tedstatue2

In a move that ought to be unfathomable — but, of course, is entirely fathomable because of the company we’re ultimately talking about here — in Ken Rosenthal’s latest for Fox Sports, he tells us that last month Blue Jays players offered to restructure their contracts in order to help the team free up the payroll necessary to get Ervin Santana’s name on a deal, and his arm into the club’s rotation.

It was as if the Toronto Blue Jays passed around a hat, trying to collect enough money to sign free-agent right-hander Ervin Santana.

Several Jays players discussed deferring portions of their salaries to clear payroll for Santana last month, according to major league sources.

Apparently the talks didn’t get past the conversation stage — Rosenthal spoke to an agent who explained that even if they did, they wouldn’t likely have been able to get the scheme past the union — but that’s not really the point, nor is that whole bit even the damn kicker here. We’re also told that “it is not clear whether the impetus for the talks about deferring money came from the players or from the Jays’ front office. The players, however, likely would not have engaged in such discussions unless they believed the team was unable or unwilling to pay Santana $14 million.”

Um… what?

There’s a chance that management may have come to the players with this?

There… really can’t be, though, right? Not really.

I mean, sure, there’s a chance of anything, but this is just Rosenthal covering his bases and making as clear as possible what the information he has is, even though it almost certainly must have been a suggestion coming from players desperate to see the team sign their friend, make good on their commitment to actually try to be a competitive baseball team, and add to a rotation in desperate need. Right???

Probably. We know that Jays players openly campaigned for him once it became clear that the Jays were really close. Perhaps this was all just a misguided attempt to show ownership how badly they felt he was needed, or how badly they wanted the team to show that the group was worth investing in. Except, that’s not what Kenny Ken Ken says.

Fucking hell, what a possibility!

Either way, though, if the report is correct — and that it’s coming from Rosenthal certainly gives a credibility that it wouldn’t from other sources (plus, Shi Davidi writes for Sportsnet that multiple sources are corroborating it) — and it happened in any form, the whole pathetic episode sure looks bad on Rogers, and on a front office that constantly covers for them with nonsense posturing about “polices” and “promises” that are simply a pretext to avoid hard questions about not spending, their supposedly strict adherence to microscopically narrow valuations (which obviously don’t apply when, for example, trading for R.A. Dickey), and all the talk about how magical and wonderful we’re supposed to believe ownership is because the Jays have never been told “no” when asking for more money (which, like any capo hoping to have a long career in the family business knows, they surely never do, save for exceptional circumstances).

Of course, that doesn’t mean it’s necessarily true any more than it is to suggest that an ownership that appears comfortable committing sociopathic corporate pillage with one hand while cranking out Orwellian brand management twaddle with the other actually might give a shit about what people think when they get a foggy glimpse through the keyhole into their middle-management-shithead paradise. But that doesn’t mean there’s nothing to see here, either.

For one, it’s interesting in and of itself that someone has slipped word of this to a reporter — and to a big time one like Rosenthal, in particular. So much so that it almost makes me want to spitball alternate theories. For example: what if, rather than publicly griping about ownership the way that J.P. Ricciardi did on his way out, getting this sort of information out there could be a way for a scorned front office to ratchet up some public pressure on stingy ownership not willing to act in good faith?

Palace intrigue! I mean… would you rule out the possibility that the front office is as entirely frustrated with how this off-season played out as we are? I sure wouldn’t. Shit, and suggesting them as the source of the leak, apart from being almost certainly wrong, is at least no less plausible than the idea that the front office may have actually went to the fucking players, hat in hand, isn’t it?

I don’t know. Maybe it entirely is.

Are you sensing a theme? There’s simply not much concrete to grasp onto here, and that makes such a report all the more insidious. True or not, nothing out of it seems like it can be very good for the team, its relationship with its players and fans, its relationship with players and agents around the league, nor is it good for ownership. Yet what’s especially shitty about that is that a company like Rogers is so ubiquitous, and so wealthy, that at this stage their brand is practically unassailable. Meanwhile, the Jays live and die by theirs, and once again have given reason for fans — maybe not now, swept up as they are in the glowing optimism of a new season yet to turn sour — to wonder why they even fucking bother.

Way to go! You really held strong on saving a few short term dollars!

The Jays, for their part, aren’t saying anything. Alex Anthopoulos, according to Rosenthal’s piece, declined to comment.

That’s not surprising, but actually interesting, too. There certainly could be other explanations for this beyond the “fucking cheap Rogers” stuff that’s so easy to just assume is what is behind all of this — and at least one of them would be easy enough for him to stick to.

When the news broke on Twitter there were several fans reluctant to believe the report at all, either because the Jays supposedly offered more money to A.J. Burnett than they did Santana — a report of dubious veracity that we hear about in the weeks following Pete Puma’s signing with Philadelphia — or because the club allegedly really was about to sign Santana for $14.1-million. We’re to believe that the pitcher was on the way to take a physical with the Jays before the big bad banged-up Braves came in and made him an offer — at which point, after months of having their leverage ground into dirt, camp Santana decided they didn’t give a shit what sort of agreement the nickel-and-diming Jays thought they had — and he decided to go to the National League instead.

I’d rather the club actually show us the money instead of merely always claiming that it’s there, but enough people believe that it was dirty pool by Santana and Jay Alou that undid the deal that, as a tactic, you’d at least think Anthopoulos would claim that the money was there, the players were told this wasn’t necessary, and that was the end of it.

Yet he isn’t.

Maybe he will, and maybe it means nothing anyway, but, like I say, it’s interesting.

Shit, though, maybe he simply wants to stay above the fray in case the source of this information resurfaces to dispute whatever version of events he tries to pass off as the truth, making the whole thing even bigger still. Or maybe there’s a simpler explanation. Maybe it all came to Rosenthal by way of a player or two, still aggrieved by what they saw as the lack of a once-promised commitment from the organization. Or maybe from their agent. Or perhaps from another agent who simply gets a kick out of making things uncomfortable for the Jays — perhaps, as a pet theory of mine would have it, going back as far as the era of Bill Caudill.

Who knows? It’s all rather murky, but unfortunately for the Jays, the thickness of the murk isn’t going to save them from another P.R. hit, especially since in the end it doesn’t even really matter whether it’s true or not. All we see is that it looks bad, it looks frustratingly fucking typical, and this combination — that an alleged episode underpinned by myopic greed-headed stupidity can feel so entirely par for the course — tells you just about everything you need to know about this organization and why it’s mired in a two decade long slog through the endless corridor of funhouse mirrors that is corporate team ownership.

Worse still, just because the season is underway, it doesn’t mean the issue evaporates. Rosenthal takes us right to the nut: “The imposition of a payroll limit by Rogers would make it difficult for the team to add salaries if it stays in contention.”

Ugh. Happy Home Opener Day, Blue Jays fans!

Comments (164)

  1. First the Bowden article and now this on the Jays. Why the hell are American writers trolling the Jays now?

    • Bowden was trolling and stupid. This is much different. Davidi confirms it, for one.

      • I didn’t know Davidi confirmed it, but what is the point of this article from Ken? All it does is cause further distraction to the team that’s trying to get off to a good start. Like, go write a gossipy story about the Rockies or something.

        And yes, Bowden, total ass-hat. :)

        • The point of this article is that he’s a reporter, he got a story, and he reported it.

          That’s his job.

          • True.Alright then..

          • Not related to this story, but I’d add that a reporter’s job is to critically analyze the story they get before passing it on. The model of reporter as simple conduit of information is why we are stuck with CNN reciting twitter feeds for 24 hours a day….
            But I digress. And certainly am not applying this to this Rosenthal story.

      • Fuck Bowden. Dude’s worse than Morosi.

  2. It would be pretty interesting if it was leaked from the front office, but it might be more likely that one of the players mentioned it.

    Though the Jays straight up not commenting, rather than denying it…

  3. Yeah, Rogers tightening the purse strings once again would explain quite a lot about the colossal failure that was the offseason. From AA’s perspective, it really makes no sense otherwise.

    If your job is actually riding on this team contending (as it may be with AA), how can you reconcile that urgency with doing nothing to add to what appears to be a 81-85 win group? How can you add nothing at all to such a flawed/injury prone pitching staff? How can you seriously believe in somebody like Ryan Goins being a legitimate starting 2B? How can you go into the season with no real replacement for Davis/DeRosa and no proven platoon option for Lind?

    It just reminds me so much of the 2008/2009 offseason when JP didn’t/wasn’t allowed to sign a MLB FA. A fire sale commenced that summer and he was gone soon after that. Is that what we’re eventually looking at here too?

    • Very possibly.

      • You almost have to wonder if there are some in Jays management that see that writing on the wall and are putting this out there in response. It’s a pretty damning claim to make and it makes ownership look awful.

        You can never say this organization lacks for drama, but man, what a shit show this is.

        • Indeed. I heard things were pretty despairing in the front office last year. And then this? Maybe part of that was they saw it coming and that they were stuck with a roster they knew was going to be life and death to be better than mediocre, but if not and they weren’t prepared for it — and all the talk of last September suggests that maybe they weren’t — it must have been a hell of a gut punch. I’ve been told that they really are acting in good faith, with the knowledge that people are going to get fired if things don’t go well. I’ve also been told there are whispers about Ubaldo failing a physical, but with all the drama and all the bullshit, it’s hard to know what’s what. Not that it was that hard to predict, but someone told me weeks before it happened that they’d be the team that just barely missed on Santana. It’s an a shitty prism to view the front office through, but you have to be skeptical about their sincerity at this point, and I am, despite the protestations (from a Rogers employee, I should add), that Alex really is operating in good faith. It all adds up to his hands being tied, and it would be nice if he actually ends up going into “fuck it” mode like Ricciardi and calling out ownership for it, but I suspect he wouldn’t. It’s almost the worst part that they’re really not all that bad a team right now.

          • It’s disappointing because AA making the “all-in” moves he did in winter 2012 was likely predicated on the idea that the spending would continue to increase as necessary and that the commitment to winning would be maintained going forward. But it seems that isn’t what’s happened at all. Barring some kind of surprise season (we’re due for one of those, aren’t we?), the Jays are now seemingly on the verge of wasting the Bautista era just like they did with Halladay before him. I too doubt Anthopoulos would take the JP route out of this, especially with Beeston presumably still being in his corner.

            I also now recall those rumours from last fall of possible Jays budget cuts with the coming of the new CEO. This may just be the beginning.

            • The thing about all in .. Is if you lose .. You are done . Take the poker analogy to its true conclusion

              • Definitely AA is done. Maybe Beeston too and Gibby would have a very short leash. As far as the team is concerned, that’s another story.

          • I’d be hard pressed to believe Ubaldo failed a physical simply because he signed in Baltimore, considering Balfour/Colvin this off-season

            • With the desperation for starting pitching I think GM’s are more willing to look away if their doctors say a guys arm has mileage.

              Relievers/closers are much more readily available. You can covert failed starters etc…

              Colvin is a non point because, why the fuck would you take an unhealthy, 27 year old, 4th outfielder who can’t hit lefties?

              • If I’m not mistaken though (maybe stoeten can confirm) but even before this year they have a history of these troubled physicals and backing out?

            • Additionally I’ve read that the O’s medical staff is among the top in MLB.

        • if ownership is tightening the purse strings the right strategic approach would have been to trade off assets and reload for a run a couple years down the road… i guess it is possible that ownership mandated the stand still in an effort to try to get asses in seats in 2014… and if so, that is really sad.

          for me, the complete lack of strategic approach is the most frustrating part of the offseason… go for it or re-build… the middle ground is the absolute worst place to be in professional sports…

    • I’m not mad they didn’t get Santana I’m mad they didn’t get anyone… Richest owners in north America and they royally fucked up… Spending more money puts more asses in the seats… Even last season with that pathetic record attendance was actually up… If these cheap bastards would just do what it takes to win we would be top 5 in attendance year in and year out… Meaning more profit idiots. Fuck me unless McGowan somehow pulls a rabbit out of his ass this team will struggle all year… Morrow is a 5 at best I’m sorry I just have no faith.

      • I don’t have any faith that Morrow will ever live up to his “potential”. Year after year they wait for this magic bullet that never happens. He is either fragile mentally or physically or both. Seems like one of those guys that can never achieve to the expectations surrounding them.

  4. My prediction for the 2014 season: the continuing downward spiral caused by a mediocre team and a worse front office drives Stoeten clinically insane. DJF gets rebranded as a homoerotic fan fiction site about Brett Lawrie called “The Hotest Corner”.

    • I lived through the Ricciardi years going up in flames. I’ll be fine.

      I admire Anthopoulos for not trading the farm just to save his own skin, too. He’s built a very good foundation here, at least.

      • The 24th-ranked farm system in MLB? Oh, thank heavens for that…

      • AA will probably never burn bridges, but I sure would love to know the stuff he really has had to put up with from the middling management.

        • Probably something like this:

          Rogers: Hey AA, why didn’t that $120 million team have a winning record last year?

          AA: Whine whine whine

          Rogers: Well, it’s going to be $145 million next year, so do the best you can with the 8th highest payroll in the Majors!

          AA: No problem, i’ll just wait out everybody else until all the free agents are mine!

          You see the problem here?

  5. So…

    It’s a billion dollar company (12.42$ billion in revenue in 2013) that just literally spent billions more in acquisitions in the past year suddenly tightening the purse strings.

    Which, in kind caused someone in the Jays front office to leak said thriftiness with stories of deferred salaries and collection plate passing.

    Or

    Usbaldo failed a physical, Ervin looked like a t-ball machine, second base was a barren market and AA didn’t see the value in what shit was out there.

    Both theories entirely plausible, but in seeing Rogers dedication to the improvement of FC and the Raptors, spending to the cap with the Leafs, it doesn’t make a lot of sense that they’d suddenly be squeezing on the Greek Geek. Not saying it’s not happening, it just doesn’t make much sense to me.

    • The leafs are a cash cow with a much smaller, capped payroll budget, not really a fair comparison.

      And what have they done with Raptors that has cost them financially? The team is playing well but again capped league and it’s not due to an influx of cash flow from ownership, just a shitty conference. No salary was added, sure they fired Colangelo but how could anyone not have lol

      • Also Rogers is only a minority owner of MLSE (37.5% of MLSE).

        And yeah, what dedication to the Raptors exactly? Ujiri tried to tank this season away. If it wasn’t for Kyle Lowry turning into a top 10 player in the NBA this season out of nowhere, they’d be there at the bottom trying to get Wiggins with the rest of them.

      • Why are you guys so eager to believe that there’s a dark entity with billions of dollars that won’t shell a few million more to get one of their assets to increase value.
        The hype from lasts years trades made the Jays explode, they became a huge seller in merchandise, rappers, kids, celebs were wearing their swag. Fans turned out in droves in the first half.

        I’m pretty sure Rogers employs enough nerds to see a correlation between success/hype and revenue..

        Also noticed you guys couldn’t come up with a reason why they suddenly spent millions on an already very profitable soccer team.

        • One reason is to get approval for the stadium renovations that could allow the Leafs to hold an outdoor game.

          And there’s years of data correlating winning in Toronto with attendance and revenue whether it’s the Jays or raptors (we’ll ignore the leafs who’d sell out 0-82 while charging $25 for paper bags with eye holes at the door) that has gone largely unheeded.

          All baseball teams employ analytics guys; not all teams listen to all of their advice in spite of mountains of data saying they’re right. Sometimes even succesful entities are short sighted or just cheap assholes.

        • The skepticism of some might have something to do with the below average payrolls the Jays have been running out for most of the last 13+ years of Rogers ownership. It’s the 2006 and 2012 spending sprees that have proven to be exceptions, not everything else.

          Also, if Rogers is already making tons off the Jays (which they are), is there really that much incentive to take on any more risk?

          • Jays payroll:
            2014 10th
            2013 9th
            2012 22nd
            2011 23rd
            2010 22nd
            2009 16th
            2008 13th
            2007 16th
            2006 16th
            2005 25th
            2004 21
            2003 21
            2002 11th
            2001 10th

            They’ll never crack the top 5, never have been the bottom 5. Yet year in and year out Tampa and Oakland despite being in the bottom 5 seem to make the playoffs.
            You really think money is what’s keepin the Jays from winning?
            We’re top 10 in payroll the last 2 years. Give that to Oakland or TB and they’ll not only win the World Series but they’ll probably cure cancer, find Jimmy Hoffas body and locate Flight MH370.

            • Totally agree, Smasher.

            • Tampa and a’s are run differently, run based on having no money and building within, If that’s our case then really the trades last year shouldn’t have been made.

              If you’re going to pay Reyes and buerhle 18+ a year, you can’t stop there. You committed to building and spending, stopping half way is just ridiculous.

              So you’re right, you can win with a top 10 payroll team, just not constructed the way it currently is.

              • Both the A’s and Rays stayed terrible for many years to make their current success happen.

                • Sure some of the success is price and longoria

                  But a lot of it is moving assets before they get expensive and ensuring you win the trades . They are just run differently

            • In fact if you take last year’s team salaries and compare them with last year’s win totals, it’s a shotgun spray; there is no close correlation between the two. To hand pick the Rays and A’s (literally the two best organizations by this measure – though, notably, not by World Series wins in recent years) and complain that the Jays aren’t being run by those teams, while not praising them for being better than the White Sox and the Phillies (literally the two worst by this measure – though, again, flags fly forever), is foolish.

              Complaining that AA and LaCava and the rest aren’t Andrew Friedman and Billy Beane is as useful as complaining that Colby Rasmus isn’t Mike Trout, and EE isn’t Miggy.

            • 1992 – 1st
              1993 – 1st

              Won World Series both years.

              Just sayin….

            • Oakland and TB also have the advantage that they don’t have a fan base to piss off. They can trade away guys in their prime who would be untouchable fan favourites in another market and get top prospects in return to keep the pipeline full. Look at what TB has done with Garza, Shields, and Kazmir before them. Could you imagine the shit-storm if the Jays traded Bautista last year and Encarnacion this year for prospects? Can’t do it in a market that actually cares about the team even if it is probably in the best interests of success.

    • Thats what Stoeten is saying about admiring AA for not trading emptying the farm and looking for players that way. AA could have probably gotten a starter, 2b or at least some bench pieces by trading some prospects and maybe moving some salary but he knows that’s not the best way to do things for the good of the team. He needed extra spending money and if it wasn’t there (don’t know for sure) so his hands were tied so jackshit was accomplished. I imagine that’s why he seemed so upset after Santana went to Atlanta, the tiny contract he ended up with should have easily worked here.

      • Except he did trade for a starter but Andersons arm shoots sparks out everytime he tries to tie his shoes.

        It has been said that AA offered contracts to Santana and Burnett and they both opted for the same dollars elsewhere. I believe it has more to do with being a shitty crop of FA’s, said FA’s preferring other destinations and then failed trades.

        There was rumours he had negotiations on Phillips that fell apart because we wouldn’t eat salary. Negotiations on Samardjia but they wanted Stroman/SAnchez and another prospect, their was the Brett Anderson deal, rumours of Joey Bats for numerous starters.

        I really believe that AA didn’t think that the market was better then our internal options, and the ones that were in our price range chose American destinations. He tried trade but teams knew he’s over a barrel because of the 2013 “all in” so asked the moon.
        Plus the failed physicals.

        Tanaka was never coming here, McCann was never coming here, Ellsbury was never coming here. The rest was question mark elbows, torn labrums, Tommy John hurlers and Scott Boras. It was really a perfect storm to come up empty. I think the moneys there and when Philly or Cincy fall flat on their faces AA will swing a deal.

        Maybe Utley and Hamels will be Jays in June.
        Crazy.
        Probably.
        But no crazier then saying a Trillion dollar company won’t spend milk money to win a championship.

        • You’re on fire today. Absolutely spot on.

        • FTS: agree with most, but it does seem AA simply got a bit too cute negotiating with santana, waited too long, and the only reason he signed with the barves is because they came to the table late. AA had all off-season to get something done with him, but waited & waited & waited until he (Santana) had what AA assumed was zero leverage, they agreed (supposedly) on a deal, but when the barves came calling, that ‘zero’ leverage turned into ‘all the leverage’ – instead of using it, santana/alou extended their respective middle fingers to the guy who’d been slow-playing them for months and signed with an actual contender, in an easier league, in an easier stadium to pitch, for the same money. the point being, IF THEY MONEY IS THERE TO SIGN HIM, THEN YOU’RE ONLY POTENTIALLY SCREWING YOURSELF OUT OF SIGNING HIM BY WAITING.

        • Unless we’re 15 games out in June – somewhat likely? Then there’s no way we’re adding at that point.

    • Smasher, do you even hear yourself? Come on, comrade.

  6. We’ve heard the Jays made 15ish mil offers to Santana and Burnett… if that’s true than this deferral story would seem to be the players just being emphatic about how much they wanted Santana on the team, and not a reflection on payroll.

    But if the team really approached the players about this, then the Burnett offer and the idea that they ‘had Santana but he backed out’ must be bullshit.

    • The idea that Rogers suddenly put the brakes on payroll does make some sense. Why the FUCK else would AA not add anyone other than replacing JPA with Navarro at the same cost? Not a 2B, not a right handed DH, not a fucking desperately needed pitcher.

      Really well written piece, Stoeten.

      • Not to mention openly bitching about “over paying” for Navarro

      • The more stories about Rogers that come up, especially from the States, the more I believe that all the other teams, the agents and the big time reporters (off the record anyway) must have even more examples of this type of thing. Boras blasting them, Cano having no idea if they were even interested in him, these kinds of things can’t be good at all for the perception of the team throughout the league.

  7. The more stories about Rogers that come up, especially from the States, the more I believe that all the other teams, the agents and the big time reporters (off the record anyway) must have even more examples of this type of thing. Boras blasting them, Cano having no idea if they were even interested in him, these kinds of things can’t be good at all for the perception of the team throughout the league.

    • As one of the few teams that isn’t privately owned it’s so easy to blame the big corporation. The black entity. The money grubbing faction.

      Fuck, if I was a reporter or better yet an agent I’d float this narrative out there too.
      Good copy if you are a reporter, good tactic if you are an agent.
      Boras reminds me of the propaganda machine that dropped leaflets behind enemy lines during the great wars. I wouldn’t be surprised if the pan handling story, or the AA hands tied story came from one of his marketing minions. His job is to make money, and he’s good at it, he doesn’t give a fuck about the game, reputations or anything else.

      He is THE high class whore.

      • true, but the dominicans on the roster were openly campaigning for them to sign santana, so it’s not exactly a leap to think that talk about deferring $$ wouldn’t have come up, even if the true context of such a conversation wasn’t that it was something that could happen, but something that the players would have been willing to do were it a possibility, in the name of solidifying their stance.

  8. I just hope the offense gets going now that they are out of the Trop.

  9. I should have said this off the top, but this is a great fucking post Stoeten.
    It has me validating and then questioning everything I believe about the Jays direction.
    And maybe that’s the point.
    I think AA’s believes his cone of silence does his players, agents, coaches and staff some sort of service. But I think it just leads to wide spread speculation, false hope and misinformation. We all remember what a silent AA created during the Yu Darvish mess. Even though we all were prior burned I even believed they had a shot at Tanaka.
    Agents now use his silence as an opportunity to float false negotiations and pump prices on their FA’s because they know he won’t comment.

    I thin AA does more harm then good by not shooting down some rumours, not saying the Jays are out on some players. He could probably clear up all this shit with a 10 minute presser, just with double talk and innuendo. But it’s not his style. So insufferably we’ll need to speculate on whether we have an evil owner or a GM with a plan.

    Anyway, I’m drunk as you can probably tell by the number of posts. Said my peace, hoping for one truth more then the other. Because one means we’ll always be mediocre, the other means their could be light at the end of a 2014 tunnel.

    G’night.

  10. Any truth to the rumor that they lost money last year? I think that was reported by Forbes in their annual team value rankings.

    Although I think that doesn’t include the money Rogers saves by not having to pay the Jays a shit ton for the TV rights.

    http://www.forbes.com/teams/toronto-blue-jays/

    • unless an independent audit was done, that had access to the actual true financial statements, i have a hard time believing they lost money. they could likely shift things around from an accounting perspective (by allocating revenue to a non-baseball entity, and counting losses in the baseball column, etc.)

      and even if they did, WHO CARES? if there’s a true loss, it’s slight, and any such loss would be mitigated by not having to pay huge gobs of money for broadcast rights.

      tl:dr: fuck rogers.

      • The Toronto Baseball Club probably lost money. Roger’s Media made it all back and more. It’s extremely difficult to figure just how much having the jays for cheap, live content nationwide adds to sportsnet’s bottom line, which is one of the biggest parts of revenue for the team as a whole, yet adds nothing to the actual teams profit

    • Also the team is worth more than $300 million more now according to Forbes than when they purchased it; they could sell at any time and recoup all of the losses. I don’t ever wanna hear bitching about an operating loss until it exceeds the value you’ve already earned through inflation. Sell the team if you can’t handle a yearly loss or figure out how to market your team better in the 4th highest fucking market in the league

  11. Very sad. Last Oct/Nov/Dec AA was saying SP more likely via trade, which hints at payroll ceiling met. The amount of time it took the Jays to make their 14.1/1 offer also suggests some kind of haggling was going on internally. Then add in all the Dominican Jay involvement trying to get Santana. I think this article is most likely accurate.

  12. I still find the goins thing particularly deplorable. You have stephen drew sitting there desperate for a job and we are playing this scrub? They could sign drew for 1 yr. he would be a huuuuge upgrade with the bat. Two outs in the ninth, bases loaded, down by 2 and… Goins comes to the plate. That is a scenario that can happen. What the fuck do you do? The team has no bench to speak of as well. Fucking rogers. Sell the team to someone who cares and wants to win.

    • I agree.

      You failed on some pitchers, and those everyday at bats become so much more valuable

      Drew and morales would really help this team right now, and you’d get them for nothing.

  13. I wonder how Santana’s ‘friendship’ is with the Latino Jays now, after he fled for Atlanta

  14. I also wonder how many players would defer their salary for Drew

  15. The owners and front office aren’t stupid people. They would have known that a scheme such as this would never get past the union (and likely not past the league either), so I think it is difficult to believe that they would have even considered approaching the players to seek a deferral of salary obligations when the only possible result of doing so is that the owners would look terrible in the eyes of everyone invlolved.

    Much more likely, I think, is that this was some sort of grand, symbollic gesture by some of the players to let it be known to management that they really, really wanted Santana in a Jays uniform. That theory also seems to fit better with the stories circulating at the time that there were Jays players campaigning for the team to sign Santana…. or, a least, that’s what I hope fucking happened, because the alternative is a complete shitshow.

    • This.

    • Agreed.

    • Agreed. Probably similar sentiment to last year when Kawasaki was sent down last year. Didn’t Bhuerle say that the players would pay his salary to keep him in Toronto if it was possible.

    • Very good point.

      All I can say at this point is that 4 of our current 5 starters better work out and stay healthy. If we end up having two rotation spots being unstable it will become very obvious that we missed big time.

      And I hope Santana does alright… but not too good. That would also hurt.

  16. I know it makes little sense given the killing that Rogers has to be making from the TV numbers, and it is pure speculation, but I can’t help but think we are getting subtle signals that an ownership restructuring or sale is forthcoming. If not an outright sale to a 3rd party, perhaps bundling it with MLSE?

    Either that or Rogers is totally enamored and focused with their pursuit of the Bills. Let’s hope it is the sale option because the Bills issue is going to take years to play out whereas as a sale could only eat up a year.

    • Wouldn’t a winning team be worth more?

      I mean 150million payroll team that’s competitive has to be worth more than 130 million payroll team that’s not as competitive.

      It’s not like they had to go out and spend 500 million to finish off this roster. Were probably talking about 50-80 million spread out and a couple of 1 year contracts

    • It’s been said many times – MLSE is not controlled by Rogers. It’s a separate entity, and I doubt it will be sold for a long, long time given the broadcast rights they get from their minority stake…

      That said, might make sense for them to divest themselves of the Jays given they’re all-in on hockey. Good opportunity for them to do that with all the salary coming off the books in the next couple of years.

      If they sell (to MLSE? Bell?) great. Would be a great opportunity to throw that statue of Ted in Lake Ontario.

      • I never said Rogers was controlled by MLSE. We all know they aren’t. They could be a buyer however.

        Dc, Teams typically shed payroll before a sale.

        • But they didn’t shed payroll

          • not yet. But they also haven’t added.

            I’m not saying I’m right, I’m just saying something doesn’t add when you look at the reversal over the past 1.5 years.

          • it’s not necessarily about shedding payroll, it’s about increasing value; if they’re taking in more money (i.e. via increased ticket sales, merch, TV money that all teams are benefiting from, etc.) & raising the value of the team, while holding the payroll stagnant, it’s effectively the same as shedding payroll when revenue is stagnant.

        • Sorry – read your comment too quick. And yes MLSE would be interesting.

  17. I remember when I said as a joke in the comments here that the jays should pass around a hat.

    It was a stupid joke. If this is actually true, it’s a fucking embarrassment.

    You have a team that identifies it’s not quite good enough and willing defer money so a multi billion dollar ownership group can improve the team.

    Rogers has such a sweet fucking deal. They got the skydome for next to nothing, they get content for next to nothing.

    That being said, I hope that AA didn’t know he was going to get cut off going in to this year. If he knew or a payroll max and made the trades from last year shame on him, if they told him money would be there to continue and then pulled back this offseason, then shame (fuck off) on rogers

  18. Maybe Rogers MO is just to occassionally give their struggling brands (Jays, TFC) an infusion of cash that they can then hide behind for the next 5 year rebuilding period. Another rebuilding period where they can promise the money will be there because “look at this three year period where our payroll actually wasn’t an embarrassment to our market and our ownership wealth”. The fanbase is like a half starved dog who’s owner throws it a bone every 5 years.

    • There’s no commitment, they just do the absolute minimum to keep the brand going and the content pipeline full.

      • The teams payroll is 10th in the MLB. That alone shows commitment on top of not doing a firesale after a disastrous season last year.

    • Holy fuck. TFC is not a Rogers brand.

      • well indirectly, since they jointly own MLSE. I assume they had to sign off on their massive payroll spike this offseason.

        • Well, sort of. Given the minority stake they have, Rogers can’t just pull the strings of MLSE to behave according to their whims. Any broader strategy they try to impose would have to be agreed to by their arch rival Bell.

  19. Ya I never believed for a second that AA turned into a moron over night.
    Just wish Beeston would do us all a favour, tear rogers a new asshole and resign from his post.
    Cant expect AA to do it.

  20. “a two decade long slog through the endless corridor of funhouse mirrors that is corporate team ownership”

    this is awesome btw

  21. Simplest conspiracy theory.

    The 15mil they had to spend got crunched up by the 10% drop of the Canadian currency. Payroll of $150m US just became $165m. All, or most, revenue is still in Canadian dollars.

    • MLB tv revenue sharing will be in US but sportsnet advertising and obviously gate receipts will be in Canadian.

      I have believed ever since the Canadian dollar started to sink in November/December from near parity to 0.9 that the 10% decline would most likely lead to a 10% decline in the Jays budget for 2015. Some people have thrown around hedging, and Rogers does hedge at the corporate level, but if you are a Canadian subsidiary of a Canadian company with a lot of costs in US$, most corporate parents will not give you the benefit of hedging and you will have to adjust accordingly.

  22. It seems clear that there is not the same investment in the Jays throughout Rogers. I heard Bob McGowan resenting how he couldn’t go down to spring training this year on Prime Time. The Jays aren’t the golden child and Rogers doesn’t want to invest like last year.

    But there is another huge thing: long term commitments. Everyone will likely shit on me saying, “Cotts says they have flexibility,” but remember that they have a shit tonne of options on players. If the Jays pick up all the options on players (and if they don’t the will still need money to fill those holes) and arbitration escalations they are sitting around $130 million for 2015 – without resigning Rasmus or Cabrera!

    If the cap is $150 million (who the fuck knows) how could the Jays have signed a starter long term and resigned Rasmus or Cabrera or address the outfield? How could they have signed a starter long term and have any payroll flexibility?

    The answer is they couldn’t. So, all along, they were looking for a one year deal on a starter so they could afford Rasmus or to be able to spend on position players in the future.

    Also, does it make sense to have four starters on long term contracts (which includes Romero) when you have Sanchez, Hutchinson and Stroman and then sign another starter to a long-term deal? If the Jays put all their eggs into that basket there isn’t any money on position players.

    Alex is not looking at the budget year to year but in a series of years – a long term deal for a starter was never possible with a maximum payroll of $150 million.

    • so, was their plan with josh johnson from the get-go to not offer him a QO, regardless of what he did last summer? can’t believe that.

      • I would think that their plan with Johnson was a QO or even a long term deal. But Johnson healthy is not Santana or Ubaldo. I can see trading off the ability to sign Rasmus and going with Gose in exchange for being able to sign Johnson long-term. But does that make sense for Santana, Garza or Ubaldo?

        • point is, they had (or should have) ear-marked money in the 2014 budget for johnson (roughly $14M), which has not been used, and could have been used on either ubaldo or santana if AA wasn’t overly concerned (for whatever reason) with squeezing as much value out of the deal as possible.

      • Money does not get earmarked like that. The plan was for the Jays to contend and increase the fanbase and revenues which would have justified increased payroll. That didn’t happen and so payroll hasn’t gone up and cant blame ownership for that. ROI evaluation and appropriate payroll are fluid things so you cant just earmark 14M a year in advance and cry poor when that money isnt invested elsewhere after the team won 75 games and the potential revenue gains never came to fruition

        • Problem is, there is a sample size issue. Measuring the ROI of a baseball club in seasons is natural but, given what we know about the variance in baseball outcomes, it is pretty fucking arbitrary. I would suggest treating Ws and Ls like UZR… give it three years.

          Problem is, by the three year test, AA is not looking so good. I hate corporate ownership, it really, really sucks but it is not hard to see how Rogers management might feel increasing investment in the Jays might be a bad bet. Firing AA is just so much easier. So much more corporate.

  23. I just can’t see AA going to one or more players & throwing out the idea of deferring salary…it was only a 1 yr deal for $14m which AA/jays offered…

    and wouldn’t AA go to the agent(s) first to pitch the idea & not the players…

    so is it possible these rumours are being created by one or more agents to put even more pressure on Rogers? perhaps the agent(s) have been in touch with Boras and it’s part of the let’s see how we can put pressure on rogers plan.

    or there is truth behind all of this & Rogers has shut down the purse strings for whatever reasons.

    • The Burnett rumour is from outside the organization. The Santana stuff, if AA were lying, would be contradicted by someone. Making that kind of false statement publicly could cost you your job and your career in baseball.

  24. No question here. Kenny Ken Ken has the best credibility of all MLB reporters that cover baseball as a whole. Must be the killer smile and the bow ties.

    But there are huge gaps here. I mean, did some of the DR contingent come up with a half-ass “plan” to entice the brass to loosen the purse strings when it looked like Santana was heading to Atlanta for essentially the same money being offered by the Jays?

    I think that AA offered Santana’s agent the rumoured 14.1 M for one year. Then the Atlanta thing happened and the Jays, not wanting to lose their posturing, declined to add anything substantial to sway Santana away from Atlanta.

    Then the players came up with their own plan afterwards, which is very aptly described by Rosenthal as passing a hat around.

    Can we fault Rogers for this?

    I think The Smasher has it right. Just a clusterfuck perfect storm hovered all winter.

    • Other than a lot more money, like $4-5 million more, what would Santana choose? A hitter friendly park for the last place team in the AL East or a pitcher’s park for the division winner in the NL East – Is there a question?

    • That’s the way I’m looking at it, too, through my often-overly-optimistic glasses. I don’t think it’s unrealistic to think that, for all his talk of valuation, AA wasn’t willing to go to $14 million + for Santana. If he was only willing to offer, say, $12 million, and the players knew that wouldn’t be enough, some of them could have stepped in and offered to save him the money by restructuring their contracts so the investment for the Jays would still be in the range where they valued Santana.

      • If Santana’s goal was the Ubaldo/Garza deal then he’d be looking for 4 years/$50 million. Getting 1 year $14 million means he needs a 3 year/$36 million deal which could be doable if he has a nice National League season. However, if Santana has an ERA over 4.00 with draft pick compensation attached he doesn’t see north of $30 million, meaning going to Toronto could be leaving $6-10 million on the table from his vantage point. What would anyone say about AA giving $20-24 million for a year of Santana? Even if AA offered $16-18 million, he may have taken less to increase his value for free agency.

        • agree re. the money, but again, the point is that it never should have gotten to the point in which there were others bidding for his services in the same ballpark. AA diddled long enough for something to break wrong for another team & opened the door to losing the leverage, and that’s what happened. AA valued santana at a certain level, and worked him down to that level, but it simply took too long to come to an agreement.

  25. This news – even the fathomability that it’s true – just makes me want to punch an emm-effing hole in the wall.

  26. “ownership that appears comfortable committing sociopathic corporate pillage with one hand while cranking out Orwellian brand management twaddle with the other actually might give a shit about what people think when they get a foggy glimpse through the keyhole into their middle-management-shithead paradise.”

    Another great line, 2 days in a row now.

    If true this is sad.

    AA said we were getting a pitcher or 2. No GM would not get a pitcher if the money was available. So it looks like Rogers yanked it from under him. So who knows what they are capable of.

  27. It totally makes sense, given the teams performance last year in relation to payroll, that AA wouldn’t be allowed to add long term contracts. Clearly this is his last kick at the can. Can’t say I disagree.

  28. hmmmm .. this is all so suspicious .. now that the Wireless industry has been capped at a Max Fee of $50 for cancelling contracts, Rogers needs to tighten their purse strings ..

  29. This kind of shit breaks my heart. I am actually pining for an excentric billionaire owner.

  30. That statue will be defaced if these rumblings continue. They should move it to corporate head office to avoid the embarrassment.

  31. I was waiting for this post.
    Absolutely exceptional post and thread.Kudos to all commenters and a tip of the hat to BFF,Smasher and Stoeten.
    Fantastic reading.
    My 2 cents,FWIW,somebody is stirring up a lot of shit.Logically, when you strip away the emotions,there seems to be more than a few holes in the story that defy common sense.
    IMO

  32. AA went all in last year, and lost. Kind of surprised he’s still here. Most company’s want return on investment. Given the fact he’s lucky to have kept his job at all, it totally makes sense that they wouldn’t allow him to add any significant financial commitments that might hinder the next general manager.

  33. Like Stoeten, I appreciate AA not cashing in Sanchez while trying to save his own skin.

  34. Well my original comment to you last night was, what to believe? AA’s stingy valuations where he wouldn’t move past a certain price, or Rogers capping his ability to do so. Unfortunately, twitter wasn’t the best place to argue the subject. I know you disagreed at the time with the former and I didn’t have the time to state that one option could be the cause of the other. Personally, since there is nothing but conjecture on both fronts, I was and still not sure what to believe. I was simply stating that it could be something other than just Rogers alone.

    Maybe all of AA’s press conferences this winter where he constantly mentioned lining up on value with a player or the fact he made a stink about having to overpay for a guy like Navarro by $1 million and an extra year made me think he was being a cheap fuck. I mean even you wondered about that at the time of the Ubaldo signing.

    That said, I would not be surprised if it was some corporate flunky cutting off AA’s hand while it was in Dead Ted’s wallet. I mean AA basically did a 180 in his comments to the media from the end of last season to the start of the free agency period. So you can legitimately ask what caused that change? I know you will say his comments are meaningless and are just PR but if that is the case then the same can be said of Rogers and Beeston’s proclamations about the money being there if needed.

    Once you do that you’re back at square one wondering what is conjecture and what is real. When I look at everything from Rogers actions in the past, the new CEO, the declining overall corporate results in the latest quarter (wireless issues not sports related) and the logic that says no sane GM would truly believe that doing nothing to shore up the pitching or infield depth was the way to go, leads me to believe it was Rogers that cock blocked AA in the end.

    If that truly was the case then it offers a great excuse for AA’s stingy valuations because the money was never there in the first place. Maybe that is also what caused Boras to go off on the Jays originally. Maybe he was told something similar, that the money just wasn’t there. It certainly seems to fit because in follow up interviews Boras took great pains to state Rogers corporate status and wealth.

  35. If I may don my tinfoil hat for a moment, what if this is more Beeston’s doing than Rogers? I mean he’s the one constantly prattling on about policies and payroll matching revenues and whatnot. Rogers just dropped over $100MM (albeit the risk is shared with Bell) to shore up the sad sack Toronto FC and $5B to acquire the broadcast rights for the NHL. And now they’re suddenly going to nickel and dime their MLB property when it comes to adding Santana? It makes no sense to me. I have no great love for Rogers and maybe I’ve just had my fill of The Beest’s bullshit but there is disconnect here.

    • I think there is a formula for how much the Jays make (ambiguous because their TV deal is undervalued) and they cannot go into the red, and need to ask permission to spend from the profit margin. For all intents and purposes, I think they have to spend baseball revenues and not corporate revenues, but they are also expected to donate profit to the parent corporation. I think it’s simple, standard, corporate organization.

      • Agreed. Every profit centre has a budget in which it must operate. I’m saying it’s Beeston that is refusing to go to ownership to request additional money and not Rogers saying no. After the steaming turd that was last season, perhaps there is a certain reluctance to stick his neck in the transom if it doesn’t work out. As well, it seems to me that his ideas are out of synch with the modern realities of the MLB.

      • the problem is that there appears to be no accounting for what value the broadcast rights would generate (for ‘the team’) if it weren’t owned by the conglomerate that would be paying the team to broadcast games. i mean, isn’t that ‘baseball revenue’ when we’re talking about profit & loss? the reason the uber rich teams are uber rich is because of their broadcast deals, no?

        there has to be some mechanism to put a value on the broadcast rights that the jays should generate for themselves; if the team were owned by a private entity, what would Rogers (or Bell/whomever) pay ‘the team’ for broadcast rights?

        • Buying the team was for a discount on those rights. The irony is that with other ownership, the team would likely have more money to spend.

    • @ Rob T, Rogers is selling sports time on television to the demanding market. Unfortunately the majority of Canadians like to watch hockey and the mediocrity of the NHL, therefore Rogers will spend to capture the control of that market to make money. The Jays are just another time filler to throw on a TV spot, nothing more.

      • Except the Jays still had 510,000 against the Leafs broadcast the other night.
        Not to shabby.

        • @Radar, That is very interesting number. Which can backup what they say about the slow decline in kids hockey participation over the last few years. Hockey one day might become a second tier sport in this country.

          • God I fucking hope so!

          • Well baseball participation has been rapidly declining as well right? Dont think baseball, hockey or soccer will ever become second tier sports – the thing is now there are so many other activities kids participate in outside of mainstream sports.

      • While I’m the first one roll my eyes when the talking heads refer to the Blue Jays as Canada’s team, I think there is a kernel of truth to it. Therefore, there are legitimate reasons to believe that significant interest can be generated outside the local market. That makes it a valuable broadcast property to Rogers across all of its innumerable, pointless channels. That is, as long as the team is winning. That’s why starving the organization of the resources it needs at this point makes absolutely no sense. This team has talent to win now but it also has gaping holes that can be filled with available free agents. Do it already.

        • @Rob. Absolutely. A bit puzzling that more of the farm teams aren’t in Canada to try to capture that market better especially considering the owner of the organization is producing content for its broadcasts. AAA in Montreal, AA in Vancouver etc could engage a large fanbase especially if there is a lot of home grown star player development and people see future stars in their hometowns

  36. Internet friends, do you hope, as much as I, that one day, when AA is no longer the GM of this baseball team, that a book publisher offers him a boatload of money to write a tell-all book?

  37. I still think AA will be promoted out of his job, not fired from it, when he leaves the GM post.

  38. Any time we can put pressure on ownership to be “honest” with the fans, and give reason for why there was a lack of progress after last seasons moves, I’m all for it. There needs to be some accountability from all levels of this team. From AA, to management, to ownership.

    Uncover the dirt, turn up the heat, and make Rogers work for our $$. The start of last season proved that spending more money on the Jays means more interest and money from the fans. If you want us to keep going to games, and spending money on merch, then you have to do your part as well.

    This isn’t the Leafs, we won’t fill the stadium every year unless there is a good team on the field.

    • The teams payroll is 10th in the league after 2 consecutive 75 win seasons. There is no accountability for ownership they have done their part and it is entirely unjustified to complain that they aren’t giving the team enough financial resources.

      • Tenth in payroll is nothing when you view the fact through the prism of market size and ownership resources .

        • The market / fanbase in Toronto is more than 10th in the league right now? I don’t think so. Toronto/Canada is big but that doesn’t necessarily translate to baseball fan base. THe payroll more than matches the market.

          Could argue that the team should advance payroll beyone its market size in order to grow the market and capitilize on the substantial potential revenue gains. That is what they did last year. Lets be happy they havent done a firesale yet and are giving this group a second chance

        • And ownership resources is a moot point. For a hypothentical example should Rogers dump $10B into into cable network to upgrade internet speeds 10% and get 5% revenue increase on its internet product? Just because a business has free cash flow doesn’t mean it should spend it without restraint and impact its profitability.

  39. So, Ken Rosenthal writes an unqualified allegation corroborated by many many many unnamed sources, then reported by Shi Davidi. Without any further confirmation “the Jays attempting to raise funding in order to sign Ervin Santana by asking other players to defer salary!”
    I guess the laws of Libel and Slander no longer apply in the US of A. In order to lay such charges you have to very credible proof such an incident occurred. However as all the sources of this story are Mr. and Ms. A. N. Onymous therefore no case for court.

    Just a blip on the radar of MLB.

    Shame on you Stoets for wasting your precious time even trying to make such a farcical
    story reading material.

    In conclusion, when the right players are available this season to bolster this team if necessary then Roger’s will supply the necessary funds.

    • Rogers will supply the necessary funds based on what exactly? Because you want them too? Look at what AA said at the end of last season and how it changed. Did he suddenly get stupid, or is there something else going on here?

      • AA was stupid from the beginning as soon as he said what he did at the start of the offseason

        • All he said was what we all knew anyway: 1-2 SPs, a catcher, and a 2B. I’m assuming the vault closed shortly after that.

    • Please listen to the Beeston interview on Metro Morning today and then take another xanax. I wonder what the guy with the Beeston Tattoo is doing right now.

  40. Curious timing for this to be leaked prior to the Home Opener.

  41. Beeston confirms the whole thingey

  42. For a deferral of payment to go through the union the player has to be getting something in return. Like a team option added to the contract… AA did recently say he could look to extend the contracts of JB EE and Reyes… Just saying it’s possible that all came up in the same conversation as they would all know how a deferral of payment would go through the union.

  43. Rogers can suck my balls

    • Why because they have committed to a top 10 payroll for a team in the bottom third of the standings the last two years? Let’s be happy they didn’t force a firesale after last years debacle (like many other ownership groups likely would have not to mention not approving taking on so much salary last year to begin with).

  44. What happens in the front office this season will tell us everything.

    Contracts ending this season: will they make an aggressive attempt to renew?
    Will AA make a couple high profile trades in order to get the players the team will need to compete in the AL East?

    I’m very interested to see what the team will be like half way into the season.

  45. FUCK YOU ROGERS.

  46. TAKE DOWN THAT SHIT STATUE.

  47. The front office is not going to leak something like that, it clearly came from players or agents who don’t know what payroll limitations there may be anyway.

    The teams payroll is 10th in MLB and they won 75 games the past two years. Complaints about cheap Rogers are not justified. If they did fix payroll where it is that is more than acceptable.

    Even with payroll fixed the front office had plenty of opportunity to improve the team on the cheap and they didn’t. Their hands are not tied when the losing team has 10th highest payroll. The marketplace in Toronto (especially considering this is a losing team) is not better than 10th in the league – Toronto is a big market and by extension Canada but that doesn’t mean the fan base is top 5. So lets stop with the sour grapes, be happy ownership has ponied up the cash and if we have complaints direct them at the front office for not doing more with the significant resources they have been given.

    Entirely unfounded and speculative that this may indicate there will be no resources to add to team at deadline if they are in the hunt. Logic says if that is the case the business case for additional payroll has changed substantially from where it is now.

  48. They already got all the new Toronto transplant money with the cute logo re-design. Made a splash, sell you a bunch of shit. Now back to your regularly scheduled programming.

    No one should be surprised by any of this.

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