Jays Realize Return on Arbitration Offers

Two months ago, the Blue Jays traded for Miguel Olivo just to decline his option and offer him arbitration. Along with John Buck, Jason Frasor, Scott Downs, and Kevin Gregg, Olivo was just one of the group of players with which Alex Anthopolous was plotting to acquire compensatory draft picks, as outlined in this piece. Yesterday, the last of that quintet signed as Kevin Gregg agreed to a two-year deal with the Baltimore Orioles. Just how many draft picks did they bring back, and how valuable are they?

Jason Frasor is the only one who will be returning to the Jays next year, as he accepted the team’s arbitration offer. Buck, Olivo, and Gregg will each bring back a supplemental pick, as they were all type B free agents and have signed with Florida, Seattle, and Baltimore, respectively. The Jays got slightly unlucky with their return on Scott Downs, as the Angels were just barely bad enough in 2010 to earn a protected pick. As such, the Jays will receive the Angels second round pick (third if they go on to sign Rafael Soriano) from Anaheim along with the compensatory pick they will receive from Major League Baseball.

According to Victor Wang’s research cited in my previous piece, those five picks will bring in a total of $11 million in value. Considering that the 2011 draft is widely considered to be one of the deepest draft in recent memory and that salaries have seen a good deal of inflation recently, there is good reason to believe that the value realized by the Jays will be even greater.

Although much of this turned out to be simply a right-place right-time scenario, I believe Alex Anthopolous should be praised for finding and exploiting an inefficiency in the game at a time when his team was in a perfect position to do so. The Jays were unafraid to offer arbitration to potentially expensive players and even spent $500,000 in order to add a supplemental pick in the form of Olivo. Obviously, none of this will matter if the Jays’ scouting department blows the draft, but as of right now, the Jays are in a great position to really boost their farm system. Along with the addition of Brett Lawrie, the team will add seven of the first 72 picks in the 2011 draft. Even without adding any first rounders through their type A free agents, the Jays should be satisfied with their haul.

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