SPORTS

Blue Jays payroll expected to bulge in 2015

10/03/2014 12:33 EDT | Updated 12/03/2014 05:59 EST
Toronto Blue Jays president and CEO Paul Beeston provided fans some promising news Friday, saying he believes the club's payroll will rise heading into the 2015 season.

Beeston joined Toronto sports talk radio station The FAN to discuss several issues surrounding the club, including payroll, Melky Cabrera, and his own contractual status.

The man who helped guide the Blue Jays to World Series championships in 1992 and 1993, said he expects the club to increase its roster spending to the range of $135 to $137 million U.S. next season.

Beeston stated that Rogers, the company who owns the Blue Jays, did not impose any financial restrictions that prevented the club from making moves at the July 31 trade deadline.

Beeston, who is entering the final year of his contract, reiterated that money was not the reason for failing to make any moves prior to the July 31 trade deadline. Instead, Beeston said the club would only have made a deal if it made baseball sense.

Despite announcing his hopes to spend more heading into 2015, Beeston confirmed that the Blue Jays remain staus quo on its five-year policy. The club remains dedicated to cap player and free-agent contracts to five years, something general manager Alex Anthopoulos stated before the end of the season.

Currently the Blue Jays have $96 million locked up in contracts for 2015, with several players eligible for arbitration, including Brett Lawrie.

That figure does not include the Blue Jays' club options on Adam Lind, J.A. Happ, and Brandon Morrow.

Cabrera is a priority

One player Beeston hopes the club will be able to re-sign is outfielder Melky Cabrera, who finished the season with the second highest batting average on the roster. Cabrera also lead the squad with 35 doubles.

Beeston said Cabrera and the Blue Jays have mutual interest in getting a deal done, but Cabrera is slated to generate a significant pay increase from the $8 million he made the past two seasons.

2014 spending

Spotrac reported the Blue Jays entered 2014 with a payroll of $128.7 million. Additional moves throughout the season inflated the Jay's closing day payroll to $137.1 million according to Baseball Prospectus.

Blue Jays spending equalled the average roster salary among American League East clubs and was more than $22 million higher than the Major League average.

Since 2015, the club's payroll has risen $55 million, proving the Blue Jays are willing to spend money.

Grass for 2018

He also went on to say that he wants the Rogers Centre to house a grass field by the 2018 season. The dome will have a new artificial turf when baseball returns next summer, but the goal is to have natural turf within the next four season. 

One challenge Beeston acknowledged is air currents, which the concrete pit known as Rogers Centre tends to lack. Beeston did insist grass is possible, saying the club has paid close attention to how Milwaukee made indoor grass possible, including using large air fans to help keep the natural turf field alive.

All-Star game in Toronto?

Beeston also expressed his interest in hosting the 2018 MLB All-Star Game, and hopes a grass field will help attract the mid-summer classic to Toronto.

Beeston did say the Blue Jays are planning to submit a request to host the All-Star Game, but stated a formal request had not been sent to Major League Baseball.

Toronto last hosted the All-Star game in 1991.

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