Cano What I’m Thinking?

canoface

“In all honesty, it would appear that the Blue Jays are the best fit for Cano if the Blue Jays are willing to make the commitment.”

That’s Ken Woolums of Beyond The Boxscore in a post from last night. The piece was tweeted at me by a reader (@jchristidis), and my initial reaction was to dismiss the possibility, because… well… obviously. Yeah, it’s a total pipe dream, but it’s one hell of a pipe dream, isn’t it?

Fills a positional need? Check. Hall-of-Fame-calibre bat? Check. Massive hit to the fucking Yankees? Check. Costs little in the way of prospects? Check. Somehow actually re-energizes the fan base after the violent head trauma that was 2013? Check, check, and check.

And what’s two- or three-hundred million dollars between friends like us fans, Rogers, and Robinson Cano?

I suppose I could also add, “Shows a slight bit more seriousness about winning than taking on Miami’s dumpings and trading outstanding prospects for an iffy ace?”

OK, maybe that’s too far. But still!

“The only thing standing in the way,”  Woolums adds, “is the Blue Jays’ team philosophy of avoiding major long-term commitments. This can be avoided however if the Jays are willing to make an interesting offer. If the Jays were to bite the bullet on the AAV in Cano’s contract, they could offer a massive 5-year deal with an AAV trumping the AAV of any longer commitment offered to Cano. When it is considered that the Jays have a need at second base, this possibility actually opens up significantly.”

Of course it’s crazy, but crazy might be the new normal in the cash-flush Major Leagues of Baseball. Look, for example, at what the San Francisco Giants have done so far since their season ended, agreeing to pay Hunter Pence and Tim Lincecum a combined $35.5-million for the next two years, with Pence’s deal running for three additional ones at $18-million per– based on average annual value, at least.

Does, say, $40-million per year for Cano sound so crazy in the context of a market like that? When Mark Buehrle is making $22-million? Well… again, of course it sounds crazy– it’s $40-million a year to play baseball– but, understanding where the market is, and where it’s going with each team now receiving an additional $26-million per year due to the league’s new national TV deals, what this book presupposes is, maybe it isn’t?

I don’t want to be too hopelessly naive about it, especially when it comes to thoughts that Rogers would ever even consider getting involved in a thing like that– let alone whatever remote possibility there is that Cano would actually come here if they did– but as I’ve mentioned with more frequency over the last few weeks, I also don’t want to be lulled by last winter’s expenditures into accepting that ownership has already done their part, and that Anthopoulos must now make due with the assets he has, as we all get set to watch MLB’s payroll structure explode everywhere else around us.

Already, in the wake of the Lincecum deal, observers like Ben Badler of Baseball America are slack-jawed in wonder over what an actual good pitcher– Masahiro Tanaka, for example– will command. Well… Rogers can go to any dollar figure for any player they want, and maybe they’re even willing to do so. All they need is the right business case.

We’ve been fooled by these sorts of daydreams before, but I can help but wonder if the timing now is better than when, back in January of 2012, I tried to come to grips with reality after the ships marked Prince Fielder and Yu Darvish had sailed. On Fielder’s nine-year, $214-million deal I wrote:

I’m certain that it won’t, but hopefully this puts an end to some of the hysteria about the Jays and Rogers and payroll, which by the end of the saga was largely being driven by the ultra-naive assumption that Fielder was there for the taking on the cheap. The notion was pretty remarkable; premised on the idea that a supposedly-cratering market for a player wasn’t a sign that maybe clubs had huge reservations about him, but that Rogers was simply dropping the ball and punting it into the nearest piss puddle– most likely to be found beneath the pant legs of the nearest wailing Jays fan.

This, of course, wasn’t the case. Scott Boras got a princely sum for his client (see what I just did there?), and my hope is that the enormous back-end cost (see what I just did there?) will calm the firestorm. And perhaps it already has.

Yet, something still sticks in my craw about all this, which is basically the central theme of the entire off-season: the fact that so many people seem keen to live by this delusion where they insist Rogers and the Jays and Alex Anthopoulos operate against their own interests in some kind of a fantasy world that gives fans instant, short-sighted gratification.

Rogers’ ownership of the Jays has always been, in large part, a means by which to provide cheap content to their media platforms. I’ve heard the argument made that they should, but they’re simply not going to look at the market prices being paid by regional cable networks in the United States for MLB broadcast rights and decide that they owe it to the Jays to provide them something equivalent. Avoiding these kinds of escalating, already astronomical costs was the exact basis for the acquisition of MLSE by Rogers and BCE– well, that and the seeming inability of sports franchises to go down in value, regardless of how poorly they’re managed. Yes, they could spend more on the club, and it’s frustrating at times that they won’t, but it’s foolish and futile to expect them to.

Precisely because of that futility, the vision Alex Anthopoulos has set forth– the one he was assuredly hired on the basis of– requires him to be a prudent manager of assets, and to build the club through an emphasis on the draft, scouting, and player development. He was present through the Ricciardi years, and certainly saw not the untenable bargain with cheap motherfucker Rogers so many fans want to cast the last GM’s relationship ownership as, but his predecessor hoisted on his own petard, reaching a point where he was unable to convince his bosses to continue spending good money after bad.

Now, Rogers’ cynical decision to close the purse strings, fire Ricciardi– eventually– and commence rethinking organizational strategy was clearly the best one for their bottom line and not necessarily the baseball club. But with a system lacking in high-end talent, a star player ready to jump ship, and a middling player being paid like a megastar, the decision made was palatable to both the fan base and the accounting department, gave Anthopoulos a clean slate, and as such is difficult to argue against. But don’t doubt that Rogers’ willingness to make it has been extremely instructive to Anthopoulos and Beeston.

Well… apparently the lessons of J.P. Ricciardi’s tenure were lost on Anthopoulos and Beeston, or maybe they simply had no choice. With a fan base clamoring for the club to do something to not waste the best years of Jose Bautista in the same way this organization had done with Roy Halladay, last winter they chose to follow Ricciardi’s path and hope that– especially with the scouting apparatus they had built– they’d find better results.

Unfortunately, the stage is set for this regime, a year from now, to follow a more dubious path of their predecessors’: starting to complain about not having enough money to compete.

Right now the club already has just $20-million less committed to 2015 than it does to 2014, but that doesn’t include $15.5-million it would take to exercise options on Brandon Morrow and Adam Lind, plus they’d have to replace or re-sign Colby Rasmus, Casey Janssen, and Melky Cabrera just to keep the roster as it is. Some internal replacements could be used to keep the cost down, and maybe Alex Anthopoulos can find a trade to pull this winter that will make everything by then OK, but realistically, without additional spending, the club looks pretty locked into the aging roster it currently has– or something close to it– for the next couple of years, and while there is a lot to like about a number of the pieces on it, I think we can all agree that this year showed us it’s not good enough.

Yes, it’s a large leap from that statement to demanding Rogers look at this winter’s most luxurious free agents, like Cano or Tanaka, but if the club waits a year, spreads its assets thin through trade, and doesn’t find legitimate, long-term solutions at their positions of need, how is next winter going to look? Are they going to be able to make the case that they should throw more money at it, and shouldn’t just blow the damn thing up? Maybe. But with Bautista, Encarnacion and Dickey then heading into their final years before team option limbo, Buehrle and Morrow heading into the last year of their deals, and Rasmus potentially being gone, there will be very reasonable temptation to look to the future and consider trying to get young talent back for the remaining guys before they lose all their value or start down the road towards walking for nothing. Especially if 2014 doesn’t bring the kind of success we hoped 2013 would bring.

In a warped way, as fans of the club who are in it for the long haul, that may even be ideal– the Jays give it another try with a similar roster, do as little damage to the prospect pipeline as possible, then start looking to 2016 and ’17 if things don’t work out. But it’s not very sellable, and it’s in that way that our interests and the interests of Anthopoulos and Beeston– who can’t let things get to that point if they want to keep their jobs– might be starting to diverge, and why we hear rumblings of desperate nonsense like trading Jose Bautista.

All Rogers has to do to make it better for both groups– not to mention for their own excitement- and victory-driven bottom line, in both the near and the far term– is to show a willingness to go even further this winter. Or, at the very least, to keep up as salaries most likely go absolutely crazy. I was wrong in my reflections on Fielder’s deal two years ago about Anthopoulos and Beeston being too smart to wind up down the same path as J.P. Ricciardi, but hopefully I can also have underestimated how the new CBA and the marketing success of this sort of a season would have changed the way Rogers views its ownership of the club.

I still don’t think Cano is actually remotely realistic, but, damn it, aim high. Spend. No time like the present– and nobody’s going to remember last year’s spending enough to still be giving you credit for it by the time next winter comes around.

Comments (185)

  1. Cano as a Jay? Be still, my heart.
    For all those reasons….no prospects, just a shitload of cash for arguably one of the premier players in baseball….and the chance to stick it to the Yankees?
    I’m getting all tingly down….well, you know where.

  2. I think this paragraph is the rub:

    “In a warped way, as fans of the club who are in it for the long haul, that may even be ideal– the Jays give it another try with a similar roster, do as little damage to the prospect pipeline as possible, then start looking to 2016 and ’17 if things don’t work out. But it’s not very sellable, and it’s in that way that our interests and the interests of Anthopoulos and Beeston– who can’t let things get to that point if they want to keep their jobs– might be starting to diverge, and why we hear rumblings of desperate nonsense like trading Jose Bautista.”

    There is certainly a prudent way to go about this offseason – aim improve the team without going nuts, with an eye on making sure they can extract value back if it all goes belly up.

    But it also stands to reason that if things don’t work out in 2014, Beeston and Anthopoulos will lose their jobs, and some real damage could be done to the fanbase in Toronto. It’s much harder to measure how those factors are going to impact this offseason.

    It might also be why we hear a lot of rumors about Brandon Phillips, Chris Iannetta and Ubaldo Jimenez over the next few months, all guys that Anthopoulos has had reported interest on in the past.

  3. Yes Please!

  4. As long as we’re dreaming, another reason it could happen is Jose Reyes. They are buddies, countrymen, always wanted to play together…well I guess I’m dreaming too. Still it would be awesome.

    My fearless prediction which I’ll probably regret: the Angels outbid everybody and get Cano because Moreno wants the Hollywood spotlight back on his team instead of the Dodgers, and DiPoto is not consulted on it – Moreno does it all himself, secretly. I feel more comfortable making this prediction after the Dodgers signed that Cuban 2B yesterday (totally blanking on his name)

    • something-or-other Guerrero.

    • I thought I remember reading that EE and Cano work with Cano’s dad in the offseason was a huge part of his success. If its a friend who could convince him – it might be EE.

    • I think the Angels get him too, if he doesn’t stay in NY. Then they trade Hamilton, with a a bunch of money to Tampa where he becomes an MVP again.

      • You guys don’t actually think that, do you?

        • I do think the Angels might get him, even with all their other big contracts, and if they do it might be better for the Jays to make a trade with them too.

    • Didn’t EE also do some off season training with Cano two years back
      and it was Cano’s dad who got EE to keep both hands on the bat?
      That is another link.
      I’ll be dumbfounded it it happens, but it would be totally awesome.

  5. Are teams allowed to make televised dealings outside of their own Canadian/US markets? This is a completely half-baked idea but adding Cano would mean the Jays have 4 of the best ball players from the Dominican, and if there was a way to add a revenue stream from that, it may be worth the crazy investment

  6. 40 million, eh? I guess this is the new mlb. I’m all for going after Cano, but I just hope they have enough resources left over to improve the rotation.

  7. Do it. No more giving up young developing talent. It’s only money. The Jays are still a fair was off the $189M luxury tax threshold of 2014.

  8. Are Drake and Jay Z friends?

    Asking for a friend.

    • yes – confirmed.

    • Brilliant.

      Cano signs in Toronto. Joins up with his Dominican friends for a powerhouse lineup.

      Schedule some preseason games in the DR and let Jay Z and Drake kick off the season with a concert at the home opener.

      That should keep the casual fan interested.

  9. As the payroll inches towards the luxury tax threshold and inhibits any future opportunities that may appear’ to acquire SP as it becomes available.
    Even the Yanks and Bo Sox are reluctant to breach the limits.
    160 to 170 million payroll isn’t the problem, it’s what it may stop you from acquiring in the future.
    Love Cano,but the Jays rid themselves of Delgado because he ate up 25% of payroll.

  10. I just don’t think it’s a great idea to handicap ourselves for so many years..I think he’ll get a deal around 260mil.

    • If they trade from the farm for whatever else they also handicap themselves with a weaker farm. If they sign a mediocre FA, they also handicap themselves with lower-end talent. You’re screwed no matter what.

  11. With a thin free agent market, the additional wild card allowing more teams to be competitive, and all that extra television money, things are going to get awfully crazy this winter.

    Having said that, the prospect of going crazy-high on AAV for Cano makes a lot of sense for both parties. The Jays can take advantage of several of his best years (at a high price) and they can sell Cano on the prospect of hitting free agency one more time.

    Obviously it’s extremely unlikely, but it sure beats thinking of the 2013 Jays, playoff beards, and John Farrell as manager of the year.

  12. Nice Eli Cash reference in there, Stoeten!

  13. A pipe dream but i’ll take a toke out of that pipe.

  14. Yanks will sign him for $30MM x 7 years or something. They won’t let him walk.

  15. I know I am going to sound like a cranky old goat -but $40 million to play a game? I know a friend who used to be a huge baseball fan but managed to quit cold turkey because of the greed. I am not there yet, but I would certainly have a lot more time for maybe other important things.
    Has anyone done work on comparing inflation of salary of baseball players to regular salary inflation rates? I suspect this ludicrousness can’t go on.
    Besides all this, it is not a good investment. Cano is the wrong side of 30. I give him two more years of elite perfomance. Has any ANY major contract (ie > $20 million per year) for a player beyond 30 worked out since the “end” of the steroid era? Heck, even before.

    • Your friend is ridiculous. It’s called supply and demand and pretending the players are greedy just excuses the owners for pocketing the money made off their backs.

      • Well, yes and no. The money must come from somewhere, be it increased cellphone bills, etc. I used to be able to afford tickets to games. I find that more difficult now. I may sound ridiculous, but if you get right down to it, this outrageous use of money (on a game) is riding on the backs of poor people in other countries, a kind of glaring symbol of western greed. Of course the owners are not excused at all. They are the worst of all. But the boycott hurts them as well.

        I am not saying I really agree with the boycott (after all, here I am), but I would say you can make a reasonable argument for it.

        • I apologize for my senseless political nonsense on a baseball forum. Honestly, I really see salaries spiralling out of control and ruining the game financially somehow. That’s my big worry.

          • That’s absolutely, absolutely not the case. Don’t let the billionaire owners cry poor.

            • Yes, you’re probably right. But the gap between what baseball players make and what people earn is widening. What percent of household income now is spent on baseball tickets as opposed to, say, 20 years ago?

              • The gap is absolutely irrelevant. To make the argument you’re edging towards is to be fighting to put money into owners pockets– money that’s sure not going to go back to the fans, or be used to build stadiums, as long as they can extract it from public coffers. It’s absurd money, but that’s not in any way on the players.

                • Yes, you’re likely right. Still, the outrageous salaries serve as a constant reminder to me about the lack of Toonie Tuedays, as illogical as that may seem.

                  • Sure the gap between what a pro ball player makes and what I make is huge. So is the gap between me and Geroge Clooney. And Jon Bon Jovi. And the CEO of Starbucks. Even me and Toronto’s bumblefuck of a mayor. Is it ridiculous? Probably. But that’s life.

                    I figure I give the Blue Jays roughly $300-$500 a year in tickets, cel phone/cable charges, merch etc. They in return are to invest that money to entertain me. If they can blow the bank on a guy like Cano, and I get to watch some post-season Jays ball for the first time in 20 years, then I say go nuts.

              • Wow.

                Baseball ticket prices as a percentage of household income? Is this a “cost of living” measurement of inflation now?

                Baseball will always be more affordable than other major sports simply because of the massive supply of tickets.

                Jays have about 5 million tickets available each year. Leafs might have 1 million. NFL teams are a little over 1/2 a million.

                Plus TV deals just added another $26 million in income to each team. That’s about 500,000 lower bowl ticket sales for the Jays. About 15% of last years total ticket sales if I remember right.

                Business case for reasonable ticket prices, fuller stadiums and better TV ratibgs makes much more sense than the case for higher ticket prices as a profit driver.

                Likely player salaries are growing unsustainably. But it will be technology improvements that eventually force sports to stream live at a lower cost that will change the financial dynamic. Not the refusal of fans to pay for tickets that likely will remain very competitively priced compared to other pro leagues.

                Player costs are becoming crazy, but please don’t try to spin this as a “league destroying ticket price driving” monster of an issue.

  16. Well, I hate to be the guy to wake everybody up from the dream, but I did just see this one on twitter. http://espn.go.com/new-york/mlb/story/_/id/9845063/sources-say-new-york-yankees-go-offseason-shopping-spree

    Faaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaack

    • It makes sense, Yankees have like no one in their farm, it makes sense they would spend like crazy to fill their many holes.

      • One of these days they will have to rebuild on the farm and make smart trades again. It will happen, that’s how the Jeter/core 4/whatever you want to call it era that’s now ending was built.

    • This line is interesting from that story: “The estimated amount of Cano’s salary for 2014 would be in the $20-25 million range, which the Yankees believe would fall within the $189 million in total of salaries for next season.”

      Considering earlier reports that Cano wants 10 years/$300 million, I’d wager the truth falls somewhere in the middle – earlier in the article, it says bidding could top $190 million, meaning Cano probably is looking at 8 years/$200 million on a Yankees offer.

      If the Jays wanted him, and are willing to up the AAV to shorten the contract, a 5 year/$200 million deal would probably do it – same total value as a potential Yankees deal but three less years. You could add a player option to really seal it.

      Man, what a dream… Can we get McCann and Cano for around $40-$50 million (per season)? That would be amazing.

    • Fucking Beltran is actually the perfect guy to man right field in Yankee Stadium. That’s gonna suck.

    • Cross your fingers that they get stuck having to pay A-Rod to sit for the next whatever number of games he got slapped with. Maybe then the Yanks will have to rock some austerity measures for a bit.

      • I mean, I’d want someone with a higher floor/lower ceiling if they didn’t have some guys in the minors who could very easily be handed a job in a less crucial year anyway, but they do have those guys– at least they do for now. So… seems OK.

  17. If the day comes that Rogers decides to spend big, kinda like the Dodgers, look the fuck out!

  18. Could you imagine

    Reyes
    Cano
    Bautista
    Encarnacion

    as the top 4.

    We would only need to get a Catcher (if we’re going to be stupid why not get McCann) and a Starter or two and we’re good to go.

  19. Stoetes, thank you for the Royal Tenenbaums reference.

  20. “I suppose I could also add, “Shows a slight bit more seriousness about winning than taking on Miami’s dumpings and trading outstanding prospects for an iffy ace?””

    Just a second there. Where you unhappy about the Marlins trade? Because I seem to recall you were absolutely thrilled. We all were. And we were thrilled about Dickey as well. What’s not to get thrilled about. The guy had a Cy Young. As for Cano, I will believe it when I see him in a Jays jersey and not until. He costs a ton. And we have more desperate needs than him. I don’t want to see one big splashy deal. I want to see a team full of + position players and a credible starting rotation.

    • That’s not at all what I was saying, but thanks for the pointless righteous indignation all the same.

      • Well this is what you said back in November 2012. Ah happy days! We were so innocent then!

        “So huge, in fact, that papers over a lot of warts we might otherwise be seeing all over this deal. Johnson has big health red flags, having missed much of 2007 with elbow trouble, 2008 with Tommy John, and 2011 with shoulder inflammation; Buehrle is aging and expensive; Reyes, though mystifyingly seven months younger than Escobar, may not age well on turf and costs about a bajillion dollars more; and the prospects headed Miami’s way still have a great deal of upside.
        But on the other hand… fuck it.
        Fuck it!
        Reyes has been worth nearly 11 wins above replacement over the last two years! He’s a damn switch hitter! A legit lead-off man! A star!
        Johnson has been worth ten wins over his last two healthy seasons, discounting his injury-riddled 2011. And he stayed healthy last year! Was absolutely dominant two years prior! And the Jays have a giant head start on re-signing him if he shows he’s back to even the four win pitcher he was last year, let alone the six win guy he was before!
        Buehrle has been worth about six wins over the last two years! He pitched over 200 innings in both of them! And each of the ten years previous!
        The two pitchers instantly address the club’s most painfully obvious area of need, adding talent above and beyond any realist’s most optimistic hope about what the club could have landed by way of the free agent market. And in 2010, Reyes’ worst full season since 2005, he was still worth a win more than two of Escobar’s last three– last year he was worth 4.5 to Yunel’s 1.8.
        Not only that, he allows the club to distance themselves further from this summer’s homophobic slur incident.
        Maybe more impressive still, the Jays didn’t even come close to destroying their farm system to make these major upgrades. Nicolino was the most polished, but had the lowest upside of the “Lansing Three”; Marisnick needed to force his way past a number of guys in the outfield before he could impact; Hechavarria is still no sure thing with the bat; and Alvarez throws hard but is nobody’s starter until he finds a third pitch.
        The Jays got this deal done without moving Sanchez, Syndergaard, Osuna, d’Arnaud, Gose, Lawrie, or even Arencibia– who looks a strong candidate to be flipped, now that John Buck is setup perfectly to open the year as the Jays’ catcher, with Travis d’Arnaud coming along slowly and taking over the gig for good come 2014.
        There’s Bonifacio, too– a nice little utility pickup, especially combined with the nice little utility pickup of last week. He was hurt last year but put up 3.3 fWAR in 2011. He’s a switch hitter, can fill in at a number of positions, and has stolen 70 bases over past two seasons, being caught only 13 times.
        Perhaps best of all, the Jays– and Rogers, in particular– have shown something for once. I’m somewhat loath to get greedy, but they’re a much more attractive destination today than they were yesterday– or basically since their rotation went up in flames mid-season. Does a Melky Cabrera maybe now kind of want to come here? ”

        So I’m guessing you were being sarcastic in your reference to the Marlins above? Because if so I apologize.

        • Again, I wasn’t saying what you think I was saying, so regurgitating that is pointless. But thanks for just plowing ahead with what you thought in the first place anyway after I corrected you.

          • Do you think you qualify as a cranky old coot now, or do you have a few years to go still? I’m not sure myself, but when I’m sitting on my back porch in a rocker with a bourbon you better mind yer manners or I’ll whack your shins with my cane.

    • I think he is speaking as a pessimistic fan would. I don’t think he means that he really feels that way. It’s tongue-in-cheek.

      • Yeah but normally when he goes after the fans the words ‘mouth breathers’ and ‘morons’ feature prominently. Andrew does not do satire every often. Rhetoric, yes.

        • You are approaching RADAR-esque levels of eye-roll inducing ridiculousness here.

          Do I really have to hand-hold you through what I was saying, or can you maybe take a deep breath, read it again, and try to forget whatever nonsense you’ve already decided I must have meant?

          • Yes Andrew, you do. What is sarcastic about this?

            “I suppose I could also add, “Shows a slight bit more seriousness about winning than taking on Miami’s dumpings and trading outstanding prospects for an iffy ace?”

            OK, maybe that’s too far. But still!”

            • Who says it’s sarcastic?

              Again: try letting go of whatever wrong thing you think it is.

              • you take yourself way too seriously

                • If you know of a better way to tell someone being obstinate to work on their reading comprehension without just telling them to fuck off, do tell. If not, maybe feel free to wait until you have something that isn’t horseshit to say before you weigh in. Thanks.

                  • Andrew, I’m asking you again. Are you now saying that you think the Marlins deal was Rogers picking up Marlins discards? Or are you saying that’s what the fans think? Or are you saying you were in favour of the deal when it happened but now look at it differently? Obviously my reading comprehension skills are inadequate because I am not sure what you meant by that passage. You may go off on me as much as you like, but I am genuinely trying to understand exactly what it was you intended to say in that piece of the above post.

                    • I am not being sarcastic, I am not saying the deals were bad. I am commenting on how they reflect ownership’s seriousness when it comes to winning as compared to actually going out and spending $200-million on a player.

                    • If the Jays acquired Cano, what would be the income gap between him and the next most-expensive player?

                    • Depends on how much they signed him for. Buehrle makes $19-million next year. Reyes tops the list in 2015– makes $22-million.

                    • Sorry that last post was not intended to be part of this thread but somehow ended up there…

  21. What about mark Ellis for the 2nd base job as a cheap option?

    • He would probably be the least interesting upgrade for 2nd base, he has no upside, is kinda old and has mediocre stats at best.

      • Him and Goins would be a cheap and decent defensive platoon. But pretty uninspiring, yes.

        • but he’s a winner, right? just think of the boost to team chemistry!

          • Are we talking league and park adjusted chemistry?

            • obviously. everyone knows there’s a bit of risk going to a tough division, chemistry-wise, like the AL east, especially if the guys coming from a NL chemistry situation, but ellis is a gamer, y’know, so he’ll like, do stuff that helps create some kind of happy stuff that, like, helps the guys in the room to want to try extra special hard and be, like, totally better, and, uh, stuff. JUST CAUSE YOU CAN’T SEE IT DOESN’T MAKE IT TOTAL BULLSHIT!

  22. It’s interesting if Rogers do decide to become players in the Cano sweepstakes. I mean the Dodgers are out so who really would be serious players for Cano? The angels?

    Ah man such a pipe dream, I remember salivating at the thought we could woo Ortiz from the sox last year.

  23. What’s the word on this new Dodgers second baseman? Should the Jays have been in on this considering their need and the (relatively) cheap cost?

    • No

      • You make a convincing argument.

        • I read (Badler, I believe) that there is. Avariety of opinion on him and there are some orgs who question whether or not he’s actually a big league player…. So its not like he’s a can’t miss guy.

        • You’re waiting for word that he’s good so you can shit all over the Jays for it, right?

          Ugh.

          • Is that in reply to me, Stoeten? I rarely shit on the Jays. I love the Jays. Just curious about this guy.
            Besides, isn’t your job to either apply shit or glittering sparkles? Analysis of moves made and not made? Didn’t the Jays get covered in shit by many, many people for the Yu Darvish thing? How would this be any different?

            • I would have gone for him, he seems to have decent tools with potential for plus power which is always welcome at second base. I mean it’s a risky gamble cause he could just like suck majorly at adjusting to major league pitching but who knows?

  24. Not to be a downer here (I’d love to have Cano on this team) but shouldn’t the focus be on the starting pitching?

    2013 Quality Starts
    BOS 95
    TB 80
    NYY 84
    BAL 78
    TOR 67 (28th out of 30 teams)

    The hitting on the Jays in 2013 was actually decent and if you account for Arencibia and no production from 2B it was quite good. Bautista and Rasmus played 118 games, Lawrie 107, Reyes 93 and Cabrera 88 – 5 hitters missing almost a third of the season. Things should get better offensively.

    Starting pitching should be the focus.

    • Johnson and Morrow healthy, better options behind them, and Dickey better, don’t forget. The pitching need is there, for sure, but let’s not overstate it.

      • come on….are you in the slightest way implying that 2B is as much of a priority as SP for the Jays?

        • No, I’m saying exactly what I said.

          • I don’t think there is a way to overstate how important it is for the Jays to get 1-2 good starters this offseason (yes you can count JJ as one if the surgery goes well and he is expected to return to form next year) if they want to contend for the WS.

            • You just did, so…

              • so you are ok then if they Jays don’t add a good starter? you think they have a shot at winning the WS next year?

                • I’d prefer they did, but of course they’d have a very good shot just bringing back Johnson. If not him, then yes, they’d need to add someone. Again, preferably two. But the idea that it’s hopeless if they don’t is absurd.

                  • well, you couldn’t give up hope but it sure would be a long shot. maybe not lottery or getting struck by lightning long shot but I sure wouldn’t bet on the Jays to win the WS next year without upgrading the rotation.

      • You seem to be talking yourself back into Josh Johnson. Not that opposed to his return on a 1 year deal, but is there any good reason to think that he can stay healthy for a full season right now?

        • Yes, of course there is. And yes, he should be back, and I think he will.

          • What exactly would that reason be? Because based on his injury history, I have even less faith in his ability to stay healthy than most other starters (which is to say, not very much at all).

            I also find it difficult to believe Josh Johnson would even return to Toronto unless they gave him an offer that significantly beat out everyone else. There are far better places for him to resume his career than the AL East.

            • They have him by the balls with the qualifying offer– who would give up a draft pick for him?– so I don’t think that’s a concern.

              He pitched 180+ innings in three of the four years before this one. I’m not saying it’s a slam dunk he stays healthy, but acting like his arm is for sure going to explode is no more rational. You get 20 starts out of him (at his ca. 2012 level) and 10 out of Hutchison (or someone), or 15 and 15, and that’s still worth the less-than-$14-million you’ll pay for him, given where the market appears to be going. You take a one year flyer and he busts, as long as the leash is damn short, that’s OK too.

              Plus you have a reasonable measure of certainty in terms of cost and in terms of getting him to put his name on a contract. If you let him walk and commit yourself to the open market there are huge risks there, too– it’s why the Giants overpaid Lincecum.

              • So you really think they’re going to just throw the QO his way, then? I figured they would have before his elbow surgery, but now it would seem there are better ways to spend that money than on an oft-injured pitcher.

                Perhaps you’re right about the risk of committing yourself to the open market being greater than any 1 year deal, though.

                • I sort of thought about it the other way– that the elbow surgery makes you a little more hopeful that he’s not going to be the disaster he was this year. A bit fanciful of me, perhaps.

    • yes. And I think everyone will agree that SP has to be the top priority. Cano is a pipe dream.

      • Bring back Johnson, add one more pitcher. Done.

        • agreed. maybe not as simple as you make it sound the way salaries are escalating and the desire not to give up any more good prospects or reduce current talent but yeah. also, this is very, very important. we must get better results out of our rotation next year or we will be in about the same position again.

        • dont forget about the cecil and mcgowan lottery tickets. if one of those guys pans out as a starter, we really only need one. look at st. louis’ starting staff. after wainwright its a bunch of guys who have been mostly mediocre but have come on this year. that’s usually how pitching works. one or two studs and then hope 3 others emerge from a group of 6-7. out of cecil, mcgowan, stroman, hutchison, drabek and nolin odds are 2 emerge to be solid this year.

          • I think it’s pretty OK to forget about those lottery tickets. And that’s certainly not how I’d characterize the Cardinals’ staff.

            I think the Red Sox staff is a better parallel: Buchholz has as many health issues as Morrow, Lester needed a bounce back (and did), Lackey coming off TJ, and Doubront a pretty regular back-end guy who ended up having a very good year. Dempster is generally healthy but had a shoulder problem last year too.

  25. I’m always up for spending (and to me, last offseason is simply what Rogers should have been doing all along and what they should be doing every year going forward until another rebuild), but I think there are better ways to do it than paying an obscene amount in both dollars/years to Robinson Cano and creating an albatross a few seasons down the line.

    That isn’t to say that I’d make a huge stink if such a thing actually happened, but if the Jays are really going to spend, I’d much prefer to go after lesser targets like McCann, Phillips (through trade), Tanaka, and Garza. Their contracts won’t be so difficult to deal with when this contention window inevitably closes.

    • What big contracts are really immovable?

      I know we can always think of a handful of current bad contracts. But even then – half the time they still get moved.

      • We haven’t really seen the Pujols/Fielder sized ones get into totally unmovable territory just yet, though. And that’s what Cano is looking at, at least.

        • Pujols has a no trade clause in his contract…. which is the reason why he didn’t sign with Miami because they refused to give him one.

    • The contract thrown out there was 5 years at 40m per. Ridiculous and absurd and is an albatross the second it’s signed, but so is every free agent deal. If Rogers has decided to spend around the tax level then this is the shit they can and should do.

      To fuck the Yankees over hardcore is worth 10m easy.

  26. if they jays can sign cano then i think you trade bautista for a pitcher and re-sign johnson. then all you have to deal with is finding a catcher.

    • If the Jays signed Cano they won’t be subtracting from the big league team by dealing Bautista. If the Jays landed Cano they can’t stop there.

  27. Cano is awesome and just for I looked at his stats and…he’s fucking awesome.

    Signing Cano would harken me back to the Clemens signing. But this team is probably closer to being able to compete with Cano than that one was with Clemens. And, if signing the best available FA works out the way the Clemens signing did, look out!

  28. As much as the thought of Cano in a Jays uniform gives me a hard on, I’d much rather the Jays work on getting a stud or two in the rotation.

    Johnson and Morrow healthy, better options behind them, and Dickey better, don’t forget. The pitching need is there, for sure, but let’s not overstate it.

    Andrew, Johnson hasn’t had a healthy season in what will be 5 years (2009), and Morrow hasn’t had one healthy season in his time with the Jays. The Jays signing Cano makes sense, sort of. In my opinion, I’d rather see the Jays get a couple stud pitchers to shore up their greatest weakness, rather than have it be mostly filled with scrubs again because of guaranteed injuries. If they could do both, that would be great. But Cano alone is enough of a pipedream as it is. :p

    • Johnson pitched 180+ innings in three of four years before this one. Since 2010 Morrow has averaged 22 starts per year.

      Try knowing what you’re talking about– it’s fun and informative for people!

      • For Morrow: 22 starts per year is considered healthy now? 8-10 missed starts per year is huge.

        For Johnson: I missed his 2012 season, where he may have missed just one start. 2010 he was hurt, 2011 he was hurt, and 2013 he was hurt. I’m not talking about innings pitched, but rather starts missed.

        Three out of his past four years of having injury troubles kinda makes one, y’know, injury prone.

        http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2013/10/free-agent-profile-josh-johnson.html

        • You’re being overly dramatic about Morrow, and intentionally looking at Johnson’s history negatively. You’ve also soften your stance here from when they were “guaranteed” injuries, haven’t you?

          So… yeah, my point stands.

        • Parrot, please list all the starters who (a) miss less than 8-10 starts every year and (b) are also above average pitchers.

          Those two factors, combined, basically make a guy an ace. Like 100M contract guys.

  29. I look at this way, despite the Jays having several guys who are being paid well they don’t have a player in the top 25 of AAV.

    For team that “could be up there with the Boston’s of the world” according to the Beest (the man takes his time sometimes, but is usually true to his word), they could absolute afford to have Cano.

    Fuck, I’d even sacrifice SP upgrade if this could be done., but I’m confident that Alex could still find a way get’er done on that front.

  30. Just read the ESPN article about how the Yankees are going to resign Cano and Kuroda and sign Tanaka and likely QO’ed FAs McCann and Beltran. My question is: What happens if you sign more than one QO’ed FA? And what would happen if the Jays, with their protected 1st round pick, did this?

    • Fuck ESPN.

    • It depends if your picks are protected or not. if your picks are not protected ala yankees, then you lose your picks starting at the first round and sequencially go down the rounds with each QO rounds. So technically, if you sign 10 QO free agents in one year, you could lose all 10 round picks. With the Jays, they have the first round protected so they lose the next round that isnt protected, the second round pick. They DO NOT lose the compensation pick because compensation picks are protected.

  31. Another point to consider is that the Jays have been hoarding money every year until 2013. It’s not unreasonable for baseball ops to carried over “budget savings” for a 3 to 4 year run.

    Especially if successful, they would get both the return on their investment and a bump for all their related properties.

  32. Come on mow this is Fielder – Darvish all over again amiright?

    Sorry I just can’t see the cheap $(#$&*( Rogers committing to that kind of money.

    I sure hope I’m wrong though

    • It s not that Rogers is cheap, it’s more that they’re a business.

      If they didn’t need to spend much, and made a decent return thats what they would do. However a winning team (and paying for the talent) would not only make them money in a baseball ops kinda level, but also increase the revenue of all their related media properties.

      If they crunch the numbers and and find that they will make a good return over the whole media division by spending on the team, they will. Guaranteed.

      They have lots of money, and an appetite to make lots more if they think they can.

      • Well, we should probably all pat ourselves on the back, because the fanbase clearly showed they would come out if the team looked likely to win (of showed they intended to act like a big market club). I would think that would allow Rogers to feel a bit more bold in making big investments in players. It wasn’t that long ago the narrative was that ‘baseball is dead in Toronto’ and ‘the fans didn’t come out for Clemens, so who would they come out for’ blah blah bullshit.

  33. Dave Cameron on how/if Tim Lincecum’s deal impacts Josh Johnson:

    “I think this guarantees that he gets a QO.”

    https://twitter.com/DCameronFG/status/393074364721401856

    • I’ve always thought there was a good chane of this.

      Not sure why Johnson would sign back here without testing FA unless we:

      A: Pay more than he thinks he can get in FA on a one year deal. Or:

      B: guarantee him more dollars on a longer term contract.

      More than he can get on a one year deal is probably close to the QO anyway. And do the Jays really want to take a chance on option B? 2/ $25 mill maybe but any more than that gets a bit risky. Less and Johnson would likely take his chances on the market without a QO.

      The narrative that he may want to “do right by” the Jays and come back at a discount is unlikely I’m betting.

      Best option is to offer him a QO and then dangle a few more dollars in front of him on a longer deal. QO would kill his FA market and give the Jays a lot of leverage on a short term extension.

      • And if some

        • Oops.

          What I was trying to say is if some team outbids the Jays or JJ really wants out of T.O. As some people/idiots have speculated then we will happily take a first rounder in a very deep draft.

          I suspect this was AAs plan for Johnson all along.

      • He wants to rebuild value so only wants a one-year deal. I believe it– makes sense.

  34. I don’t think Cano is a pipedream. I think it’s fully reasonable because of the corner AA has somewhat painted himself in. I also feel like though Cano will inevitably decline in value, it’s worth having a shit team for a season or two after multiple playoff appearances. in fact it means good draft picks developing around the same time that money becomes available.

    Regardless, I’ve always wondered why teams don’t offer FRONTloaded deals? Yes, you get stuck with paying most of the contract, but it’s for the years that actually justified the contract. This inevitably makes a declining player more tradeable once he is declining where you may actually be able to reclaim some value in a salary dump scenario. Take Arod, for example. If he were being paid 40 million for his productive years but was owed say, 12 next season… I’m sure the Yankees might find a taker and even receive a prospect of value at that point. Makes more sense than sending Arod plus 28 million to a team to get a no chance prospect, no?

    I feel like a 8 year 250 million dollar contract is not insane for Cano. Front loaded so that it was something like 40, 40, 35, 35, 35, 21, 12, 12

    The advantage for the player of coarse is more money at once and greater chance of being traded to a contender at the end of his deal. Or he stays productive enough that it makes sense to keep him. The thing is we ate talking about a HOF type guy, not Jayson werth or Alfonso soriano.

    Just nuts or what?

    • GM’s usually don’t give a shit about 6 years down the line. But it’s something I’ve often thought about too.

      • I would suspect that it’s because the thinking goes, if the contract goes sour it’s someone else’s problem (and maintains payroll flexibility while I’m here), and if I’m still here when the dollars get heavy things must have worked out great!

        • I think backloading a contract is smarter from a financial standpoint, too. I’m sure the interest earned by holding on to $100 million for a few extra years is a pretty significant amount.

  35. Damnit Stoeten well said

    Reyes
    Choo
    Bautista
    Cano
    EE
    McCann
    Lawrie
    Rasmus
    Ellsbury

    Make it happen Rogers.

    :)

    • I don’t think you need Ellsbury AND Choo lol, not to mention rasmus’s centerfield value would be useless in left.

      This pretty much impossible lineup Im assuming means Melky is somehow dealt and Lind is let go?

      • Bench depth for Lind and Melky.

        We picked up Napoli and Stephen drew for depth as well.

        If you like the lineup you should see our rotation.

  36. Oof. So fun to talk about this stuff.

    Obviously signing Cano would be a massive longshot, but really who know what Rogers and AA intend to do? Who the hell saw a $120 mil payroll at this time last year? Who knows how far Rogers intends to invest in the onfield product. When McCown asked Pelley the other week if Rogers was going to spend, he just said something like ‘well, we’re all in’. That could be lip service, but maybe they really are. Maybe they throw 225 million at Cano and take a run at Tanaka. Or get Cano and trade Bautista for pitching help.

  37. I wonder do player relationships persuade player x to sign with a particular team or is it all about the money? could Cabrera, Bautista, Reyes, EE and Rogers play a role in convincing Cano to come to the Jays if there offer is acceptable? is it racist to assume because there dominican that their friends?

    Anyway if the Jays offered Cano a 5 year $200 Million contract with a opt out clause after 3 (or 2 years even) years would he take it? The opt out benefits the Jays and probably Cano if he preforms, if exercised because all the Jays big contracts will be off the books after 3 years and Cano can sign another large contract.

    The only bad thing I can think of is ego problems in the club house if one guy makes 40 million a season. I’m no sociologist but money often creates envy and put a wall between people which could that affect player attitudes? Yes I believe work place happiness plays a role in good performance, just not sure how to put a value on it.

    But in all I and very much for the Jays to start to offer players short term contracts with very large avv to not create roster problems like Howard, Pujols or ARod

    • Cano and Reyes ARE freinds. And Cano and EE were training together in the offseason last I know. So yeah of course it could help.

      It could help IF Cano would seriously leave the Yankees. Big if.

    • I keep forgetting this but EE does train with Cano at the same facility every winter…. I wonder if that will have an effect on what team he signs with.

  38. Interesting article in the Globe today about Rogers and their investment in the Jays. The gist is that Rogers has done very well in purchasing the Jays and the article doesn’t even factor in the “free” content.

    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/streetwise/rogers-has-a-four-bagger-on-blue-jays-bloomberg-estimates/article15016220/#dashboard/follows/

    • Pretty silly that I cant read that

    • This year could very well be the year the Jays were planning on increasing payroll but with the Miami fire sale last year, bumped the plan up a year. They took advantage of a desperate team to add talent to the core and this year will supplement the core with a couple big additions. I just hope that comes via free agency to save the young talent for depth. Having Hutch and Drabek back is huge for depth, plus Stroman and even Nolin. The Jays missed that dearly last year. That depth is a selling feature for AA and Beast to help pitch to Rogers on adding studs at 2B and C.

      Add JJ and an Arroyo type?? With Cano and Salty or Conger and wow.

  39. If they’re thinking about that kind of outlay, no wonder I have my ticket guy harassing me trying to get out of my single season ticket with an open (yet usually sold) spot next to me and “Upgrade” me to a spot more to their liking.

    Or maybe that’s just some Rogers corporate bullshit bleeding it’s way into the Jays Executive.

  40. If ARod wins his appeal he’ll be playing next year and the Yanks will have a lot less cash to throw around.

    I never thought I’d be rooting for that dbag to win something, but…

    • I can’t imagine how they can justify the amount of games they’re trying to give him, when other first-time offenders got 50.

      • What, “because Bud said so” isn’t a good enough reason?

        • A-Rod is being treated unfairly. No question. He actually, kinda, sorta, in a small way, looks like the sympathetic figure in this story.

  41. A little more on the Yanks payroll situation:

    “Getting back that $25 million if A-Rod is suspended is going to be crucial to the team’s offseason plans.”

    http://www.pinstripedbible.com/2013/10/21/4857990/yankees-2014-payroll-arbitration-free-agency-cano-tanaka-mccann-beltran-gardner-robertson

    • watch the jays make mid level acqusitions like the red sox
      and the jays will win the east in a reversal of last years roles

  42. Wild Cat was written in a kind of obsolete vernacular.

  43. I can’t believe people on here think 40 million is to much for this guy. It’s not our money! If Cano wants to be here and Rogers has the money, then sign him. Do we want to win or not?

    • I think the question is if Rogers is willing to expand the payroll by 40 million per year, do you want to spend that money on Cano, or a whole combination of other players.

  44. It’s too much money for one guy. It’s a Vernon Wells-type gamble.* If he doesn’t work out or gets terminally injured on the turf, where do they go from there? If Rogers were all-in and spending money like drunken sailors, OK. they could buy and buy and buy. But I don’t think they’re prepared to go that far.

    * Yeah I know Robinson Cano is far superior to V-Dub. But still. It could be an albatross and I’m sick of seeing those birds fly over and crap on this team.

    • Mitigated, at least a little bit, by the notion of a high AAV but a shorter term. But I agree, I’d be very wary of relying on Rogers to keep the spending up to not make it an albatross. I think they SHOULD do that, but I’ve got to see it before I believe it. They would help change the perception, though, if they keep on spending this year.

  45. Flags Fly Forever right

  46. Now you’re just torturing us.

  47. Thing is with spending that much on a guy like Cano, you pay for the first few years, and when your “window” has closed you eat the money, find cheap players for a rebuild and all the numbers can still add up.

  48. [...] Stoeten also addresses the possibly of the Blue Jays going after Robinson Cano this offseason. It might be unrealistic but I like his point – the Jays need to aim high. [...]

  49. As much as I would love to see Cano at second turning double plays with Reyes, forgive me if I don’t hold my breath.

    But I do think the Jays should make an offer, if anything to force the team that eventually does sign him… likely the Yankess… pay as much as possible to keep him. Don’t make it easy for them.

    There’s always a chance he might accept our offer but I doubt it.

  50. With all the latest contracts Cano gets $300 mil for sure.

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