didi Gregorius always looked tricky and although he theoretically could be back by the end of May, it’s hard to know what his future with the team is. There could be some at-bats at third base, but the idea of Tulowitzki putting together a big year in New York to make the Blue Jays regret giving up on him is as farfetched today as it ever was.

C Russell Martin, Dodgers

Blue Jays are paying: $16,400,000

2019 stats: .256/.389/.572 with 1 HR in 54 plate appearances, 1 inning of perfect relief pitched

Current status: Active

How’s he doing?: In a word, great. Martin has been productive at the plate for the Dodgers and could find himself earning a little more work if Austin Barnes continues to struggle offensively.

The Blue Jays catching tandem has been really unproductive, but at the same time they needed to get Danny Jansen at-bats, so moving Martin was always the play. Even with Martin performing far better than Jansen at the moment it still is.

Both parties needed to move on, and thing are working out for both — although the Blue Jays definitely want to see Jansen’s bat wake up.

DH Kendrys Morales, Yankees

Blue Jays are paying: $10,000,000

2019 stats: .209/.323/.264 with 1 HR in 130 plate appearances

Current status: Active

How’s he doing?: He’s still employed, which is something. Considering he’s a guy who exclusively “provides value” with the bat, his stats are pretty awful. He’s also about to turn 36 so it’s worth wondering if he’s cooked — and that’s putting it rather generously.

The Yankees are desperate at the moment, but it’s hard to see the big DH sticking around when guys like Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton return to action.

LHP Jamie Garcia, N/A

Blue Jays are paying: $2,000,000

2019 stats: N/A

Current status: Retired

How’s he doing?: Hopefully great. He made more than $58 million over his career so you’d think he set himself up OK.

UTIL Yangervis Solarte, N/A

Blue Jays are paying: $2,000,000

2019 stats: .205/.347/.315 with 1 HR in 78 plate appearances

Current status: Free Agent

How’s he doing?: The affable but ultimately unproductive jack-of-all-trades might catch on somewhere after being DFA’d by the Giants, but it could be on a minor-league deal considering how poorly he’s hit recently.

CF Kevin Pillar, Giants

Blue Jays are paying: $155,915

2019 stats: 235/.270/.424 with 6 HR in 141 plate appearances (with the Giants)

Current status: Active

How’s he doing?: Pillar has done his thing in San Francisco with perhaps a touch more power than expected, but his long-standing issue with getting on base remains very much intact. He’s been much better than any Blue Jays outfielder save Randal Grichuk, but considering his age and declining skill set it’s not like the club wishes it had him back.

RHP Bud Norris, N/A

Blue Jays are paying: $100,000

2019 stats: N/A

Current Status: Active

How’s he doing?: Norris could draw some interest when he gets out of injury limbo, but he’s already forgotten in Blue Jays land.

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