anthopoulos2013WM

This, I think, despite it’s unseemly J.P. Ricciardi-ishness, is actually a good thing– despite what Bob Elliott will try to suggest to you through the power of all-caps in his latest for the Toronto Sun. In that piece, after dropping the Colby Rasmus rumour that I addressed in the previous post here, he tells us, rather sarcastically, that “in other news” the Jays are “one year into a five-year window.”

He goes on:

Somehow, we remember from last December general manager Alex Anthopoulos saying the trades gave the Jays a chance to win the next three years.

“I said three-to-five years,” said Anthopoulos during his daily briefing.

Indeed, we’ve all been using the three-year bit of it, but AA’s right! Ken Davidoff of the New York Post certainly added the “five year” bit in a piece back in January, and Elliott suggests there are other instances, as well. And that’s a great thing!

Why, you ask? Because even though Elliott says that “the Jays HAVE to contend next season” (see what I mean), they really don’t. I mean they should, and a lot of jobs would be in jeopardy if they didn’t, and we obviously all want them to, but “have” is a bit of a strong word, and “HAVE” is plainly ludicrous. Like… what would happen? Pestilence???

Fortunately for all of us– though he may feel more desperation than he lets on in his posturing– Alex Anthopoulos quite obviously gets this. Elliott explains:

The new news about this new, five-year window came when Anthopoulos was asked since the 2014 season is of more importance compared to last year or any other year, why he would not trade prospects for immediate help?

“It depends, I don’t look at it that way, if that was the case we would trade everybody (prospects),” Anthopoulos told reporters. “You have to balance the short terms vs. the long term.”

This is who you want running your team, folks– provided, that is, that you don’t have an Ilitch or a Steinbrenner at the top. Certainly not media guys egging on the braying moron set into championing causes against their own interests– which, it turns out, papers like the Sun are kinda good at.

Flags fly forever, I know, but even last year’s “all in” wasn’t really all in– I mean Aaron Sanchez is still here, isn’t he?– because there needs to be balance, and that the GM appears to have it– in the face of pressure that might make a person in his position behave a bit recklessly– sounds like a tremendous thing to me. Unless, of course, you’re getting Cole Hamels or Cliff Lee, in which case you just give up all of the prospects.

Moving on, Elliott’s piece also addresses the issue of The Policy– the Jays’ supposed limitation on free agent contract length. Ben Nicholson-Smith looked at it earlier in the evening for Sportsnet, as well.

Elliott takes the too-easy path, explaining somewhat sardonically that “the Jays are playing with a 55-yard field (or 50 if it’s the NFL) in that they won’t go longer than a five-year contract on free agents, thereby eliminating their chances for big-name free agents demanding eight- and 10-year deals.”

He is, of course, missing the entire point of what Anthopoulos said about it today. Benny Fresh gets straight to the nut: “Alex Anthopoulos has some wiggle room,” he says. “The Toronto Blue Jays general manager would prefer not to sign players to contracts of more than five years, he has the flexibility to do so.”

Nicholson-Smith continues:

Speaking in general terms, Anthopoulos made it clear that he doesn’t want to exclude the Blue Jays from the bidding for players simply because of a team policy that limits contracts to five years.

“There’s no question that if you limit yourself, there’s just some guys that aren’t going to be available to you,” Anthopoulos said. “You can’t deny that. But I think if you look at all of the examples, in the long run you’re probably going to be better off.”

That last bit speaks to exactly what I’ve been trying to say about this issue. The Jays don’t see the value in going that long on a deal. It’s not necessarily that they won’t if they did, and Anthopoulos essentially admits as much by acknowledging the wiggle room– even leaving the door open ever-so-slightly for going beyond six years, saying simply, “I don’t see that occurring,” rather than something more emphatic.

Later, Ben tells us that “Anthopoulos acknowledged that the Blue Jays had at least one conversation about offering a player a six-year term last winter,” which ought to be enough to shatter the illusion right there.

The converse of that comes in the next sentence, though, where we’re told that Anthopoulos “also noted that one former Blue Jays target indicated that he’d sign in Toronto for five years and a higher average annual value before landing a longer-term deal elsewhere.”

Shit, so am I wrong? Did the policy really take a free agent out of the team’s hands???

No, because a higher average annual value doesn’t mean a whole lot if there’s a big disparity in years.

Think about it this way: say this was Prince Fielder and the Jays’ offer was $30-million per year for five, while the Tigers ended up getting him at a shade under $24-million per over nine. Was the Jays problem here that they limited themselves to an arbitrary term, or was it the fact that they were only going to guarantee the player $150-million over the life of the deal as compared to the $214-million he received?

Gregor Chisholm writes about it for BlueJays.com, quoting Anthopoulos as he explains that “If we’re going to go seven times 10, or go five times 14, it balances out at the end of the day.”

It sure does, just not for the player.

Think about it: if being offered the exact same amount of money, but being given the choice of reaching free agency again in five years or in seven years, or ten years, what player in his right mind isn’t going to take the five and give himself the best chance possible to re-enter the market before his skills erode so he can cash in once again?

It makes no sense whatsoever that the Jays would be losing out on these kinds of deals because of term. If they’re losing out, it’s because they’re not willing to offer as much total money. Period.

Or… not exactly period– they could also lose out if the dollars are close and the player prefers the other destination, or a cost-of-living adjustment factors in– but pretty damned close to period.

I understand why they do it, though. It’s very obviously effective to let people distract themselves by getting wrapped up in quibbles about The Policy, and I don’t doubt that they really do prefer to limit the deals they sign to five years or less. But to talk about it like they’re blindly, stupidly cutting themselves off at the knees with a completely unnecessary and unbending policy instituted to save themselves from themselves is just ridiculous. It’s a way to get around constantly having to answer questions about big-time free agents with, “We can’t or won’t spend the kind of money necessary to land that guy.”

It’s really, really, really, really simple.

Comments (48)

  1. Holy shit, Stoeten, do you ever sleep?

  2. Jesus Christ, Stoeten, do you sleep ?

  3. no need. this is gold

  4. Do you ever sleep, Andrew?

  5. I’d also just like to say that I think the Jays will be trading Rasmus for Bailey, and signing Choo to play center field

    • 6 yrs., 110 mil. for Shin Soo Choo

      • Dear god no. Did you SEE Shin-Soo Choo in CF? He has absolutely NO business playing there on even an emergency basis.

        • No, I haven’t seen him play center and I doubt you have either. The defensive metrics for center fielders are a little insane anyways. He only had four errors last year. Whereas Rajai Davis had two errors, in a third of the games, playing left field. Rajai gets +0.3 dWAR, while Choo gets -1.8 dWAR. He’s not great, probably not even good, as a fielder, but also far from the ball-catching atrocity you think he is,

          • No, he is that bad in CF. Signing Choo to be the CF would be a disaster for this team.

            In terms or errors, remember, you can’t make an error on balls that you don’t get to.

            • yeah, he’s not a CF…if these moves were made (rasmus traded, choo signed), gose would be CF, with choo in LF, and then you have an ‘extra’ asset to trade in either lind or melky.

              or, you just go crazy, move bats to 3rd, shift lawrie to 2b, and go with an OF of gose (CF), choo (RF) & melky (LF)…and still have $$ to sign another FA pitcher. and yes, i can see all kinds of holes in that.

              but i’d rather they not trade colby. he’s good.

  6. I can think of 10 massive deals that look horrible right now. Even a guy like Pujols who was automatic before the deal.

    That being said, teams like San Fran, angels to name a few, are still able to be competitive with those big bad contracts

    • Uh… the Giants don’t have one of those, and the Angels were awful last year, and even if they rebound thanks to some of the moves they’ve made, it’s probably more to do with the fact that they’re getting 10 WAR out of a guy making the league minimum.

      • I am assuming he is referring to Zito wtih the Giamts for the past 7 years. What an albatross. Now they can throw money at Timmy and Pence!

      • Uhhhhh Barry zito? And the last few seasons even a case can be for lincecum

        And yes angels are getting 10 wins from a pre arb player, but I fail to see how that’s part of this debate.

        My point is that signing a free agent to a long term deal probably won’t work out, but it shouldn’t handicap the success of your team.

  7. He can reference a five year window all he wants, he’s actually got 1-2 years in my opinion.

    I am growing very tired of AA and his bullshit. He has gambled and lost and now it’s time to go one of two ways…

    1. Win now, this involves trading for or signing players to help now.

    2. Trade all assets for maximum return and start over

    Rogers has a SHIT TON of money, were talking about an amount of money that most to all of us couldn’t even fathom if we tried real hard. So why not take .01% of that money and put together a god damned winning team. FUCK this stupid five year bullshit, quit using all this “we are making calls” and “we need the right fit” and all the usual AA smoke and mirror misdirection.

    GOD DAMMIT ROGERS,,,, give AA a blank check and let him put a monster winning team on the field. Show the yankees, redsox, dodgers and other big wallet teams that there’s another big dog at the table and not just a dog with bark but no bite.

    At what point does Rogers start to give a shit about this franchise.

    • Dumb.

      Seriously, I get that you can’t fathom all of Rogers’ money, but can you fathom how a business works?

      • I know how a business works, but knowing that, do you see the way the Jays franchise is being run as “good business”? I sure don’t

        • It’s run fantastically from a business perspective. Rogers owns a team and a stadium for pennies on the dollar and has exclusive rights to any and all broadcasts involving the teams games (other than playoffs). Rogers is sitting pretty. They owe no one anything.

          As a baseball team, it isn’t run very well. This is, however, another story entirely.

        • Your eyes must be closed then.

          They bought the Skydome for pennies on the taxpayer dollar. They OWN the multipe networks that broadcast the games. Hence the ad revenue and all sponsor money.

          Ticket sales and attendance went through the roof last year. Look around.

          Fuck

        • Wins doesn’t equal profit margin

          • If the team wins revenue will increase and profit margins go up especially if the team wins on reasonable payroll.

            Both attendance and broadcast revenue could double if the Jays were a consistent winner

            This isnt the leafs where the fan base comes out in full force whether they win or lose. There are likely more casual bandwagon jays fans than die hards

    • Rogers is a publicly traded company, not a goddamn ATM machine. They can’t just throw money around like the Yankees or Dodgers.

      Also, they raised the payroll by 40 million last year. I think that qualifies as as “giving a shit for the franchise”. It was underperformance and plain bad luck that derailed 2013, not for lack of trying.

    • So you want them to spend because you give a shit, but you don’t give a shit what they spend?

    • I agree that the Jays window is really closer to 2 years because I’m not sure what you can expect from the core off their offense (Encarnacion, Reyes, Bautista) beyond that point and they really don’t have any potential hitting ‘studs’ in their system that might replace these guys.

      I sympathize with AA though as I wouldn’t want to trade Sanchez or Stroman either, and how would it look if he started trading off the core pieces of his team now. Not to mention the team doesn’t have the financial flexibility to just go out and sign any free agent they want.

      Hopefully he has a rabbit up his sleave.

    • uhh.. you realize none of the actual powers of baseball have bought their teams with blank checks right? All of them.. have atleast a handful of pipeline prospects that have anchored them one way or another. Rays, Bosox, Rangers, Oakland..i could go on.. the one exception would be the Yankees who will always be the exception. Truth is the Jays have never been bad enough to draft and sign the best prospects in a given draft.. that results in less leverage when you talk about mortgaging the farm. They also havent been a team to cash in on a players maximum value to obtain these same prospects in return. Truth is they have been an average team in every facet of baseball.

  8. Also, your post NAILED IT! Boom.

    That’s how you use caps Elliott!

  9. But what if the player banks on himself getting worse over time? The player would take the longer term for the guaranteed money, even if it was the same AAV. Aka ruling out the Jays. Right?

    • Why? For the sake of job security? If you make 100 million in 5 years rather than 100 million in 7, you take the 5 years every time. Then you can either retire two years earlier or take a low salary going year to year… you have more time, or more money.

  10. AA gave himself two golden tickets in JB and EE’s deals and I trust him far more to cash those in for max than to mold this into a winner under fiscal constraints.

    Like it or not, Romero, Snider, Ahrens, JP, Jackson, Magnuson, Cooper, Jenkins, ol’ Deck (excluded Cecil as I see him as a decent trade piece) have provided the current Blue Jays with little in the way of either a) production or b) trade value and that leaves AA short of options when it comes to trade pieces or help from the upper minors. I don’t want to beat the Paxton/Beede dead horse, but this doesn’t exactly increase the chances of that pipeline contributing any sooner. I realize that 1st round picks aren’t the be all and end all of the MLB draft, but imagine if one or two of those could contribute. Sad in a way how many have been ushered out of the organization as problems already.

    I’m not asking AA to build a time machine and I’m not predicting total catastrophe for the club, but I think the amount of prospect and dollar capital that have to be committed to turning the team as currently constructed into a winner, not to mention the amount of breaks the Jays would need to surpass competitors leave them in an awfully tough position. If various business factors or internal spending limits leave AA at a competitive disadvantage, add that to the list of hurdles.

    If the dollar amount that would have to be committed to Colby is too rich for his blood, he should be traded as soon as a suitable return is found. I’m sure the Choo deal will leave a suitor looking for alternatives. The Trumbo deal signals (for me, could be wide of the mark) that the market for Bautista’s bat would be significant. Edwin even more so.

    I think Anthopolous is a bright guy and I appreciate the means he used to acquire prospects using since-closed loopholes. Unfortunately I would be far more comfortable with him presiding over a Houston or Chicago Cubs style teardown than I am right now watching him try to put the finishing touches on a “contender”. Seeing the Jays linked with the likes of Colon or Carroll, quite frankly, disgusts me. I’m sure for many reasons – risk, dollars, attractiveness of competitors – it makes all the sense in the world to stay out of the big-ticket free agent market, but it’s quite frankly just as impossible for me to sit here and see these kind of “bargain” moves putting the Jays over the top as it was to talk myself into Ohka, Zambrano and Patterson rounding out the Jays rotation.

    I guess the coming weeks will tell the tale and like I said, I definitely think Alex is a bright guy, but consider the high amount of optimism I had for this current team to be all-but dried up at this point. Yes, I know this makes me a retard cockfuck dumbshit that can STFU and GTFO if I don’t like it. tl;dr lololol

    Toronto sports man. At least our .gifs are among the league’s best.

    • I stopped after you listed a bunch of JP picks and said you don’t think it bodes well for the farm system.

      • The point wasn’t who drafted them, it’s that those are 1st picks who should either be approaching their playing prime, producing under a favourable contract or ready to be packaged to address organisational needs. What does it even matter who drafted them? I’m saying that this many misses leaves the Blue Jays shorthanded in multiple ways.

        Also if you want to use the date of JP’s firing as the beginning of AA’s influence over this ballclub, sure, but it’s not like he wasn’t sitting right beside him for much of his decisions. And like you said, these quotes point to the fact that maybe he soaked a little more than we all thought up from his PR skills.

  11. @radeburger

    +1.

    I am disappointed that the Jays haven’t made any big moves so far . Life would be simpler for us if they signed Mccann or Cano or Garza , but for whatever reason the Jays have decided to think about trading Colby.

    It seems odd that Colby would not want to sign an extension with the Jays. He seemed to be much more comfortable here than in St Louis. From what I can see, Colby would wither playing in Boston or New York. Fans & media there would get on his case more than Toronto when he slumps.

    It’s odd that Rogers insists at keeping the budget under 150 million, for the jays because there isn’t a “business case” yet are willing to spending $5 billion to get tv rights for 12 years for NHL hockey.

    The facts are that sports content is very valuable in a DVR world. Exciting sports content from a winning team would be even more valuable.

    Rogers admitted last year that they thought ratings for each game would be about 1 million viewers if the Jays were competitive. They were around 500K in August when the team was out of the race.

    Wouldn’t the tv revenues from ads & increased attendance offset the cost of a $15 million pitcher or catcher?

    Pehaps Rogers thinks that the number of viewers for hockey will be more stable despite on the ice performance of the Leafs as opposed to baseball where ratings are more volatile depending on the Jays performance.?

    • Tes radar but they HAVE increased spending heavily already. And you dont know that Rasmus won’t sign an extension. And the offseason is not done. Stop talking like this is it.

  12. Stfu, Wilner

  13. One circumstance that I can think of where a player may opt for more years at less money is when they are a FA at age 28 or 29. They will get top dollar for being in the prime of their careers, but a 5-year deal puts them back on the market at age 33 or 34… likely the downside of their career (unless they are an athletic freak or RA Dickey). In your late 20′s, early 30′s, you would rather secure the years to take you into likely retirement.

    That said, the “5-year rule” works great with FA’s in their early to mid-20′s. But how many of those are there?

    • It depends what the difference in AAV and total contract value ends up being. If a 29 year old FA took a 5/150 offer instead of say, an 8/200 deal, didn’t fall off a cliff over the course of the 5 years, and accounted for the inevitable inflation of FA contracts, there’s an excellent chance that the deal he signs at 34 will be for significantly more than 3/50.

      I think your thought makes more sense for FA’s in their early 30′s looking for deals to take them to retirement. Not 5 year deals that release them in their declining years.

  14. I’d be very interested to read what you (Stoeten) or others would trade for either Lee or Hamels…

    • Ruben Amaro has traded Cliff Lee before…The Phillies dealt Lee to Seattle for three prospects: right-hander Phillippe Aumont, outfielder Tyson Gillies and right-hander Juan Ramirez, who even then weren’t exactly highly touted

      While he only had 1-year and $9-million left on his contract at the time, it might be comparable due since the huge financial committment of Lee now balances out the fewer years of control.

      In short: Ruben Amaro Jr. is really bad at his job and AA could possibly convince him to depart with Lee for a wildly undervalued price for a second time

  15. The FA in question was clearly Anibal Sanchez.

  16. Whoa there guys, I think you’re all missing the point.

    How epic is the Jamie Campbell lurk in the pic at the headline?

  17. It is early in the winter meetings and we need to be patient, however, when Anthopolous was making all those moves last year was it not to contend right away? I mean the pieces he brought in(Buerhle, Reyes, Dickey) are on the middle to back end of their careers and the window for those guys is at most 3 years.

  18. I’m sort of torn on AA. On one hand, I love the way he does business, as you say, balancing prospect capital with winning now. But on the other hand, virtually NONE of his acquisitions have worked out. They haven’t developed a good regular under AA, And furthermore, as we’ve talked about, the pitching has been systemically atrocious and CONSTANTLY hurt.

    So I’m not really sure. I’d rather have a GM who operates with the good AA philosophies, but who knows how to acquire, condition and develop talent. Is that sooo hard to find? (note: most likely yes).

    • And more to the point, given the choice, I’d PREFER a GM who is good at developing talent over a GM who operates business smartly.

      • A GM that acquires good talent is operating the business effeceintly. WIns = profit – for the Jays for sure

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  20. Enjoyed studying this, very good stuff, regards . “It is in justice that the ordering of society is centered.” by Aristotle.

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