Image courtesy blatant theft from our friend The Blue Jay Hunter, via Google Images

Hmm…

Seems that while I was busy cranking out content for Getting Blanked there late in the week (*cough*), and over the weekend while I was busy telling a thoroughly excellent band of New Yorkers (full disclosure: labelmates) that it’s OK to be third-generation Yankees fans because you can’t change something you’re born into, y’know, the same way it’s OK to be a racist if you’re born into a family of racists (Note: ZANG!), the Jays were doing a little business. First off, they avoided arbitration with Jason Frasor, signing him to a one-year deal for $3.5-million with a club option for $3.75-million in 2012, then they came to terms with the newly-acquired Frank Francisco for $4-million, all while rumours swirled that the club could have been involved in a three way deal that would send Chone Figgins to Oakland with Kevin Kouzmanoff possibly winding up here. (MLBTR is the easiest place to check out all the details.)

I saw the Frasor news at the time and didn’t bother to write about it because, apart from general laziness, it seems so clear that his time on the Jays roster is coming to an end.

I suppose I might totally be wrong about that but… yeah, it’s not just that Anthopoulos has rarely mentioned Frasor when discussing the bullpen, or that he’s specifcially kept his name out of any public conversation of who is in the mix to close games. It’s more that it makes so little sense to not only pay Frasor that much as your fourth bullpen right-hander, but to pay Shawn Camp $2.5-million to be your fifth bullpen right-hander, and so on down the line (Villanueva makes $1.45-million and Janssen a million-and-change).

The problem, of course, is not just that you shouldn’t have to pay that much for those lower-leverage innings, but that, based on the way you intend to use him there’s quite the disparity between Frasor’s potential value to you and to anybody else. For that reason alone you’d figure something’s got to give. (Some suspected that Frasor might have been involved in the Figgins-Kouzmanoff deal, but that’s entirely speculative.)

Here’s how I see the bullpen, given the way things currently stand: Unlike Octavio Dotel, Frank Francisco has a reasonably even platoon split for his career, so my early guess (read: hope) is that Francisco takes over the Scott Downs role, coming into the highest leverage situations against just about anybody, with Rauch closing clean ninths, Dotel being a ROOGY– because it would be insanity to ever have him face a left-hander– and David Purcey taking some of the lefty action away from Francisco.

There will still be plenty of innings for the guys farther down the depth chart, and it’s not like the Jays can’t afford to overpay a guy, but again with Camp, Janssen and Villanueva also around (and Roenicke maybe pressing, if he ever figures how to locate his goddamned pitches), it’s not like there’s a pressing reason to keep Frasor around. And the fact that the Jays have added a club option to the deal they just signed with Frasor, which allows some flexibility to avoid the offer him arbitration in the hope he doesn’t take it scenario they were forced into this winter, makes him more a movable commodity, I think.

So, basically, too much seems to point towards an upcoming trade for me to believe otherwise, regardless of what the club is saying about being done making moves.

Yours sincerely,
Captain Obvious

Comments (67)

  1. Kind of sucks that the A’s were on Mark Reynolds no-trade list. The Diamondbacks asked for Mazzaro and Kouzmanoff. Wow.

  2. The option makes Frasor exactly the type of player AA desires. While Frasor might be more valuable for another team this year, his overall value, when including the possibility of a pick, might be higher to AA than any other GM. If Frasor has a good year and is in a position to possibly get anything better than 3.75, AA will have some leverage in negotiations with Frasor’s agent. AA can offer to decline the option if Frasor declines arbitration, and possibly even put a standing offer on the table of 3.75mm if Frasor is unable to find a better offer.

  3. Which, might I add, even though questionably illegal, AA should have done this past off-season with Frasor. Would it have been so hard to tell his agent that this contract would be on the table for im if he struck out in free agency?

  4. Is the Kouz talk all but dead now? Although he’s had an ugly OBP for a couple years now, he’d be a cheap stopgap until something better comes along. That and he’s still young enough to turn it around and show some upside in a hitter friendly park…..

  5. When has Anthopolous ever operated in a manner that suggests that something in particular ( say Frasor being moved?) is about to happen? Other than the Halladay trade, which everyone knew was coming, what other moves can we say we collectively saw On the horizon?

  6. Actually, I would speculate that GM AA will be keeping all hands on deck to start the year. He will then be able to deal from a position of strength as teams look for bullpen help later in the year. Dotel, Rauch, Villanueva and Frasor are all trade bait anytime going forward, IMO.

  7. Some good interviews with Lind and Romero on 590′s website today.

  8. I’m starting to think Frasor might stick around now too. Suppose he has a great year, AA can either exercise what becomes a very attractive option or he can decline it in the hopes that he signs elsewhere as a Type A. Suppose he has a decent year and stays a Type A. Jays exercise the option cause they know he probably won’t get signed elsewhere. Still, not a bad deal. Suppose now he’s kinda shitty. This scenario he’d probably drop to a Type B and AA declines the option, offers arbitration and gets a pick back. Seems to me that AA has all the bases covered now, with the added bonus of some pretty sexy bullpen depth, which can hopefully be wonderfully utilized by John “I’m not senile” Farrell.
    Disclaimer: I’m still recovering from a pretty boozy weekend so I could be missing something completely obvious

  9. “…sexy bullpen depth.” Nice.

  10. frasor is going to accept arb every year from now on. if you can dump him and rivera you save 9 mil.

  11. Was Lind OK? Being in that confined a space next to a left-handed pitcher might very well kill him.

  12. I’m shocked he didn’t throw up looking at wilner the elephant man.

  13. Out of all the RP the Jays have, I’d rather see Janssen go. The guy had a great 2010 season, but it looks much more like an outlier than what we can expect in any form of consistancy.

    The Jays have already slashed so much payroll [Wells, Napoli etc] that they really don’t need to worry about it, at least for the time being. It will go down even more once Rivera gets the fuck out, with possible relievers being dumped for comp picks. Shit, E3/5 might even be gone by then.

    My hope is Cordero can get back to his norm and pile up the K’s.. and remain healthy.

  14. Think The Blue Jay Hunter is hinting that Frasor might land in a Mariners’ uniform?

  15. No, it’s hinting that Frasor is going to hook up with Daphne.

  16. based on the sole fact that jason frasor is in the 2011 calendar, he will be a jay for the foreseeable future. though vernon wells was, marcum wasn’t in it…coincidence? (not sure when they printed the thing though…)

  17. Considering what the last mediocre Jays reliever netted from the Mariners, I am wholeheartedly rooting for this to happen.

    Welcome to the club, Felix. There was just too much doubt about your actual ability to win games in Seattle; thirteen wins, Cy Young or no, just isn’t elite.

  18. I don’t understand why fans are so concerned about the Jays saving money? Now that Wells is gone the team has more money than they know what to do with. I’m sick of suggestions that roster decisions should be made based on money, just keep the 7 best relievers.

    As much as I’d like to see the Jays implement a true stopper that would be used in the most important relief situations rather than just the 9th inning, I expect Fransisco will be the closer.

    Here were my thoughts on the Jays bullpen.

  19. Along the same lines (I also posted this under the Francisco post but it was the 200th comment so I doubt anyone read it) …

    What I don’t understand is that payroll seems to be slashed on this team from year to year, so shouldn’t us fans expect ticket prices to similarly be cut? Or at least our cable bill? Why doesn’t it work that way? Why do we cheer for savings that largely go into Rogers deep pockets?

    Also, when Beeston says this team can support a $140m payroll, and the current payroll is $70m, then does that $70m savings get reinvested into next year’s payroll, making a payroll of $210m? I know it won’t. But why not?

    Mudpie brought up a good point. The value of the Canadian dollar’s risen steadily over the past number of years … why haven’t we as fans seen the benefit of that (by reduced ticket prices or larger payroll)?

  20. I don’t think we’ve spent money because our farm system was in shambles for years. The best teams in baseball augment their large contracts with cheap farm labour. I’m going to accept AA’s line of steady success until he gives me a reason not to. We’ll see in the next couple of years whether payroll goes up now that we have a very good system.

  21. The CITY can support a $140MM payroll. As in “There are 3 million people in TO… if our team doesn’t suck and we can get asses in the seats then making payroll $140MM is actually a half-decent business model”

  22. in other news, I had a dream last night that Edwin was playing in KC this year, and was actually leading the league in HR’s. I woke up in a cold sweat, but then I actually thought about it and decided that the only way EE leads in HR’s is in that little dream world that I created, in which EE and Frasor are a package to obtain Moustakas or something, so I just went back to sleep.

  23. Here are my thoughts… Even if we could spend $140 Million, that is not $220 Million or whatever the Yankees roster is up to, so how do we compete? We build the farm and develop a young team (controllable I believe is what AA wants) who have chemistry and camraderie. Then we bust open the piggy bank and spend on some FA talent. In the mean time, we take all that extra money and sign all of our draft picks (as many as we can), sign young talent in the islands and Latin America (as we’ve been doing) and acquire depth in the farm. The money saved on Wells willbe put to good use, and we have tons of flexibility for 2012-2014 now that that salary is gone. It would be foolish to spend it now.

  24. BMW has used baseball to discover that our society is all about corn holing the little guy.

  25. I also find it interesting a GM like AA make a team worse than it was the prior year (if you throw contracts out of the equation, wouldn’t we all rather have Marcum and VW than Lawrie, Rivera and Francisco for the 2011 season?) and at the same get lauded by every pundit in the universe for having the best offseason in the sport? Yes, it’s all about the money — but it really sucks that it’s all about the money. If Cashman shaved his payroll by $50m nobody would give a shit. In fact, he’d get reamed. The double standard is bullshit and its frustrating as hell.

    I’m behind AA’s plan, and love where he’s going with the franchise (he’s doing the best he can given his circumstances), but at the same time, really fucking frustrated with the state of the game (meaning the economics of baseball and life in the ALE). I’m also jaded from years of false hope from Ricciardi (and Colangelo, but that’s a whole other story).

    AND I’m pissed off that the 2011 season is a write off before it’s even begun. Sure, part of me is excited to watch the development of Morrow, Snider, JPA, Lawrie … but the other part of me thinks that’s loser/defeatest thinking. Is 2012 going to be any different? If not, should we be pumping ourselves up for 2013?

  26. It will be an interesting test case – you take 8 relievers who have all had success at some point in the not too distant past. 4 of them are bound to be above average next year correct? Besides the obvious math of 4 out of 8, given the unpredictability of relief pitchers, wouldn’t you expect about 4 of the guys to be nails and the rest to be either injured or crapping the bed? So assuming you can cull the herd by about June 1st, you’re very likely to have a great bullpen for the rest of the season.
    It’s like an in-season tryout – you can’t go wrong (except for over spending a little but who cares about that).

  27. Here are a couple of links to read leisurely and prepare for fucksticks who don’t think Toronto deserves baseball:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/J

  28. I’m not really sure how 2011 is a write off before it begins…I mean last season was supposed to be a write off but we were all shocked by Bautista coming out of completely fuckin nowhere, despite total drop offs by supposed cornerstone guys like Hill and Lind.

    I see a lot of fans who aren’t happy with the pieces the team has lost this winter but really, the team probably isn’t that much worse on paper. Rivera is like a Vernon Wells lite, but we bump up the defense with Davis. Full playing time and proper use of Travis Snider has led many of us to believe he’s gonna bust out. A revamped bullpen really shouldn’t be any worse than last year’s. Losing Marcum is the big one, so you could argue our pitching staff is in line for a step backwards in terms of stats, but in terms of development we’re still moving forward.

    Yes the team didn’t go out and spend anything significant on….anyone significant. They have cobbled together a group of guys, on a budget, who could still surprise a lot of people. I’m not gonna say this team is guaranteed 85 wins again, they may well even be a sub .500 team but if you buy the long-ish term plan speak, no one should really give a shit about 2011 in the first place. Sure it’s great to be above .500 just for the fun of it, but as we encountered with JP for several years, reaching high 80′s in wins is basically useless in this division. You wait till you’re as sure as it gets that you can get over the 90 win hump, when you’re realizing the fruits of the farm’s labor and you’ve made a commitment to spend in free agency and on longer term deals for franchise players.

  29. I think if Frasor has a better season than last year (which could very well happen), he won’t accept arbitration. In fact, I think that both him and Francisco are wishing they turned it down this year: all of the other type A relievers, I believe have signed multi-year deals. If they both have good seasons this year, they will both leave as type A free agents. (I think the fact that they only signed Francisco to a one year deal somewhat squashes the notion that they see him as their long-term closer.)

  30. Or they trade them in-season for more value that a sandwich and a second (what they got for Scott Downs).

  31. Through the 1920s, the team averaged 93 wins a season, but one only one pennant. In 1926, the Leafs moved to the new Maple Leaf Stadium, which would be their home for the next 42 seasons, and capped off the season with the championship, with Howley back as manager. NHL scoring star Babe Dye briefly played for the Leafs in 1926, as he had in 1920. Multi-sport athlete Lionel Conacher also played briefly for the Leafs in 1926. The team drew more than 222,000 fans to the new stadium that year, a franchise record that would stand for 22 years. (The following year, the National Hockey League team, the Toronto St. Patricks, changed its own nickname to Maple Leafs.)

  32. you gotta be some fucking dominant to be a right-handed reliever and get better than $4MM as a FA these days. And people just aren’t really all that excited about giving up a first rounder to sign a RHP reliever anyway, $4MM pricetag or no. The only way they get value from Frasor is by trade imo.

    edit- my pony is slow.

  33. I understand the frustrations with the bean counting. I do. In reality, owners all over baseball have deep pockets – arguably nobody’s are deeper than Rogers’, fair enough. However, I think the decisions are far more market-driven as opposed to ownership-driven. Rogers could spend more money than the Yankees if they wanted to, they simply would not get close to the return on investment as New York would. While we’ve heard good things about Rogers’ television viewership, we’re still sort of in the dark with regards to how ‘good’ the numbers actually are, and how much room there is to grow. Attendance is also a problem, I think that’ll improve when the team starts winning which probably won’t be in the short term.

    I also take stock in being a fan of a well-run organization. I hate being the fan of the team with shitty contracts. For some reason I admire the ability of an organization to get good production out of a small budget – I’m not saying I want the Jays to be like this forever but I love taking a shot at a guy no one else wants instead of trying to outbid everyone for a slightly better player. It seems like when the team spends money and doesn’t get all-star performances, the fans bitch. Then when they rid themselves of shitty contracts and go cheap, the fans bitch. There is a lot to be said for an organization that knows how to get bang for their buck, especially at a time like the Jays find themselves in – it gets so repetitive but there is next to NO reason to spend any serious dollars right now so suck it up, be cheap in the short term so we have options in the longer term…

  34. I thought your post was well written, but we’re not actually in the dark about TV numbers.

    If you look back through Chris Zelkovich’s Sports Media Blog, he used to post TV numbers every weekend. http://thestar.blogs.com/sport

    Nationally, Jays games do very well. Miles ahead of Raptors/FC. Behind CFL (though they have so few games, and probably a ton of Western viewers). While HNIC destroys everything, from what I remember Jays games actually compare half decently to local Leaf games, amazingly enough.

  35. Toronto has a rich baseball history. I’ve seen photos of the old stadium on Hanlon’s Point, rammed with people. Babe hit his first professionsal HR there. If you’re walking east on Queen St., just past the Don River on the north side there’s a plaque for Sunlight Stadium, where the BMW dealership is.
    We had stadiums up the ying yang.

  36. Well put.

    But look at what we’ve been reduced to. Rooting for a franchise to maximize efficiency and squeeze the best performance out of every dollar spent. Whatever happened to having a realistic hope that we have a shot to make the playoffs? Or the world series?

    George Steinbrenner’s goal wasn’t to have the best business model. It was to win. Mark Cuban wants to win. There are owners out there who care about winning. Unfortunately none of them own a Toronto sports franchise. So we’re left to root for the best possible business model we can get.

  37. If Francisco closes for the Jays (and does well at it), then he could do better than 4 million. But really it’s not about getting a significantly higher dollar amount so much as guaranteed term. (Grant Balfour and Joaquin Benoit are in the same ballpark as Frasor and Francisco. And if Francisco closes, he could do better than either.) I don’t expect anyone to give up a first rounder, but maybe a second or third. We’ll see.

  38. Thanks for the link, I knew the numbers were made public and it’s good that we’re not totally ‘in the dark’. I was more referring to us being in the dark with regards to what type of return Rogers gets on their investment – ie. does increased Jays viewership really pad their pockets much or do they see hockey/mma/connected as higher priority earners? I’m not so sure it’s as simple as, ‘more people are watching the Jays, the Jays should spend more money on their team’, though it definitely could be that simple, I just won’t pretend to know.

  39. I agree man, 100%. I would love to have an owner who is as passionate about winning as Mark Cuban or as most fans are. Seems like they’re few and far between though – at the end of the day it’s a business right?

    What I would say to, “Whatever happened to having a realistic hope that we have a shot to make the playoffs?” is, I wish I knew. Perhaps the type of spending that netted two world championships here was so easily trumped by our neighbouring markets that it no longer became sustainable/feasible for Toronto? I simply don’t know enough about the history/economics of the situation to comment with any usefulness. With Steinbrenner’s situation it’s probably a lot easier to take risks – he can, and does, head up an organization that hands out brutal contracts left right and centre and even if the team is shit, people will still pack the stadium full, watch the games on tv, buy the merch and all the rest of it. The Yankees are a tough example to use because of how universally recognizable their brand is, they seem to have more revenue streams than they know what to do with. With regards to Cuban, I don’t know enough about his particular situation to be able to comment – does he have wealthy partners? Does he assume all the risk himself? Are his markets comparable to the ‘realistic’ baseball market in Toronto? Please advise.

  40. What happened to having a realistic hope that we have a shot to make the playoffs is the fucking shitstorm of 1994 and 1995. The convergence of: 1) Labatt being sold to a bunch of Belgian fucks that knew so much about baseball that when Gord Ash was giving them a tour of the then SkyDome, one of them piped up with the question: “What do the letters R, H, E stand for?”…True story, I couldn’t make it up if I tried. 2) The baseball lockout/strike/reaming of baseball fans everywhere or whatever the fuck you want to call it that turned a lot of fans off and tore into the Jays attendance. 3) The realization in 1994-1995 that the glory days were over for the local boys. 4) The departure of Pat Gillick. 5) The fact that the Jays wrote the 1994 season off as just one of those years and had trouble coming to any conclusions about a season that only lasted 115 games. 6) The mass exodus of players as free agents after 1995: Alomar, Leiter (I wonder if the Beest has forgiven him yet?), Molitor, and Devo. 7) The inability by the front office to figure out that Toronto was no longer a prime destination for free agents despite whiffing on closers Rick Aguilera, Jeff Montgomery, and Randy Myers. Add in the Gord Ash years and then the Godfrey clusterfuck, along with the Ricciardi (who despite the fact that he was better than Ash, was still just an average GM).

  41. That wasn’t my intention, but it would be very freaky if Frasor did get sent to the Mariners. Whatever shuts Daphne up for a few minutes …

  42. who said toronto didnt desrve basebal

  43. So what to do now? Well, this might as well be Siberia to baseball free agents. You’re either gonna have to pay stupid money (like beyond Yankee stupid) to get them to come here. That is money that would be far better spent elsewhere at this particular point in time to build back the infrastructure that was gutted following the Gillick years. AA had a ton of picks early in the 2010 draft and will have the same advantage in the 2011 and 2012 drafts. Sign as many of the top guys as possible in those two drafts. No excuses. Sign as many international free agents as possible. No excuses. Make that farm system the consensus #1 in MLB and let the kids play. No excuses. Lock up the ones you deem worthy to team friendly long term contracts and deal the rest for guys that can help the MLB team immediately. No excuses. Then start in on the free agents. By this time the team should be having far more on field success to the point where not only are they contenders in the eyes of the local fans (i.e. attendance is going up which boosts revenue), but players around the league are taking notice and you don’t have to double the Yankee offer to get them to come here. I’d rather see them keep the term of free agent contracts low, while boosting the AAV to entice free agents, so that they can keep churning the top quality prospects through, but whatever they’ve got to do to make this team contend year in/year out is good by me. Once the foundation of the team is up to AA’s standards, there are no excuses anymore. It’s time to contend. Every year. That takes not only free agents, but excellent trades (so far: check), and prospects challenging for the jobs of the players on the MLB roster.

    People like to talk about how this team used to have the highest payroll. That’s true, but I think it was maybe 2% higher than the Yankees in the years it was the highest, and there was always a budget that had to be approved by the Labatt/R. Howard Webster/CIBC ownership group. It’s extremely rare that an owner says “Screw the budget”. I would bet the Yankees even have one, but it just doesn’t look like it because the Yanks are about 50% higher than the next nearest team. Good for them. The last time I checked, there’s no trophy for who spends the most. You probably give yourself a better chance of making the playoffs, but sometimes it doesn’t even guarantee that (i.e. 2008).

    Sound, efficient, intelligent spending trumps splashing the cash around every time. The difficulty for us as fans is that the only evidence of spending that we see is MLB payroll and because of that we tend to disregard everything else. The most important money is put into scouting, player development, amateur bonuses, and the farm system. Without spending in those areas (and God knows all those areas were virtually ignored or not given enough attention in the Ricciardi years) you can spend all you want on free agents and you ain’t going nowhere. (see Yankees from 1982-1993; Jays 2006-2008; Mets; Cubs etc etc)

  44. so free agents, like ballplayers in general, think this place is buttfuck idaho? do you have any fucking proof of what you are saying? No. you just wanna whine about the performance of this franchise. show some fucking pride in your town, or your country, cuz its a lot bigger and better than the minds of little whiners like you. the only athletes that i ever hear talking shit on Toronto are NBA players, and theyre ignorant fucks anyway. if ballplayers ever paid attention to self-loathing dimwits like you, maybe theyd actually believe this is siberia, since there are guys like you saying so. you’re pathetic.

  45. Don’t think you could have said it any better. Just a couple notes to fill in for you:

    AA had a ton of picks early in the 2010 draft and will have the same advantage in the 2011 and 2012 drafts.

    The only knock on this line is 2012. Aside from the fact the world is going to end shortly after, the new CBA may eliminate supplimental draft picks entirely after the 2011 season.

    People like to talk about how [the Blue Jays] used to have the highest payroll. That’s true, but I think it was maybe 2% higher than the Yankees in the years it was the highest

    As far as I can remember, there were only 2 years when the Jays led the league in payroll. Compared to the Yankees:

    1992 – Blue Jays: #1 $49,427,166; Yankees: #9 $34,902,292
    1993 – Blue Jays: #1 $51,935,034; Yankees: #3 $46,588,791

    For shits n giggles, ever since the lockout season in 1995, it took the Yankees 9 full seasons to break the $200mil threshold, going from $58,165,252 in 1995 to $208,306,817 in 2005. They’ve also led the MLB in payroll since 1994 every season except 1998 when the Orioles had a higher payroll by $200,000.

  46. Why don’t you tell him what you really think?

  47. I am a boil badly in need of lancing, the dingleberry that needs to be extricated from the asscrack.

    And I like to prance in frilly underthings.

  48. Chipper Jones ripped Toronto during the WBC a few years ago.

  49. I thought that because next offseason’s free agents become free agents somewhere around the end of October/beginning of November, 2011, while the new CBA doesn’t come into effect until (I think) sometime in December, 2011 should it be ratified, that their compensatory draft pick status is affected by the old CBA. Surely when they file for free agency and are designated as Type A, Type B, or Type Sucked So Badly That You Don’t Get Nothing Back For Him, the consequences of these rankings would apply to the 2012 draft, as they were given out during the old CBA.

    I think this was part of the motivation for trading Napoli for Francisco because 2Frank’s status will be governed by the old CBA, while Napoli’s will be governed by the new one, as he is not a free agent until the 2012-2013 offseason. I guess we’ll find out soon enough.

    Oops, I mistakenly assumed that the Daddy Warbucks funded Yankees were #2 in payroll in both years. What I should’ve said was 2% above the team with the #2 payroll, because I think they were either $1 million, or slightly less than that, above the next team’s payroll. My bad.

  50. What is YOUR walk up song?

    http://sportsillustrated.cnn.c

  51. I did some number crunching using the F/X rates at the time. In CDN funds, the jays spent 66.9 mln in 1993 and 64.6 mln in 2010. Yankees spent 60 mln cdn in 1993 & 212.5 mln cdn in 2010. thus jays have gone from spending 11% more than the yankees in 1993 to 70% less in 2010. i am not sure what the operating revenue of the jays was in 1993, but i assume it was close to expenses. the fact is that the jays have lost the revenue streams they had in 1993.

  52. I’m a little worried how this storm is going to affect Beer Store hours. Should I stock up tomorrow?

  53. A-list free agents (the only kind worth overpaying i.e. Crawford and Lee and nobody else from this year’s crop) are generally motivated by two things: money and winning. Toronto is not in winning mode right now. They’re definitely building towards that IMHO thanks to AA and his cast of a thousand scouts and player development people, but an A-lister that wants to win right now ain’t coming here.

    Now we’re down to money. All players know that there’s money to be made not only in the salaries they are paid to play, but in the endorsement possibilities of the market they are going to. They all know that the more you raise your profile in a positive manner, the more money you stand to make. How the fuck are they supposed to raise their profile on a team that hasn’t been on FOX or ESPN in God knows how long? (thank God for the MLB Network, despite some of their poor analysts *cough Harold Reynolds cough, cough*) If they go to one of the New York teams, or the LA teams, or the Chicago teams, or Boston, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Texas and just about any market outside of markets that are a bit downtrodden right now like Pittsburgh, Kansas City, Florida, Tampa Bay (great organization, but they aren’t even appreciated by the local fans and they just lost a lot of their big name players) etc they can raise their profile and increase their off field earnings.

    Rail against it if you want, but it’s a reality right now and the only thing that will change that is the Jays getting into some pennant races or backing up the Brinks truck and severely overpaying for free agents. Even then they probably won’t get the best of the best, unless you think Koskie, Burnett, Ryan, and a well past his prime Frank Thomas represent that. Clemens was probably the last true A-list free agent that this team signed and even he was thought to be washed up by a lot of baseball folks after 1996. Then he discovered…er…the fountain of youth…yeah, that’s it. I don’t think that’s 100% for lack of trying to attract top free agents (outside of the hack and slash years of 2002-2004 and AA’s tenure so far). I doubt you’ll find any of the premium free agents who have Toronto at the top of their list at the moment. That does not mean that can’t change. It did before and I’m confident it will again.

    I love Toronto and I love Canada and I’m pretty sure most of the players, once they play here and live here during the season, love it here as well. The key is getting them here and to do that you’ve got to get past quite a few hurdles: 1) This team is one of two teams that plays on artificial turf. (that was a huge factor with Crawford and it is with others as well) 2) Players still have this notion of how much of a pain in the ass it is to go through customs when going on the road and when returning home and that they’ll be taxed at a higher rate than if they play in the States. 3) If they play in the Rogers Centre against the Jays, they’ll see a 60% (more or less) empty stadium and interpret that the fans don’t care about the team, which couldn’t be further from the truth as evidenced by the Blue Jay blogosphere, A.J. Burnett’s return as a Yankee, and the Canada/USA game in the WBC – It’s clear that the fans have gone Missouri on this team and are looking for meaningful games after the All-Star break before they part with their money and that’s fair given all the shit that’s gone down since 1994. 4) They might be able to get ESPN in their hotel rooms, I don’t know. If they can’t they’ve got to put up with 95% hockeyhockeyhockeyhockey (Ok perhaps 90% in July and August) on the sports highlights shows before they can see how their friends are doing around the league – which reinforces the perception that this is a hockey only market. Winning however will change all of this, and since they aren’t coming here now (not to go all cornball Hollywood or anything, but…), AA’s got to build it from the ground up and then they will come here.

  54. Fuck that got long. Sorry about that folks.

  55. According to Beeston (remembering that he’s an accountant by trade, and that they’re professional number fudgers) they broke even in 1993, and it was the playoff revenue that got them there. My source is the book “Diamond Dreams: 20 Years of Blue Jays Baseball”. Take it with a shaker full of salt.

  56. Irony in the fallout from the Chipper Jones vs Toronto incident:

    http://network.nationalpost.co

  57. I mistakenly assumed that the Daddy Warbucks funded Yankees were #2 in payroll in both years.

    It’s one of baseballs little misconceptions. From 1980-1988 the Yankees were always in the top 2 in payroll aswell, so it’s nothing new to them. My guess is they went through a 6 year rebuild to produce players such as Rivera, Jeter, Williams etc.

    http://www.baseballchronology….

    Great website for finding old payrolls.

  58. I used to have that website bookmarked when it went by a different name and then they changed the name and didn’t forward me to it when I went there. Weird. Thanks for this.

  59. Blue Jays havent been in the top 3 in the AL East where attendance is concerned since 1995. It’s definitely a big portion to the problem, but I’ve got a hunch that it stems deeper than that. Lowering ticket prices a little further might not be a bad idea. Or at least lower the prices at the concessions for fuck sake. Right now the name of the game is to have a lower payroll, with cheap cost controlled players, so why still gouge me for a burger? Is it any wonder that I and the 4000 other people that go stick a micky in their sock.

    If there’s a flaw in my logic, feel free to call me a dumbassed clusterfuck, but if lowering the prices of the 100 level seats from $60 to $50 raises the number of fans in that bowl from, say, 5000 to 7000?

    5000 x 60 = $300,000
    7000 x 50 = $350,000

    Kinda makes sense, doesn’t it? Beeston or whoever makes those decisions needs to at least make the effort.

  60. Selective memory at work again:

    1992: #2 payroll was Oakland – Jays payroll 2.9% higher

    1993: #2 payroll was Atlanta – Jays payroll 10.0% higher

    It’s still no comparison with the Yankees’ payroll compared with the rest of the league which is the point I was trying to make.

  61. A 10% cut in prices across the board (anything where the Jays have control over the prices that are charged) might go a long way in reaching out to a fanbase that feels quite alienated and fuck, it might even bring in more revenue. Got to get the word out though. Somehow you’ve got to shout about the price cut (if you’re going to do it) over the reports on what the Leafs’ 4th line left winger ate for breakfast this morning. You don’t have to paper the house like Ricciardi and Godfrey used to do. That was stupid, but it’s clear the fans are pissed with the high ticket prices during a rebuild. Get the damn butts in the seats, without giving the seats away for nothing.

  62. Good post. Should AA focus on signing the home grown talent to long term contracts who are happy here. marcum seemed to be very happy here. i think if a player starts his career with the jays, they get used to the city and are more comfortable.

    i think bautista seemed to be happy here last year. the jays used to be very popular with latino players. bautista could be an ambassador to young latinos like escobar , hecheverria.

  63. If i had to face a pitcher whom I knew I couldn’t even imagine to get a hit off of, this would be my song:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v

  64. i believe that. Didn;t beeston say that any good accountant could turn a loss into a profit and vice versa.

    the jays have many related party transactions, so it is easy to fudge the numbers.

    For example, rogers could air coca cola ads for one price, and rogers cable tv ads at a different price on the same broadcast.

    if the jays were owned by a private businessman, he could demand that rogers pay x dollars for the broadcat rights etc.

    i think the jays provide very cheap content for 162 games per year. otherwise sportsnet would become the darts channel:))

  65. You asked so, here it is. There is usually someone from the US, like the Chicago nimrod Joe Cowley:
    http://johnchidleyhill.com/?p=
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/J

    but there are others:

    http://bleacherreport.com/arti

    http://www.e-sports.com/articl

    http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1G

    I am not saying this is a huge issue currently like it was when the dollar was weaker, but those without an understanding of history just think Toronto has no baseball roots and terrible attendance currently so might as well move the Jays. I am just offering a little rebuttal history lesson.

    By the way, the White Sox (the Ozzie and Alex show) are in town May 26 to 29, so I would target that as a series to attend to show Cowley how well we turn out for games (during some decent weather). He is still with the Sun Times but I think he is off Twitter now, maybe because of this incident with Minny:

    http://deadspin.com/5616047/wh

  66. agreed. i am an accountant by trade. So is beeston. The jays have a supply of appprox 4 million seats per season. once a seat is empty for a game, the revenue can never be regained. the marginal cost of every ticket sold is negligible. You need 1 usher per section. the jays should reduce ticket prices mon-thurs, especially when not playing the yankees & red sox.

    tjays would not only get revenue from tickets, but also profits from concessions etc. it also can turn casual fans into regular fans.

    Beeston seems to be using 1993 projections for the fan base. he doesn’t realize that the fan base has been decimated. there are perhaps 10K season ticket holders.

    the casual fans won’t show up till late may or june. jays may be out of the pennant race by then.

  67. Agreed. it is hard to justify paying 60$ to see the KC royals play the Jays in a closed dome on a tuesday night in April. beeston said he wanted to restore the integrity of the ticket price, but surely he knows about marginal revenue. he can use his strtaegy in the season after the jays win 90 plus games. there are very few die hard fans left who want to see the kids play.

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