I’d be lying if I said there weren’t whispers out there that the Jays may, in actuality and not just in posture, be more inclined to simply go with the rotation options they’ve got and hide behind nonsense about value — as though the deals Ubaldo Jimenez or Ervin Santana sign aren’t going to be chock full of value thanks to the way that the compensation picks tied to them have depressed their markets, which, of course, was the whole point of chasing them in the first place. I’ve also heard the opposite, though, so I’m not sure what exactly to make of anything at this point.

A lot of fans urging the club to do something tend to fail to look at things from the agents’ perspective. Anthopoulos must act, they say, because surely other teams will run into injuries that will make them reconsider the asking price on still-available arms, but isn’t that exactly the reason for the agents to continue to hold firm on their number, and not settle on terms dictated by the Blue Jays? I think so, which is why I don’t count myself among those fans. But it’s hard not to let some ugly thoughts creep in about it when you see a thing like what Jon Heyman wrote this morning at CBS Sports.

One person familiar with [the Blue Jays'] thinking suggested there was at least some talk at the beginning of the winter about looking to spend $8 million to $9 million a year on a 2- or 3-year deal on one or more of the available starters. Even taking the higher numbers, say $9 million per annum for three years, that would seem to be a stretch to the low side to lure someone such as Santana or Jimenez.

That sure would seem like a stretch, though bless ‘em for trying, I guess. But how, after acknowledging openly for so long that they need a front line starter, could that have possibly been the plan at any point?

Is Heyman’s source wrong? Is Heyman’s old pal Scott Boras telling him this just to be a fly in Paul Beeston’s ointment? Did something change? Was it Guy Laurence? The Canadian dollar? Was the two-year, $20-million deal the Mets signed with Bartolo Colon too rich for the Jays’ blood???

It’s all rather hard to fathom — especially how, if true, the Jays actually expected to spin what they surely knew was going to happen if they held firm on those numbers, vis-à-vis everything they’d been saying about needing to improve – and, like most rumours, probably shouldn’t be taken quite so seriously. Plus, the idea of potentially adding a second pitcher at that rate would suggest there’s still room for at least one at something closer to a price that’s not quite so laughable. And all the fears of new found austerity need to be balanced with the fact that just 18 months from Opening Day, when the 2015 season concludes, they’ll be staring at an upcoming payroll that, as it currently stands, only has $27-million in guaranteed money on it.

As presented, though, it sounds just slightly fucking insane. Almost as insane as it would be to pass up the opportunity to add a huge asset in a glaring area of need, despite holding a massive advantage because of their protected draft picks.

And I’m actually quite optimistic on Drew Hutchison, Marcus Stroman, and Kyle Drabek, too, to varying degrees. But even if everything breaks absolutely right for them, having a reasonably-priced Jimenez or Santana getting passed on the depth chart here is not a bad problem to have. Especially when you could damn well use making a trade to fix the painfully obvious hole at second base, and considering that the likely end-of-season departures of Melky Cabrera and Colby Rasmus are going to blow a hole in the outfield that Anthony Gose, Kevin Pillar, and Moises Sierra sure as fuck aren’t likely going to be able to fix.

Plus, even as much as I think the Jays’ young arms are capable of much more than we’ve seen from them yet, and that they could do just fine as soon as this year, we should probably also keep in mind just how good Jimenez and Santana have been. It’s been written about ad nauseam, I know, but a quick and dirty reminder: if you look at individual seasons over the last three years from Santana, Jimenez, Mark Buehrle, R.A. Dickey, and Brandon Morrow, you’ll find six instances in which one of those pitchers was worth more than 3.0 fWAR, and three of them belong to the free agents. Granted, Buehrle and Dickey probably get shortchanged by FanGraphs’ FIP-based version of WAR, since they’ve fairly reliably been able to keep their FIPs down, and thus look much better by rWAR, but still!

So, in a way, it had better be some sort of payroll parameter bullshit that ultimately prevents the Jays from adding one of these guys, should that be what happens. But, of course, that would be complete garbage also.

Welp. I guess, then, they’d better just fucking sign someone.

Comments (69)

  1. Let’s just say fuck it and stay drunk until spring training starts.

  2. “Chock” full of value.

  3. https://twitter.com/fanquinco/status/434073841061466114

    This tweet says the Jays have offered Santana and Jimenez $27 million for 3 years. Someone on another message board said this guy was a baseball commentator in the Dominican Republic and friends with Santana and Jimenez. I don’t know how accurate any of this is but it does line up with what Jon Heyman was reporting.

    • I hit translate: “Toronto plays to give long subject to despair to agents of Ubaldo Jimenez and Ervin Santana. Tiles will offer $27 m for 3 years”

      Long subject to despair, indeed.

      • ..More like they’re playing the waiting game to make the agents desperate. Blue jays are offering 27 million for 3 years.

  4. Don’t worry – I just saw Barry Davis’ report – @rickyro24 is already in Dunedin and he’s hungry!

    • Hey !!

      All our problems are solved!!

    • No he WAS hungry. There’s a 24 hour cafeteria in Dunedin tho, so hes good now.

    • I was about to post “bullshit” on Heyman’s tweet about “One person familiar with [the Blue Jays'] thinking” when I read that Spanish tweet above. Now I’m a tiny bit depressed. And not just because it looks like no ones coming. What does it say for the future?

      On the other hand that IS lesson #1 in negotiating: lowball until you get your price. I just wish -at this late point- someone would blink. Sounds to me as if both Ervin and Ubaldo could be a bit offended.

    • but is he in the best shape of his life?

  5. Have to say wow to Heyman’s report but then again I wouldn’t be surprised either. That said, I think it would be a total piece of BS for the Jays to pass on one of these guys as I have argued many times especially in light of where the team is in terms of how they are built. It would almost be one of these situations where Beeston claims he can go to Rogers and get the money if needed. If they’ve just got $9 million then asking for another $5 million or so shouldn’t be the end of the world.

    I think a lot of people figure that we’ve got more than enough depth to go around now for some reason. Considering our own recent history and now the current example of a team like the Mariners, I think it would be even crazier to not get one of these guys. Guys are dropping already and spring training hasn’t even started yet. As I argued yesterday there’s a whole point from the financial perspective in favour of signing one of these guys that I never would have imagined prior to reading that article in The Hardball Times.

    Of course, this report comes on the heels of Rogers latest quarterly results. While adjusted earnings for the media division were pretty damn good, the overall results were down on the wireless side even though they made a profit. I wouldn’t be surprised if there wasn’t some company wide ball clinching going on with the new guy having just taken over.

    One nice quote from an article in The Star about the results:
    “Laurence, the former Vodafone UK CEO, may also move to better leverage the company’s distribution and media assets, with an emphasis on sports, while continuing to cut costs and realign management.”

    Hopefully that means the money goes into properties like the Jays.

    I really am starting to believe that if the money was actually there AA would have made a move by now. Have to say even though it’s not the end of the world if the don’t sign anyone, it sure will one hell of a disappointment.

  6. At least they’ll have more cap room at the draft?


  7. It also wouldn’t shock me if they managed to get one of these guys at their price in the end. The draft pick compensation is killing their value.

    • I’m sure both of their respective bank accounts are very healthy but the meer thought of all their expenses and no one but the Jays bidding for them must play on their minds.

  8. I’d have more respect for Alex if he just stepped up and told us the truth. If he doesn’t think the players are worth the price they’re asking and the risk is too great, that’d be fine.

    If Rogers is not authorizing any further spending after what happened last season and are being cheap, I wish he’d just say so that way I can direct my anger to those who deserve it.

    If Alex isn’t signing players because of either of those reasons and he’s just afraid that one of them will be a bust, he needs to realize that sometimes he has to take a chance if he wants to win in this game. All the other teams are doing things to improve.

    Not doing anything is only going to guarantee Toronto another year in the basement and that might even punch his ticket to the unemployment line. He needs to step up and take a chance as if his job depends on it, cause it kinda does.

    • That kind of burns bridges tho don’t you think? When’s the last time a GM said “he is not worth the money or the risk of injury”? Maybe it has happened but in my mind, that shows agents that you are trying to decline their clients stock value. Why then would that player or agent recommend or consider Toronto moving forward?

    • I agree with a lot of what you say and I would not be surprised if AA has become gun shy after last season. I know for a fact that Beeston has said that AA was very humbled after last season’s fiasco so that might also be part of the equation. Personally, I don’t think his job is on the line this year unless it turns into a total disaster like 2013. Of course that would be a seriously epic dose of bad karma for that to happen again.

      My real worry is that Rogers makes the same mistake they did with the payroll after JPR’s initial splurge. A one time investment doesn’t really count for much if you stop at a critical juncture. Look at the Phillies and Rangers for instance. The Phillies payroll went from $89 million to $97 mil to $115 mil to $142 mil and finally $172 mil with their core group. The Rangers went from $56 million to $93 mil to $124 mil and finally $138 million.

      • To addd to your point, and also to respond to your comment from another thread The Jays were losing around 10 milion a year from 2006-09 according to a very credible source, I’d tell you who, but the oyster bar at the Ed Rogers Opening Day party are too good to risk never getting an invite again.

        That was there thresh hold back then, and hence why JPR couldn’t do much mid season, because he was tapped out financially.

        Obviously the loss 10 million back then was covered by all the SportsNet synergy stuff at the time.

        My guess is that it’s kinda the same set up right now, but there is a higher baseline to work with.

    • he already has said that he doesn’t think they are worth the money. he said that quite awhile ago. he said that their price points “didn’t make sense”.

    • Yeah he’s not going to say that though. Would hang his employer out to dry and probably get him fired. Part of the reason the GM position exists is to take the heat from the fanbase.

  9. I would be more than fine with sticking with our current projected rotation if they had a history of health. Unfortunately right now we have 2/5 starters who fit that description and even then, baseball is a weird sport and anything can happen.

    Looking big picture/realistically, I think we need to have some more depth, experienced depth. If just one starter goes down then we are relying on Hutchison Stroman and even Esmil to carry the load (assuming one of the 3 are not already the 5th man). I If Dickey or Buerhle go down, we’re left with a very under-established pitching staff and that doesn’t sit well with me.

  10. I guess they feel pretty stupid not signing back josh Johnson when they had the chance.

  11. Hey how is Romero doing anyway? Is there an outside change he returns to the big club in 2014?

  12. The Jays might as well just start selling off pieces and going into a full rebuild mode.

    If they really tore down, they could get about a dozen or so topish end prospects and another dozen or so solid ones.

    With them being cheapskates, there is no way we are going to compete with the Yankees Orioles Red Sox and Rays with the current iteration of the team.

    The Jays could tear down to Astros like levels of garbage and would likely be better for it in a few seasons than wasting time and value by trying to compete without actually trying to improve.

    • Uggh where is the source that convinced people that rebuilding = championships ?

      • There isn’t really a correlation between rebuilding and championships, but with the likely loss of Rasmus at the end of the year, plus the declining value of Bautista and Dickey (plus others) it would likely be better for us moving forward if we just suck for a bit.

        It’s not like we’d be much farther off where we are now. We only had 73 and 74 wins each of the last two years. How are we supposed to gain 18 wins without adding a damn thing. I know some guys will be healthier this year, but at most that might account for 7-8 wins (and that’s if guys like Rasmus continue to be as good as they were last year)

        I just am getting tired of all these half measures and pussy footing around.

        • Actually your first sentence isn’t true. There has been many looks in to the direct correlation between top farm systems and playoff appearances .

    • I don’t think they need to do a full tear down yet, but they probably should stop pussyfooting in between acting like a big market club or small market. It’s like they’re taking the worst aspects of both M.O.s; taking on bloated contracts, but handcuffing themselves with them if they really can’t spend more than $9m on a solid starter. Christ, Oakland is spending more than that on a closer.

    • We are one year in for heavens sake. Can we put of the fire sale for a bit. Let’s just relax, wait for better weather and have some faith. If we are awful in July burn baby burn !

    • Oh great, this tool.

  13. Rogers is fucking sad if they could have gotten Ubaldo or Santana for 3M more a year for 3 years and pass on the opportunity. And that’s why i can’t believe they will actually pass on one of them.

  14. Perhaps the Jays 2014 sales pitch slogan should be ‘What’s Old is New Again’

    • Watch them sign Vernon Wells. He explodes in Spring Training makes a mess of the roster. Gibby loves him. Then he fades like a cheap shirt before the bobblehead breaks.

  15. I’m actually evilly (that a word?) Kind of hoping we don’t sign either. Don’t get me wrong, I’d love either of these guys. But given the huge pessimissity (his bout that?) here when the two main (And two realistic) targets ARE STILL ON THE MARKET.

    I’m almost giddy thinking about the pure agony that will be displayed here if one or *gasp* both of these guys sign elsewhere.

    In a perfect world, Ervin goes first, and then a week later we finally get Ubaldo. I’ll be happy because we eventually get the guy I want….and in the meantime the weeping and gnashing if teeth here will sustain me.

  16. Im really hoping this is fluff.

    If there is a hard cap on the payroll, last years moves look really really bad. You can’t half ass this shit. If you go for it and speed things up, you need to have the rainy day money to tinker with the roster.

    Hopefully they’re just playing hardball for now because so many other teams are out

    • I mean no other team has signed them either right? So maybe 3/27 is as good as its going to get for 1 one of them or both

  17. $27mill you say? not a bad opening bid. Jiminez/Santana are probably looking for $45mill-ish, so my guess is they eventually settles for $35-40mill. maybe we’ve just underestimated how slow this thing is really going if they’re just now starting to receive offers.

    on the other hand, if $9mill is really all they can spend AAV, then shit. I mean they aren’t done if they go into next year with the current roster, but this team is practically crying out for an addition or two to push it to the head of the Yankees-A’s-Angels-Royals-Rays pack for the wildcard spots. It would be a shame to see Hutchison or another starter shit the bed early in the season and know you coulda had Santana/Jiminez for a pretty reasonable price (by all accounts).

    • But you realise the case can be made that they absolutely DID follow it up, right?

      i know it doesnt feel like it, but They went from $83 million in 2012, to $119 million in 2013 and as of right now we’re at $132 million for 2014.

      If we go by the numbers there’s no other team in baseball who is upping payroll at such a rapid pace

  18. Did anyone ask Beeston at the SOTF how corporate sponsorships where going this year?

    They had a good bump last year, and remember that interest in the team effects advertising rate across SportsNet.

    Are the Orange Julius’ of the world still on board? or is that another financial challenge to consider?

  19. I usually don’t play the armchair quarterback like I know better than the GM but if that is the offer on the table than why the fuck bother. If that is what we are offering than a few teams are ahead of us and we are out of it. If I was either player and that what I was getting after turning down the QO I would wait out until June out of spite; they are both set for life as it stands now. I think pride and respect hold more importance to some players of what they get paid than the actual money. The numbers are insulting if you compare what Nilasco(sp) and Hughs received QO or not.

    Of course if this is all BS disregard.

    • Seriously? They will prob end up with contracts under 40 mill. It’s not that low of an offer.

      And do u see any other team offering more?? Get a grip man

      • Yeah, teams really don’t want to give up those picks. Many are set in the rotation too, and set in terms of budget. Surely some would be willing to beat that price, but I honestly don’t think it’s necessarily crazy as a low-ball offer.

      • Get a Grip? If that what is on the table than I believe other teams have more on the table and they are not biting on them either, the players that is. Feel free to tell me to get a grip if you know different,fill me in. Also what I said was based on the rumors being fact. You added 12.99 mil to what I was pissed at and then I have to get a grip. Bit late for the Jays lowest offer and go from there don’t you think?

  20. Given how many pitchers this team had used as starters over the past few years they have to sign one of these guys just to guard against an injury to one of Morrow, Dicey or Pitbull right? I mean who cares about having only 5 starters? You probably need 10 anyway given how injury and back – rotation shittyness works anyway. It would be unacceptable to not bolster the rotation at this point.

  21. Wouldn’t Jimenez be getting around 8 mil next year anyway? Or at least be eased into his new, higher salary? He made under 6 mil. in 2013 – he’s not going to get 14 million in 2014.

    • He is a FA he will get next year what he signs for. I could be wrong but when Cleveland traded for him he had a Ricky Romero type contract. He was set up for life at a discount to what he would have got from arbitration, of course that goes out the window if your shoulder falls off.

  22. AA better do something because Brandon Morrow looks FAT AS FUCK!


  23. At this point, looks like Rogers isn’t serious about baseball. Might be more money in selling the team and braodcasting rights.

  24. You’re optimistic on Kyle Drabek? Why? I’d think that two bouts of TJ + his inability to find the strike zone with a map ought to wipe out any reasonable grounds for optimism.

  25. If it is true that internally the front office was looking at signing a FA SP for 8 maybe 9M AAV over 2-3 years then AA saying at the start of the offseason the team is looking to add 1-3 mid to front of rotation starters or whatever he was saying along those lines can only be described as completely fucking retarded

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