As much as some fans and reporters want to point to Rogers’ part in the MLSE deal and scream that that’s why the Jays supposedly have no money this winter, I think it demonstrates quite the opposite. If an astronomical expenditure makes long-term business sense, quite evidently Rogers has no problems fronting the cash for it. Free agent deals that immediately create unmovable assets, are destined to go sour on the back end, and only offer a marginally better chance to grow the Jays’ business long-term than simply being patient, building through the farm system and by trading off those cost-controlled chips? A little harder to justify to an objective, passionless businessman.

A potential deal that doesn’t fit that mold, however, would be the acquisition of Yu Darvish.

With so much of the money earmarked for Darvish siphoned off by his Japanese club, the team who wins the bidding will get him on a much more favourable contract than if all the money the club was willing to spend on him went directly to the player. He’s much less an unmovable asset because of it.

The same is true of the fact that the winning bidder gets exclusive negotiating rights. Alex Anthopoulos has spoken this off-season about how a top tier free agent becomes immediately unmovable, since the club signing him paid more than anybody else was willing to. This wouldn’t quite be the case for Darvish. The Jays won’t have to overpay him relative to other suitors to compensate for Canadian tax rates, and they won’t have to worry about extending their bid to keep the player from choosing a higher profile or more successful club.

A deal with Darvish may also create business opportunities for Rogers in the Asian market, or at the very least create a boost for in-stadium advertising. There’s no real consensus, that I’m aware of, on just how much those potential additional revenue streams might be worth, but if Rogers knows anything it’s how to extract a buck, and I’m sure smarter business minds than mine could figure out a way to harness Darvish’s marketing power in Japan for the good of the club.

Also, while pitchers are certainly more liable to get injured, Darvish is young enough– 2012 will be his age 25 season– that the back-end risk on a deal to him is far less than on the contract Albert Pujols just signed, and I think it’s a solid bet to be less risky than going seven or eight years to Prince Fielder as well.

It doesn’t hurt either that pitching is the Jays’ true area of need. The club scored the sixth most runs in the Majors in 2011, and look to be on the road to even better offensive output in 2012, with Kelly Johnson back in the fold, Brett Lawrie and Colby Rasmus here for full seasons, an improving, healthier JP Arencibia, a more selective Edwin Encarnacion, and an Adam Lind who isn’t going to destroy his body fielding thousands of throws during Spring Training.

Yes, the Jays have a wealth of pitching coming through the system, but those arms would make awful nice looking trade chips if they wound up being blocked by established arms in the rotation.

So, the Jays’ lack of movement at the Winter Meetings, their surprising talk about payroll parameters during baseball’s spotlight week, Paul Beeston’s sudden public distaste for the posting system, perhaps this is a mere smokescreen.

Alex Anthopoulos was certainly not the first member of the Jays’ staff to watch Darvish pitch, and I can’t believe he would have gone to see him in person if his scouts’ reports were anything resembling lukewarm. Due diligence may be a major part of his M.O., but I suspect it’s something bigger than that when it requires a trip across the globe. For example, I don’t recall hearing that Anthopoulos himself has gone to see Yoennis Cespedes this winter, even though the same level of due diligence would be warranted on the Cuban free agent.

What I’m driving at is, there are a lot of reasons to believe the Jays are strongly interested in Darvish. Many fans seem to have convinced themselves that Prince Fielder is the perfect fit for this club and that it’s criminal that the Jays don’t appear to be interested in making a strong push for him, but no. It’s Darvish. And I think they will.

Comments (140)

  1. I don’t think anything has been said to indicate that isn’t the case, though. AA mentioned “parameters” and everybody shit their pants and started freaking out about how he’s not allowed to spend any money… It seems like most people have the idea that if the Jays can spend up to $120 million, then they should. I think AA’s point all along has been that if he did that now, he’d be handcuffing himself in the future; he seems like a guy who likes to leave wiggle room. It’s a good plan.

    I guess what I don’t get about all this “Rogers is a bunch of cheap fucks!” talk is that as far as I can tell, the baseball operations team basically has complete autonomy. If AA isn’t spending all of his available cash, I really believe it’s because AA doesn’t want to, not because there’s some Rogers-mandated moratorium on “being competitive” or whatever other bullshit buzzwords everybody has been throwing out this week.

  2. This past season, Brian Tallet’s return.

  3. Cost too much, and I don’t think would resign.

  4. Like I said, I’d be a lot more okay with that.  Everyone has payroll parameters.  Even the Yankees have parameters.  I just wish I knew what ours are.

  5. Yeah, and our spiffy new backup catcher…..

  6. Well…he could be. But there’s no real reason to suspect he is over anybody else, I agree.

  7. Sure, me too I guess, but other than satiating our curiosity it wouldn’t benefit the team in any way to announce it. I kind of prefer the whole secrecy thing – seems to be working a lot better than the way JP and company handled the media/fan relations.

  8. Well Braun is white so that will help him a bit as far as negative press goes. McGwire got some flak but Bonds was thrown out of the game and everyone shit on Ramirez. 

  9. Yeah, running dead weight like Patterson, Davis, Nix, Hill, McDonald, McCoy and Woodward out there over 1,000 at bats… the Jays are much more solid in their positions coming into 2012, whether you think Rasmus, Lind and Lawrie are the real deal or not, there’s no doubting they’re better than those shitbags. (all due respect to the PMoD)

  10. There’s no way the Jays spend any kind of money, their preference on free agents is no more then 5 mill a year.


    The one time they did that, on the Bautista extension, people found ways to complain about that too.  Until this team wins, management will be excoriated for every action/non-action it makes, that’s just the nature of the beast, it seems.  I mean, if it’s true that AA has a “loose ceiling” of $110-120MM, where do you really expect him to be spending that extra $40-50MM?  Do you just sign Fielder because, hey, the money’s there anyway?  

    The thing is, the Jays don’t want to just be successful in 2012/2013/2014, whatever this whole “re-building” stage culminates in; they want it to keep going.  Sure, they’d love to sign Fielder and bolster this product, but they won’t do it for 7 or 8 years because they still want to be competitive at that stage, which you can’t be with a $25MM shell of a former star at 1B/DH.  They’re trying to break the concept of the “competitive cycle”, which you can’t exactly do by doing one of the very things that perpetuates it.  This is part of the reason Darvish makes more sense, because they won’t be competing with people willing to offer an irrational number of years (though Darvish might be in the unique position of entering something like free agency before even reaching his peak, and could arguably be worth it on a seven or eight year contract, but I digress).  It’s not just about spending, it’s about spending wisely, which the free-agent market is basically designed to prevent.

  12. I spent one post saying he could be a 200 inning 3.30-3.50 ERA 4 win guy. I fail to see how that’s shitting on him in both posts. That’s pretty high praise for a guy who has never thrown a pitch in the majors. Guys of similar value this year included Josh Beckett, Tim Hudson and Tim Lincecum. So I’m definitely not selling him short here.

    I think it’s fair to suggest he comes with more risk than your average starter, given that he’s never proven himself here. It’s one thing to sign or talk about the expected performance of CJ Wilson or Edwin Jackson – we have a pretty good idea of how they’ll play. With Darvish, there’s a really wide range of possibilities. He might be awesome, and he might be crappy. We have to be realistic about that. We can’t just assume that signing him will solve our SP issues.

    I don’t think you can really make a strong argument for or against Darvish if you’re not willing to accept that there’s a chance he’s not going to be a top of the rotation starter in the majors. You have to be objective about it. I’d love for the Jays to sign Darvish and have him dominate, but you have to be prepared for the fact that he may not adjust to the MLB. And it’s not some minor detail that can just be ignored because it doesn’t suit your argument, which is the impression I’m getting from both Stoeten and posters like yourself.

    Ironically that kind of blind optimism is the kind of stuff Stoeten calls others out on.

  13. Why aren’t they honest about admitting there is a loose celing, and if they don’t use it in 2012 they can use extra money in 2013?

  14. Well, for one thing, you sound like you’re assuming Anthopoulos wants to spend to his “ceiling” every year. He clearly isn’t interested in that at all.

  15. I expect the Jays to place a moderate bid($20-30M) on Darvish. Whether thats enough to win the bidding is unlikely. I think their main competition is going to nats, rangers, yankees, and red sox. Also, remember when AA said he didnt want to waste Bautista’s prime yrs? Wouldnt that be enough of an incentive to go after Fielder and Darvish? Thats another part that pisses me off about this team. They’re not taking advantage of this opportunity with bautista. Thats why halladay left.

  16. One thing is though he`s still so young that he can still have a couple years and still be young. Morrow is still adjusting and he`ll be 28 next year? If it does take time we can wait, it’s just where his ceiling is and if the Jays believe it’s a #2, he’s proven with solid numbers he can, then you gotta try for it. It’s not as big a risk as give a 21 YO ace  coming out of college. You know he can eat his innings and pitch well. 

    Didn’t read your whle thing just the end part. This might not even make sense as a reply to you showy

  17. I have to disagree with the notion that Darvish would be more movable than a Fielder.

    True that Darvish himself is going to get a modest contract in comparison to Prince, but the 50 million + in posting fee is still a payment that has to be made.

    So if you move Darvish after a year gone of a 4/50 mill contract, its true that he will look attractive to some teams, but then in a sense you spent the posting fee on 1 year of service.

    Include the posting fee of 50 million with almost any player that you want to trade and they too become pretty movable.

  18. I agree 100%. Darvish is the best fit out there. How depressing will it be when the Yankees and Red Sox are the top 2 bids?

  19. Yankees will get him for $75M. Jays will sigh and whine like usual, and then we’ll finish 4th where we belong.

  20. I actually don’t understand the claim that because the posting fee goes to the Japanese club instead of the player, that it means the Darvish contract will be all the more moveable.

    Look at it this way: 

    Scenario 1: Blue Jays pay Nippon $50 million, and sign Darvish for $60 million (5 years at 12 mill/year average).

    Scenario 2: Blue Jays pay Darvish $110 million (5 years at a 22 mill/year average). Blue Jays immediately realize they made a horrible mistake, and want to the move the contract. They eat $50 million, and trade Darvish to team X, which is then on the hook for Darvish at 5 years at 12 mill/year average in real dollars.

    It’s a regular occurrence for teams to eat portions of contracts when they are trying to trade them. There is no practical difference between paying the Japanese club the posting fee and thereby making the player’s contract more reasonable/movable, and eating a comparable amount of a contract in order to make the contract more reasonable/movable.

    In fact, if you look at the two scenarios, I guarantee that the posting system means you pay more for the player (as a matter of total dollars) than one would pay for the player without the posting system. Darvish is great, but unproven, and certainly not worth the $110 million in scenario two above.

    It’s only worth it if Rogers/Jays think the Japanese market overcomes the financial difficulties in the posting system and the uncertainties of Darvish performing at a high major league level.

    For my money, I’d be happy with the signing as a matter of the club actually doing something. But I’m skeptical of it being the right allocation of free agent dollars.

  21. It is unclear to me if the loose ceiling is a “use it or lose budget”, or can AA take the difference and actual amount spent in 2011 & apply it to 2012 or 2012 or 2014. Perhaps there will be a free agent that AA wants after next year. Beeston has to issue a retraction & apologize to the loyal fans. You cannot force casual fans to come to the game if the team is not performing on the field.

    I think Beeston wants the Jays to be in contention at the all star break & then go get a veteran for a pennant race. You save money because you pay half the costs.

    Now, there are certain improvements you can make to the stadium to enhance the atmosphere. There was some discussion of opening up the Windows restaurant & have a patio bar during the game.

       I dont know if any of the oppourtunities would be large enough to offset a (minimum) $ 50 million investment but we’ll find out on Wed. I’m guessing the Yankees are in. They sound just “disinterested” enough to be faking it. Texas would not be sending their GM if they werent. So this is no small time thing. 
       The part I cannot stand about this whole thing is the posting process. It ‘s ”legal” robbery and if the rich teams werent so nauseatingly wealthy, they’d find some legal way to collude and end or amend the whole thing.
       I’m guessing the Jays are in -its time for a nice MLSE type surprise- but how the hell does anyone know what to bid? It’s a crapshoot and if you’re going to screw up, you have to screw up big… so say $60 million wins it? Who the hell knows?
       GO Hamfighters!   

  23. “The average number of runs scored for an American league team last year was 723 and the Jays scored 743 runs (in a slightly favourable to offense home park).  This means the Jays offense last year was essentially league average.”

    Making a statement like that without looking at the standard deviation is just retarded.  The fact remains they had the 6th best offence.  Try again.

  24. Stoten

    Couple of things. I have to give credit to you guys for the best coverage of the winter meetings- Bar none.

    Second I completely agree with you on this post. First I believe AAs comments regarding a regular free agent combined with his trip to freaking Japan leads me to believe there will be a bid. However like everything he does, AA WILL NOT fucking overpay for anyone. He has an amount he believes is fair in bid and an amount he thinks is fair in contract an he won’t burden the team with another VW or BJ Ryan type contract.
    We are likely a year or so away from seeing some of those arms in AA hitting the majors so calm the fuck down people. We don’t have to spend yet.
    Second does anyone think that a full year of Lawrie, Rasmus and Johnson won’t be worth at least 6-7 wins over the crap we had last year?
    Add in another late inning high leverage guy in the pen and a full season of a pen that was quite solid down the stretch (Carreno, Litsch, Perez, Villaneuva, Janssen). Is this worth a couple wins next year?
    Lastly adding Darvish allows you to move Cecil to the pen and solidify the bullpen more.

    Now all that said, I’m sure that the Jays are watching Cecils off season regime closely to see if he can regain his 2010 form. If not then the bid will happen, if he is looking like he can regain his form, then they can pass.
    I seem to recall a lot of this type of talk (we need to sign a free agent) in the late 80s too. Seems like that worked out well for us.

  25. You could very well be right. He wouldnt be the 1st player to not make it in spite of all predictions and press clippings to the contrary. And thats a one hundred million dollar gamble. But  of all the gambles on players coming to the majors, this one looks pretty good. After all NPB is more than a step above AAA (where he’s dominated for some time) and AA has sworn since missing out on Aroldis Chapman to do his “due diligence”.

  26. Brilliant point – and right on. Additionally, the Blue Jays deliver (unlike an other sports franchise in the US or Canada) – a national market for both broadcast & sponsorship. Beeston has reversed the previous management’s focus on Ontario & moved back to a national platform

  27. The Jays are not going to sign a player to a 7 or 8 year deal 

  28. A couple of things:
    1. “significantly”…really, that using the term fairly losely.
    2. What is the difference between scoring the 6th most runs and having the 6th best offense?

    Fact of the matter is that those who think the Jays offense is fine as is, will be in for a dissapointment next season.  Even AA recognized it’s not good enough and would like to add a middle of the order bat.

    What we should expect in 2012:
    - regression from Bautista
    - sophomore inconsistancies from Lawrie
    - who knows what from KJ, Lind, Thames, Snider, Rasmus, etc.
    - way too many at bats given to guys who’s offense is below replacement level (if guys like Nix, MacDonald, McCoy, Patterson, etc. racked up 1,000 AB’s last year, why would you expect anything different this year?)  Already the team has players like Mathis, Valbuena, McCoy and Teahan all set to get lots of AB’s.

  29. Very good post. The Jays should be improved in 2012. I am concerned about Bautista’s regression after the all star break which is partially injury related but also opposing teams frealized they can just walk him since there weren’t other threats in the lineup. Now if Lind recovers this will help.  Regression by Romero is also possible. Let’s up Brandon Morrow & cecil show up healthy & in shape. I think the Jays will submit a bid for darvish, but I can’t see AA spending 50 million on him. It would be very risky, in light that you could spend 50 million to fix some other holes..

  30. True.  Then again Braun is a Jew, so that might complicate matters.

  31. I completely agree with you that Prince Fielder would likely make more of an impact than Darvish and that Darvish has a lot of risk associated with him but the investment to get Fielder will be twice as much as that to get Darvish. Without knowing the exact price of either of them the best guess for Fielder is $200 million and for Darvish it is $100 million total. I could see the Jays taking a $100 million plunge but not an 8-10 year, $200 million plunge with Fielder. If they were the same price I would definitely rather have Fielder.

  32. 6th most runs in baseball last year and the only player that exceeded expectations was Bautista. Throw in Lawrie for the short time he was up. 

    And the Jays were STILL 6th in the majors in runs scored. No one knows what to expect from KJ, Lind, Rasmus, etc. but there is almost no way they can be as bad as what the positions gave us last year. 

    Of course AA would like to add a middle of the order bat. Every team in baseball would like to.

  33. I’m not sure that moving Cecil to the bullpen would be a good role for him. I know he was a college closer but if he can’t recover mph to his fastball he would certainly play as an unconventional reliever at best and certainly not a good late inning option. I think they will at least ride out another season with him starting to see if he can get back to his 2010 level.

    That is a good run down of their current bullpen and from what I see there are 6 guys who should be pencilled in for now in Santos, Janssen, Carreno, Perez, Litsch and Villanueva. It seems they would require another lefty and another possible late relief option. Maybe they could take a flyer on a guy like Michael Gonzalez for 1 year plus an option year and hope he goes back to being a decent reliever on a low risk deal.

  34. Just because you are better at scoring runs than preventing them it doesn’t mean that an improvement in preventing them is more important than an improvement in scoring runs. By that logic Boston who was first in runs scored would not want to add to their offense. “Well, we were already first, how much better can we get?” And the Phillies who were first in ERA would not see the need to improve their pitching staff. If there was a way for them to acquire Clayton Kershaw they would still do it.

  35. The fact that the Jays haven’t pulled the trigger on a trade for a starter yet raises my hopes on this. But I have a hard time seeing them winning it. And that worries me – that they tie up their mental capital waiting for this and miss the opportunity to get a starter through AA ninja tactics.

  36. thats why should have got cahill

  37. Dont know a lot of girls who get hot over the phrase “payroll parameters”

  38. “Already the team has players like Mathis, Valbuena, McCoy and Teahan all set to get lots of AB’s.”

    I don’t believe this can be factually verified.

  39. Even 100m wouldn’t match what the team was spending before Beeston cut off Ricciardi. Keep in mind inflation and where the US dollar was back in 2008.

    Add Gregg Zaun to the list of 2 people who want Manny Ramirez.

  40. Really?  Are you actually suggesting what happens next year can’t be factually verified? Really?  Who knew?

    My point is that if the team gave 1000 AB’s to useless players last year, why should we believe it will be any differenct next year.

    And no I don’t have any facts that this will actually happen next year.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *