In the course of poking through Geoff Baker’s turd yesterday I leaned back on an old concept that I’ve mentioned a number of times in combating those who would rather not think about why the Jays aren’t spending as much money as we’d like them to, preferring instead to swallow hard on the numerous theories that the bean counters at Rogers are cutting AA’s balls off and commencing with the rage. It goes like this: many of the investments in the club that Rogers has made aren’t reflected in the big league payroll. There has been increased spending on the draft, on international free agents, and on a massive scouting staff.
The difference this time, however, I was asked just how large these expenditures are, and whether they’re significant enough to show that Rogers might be doing a better job on making good on their commitment to the Jays than it may seem on the surface.
The Jays are listed as having spent $11-million on the 2011 draft. There may have been more budgeted for Tyler Beede, but much of the speculation was that the Jays would sign either him or 74th pick Dan Norris. Even at a Beede-less $11-million, which placed them in the top ten in the Majors, it’s the second straight year they’ve well exceeded league average, which this year was $7.8-million. In 2010 they spent the third most in MLB, $11.6-million, comfortably above the league average of $6.5-million. In total, that’s $22.5-million over two years, compared to $9-million they spent in 2008 and 09.
Internationally the Jays spent $4.8-million in 2010, plus an additional $10-million for Adeiny Hechavarria. This year they signed Dawel Lugo for $1.3-million, and two others (Roberto Osuna and Wuilmer Becerra) who each likely received more than that. They also signed at least five others. If Osuna and Becerra each only cost the same as Lugo, that’s almost another $20-million over two years, without even knowing what others cost (they may be only in the five- or six-figure range). We do know that Osuna’s club received $1.5-million, though whether that number includes what the player received is unclear. The information isn’t entirely clear for any year, so it’s hard to make a comparison. Figures dug up by Jays Journal have them at $1.75-million for 2008 and 09, plus an undetermined fee for Carlos Perez.
As for scouting, as far as I can tell, the figures aren’t out there. On the Jays’ MLB.com Front Office Staff page I count 78 names under the Scouting heading. Not all teams list their employees the same way, though– Detroit has just 28 under all of Baseball Operations, and most teams are similar, and don’t appear to have all the crosscheckers and area scouts the Jays have listed– so I don’t think it’s fair to judge the size of each club’s staff based on what’s listed on these pages. That said, the Jays obviously have a large department there. How significant an expenditure it is to not only employ those scouts but to pay their expenses, and how much farther above league average, and where they were at under Ricciardi, I don’t know. I’d be interested to hear from anyone who does.
There’s also the fact that the club sent money to the Phillies, Angels and Cardinals in order to complete the Halladay, Wells and Rasmus deals. True, the Halladay and Wells deals were cost-saving ones, but that’s money spent that isn’t accounted for in the payroll figures on some sites.
Is there enough money hidden in those non-payroll areas to excuse the Jays for all their frugality? I shouldn’t think so. But it’s there, it offsets much of the MLB payroll decline we’ve seen over the last couple years, and though it doesn’t vault them to anywhere near the top of MLB spenders, nor does it seem like a reasonable figure for a Rogers-backed property to be operating at relative to its competition (they sure piss money away on Sportsnet, don’t they?), it’s certainly more than what’s being accounted for by Geoff Baker.