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I’d like to say that this week Stephen Brunt of Sportsnet made the long trip up a couple flights of Rogers Campus stairs to have a little chat with ever-optimistic Jays President and CEO Paul Beeston, but… it turns out the both of them were in Dunedin. Brunt still managed to sit him down for a Q&A though, and while there’s still a lot of typical Beeston PRspeak, a couple comments did stand out– even if, y’know, they don’t cover much ground that hasn’t already been mined to shit.

Firstly, Beeston admitts that the Yu Darvish situation got out of hand on the club, and that they should have handled it differently.

“We have to be a little bit more transparent than we were,” Beeston tells Brunt. “Alex and I probably have a minor difference of opinion on what we should do. Alex doesn’t tell anybody anything. He believes that’s a competitive disadvantage, playing things out through the press, and I tend to agree with him. That said, with the Darvish situation–and that was the real killer– they said he went over to Japan to look at him and then all of a sudden we were supposed to sign Darvish.

“It doesn’t make any sense that just because he saw him, we were going to sign him. We let that thing build over a period of five days and then we got hammered. We should have said we’re not in, or we are in. We just kind of went rope-a-dope. I think we could have handled that a little differently, and I think we will in the future. And then the Prince Fielder thing happened.”

Beeston is right here, in a way. It doesn’t make any sense that, just because they saw him, they were going to sign him. But it did make sense when coupled with the fact that so many obstacles to making a big free agent signing didn’t exist when it came to Darvish– having negotiating exclusivity meant that the Jays wouldn’t have to worry about making a competitive offer yet still being spurned because of things like the division or the country they play in, or the turf they play on– and the club’s unflinching failure to extinguish the rumours.

Later in the interview Beeston also sort of endorsed the notion that any publicity is good publicity, in a way, so it’s hard to know just what to make of his comments, except as being the most prudent thing for someone in his position to say– which, when you think of it, is basically what his whole job is.

And he keeps with when asked about the much-debated notion of “payroll parameters,” and statements from Alex Anthopoulos this winter that fans need to come out before the club will put resources in– which he says were misinterpreted.

“The fans can count on Rogers spending the money,” he says, “because we’ve had the discussion with ownership. But at the same time, we’re running a business here. It’s not saying the fans have got to come out and then we’ll spend money. That was misinterpreted.

“The fact is, we’ve got to win to make the fans come out, and then we spend the money. But we have to give them the reason to come out. That got lost in Alex’s comment that day. It was that we win, you come out, we’ll spend the money–it won’t be money we put in our pocket; it will be money reinvested in the team.”

He also notes that while Tampa is trying to keep their salaries down, the Jays are looking to take theirs up, long-term.

It’s easy to get cynical about this stuff– especially when it comes from Beeston– but I tend to think that’s all basically correct. They build the club to win on a lower MLB payroll, like Tampa or Texas (who were in the $55- to $68-million range from 2004 to 2011), and then they continue to spend to keep their top players, rather than following in the Rays’ footsteps of losing or divesting themselves of guys like Crawford and Garza.

It really does make sense. Not that, y’know, we didn’t already know all this.

Comments (74)

  1. I wish Beeston would stop doing interviews like this. It’s tiresome to pick through his bullshit time after time and it diverts the discussion away from actual baseball.

    Rogers is still not paying anywhere near market value for those hugely valuable Jays TV rights, but putting little of that back into the team. They are capable of spending far more on the Jays than they are and far more than Tampa/Texas ever did, but they seem content to wait for the crowds to come back before doing anything.

    • I’m tired of your shit.

    • Rogers just doubled what they’re paying the jays for the television rights last year. What more do you want? The whole “not paying market value” shit is getting old

      • Amazing that these owners still have defenders like you after a decade of below average payrolls and no real concern about winning.

        It’s not like I’m even asking Rogers to spend an average amount on payroll each year (though that would be nice). I’d just like to see them adequately compensate their own baseball team for its television rights.

        • They will be in the playoffs in 3 years

        • Owners with defenders? I don’t get it. Rogers is the best ownership group in baseball. I mean, the goal is to be ultra-profitable, right?

        • Not to beat a dead horse or anything, but:

          Year: Blue Jays Payroll (Median Payroll)

          2011: $62.6m ($86.7m)
          2010: $62.2m ($84.3m)
          2009: $80.5m ($81.0m)
          2008: $97.8m ($80.0m)
          2007: $81.9m ($84.4m)
          2006: $71.9m ($72.2m)
          2005: $45.7m ($66.2m)
          2004: $50.0m ($62.3m)
          2003: $51.3m ($68.9m)
          2002: $76.9m ($61.1m)
          2001: $76.9m ($63.8m)
          Rogers bought the team in 2000.

          Argue all you want that Rogers isn’t going to pony up the money when it comes time to contend, but don’t say that history supports that argument. The ONLY times Rogers spent well below the median payroll since Rogers bought the team were all rebuilding years.

          Further, the low spending in those rebuilding years was done at the behest of the GMs at the time–2003-05 were the years when Ricciardi claimed he could build a competitive team on a $50 million payroll, if you recall; and A.A. has been on a quest to collect young players and draft picks, who are either cheaper than veterans or don’t count towards official payroll.

          • Lets keep beatin’ that horse! Jays play in the AL East. The comparison has to be made adainst our Division Rivals. Not much point in using K,C.’s or San Deigo’s financial data

          • Well if you want to compare against division rivals than you’d have to include the Rays in that conversation.

            Tampa Bay Payroll History:
            2011 : $41,053,571
            2010 : $72,847,133
            2009 : $63,313,034
            2008 : $43,745,597
            2007 : $24,123,500
            2006 : $35,417,967
            2005 : $29,679,067
            2004 : $29,556,667
            2003 : $19,630,000
            2002 : $34,380,000
            2001 : $56,980,000
            2000 : $64,400,000

            Seems to me that the Ray’s payroll was less than the Jays in 20011 and 2008 (playoff years). Maybe the Jays should keep lowering their payroll if they want to make the playoffs then?

            The point is that the most important factor in the Jays being able to compete with the Rays, Red Sox, and Yankees is not the amount of money they spend but rather how well the team is run. Sometimes to run a team well it means eliminating waste (such as risky high dollar contracts), building a sustainable business model, and then growing that business back to the point where it can spend $$$ again.

            Anyone who doesn’t see that maximizing profit will help a team remain competitive over the long run is not using their head. To those who think that if Rogers just throws a bunch of money into the payroll that it will guarantee success, have a look at the cubs, mets, and dodgers in recent years. Beeston, AA, and Rogers, need to be patient and spend they money when the time is right. Considering the fact that those guys seem to be pretty objective about how competitive their team actually is, I trust their decision not to spend the money yet.

          • Yes lets compete against the Rays, you know, because of all the World Series Rings they have won. I want a World Championship not a Pennent. Does anyone here want to win?

          • Dan the shell game that is being played by Rogers is impacting the Jays opportunity to win. You saw it clearly whenn AA did his about face with – we will spend, when the fans come” This watershed statement highlights the Rogers strategy. Television, not Baseball is their core competence, and truely what Rogers is focused on.
            Dan lose the not using your head….your disdain for others opinions make you look like a fiesty old close-minded carmugeon. Thanks for your viewpoint it is underestood

          • @birddawg

            Saying that Tampa has not been successful completely undermines any other point you make. Watching baseball the past 5 years has shown that the playoffs are a crapshoot – who gets hot over a 3-week period. Get in the tournament and everybody has an equal shot.

            Unless of course you can be the first to articulate the difference between a pennant-winning roster and a WS-winning roster.

          • Lets see, Tampa has a really good team and refuses to make stategic (costly) trades to give them Championship. Note how the Cardinals did just that and won. Texas is showing leadership has been to the dance twice and looks like third time is the charm. Tampa will never win because of their approach Texas will.

          • Futhermore you will see the same characteristics from Championship teams vs. the Tampa Bay Loser Rays. St. Louis, Boston NewYork, Giants all strenghtened their teams in August for their championships without wringing their hands with worry. They also have higher payrolls (yes their tends to be a relationship between payroll and winning), than Tampa. Com’on Rogers spend a little dough and get me another frontline starter and a real second baseman and que the band for the parade

          • Kelly Johnson just hit a 3 run double….ok I take back the second base comment (for now)

          • You’re obviously missing the point. If a team is good enough to make the playoffs, they’re good enough to win the WS. Look at the past 10 years: only twice did the “best” team (IE, with the most wins) from the regular season win the WS. The 83 win Cardinals made that abundantly clear.

            But keep spouting your cliches re: leadership, approach, payroll if that makes you feel better. I’d prefer to live in a world where facts shape my opinions, and I’m not miserable while clinging to an ideal that isn’t based on reality.

          • Ian, I don’t fully understand the point. Teams making it to post season are not good enough to win the WS – I know you understand this. I don’t wan’t a pennent as the team with the most wins. I want the WS win. You are correct about the stats though, there is a relationship between $ spent and Series won, but I don’t have the desire to get you the numbers – it is there.

          • 2001- Arizona Diamondbacks 81 million (8th)
            2002- Anaheim Angels 61.7 million (14th)
            2003- Florida Marlins 49 million (25th)
            2004- Boston Red Sox 125.2 million (2nd)
            2005- Chicago White Sox 75.2 million (12th)
            2006- St. Louis Cardinals 88.9 million (9th)
            2007- Boston Red Sox 143 million (2nd)
            2008- Philadelphia Phillies 98 million (10th)
            2009- New York Yankees 201.5 million (1st)
            2010- San Francisco Giants 98 million (10th)
            2011- St. Louis 105 million (11th)
            Low spending teams did not win the WS

          • Missed Florida – you get that one

          • Thanks for the numbers.

            I think it will be interesting to see if the Rogers keeps signing the homegrown players to long term contracts.

            If the rotation falls apart because of Cecil, McGowan not being ready, then AA should be blamed for not getting a veteran starter in the offseason.

            Lafey in the rotation will not be funny.

        • why would they put up the money before they have some good idea that what they have is already good? (see: Red Sox, Angels, Rangers…) Look how much they have put into scouting, minors etc. I have no doubt the payroll will reflect the investment within two/three years and I’m cool with that.

          • Hi Rev. you have more faith in Rogers than I do. Another frontline pitcher and we can lead our Division. Another free agent in August and the WS is ours now. Aren’t you tired of waiting? There will be another team or 2 in 2014 that will better than us so using your theory I will have to wait forever. Amen

          • They knew they needed a veteran starter in December. They could not get one via the free agent route.

            Then they decided not to try & trade for one because the price was too high.

            If Cecil bombs, McGowan gets hurt, who’s next?

            It is inexcusable to waste another season because Rogers is too cheap to go & get a vet for 10 million

      • You’re missing the point I made originally.

        In every year the Jays were serious about contention, Rogers has always put the money up. That’s not in the future, that’s historical fact.

        7 of the 11 championship teams you listed were between 14th and 8th in payroll. That’s about where the Jays are whenever they attempt to contend and go to Rogers for the money.

        Just because Rogers has not put up money during rebuilding years does not make them cheap–it makes them smart with their money.

        Which brings us to one conclusion: either the Jays don’t think this year will be a contending year; or the real reason AA didn’t sign Fielder/Pujols/Darvish is because he didn’t think they were worth the money paid out to them (as opposed to the money wasn’t there).

        …or a third possibility is that maybe he believes this team has enough to get it done this season, as is.

        • Sorry Rob about the missed point, Rogers bought the BJ’s in 2000 and we have yet to win despite deep pockets. Jays are 22nd right now, in terms of team spend and they do have a lot of talent. Where do you think we could be moving up to at least #14?

          • I would assume that next year is the year that AA opens the chequebook and starts giving top dollars out, but I’m not in AA’s head. But what I do believe is that when/if AA asks for the money, Rogers will deliver. They let JP spend $200 million on Burnett and B.J. Ryan and Wells because he asked (which also happened to have been the last time we were top 10 in spending), I’m sure they’ll give AA more than that to spend whenever he asks.

          • Well if Rogers’ core competence is TV, I would think that getting good TV ratings during Jays games would be a huge opportunity for Rogers and therefore a priority. In order for the Jays to get good ratings they need to win. If you agree with that then don’t you think Rogers has every intention of putting a winning team on the field? From my perspective, it seems like that’s exactly what they’re trying to do, only, they’re doing so in a fiscally responsible manner that will ensure long term success and minimize risk. To me, it would seem to make sense that a team looking to rebuild would look to avoid any long term, high dollar commitments, focussing on acquiring and developing young, cheap, controllable player. Inevitably, this would result in decreased payrolls. Eventually, once the rebuild is nearing its end, the team would need to start spending more money in order to remain competitive over a long period of time. In the Jays’ case, Rogers, AA, and Beeston have decided that the time to spend has not yet arrived. That’s how I look at the situation anyways. I disagree with the view point that Rogers is simply being cheap… because that’s not the best way for them to maximize their profits.

          • You guys have captured the current Jays strategy perfectly. I think this team is further along than most think, we are ready to challenge now. Must we wait, and wait.
            Lets win the wild card next year, then the divisional title the year after that, then the League Championship, 2 losses in the WS and then win it all. We could be dead by then. I give-up, lets wait and see. What is my cable bill gonna be when this is done?

    • @ BFF

      The Jays can’t spend a ton more until the new CBA kicks in.They are still a “small market” team as defined by MLB.They’d lose 30 million in revenue sharing that they have been recieving..With the new CBA they can’t hide any more and that 30 million cheque is no longer available to them.

      • I think some people forget that a lot of the money is going into a strong scouting department. That is the difference between AA and Ricciardi.

        • True, & it is potentially more cost effective if you can find 1 or 2 MLB stars out of a 100 propsects.

      • The Jays are NOT considered a “small market” by MLB. If they were, they would have been included in the “competitive balance” lottery.

        Ironically, the last World Series champions, are. And they spend more than the Jays.

  2. “rather than following in the Rays’ footsteps of losing or divesting themselves of guys like Crawford and Garza”

    The Rays had such good internal options to replace those guys that even if they had more money, they were better off letting them go and spending it somewhere else. This is a good example of why it’s not a good idea to merely assume internal signings are a smart investment. For a more dramatic example just look at the Vernon Wells contract.

    • That’s a good point.

      When you combine this with that study a month or so ago that got published, that showed that players hit their peak at age 29, which is right about that same time when they get rich, Tampa’s strategy might actually be better long-term, even if it doesn’t feel that way as a fan.

  3. “It was that we win, you come out, we’ll spend the money”

    Soo…what happens if they don’t win because they haven’t spent the money?

    • Nothing. See 2001-2011.

      • It sounds like Beeston is doing damage control after the Darvish & Fielder PR disasters.

        I think the Jays finally realized that after AA basically said they bid 30 million for darvish , which they knew would not be enough to get him, but at least they could say theu bid for darvish game backfired.

        The Jays would have been better off not bidding for darvish & saying it was too risky to give a japanese pitcher 100 million who has no MLB experience rather than pretending to be interested in him.

        Same thing with Fielder. They should have stated that there is no way they will give 200 million plus to a 1B who is overweight & will probably be a DH in 2 or 3 years.

      • I hope you don’t vote and don’t own a business…b/c your logic would kill our country and destroy any venture you would attempt. I get your point… I just hope you can carry that logic into the market place and gov’t and still come to the same conclusions… I can’t.

    • If they don:t win and Rogers haven”t spent the money, then Rogers makes money. If the win, and Rogers don’t spend the money, then Rogers makes more money. OK Jays 2010 give a cheer!

      • What happens when they do spend the money but the wins don’t come? That’s obviously a much worse scenario than being frugal (in the short-term) and building organizational depth.

        I still don’t understand how people can be so certain that Rogers won’t spend when the team is near contention. The Jays have never been near contention since Rogers has owned the team. They’ve been mediocre without ever underperforming significantly – playoffs were never really a possibility with the rosters as constructed.

        I have no opinion on Rogers as an owner at this point. If the team is showing signs of breaking through and they still won’t spend, then I’ll be pissed. Until then, what’s the complaint? They won’t spend an extra $20M/year in order to get a couple extra wins but still be outside the playoffs? Why are people bothered by that?

      • go back to you stupid mofo. making 9 clueless posts after your shittily-spelled first few doesn’t strengthen your argument. even a 200 mil payroll doesn’t guarantee anything.

  4. What about all the money from new merchandise sales with the new logo? Some of that has to go to the Jays, although I’m sure some of that gets spread out over all 30 teams. Anybody know the split of revenue on that?

  5. Beeston is a hypocrite. When it comes to performance, he says that this team can make the post season and we’re gonna make the play offs three times in the next five years. Then when is asked about spending he says that this team is not there yet. money is there when the team is ready to win.

  6. As with any business Rogers will seek to find a balance between investment and return.Why spend 120 mill to break even when you can spend 70 mill and do the same thing.

    • Because you sell a lot more phones if you are the owner of a winning professional sports team.

      • That seems far from certain. I really don’t think Rogers bought the Jays to goose handset sales.

        • They bought the Jays to have a profitable way of satisfying the Canadian Content requiremnts set by CRTC on their TV channel. They discount the broadcast fees to Sportsnet at the Jays expense, and now we are just like Tampa -perpetual bridesmaids. Now Jays fans are drinking the kool-aid and saying what a prudent and shrewd group Rogers is. Rogers is majority owner of the Leafs now, so no problem with Can. content. Anybody wanna buy the Jays ? Rogers has lost interest and Beeston has seen this all before with Interbrew. Da ja vu all over again.

  7. It was that we win, you come out, we’ll spend the money

    This still reads as “we aren’t spending money” to me, at least not on free agency. I don’t have a problem with that if it’s the case, but at some point they have to make an exception to the rule. Same can be said about the ridiculous 5-year cap they supposedly have in place.

    As long as the money is there for extensions that should be doled out–and I’m referring to BIG extensions, such as what Lawrie could amount to earning in 3-4 years–I’ll be content.

  8. McCown is now telling us on PTS that Rasmus will be gone by midseason and Gose will be up.

    • McCowan pays too much attention to Zaun.

      If Rasmus isn’t performing by mid season, we may be hearing calls for Gose… but with some of the talent in the minors, that’d be true for a lot of positions on the roster.

  9. I wish people would get over the payroll numbers teams spend. How much they spend is not important, how much they win is. If the Jays or any other team (ie Tampa) wins on the field because they have a team full of talent who happen to be underpaid so be it.

  10. A part of me wants to get angry at hearing the same old rhetoric..

    I think the Jays would be much better off, if they told Beeston to just shut the fuck up… I think he really angers the less informed fans and creates bad PR…

    They should just say “Our payroll is what it is.”

  11. “The fact is, we’ve got to win to make the fans come out, and then we spend the money. But we have to give them the reason to come out. That got lost in Alex’s comment that day. It was that we win, you come out, we’ll spend the money–it won’t be money we put in our pocket; it will be money reinvested in the team.”

    Ah, thes Beeston comments finally make sense of what the Jays have had everyone going around in circles about on payroll expectations.

    So it’s not the line in the sand, chicken and egg thing that it’s been interpreted – ie, we’ve got deep Rogers money, but we won’t spend it until the fans come out and make the case for it,

    What he’s saying is the Jays are a business and spending will match revenues. More specifically to Jays fans, if you increase our revenues be assured that the extra money won’t just disappear into Rogers pockets, but that it will be reinvested in the team – ie, higher payroll among other things.

    Who knows if this is/will be true, but what he’s saying seems clear here. It does strike me as a different emphasis to what he’s said in the past – or rather than how it’s been interpreted. There’s fatigue here with running around in circles trying to interpret Jays management musings, but at the same time I would’t be surprised if Beeston tired of trying to explain it too.

    To me it boils down to this. Rogers may have deep pockets, but the Jays are still a business and spending has to be in sync with revenues. But he’s promising that conversely, just as Rogers isn’t a infinite pool of money for the Jays to take from, be assured that as Jays revenues rise, that money won’t just diappear into a Rogers bottomless profit-sucking void.

    Where the grey, fuzzy area is that in business you’re always dancing on both sides of the profit line, as sometimes you spend to stimulate the revenues – it’s just a question of how far ahead to go. It’s here that Beeston was trying to say in the past that as/when the Jays feel it makes sense to spend, the Rogers money is there – within reason.

    Ugh, this became a longer post than I intende, lol. Not trying to justify the Jays position at all, just nuttingit out so it’s clear. I think that last bit of Beeston’s comments is the really the crux of the message he’s been trying to get across.

  12. How valuable is the content provided by the Jays?Consider just sportsnet ONE.Just the one channel.

    Even if you cut the numbers in half and you do the math,it’s a nice chunk of change.

    Just in subsciption fees not including ad revenue.

    The money will be there when needed.

  13. This is the new sound, just like the old sound.

    From Beeston and Commenters.

    Rogers is cheap! They’ll never spend money! Beeston is a mouthpiece!
    They’re spending in the right places! The money will be there! Fiscal responsibility!

    Lather, rinse, repeat.

  14. One thing I’m heartily sick of is the baseball management habit of saying ‘a little bit’ or ‘minor’ when they are talking about problems. Cecil is having a ‘little bit of an issue with his pitching’ says Farrell. When in fact Cecil is blowing up but good. ‘I had a minor difference of opinion with AA’ says Beeston. When in fact there was probably a major argument in the front office. It’s not fooling anyone, guys. Stop with that stuff please.

    • okay, really? So what is he supposed to say? “AA and I totally got pissed at each other and he is an a-hole”? Come on… compromise is how life works, especially in families and at work. We, as fans don’t need to know the crap that goes on behind the scenes. What matters is the bottom line. Who would it be doing any good if management says “Yeah, Cecil just sucks and we don’t know what to do with him”?

      • I get that. But baseball is the only sport I know where they dance around like that. And it works my last nerve. Other sports aren’t that prissy. If Cecil has a bad day just say he had some issues. We don’t need to hear ‘a little bit’ as a qualifier to every damn’ negative statement. It makes the players sound like 5-year-olds.

    • Cecil had a very bad outing yesterday. If this continues, he will back in AAA by May.

  15. Ok Gameday must be fucked.

    Through 4 innings Henderson Alvarez has thrown a mere 20 pitches and ALL of them are strikes? Wtf

  16. Ryan Madson +Tommy John = ?

    • 18-4 record…man I’ve never been one to give half a shit about ST record, but this is fucking awesome! It may not mean anything, but it sure feels good.

  17. Well, June 18 to 20 in Milwaukee just go a lot more interesting with Jayson Stark article on Lawrie at ESPN –

    BL: They tried to change me.
    Doug Melvin: No we didn’t. He was in a rush.
    BL: I needed a new team, new guys. (at age 20)

    Someone should dress up as an 8-foot cock with a Lawrie jersey, enter that Milwaukee Sausage race and smoke the Brat. In Your Face, 24-7.

  18. You know this blog is working out just great on the score website. I think the logical next step is an increased budget, 2 days a week worth, and you bring in some help to get us through the weekend. Win now, bring in that big free agent. Like the team down the street couldn’t ;)

    • Win now, what you, an anti-Rogers, anti- jays, anti- Canadian, guy. We don’t want that kind of thinking around here…now get in line and wait.

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