There was some interesting, if prickly, discussion in the comments on our post about Richard Griffin’s earlier piece on the Santos deal, which related back to the Jays’ budget– a concept Alex Anthopoulos actually acknowledged for the first time this afternoon, referring to certain “payroll parameters.”
The fact that revenue sharing has changed under the terms of the new Collective Bargaining Agreement, moving from a payroll-based to a market size-based system, led some readers to believe that the Jays will rein in spending now that they, as a “large market” club, will no longer receive revenue sharing cash.
Washington Nationals blog Federal Baseball provides a lot of background on the changes, which will similarly impact the Nats– another club in a large market operating like they’re in a small one. “If the revenue sharing plan rewarded big market teams spending like small market teams in the past it won’t in the near future and the Nationals and other teams listed above will have to find other ways to replace that revenue,” they conclude.
One way to replace that revenue, of course, would be to spend even less, I suppose, but that’s a bit of a zero-sum game. Winning equals revenue growth, and refusing to spend is obviously going to be a major obstacle for any club that wants to win, especially in the AL East. Plus, the Santos trade is more a win now move than keeping Molina would have been, and it adds to the payroll– no, not as much as signing a free agent closer, but the deal can hardly be viewed as one of a club looking to compete on a far away timeline and on a shoestring budget. A team like that would have kept Molina. And why would the Jays start acting like that, with a second Wild Card team opening up the playoff races and the opportunity to exciting, stadium-filling baseball throughout the season, and with the incentive to spend like a small market club going away?
So no, I’m not terribly worried about the odd messages being sent this afternoon, but just to be safe with those who were, club President Paul Beeston commented briefly on the issue earlier in the evening.
“The CBA has not changed anything,” Beeston said, according to a tweet from Shi Davidi of Sportsnet. “We’re still capable of going to the US$120m payroll once we start drawing the people,” another tweet continued. “The formula hasn’t changed.”
And make no mistake: that formula hasn’t changed. Beeston has, to my view, never indicated for a second that the club would be willing to put the cart before the horse– that they’d spend to win, rather than spending from revenue generated by their winning.
Yes, it’s curious that the club has chosen this time to start acknowledging that their budget isn’t unlimited, but if I had to guess, I’d wager it has more to do with tempering expectations about big signings than a shrinking of the already-shrunk budget that’s about to have a whole lot of surplus cash moving away from the draft and international free agency– especially with none of the usual big market suitors looking at Prince Fielder right now, giving the Jays an easy excuse to miss out.
Then again, it’s Rogers. I do want to believe they’re genuine about where the money is, and I don’t for a second believe the ridiculous reasoning that say just because they haven’t gone pissing it around yet they never will. But… it’s Rogers, the swine who blackmailed vast swaths of fans of the club they fucking own into creating a demand among cable companies to add a shitty, unnecessary additional channel. Bullying for bucks is the order of the day. On that level I wouldn’t put anything past them.