The 2013 Blue Jays may not have been the worst in franchise history dating back to 1977 but with a team record payroll ranking 10th highest in baseball on opening day it easily may have been the most disappointing season in the franchise’s 37 seasons of play. The ’13 Jays according to numbers compiled by the Associated Press spent $118244575 (US) on 25 players plus the disabled list.

And that Jays’ 2013 guaranteed dollar number on payroll could skyrocket in 2014 to about $134 million even before attempting to add to GM Alex Anthopoulos’s fanciful wish list of: a high-priced starting pitcher for the rotation a second-baseman an outfielder and perhaps a new catcher.

Winning in 2014 will require clearing some of the current payroll and . . . imagination.

The Jays are already committed to spend $107.2 million for 13 players under long-term deals. In addition veterans Adam Lind and Casey Janssen have club options adding up to $11 million. Also outfielder Colby Rasmus in his final year before free agency will likely earn about $7 million in arbitration on a one-year deal. Brett Cecil J.P. Arencibia and Esmil Rogers are also arbitration-eligible.

Fans will recognize that clearly the most disappointing aspect of the Jays in 2013 was the starting rotation importing star veterans who dramatically disappointed. Unfortunately the Jays are on the hook for a guaranteed $50.7 million in 2014 for those same starters — Mark Buehrle ($18M) R.A. Dickey ($12M) Brandon Morrow ($8M) Ricky Romero ($7.5M) and J.A. Happ ($5.2M).

Four other star Jays are guaranteed $8 million or more including shortstop Jose Reyes ($16M) Jose Bautista ($14M) Edwin Encarnacion ($9M) and Melky Cabrera ($8M). Under this scenario how can the Jays possibly afford to pick up the $7-million option for DH/1B Lind or the $4.0 million for closer Janssen? Rasmus additionally has had a solid season that will be rewarded in arbitration.

The wild-card in the Blue Jays payroll equation is that while Anthopoulos has said that there are no surprises moving forward and Rogers ownership has been aware from Day 1 that payroll must go up in 2014 simply from all the built-in raises the unknown X factor has become the new Rogers CEO a man named Guy Laurence a Brit moving over from Vodaphone UK a man with a reputation for cost-cutting downsizing and outside-the-box corporate vision. The Telegraph a UK newspaper reported that by 2011 Vodaphone featured 7150 employees down from 9500 when he took over in 2008.