Though only two days old, already there has been a tidal wave of reaction to The Trade, as it’s reach goes far beyond the two markets involved in the deal, and far beyond just the world of sports– it has been a lead story around here this week, not just in sports but in news. For me there remain thousands and thousands of words still to sift through on the subject, and it feels as though I’m endlessly falling beind on them, as my focus has been more on the day-to-day movements in the wake of the deal, and less on what’s being pontificated elsewhere.
One story that immediately caught my attention, however, as I’ve begun the process of reading and filing the ever-growing items in my RSS feed for a major trade reaction piece, comes not from one of the usual suspects, but from the business pages of the Globe and Mail, as Paul Waldie and Grant Robertson go deep into the economic side of the deal, managing to lay this nugget on us in the process:
While the team’s play had disappointed fans, the club’s attendance increased 15 per cent last season, and revenue was higher than expected. Some marketable players, like Brett Lawrie and José Bautista, were attracting fans across the country. Meanwhile, divisional rivals the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox looked vulnerable for the first time in years, and MLB had just concluded television deals that would put about $25-million extra in each team’s pocket. Suddenly, spending more on players looked like a smart investment and a chance to capitalize on fortunate events. In the words of a source familiar with the trade: “The banana was ripening.”
A few weeks ago, Rogers management cleared the way for Jays’ president Paul Beeston and general manager Alex Anthopoulos to take the payroll as high as $120-million for the season if necessary, according to the source. Mr. Anthopoulos went out to look for players, and soon found a willing seller in Jeffery Loria, owner of the Marlins, who seemed eager to unload some team members with big contracts. The two concluded the trade this week, even as the Red Sox tried to poach a couple of the Florida players, not realizing Mr. Loria was interested in a much bigger transaction.
Um… I don’t know about you, but that’s news to me.
If the source is accurate, it means that the Jays have something in the neighbourhood of $10-million still to play with, given that the general estimation of payroll after the trade and arbitration raises currently stands at around $110-million (who’s a math whiz? this guy!). An additional $11.65-million (note: PUKE!) is tied up in Adam Lind and John Buck, and while the club has no prayer of getting someone to take those guys at full price, perhaps even more dollars can be creatively freed up by attempting to move them as well.
Of course, the source may not be accurate at all. It’s just, call me naive but the fact that these are business writers, and presumably more plugged-in on the financial side of Rogers than the darkly secretive Blue Jays side, makes me kind of want to believe there’s a pretty good chance it’s true.
Also: because it would be awesome. And because it would be slightly ridiculous of Rogers to push the team to the brink of True Contender status and not do just a little bit extra to make sure they make it over the top.
I know it’s greedy, but so what? Don’t half ass it, guys– expect to be repaid in playoff revenue.