pillarsuperman

Just because.

Shi Davidi posted a piece at Sportsnet on Wednesday night, in the afterglow of what was certainly the most unlikely of the nine straight wins of the Jays’ recent streak, that in many ways focused the cold, hard light of reality on the club’s current situation. Though ostensibly about Brandon Morrow’s recovery from a torn tendon sheath in his index finger, and the huge boost a healthy Morrow (who dealt with soreness in the area of the finger, we’re told, for three weeks before the injury occurred) could give this team, the piece also touched on the viability of Liam Hendriks — who, you may have noticed, needed every damn inch of the Rogers Centre to get away with his impressive two-run, three-hit, zero-walk, five-strikeout line yesterday — as well as the viability of any Jays plans to take on salary via the trade market, and even their draft budget.

That last bit was the really eye-popping one, buried as it was, as Davidi told us that, right now, “money is so tight the Blue Jays won’t even have their usual war chest for next week’s draft.” That is, of course, unless “the Blue Jays continue to play well, remain atop the American League East, attendance rises and the TV ratings spike further.”

The doubting ultra-cynic could maybe see a not-so-subtle message in there from the masters of the club, but it’s certainly just as easy to take it at face value, too. “Cheap-jack shit-fuck Rogers” is an easy narrative for a good reason. There’s something to it. As Shi puts it earlier in the piece, “if the money wasn’t there” when the club need players to make deferrals in order to sign Ervin Santana, “there’s no reason to think it will be there in July with the Blue Jays already at their 2014 budget of roughly $135 million.”

Except… isn’t there? Shouldn’t there be?

Would Rogers be so unresponsive to even the business case that surely could be made for turning a small payroll add into a better-assured ratings and attendance bonanza that ultimately means the initial investment easily pays for itself?

Looking at the way the club operated this winter one might be inclined to quickly say yes. But before we throw our hands up and resign ourselves to being governed by the pathological corporate hive mind of Rogers, let’s remember that a lot may have changed by the time of the trade deadline. The Jays will have a much better sense of their playoff chances — i.e. whether or not an investment would be a waste or not. They will have the advantage of needing a much smaller payroll commitment to add a piece then than they would have over the winter, with two-thirds of the season being in the books by the time of the July 31st trade deadline, and therefore two-thirds of the players’ salary off the books. And, as Davidi reminds us cynics, a strong showing in terms of ratings and attendance could absolutely still change things.

Yet here we’re being told that “general manager Alex Anthopoulos may be forced to seek trades that are revenue neutral – foisting Ricky Romero on someone for a prospect as part of a bigger deal might be one way to do it – in order to make a substantial addition.”

Weird, huh? Somewhat absurd, too (someone’s really taking Romero and enough of his salary to make such a move not entirely pointless?). But mostly weird. And even weirder still is this suggestion that the club may not even have their “usual war chest” for the draft.

Honestly, though, I’m not even sure what that means. They don’t exactly need a “war chest” for next week, because the deadline to get draft picks signed isn’t until mid-July– though, ideally, they’d want to have some idea of their upper spending limit, if it was going to be imposed artificially by ownership. More importantly, the war chest idea seems like a relic of the old collective bargaining agreement. There have been two drafts so far under the November 2011 CBA, and only once has any team in baseball been more than $600K either above or below their bonus pool allotment. In 2013, according to Baseball America, the Astros ended up spending $877K less than their league-high bonus pool of $11.7-million. That year the Jays, mostly because of their inability to use above-slot money earmarked for Phil Bickford, spent $424K less than their final pool allotment total that year. The year before the Jays spent $441K over.

In other words, teams of late don’t really seem to actually have a war chest, like in the old days. They have a ballpark figure that’s already budgeted for based on the pool allotment that has long been known. And the Jays’ failure to sign Bickford last summer makes it even harder to figure what their “usual” war chest even is. In 2012 they spent $9.2-million; in 2013 they spent $3.05-million.

Obviously that doesn’t mean that the club couldn’t try to pull off some weird outlier bullshit and ignore the bonus pools altogether, under-drafting like those teams who dumbly tied themselves to slot recommendations under the previous CBA, I guess. But… really? It’s a sad testament on Rogers’ stewardship of the Jays that we think it’s even possible the club might actually sink a whole draft (or at least a significant part of it… or any part of it, really). After all, it’s the once-a-year player-acquisition apparatus Alex Anthopoulos sold as being absolutely integral to the club, and much of the reason they invested so much in scouting infrastructure early in his tenure (and continue to do so). It’s simply bizarre to think that they could genuinely be less than serious on this because either no one at the head office gives enough of a shit about the club to be sympathetic (even to the best of business cases) about adding budget, or because the front office was unwilling to take a hit in terms of on-field talent in order to find more wiggle room under that “2014 budget of roughly $135 million” to avoid laughable, brand-damaging decimation of their future. But… do we really? Do we seriously think that’s an actual, possible outcome?

The fact that I wrote this same kind of “come on, guys, there’s no fucking way” shit at the start of this winter about the payroll in general, only to see it frozen solid in defiance of my highest hopes — at least until those deferral agreements from the players — plants a big ol’ seed of doubt underneath the scoffing at the impossibility of the club doing something completely fucked up and backwards that I’m doing here. I mean, Rogers could grandstand on this. They could say that they simply set the team’s budget and that it was the front office who didn’t do enough to clear room for the entirety of the bonus pool “war chest” to fit within it. Shit, the front office might even have a defensible position on that, given their job status, having chosen to spend on the win-now big league roster and deal with a less-than-ideally-robust draft budget later on.

But… really?

In our worst fears taken from those little words our heads are sent spinning with thoughts of unprecedented, powerfully detrimental, utterly shameful cheapness. And again, it’s not like it isn’t easy to assume the worst about Rogers — though, to be fair, this year’s Jays’ payroll is higher than that of Arizona, Cincinnati, St. Louis, Atlanta, Baltimore, Milwaukee, Colorado, Seattle, Kansas City, Chicago (AL), San Diego, the Mets, the Cubs, Minnesota, Oakland, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Tampa, Miami, and Houston — and if the club really did such a thing they’d get all the vitriol from this corner that such an action would deserve. But… really??? We’re just going to go ahead and assume that this is a foregone conclusion and an unequivocal affront and start shaking with terror at the possibility, and the possibility that the team’s insistence on revenue-neutral trades will undermine their ability to actually add anything of value at the deadline (hence, perhaps, the building of the narrative that Morrow — and his sudden professed affinity for not trying to “do too much” — can be a real impact mid-summer add) and killing off what right now looks like it could turn into a really, really special season? Because we assume they’re totally just not posturing now, figuring there are better negotiating tactics than openly admitting they’re looking to spend like drunken sailors?

I sure as hell hope not. I mean, I get the underlying worry, for sure, but let’s maybe wait until we actually have some tangible evidence of what’s any of these things Davidi says may become issues before we go nuts, eh? Yes, I’ve been burned on this phrase before, but I’ll believe it when I see it. Until I do, there are far better things to dwell on. For example: DID YOU SEE THAT FUCKING GAME LAST NIGHT!??!!?!!

 

Screengrab via @DesaiDevang.

Comments (154)

  1. What a great photo

  2. Honestly Stoeten, the team is on a 9-game winning streak, first in the AL East, and 10 games above .500, and all the articles you have chosen to write have been about doom and gloom and Fuck Rogers.

    Argos not moving, payroll parameters, Hutch (maybe but not really) losing velocity…how about something a little positive here? We can worry about this other shit when we lose ten straight in the dog days of August…

    • Sorry that I’m not here to blow sunshine up your or this team’s (or anybody’s) ass, but I honestly don’t even know what those posts would look like besides copy-pasted gibberish every night about how awesome this has been, which I assure you nobody needs me to tell them.

      • Agreed, every news outlet out there is just showering praise, but sometimes all the masses want are gifs of EE jacks and Tony Gose walk-off bunts…interspersed between the usual sharp and analytical commentary that we come here for.

        • Fair enough. But that’s what twitter dot com is for.

          • I’ve always found Stoeten’s takes to be balanced: When we’re all doom and gloom, he’ s often pointing out silver linings, and when things are well, he’s not afraid to criticize when things aren’t where they should be. Part of what he does is react to the “fan’s take”, and part of it is being a fan himself, but a thoughtful one.

            DJF has been great for years. Keep on keepin’ on.

            • Sorry RickyRo, this is an important point going forward and Stoeten’s correct to bring it up.
              While the teams winning,we need to know what ownership’s priorities are going forward.
              Especially after the Santana debacle.
              Davidi is a reliable,credible source but he has been wrong before about the teams budgets.
              I just hope this is one of the few times he is wrong.

        • It wasn’t a walk off bunt, it was a walk off error.
          “but it was caused by gose’s great speed!”
          yeah, yeah, i know

      • This.

    • uh the Argos stuff is kind of relevant and something a lot of people want to discuss, and this article is in reply to an article that was written last night by someone else. Did you read the last paragraph? Yes, everything’s awesome in Jays land and we’ve gone over that a million times, but the next game doesn’t start for 7 hours, god forbid we should talk about something else. It’s a reality, not doom and gloom. Nothing wrong with discussing how the Jays can creatively look to improve their pitching for late in the season/playoffs.

    • And if all he did was talk about how everything is perfect and rainbows, people would call him a Wilner, Rogers, shill.

      When a team might be so tight as to skimp on draft bonus money in a good draft year with good slots, that’s fucking disgusting. When that team is owned by a hugely profitable corporation? WTF.

    • If you want the feel good stuff then read Wilner’s posts.

  3. I saw it. It was amazing. It was arguably the best game I’ve seen in 3 seasons.

    And I continue to believe that Rogers will supply the money if the team continue to perform so well. Anything else would be a lousy business decision and these guys are not lousy business people.

    • They kind of are, though, aren’t they? They’re a big, bloated half of a massive duopoly better at making money through bullying their competition, their customers, and the government, than with actual savvy business decisions. Maybe that’s not giving them enough credit. Maybe?

      • Except that they did open the vault last off-season. And they opened it quite considerably. So we can’t say they’ve been cheese-paring 100% of the time. However the ‘Rogers are cheap bastards’ hypothesis is not necessarily something that anyone wants to debunk right now. Especially the front office. It’s easier to say ‘we are on a tight budget’ and deal from that than to say ‘we have loadsadough’ and deal from that.

        • Fair point on the last bit, if a bit hopeful (and, in fact, I’ve added something to that effect to the post — thanks!). The vault-opening had a lot to do with extra money from MLB’s TV deals and the way the Jays have been cut out of revenue sharing graft.

          • Can you explain a bit more how the “Jays have been cut out of revenue sharing graft”, I am interested.

            • This will explain it.
              The new CBA states that the Jays are not a small market team and are not going to recieve payments anymore.

              Under the old CBA the Jays recieved around 30 mil per year.

              http://www.hardballtimes.com/the-upcoming-cba-and-the-battles-within-it-part-2-revenue-sharing/

              • Rightly so. 32 million person market. They are not small market, and if Rogers tried to foist that shit on the rest of MLB, where rev-share is meant to help the actual SMALL markets like some teams have to face. I’m glad Rogers had their pee-pee smacked for trying to game the system. Honestly, if Rogers can’t spend to this market’s capability… sell the fucking team douchenozzles. I’m sure Bell, needing content for TSN would gladly get whole hog behind the Jays. If I hear one peep about the outlandish 5.2 billion for hockey affecting the Jays payrol….so help me fuck…. asses will be spanked.

                • Rumor was that NY and Boston weren’t too happy about the Jays small market status.
                  They were paying into the fund and the Jays were withdrawing it,putting it in their pocket while keeping payroll down.

    • I agree with you and remain willfully hopeful.

      If Rogers sees a sustained level of viewership and attendance well above what they anticipate, maybe they start running the numbers on what’s possible if they ‘feed the beast’ to keep those numbers steady/growing all the way into the fall.

      Theoretically, the Jays can reach a point where they’re enough over .500 they only need to play .500 ball the remainder of the season to maintain and win the division.

  4. The Jays draft Hoffman at 11 (a potential top 5 pick befeore injury) and pay him under slot value cause he has no leverage. And what harm is being done letting picks think you are on a tight budget so they don’t dick you around in negotiations. I just don’t see AA changing his theory on drafting.

    • Your theory on AA’s theory seems incorrect.

      Under AA the theory has been to draft the best talent at the slot level, then offer a fair market price. Not sure what your theory is.

    • A college draftee has zero leverage if they are done school, only HS draftees can refuse to sign and go to college. Jays could be planting “no war chest” story to soften the lack of June/July trading, or justify the asset-for-asset trade that does happen. Maybe there’s also a draft day competition angle to it? Exactly what that is I don’t know. I don’t remember hearing anything about the Astros under slot selections until they started picking.

      • Yah Hoffman is a Junior but won’t pitch for a year so he won’t have anymore value next year so he is a different story. The Jays do draft some easier signs and then go go after some harder signs. I don’t think they will change that.

  5. Well said. There has to be some economic analysis based on projected wins by adding X player will provide them Y more wins and therefore increase their chances at making the playoffs and a boatload of attendance/TV revenue.

    This city/fan base would go full Raptor if they’re in it in September.

    • It’s already starting a bit, thanks to this streak, I’m pretty sure. Definitely lots of friends who don’t normally watch have been talking to me about how great it’s been.

      • I’m getting this also.
        I get people who are showing interest in the Jays but don’t know how many outs are in an inning.I not kidding.
        It’s great to see the buzz in the general population.

        • It really is.

          • Dude my sister is talking blue jays baseball to me and she was referring to specific plays and player’s names.

            • That’s great Beno.
              I didn’t mean to sound condescending( if that was your point),meant to point out that even people who have very limited knowledge of the game are getting excited.And that’s a good thing.

      • I feel there are lots of new commenters/posters on this site. Possibly as a result of the improved play generating more interest in the club. Stoets, do you have any site stats you can share with us?

    • Can confirm. Winnipeg Jets fans are clapping me on the back and “HOW BOW DEM JAYS”ing me for a while now.

  6. Does Rogers actually get increased revenue from increased TV ratings immediately? I don’t know how any of this works but I would have assumed that advertising revenue would be some kind of forward booked contract. If the Jays get increased ratings one week do the rates charged change next week for existing customers?

    • There is always creating new sponsorship opportunities and/or squeezing more into your “inventory” if you are all of a sudden a place where there are more eyeballs.

      Additionally, I wonder if any of those ad contracts could be tied to ratings/viewership numbers?

      Don’t worry, Rogers would find a way to cash in if they all of a sudden had lots more people tuning in regularly.

  7. I dunno. Call me naive, but I honestly DO think that if the team is still in it by mid-July, Rogers will absolutely do whatever it takes to help them along. Wishful thinking, maybe, but let’s wait til then before we start panicking.

  8. James shields anyone?

  9. I remember reading this piece that it made more sense for the Yankee’s to blow past the luxury tax threshold in order to make the playoffs, because the playoff revenue far outweighed the luxury tax and salaries. I’m sure that idea isn’t lost on rogers.

  10. One particular thing about this year’s draft is that the Jays have their highest picks in years. This year’s draft is our best chance to land high impact talent. We’re unlikely to see picks this high for a while, which means we’re unlikely to see bonus pool this high for a while. As such, this is the worst year to tank a draft for financial reasons.

  11. I appreciate the incredulity and semi-positive spin of ‘they can’t really be doing that stupid, can they?’ and ‘I’ll believe it when I see it’

    …but after confirmed reports of players needing to defer for 1 year of Ervin Santana, plus the winter in general, plus this tidbit coming from Davidi (who I wouldn’t think is unreliable in this instance) makes me feel like the news is more doom-and-gloomy than we might otherwise hope. It’s a tale of two Rogers, really, opening the vault in the MIA deal and then shuttering the windows after. Weird, and inexplicable, but the past few months really seems to indicate more than not that Rogers has cut the cash flow.

    This team, though! If anything can get us through Rogers corporate idiocy, surely it’s healthy doses of Eddie’s parrot.

    • I agree, it is easy to write off any one of these reports, but when the offseason – including the Santana debacle, is added to the current stories, I think we need to be concerned. When the new Rogers CEO was announced last fall people were worried about a possible direction shift with regard to the Jays after the offseason before and those moves not paying off. Now I am sure it is a complex issue in part also due to the loonie losing ground against the dollar and thus those US contracts becoming more expensive, but could this also be in part a trickle down effect of a regime change at Rogers?

    • “Weird, and inexplicable”

      New CEO between now and then, though.

  12. Shi Davidi is a pretty solid reporter, but I have a hard time believing that bit about spending for the draft. Seems like the definition of cutting of your own nose to spite your face. Particularly since you have to imagine that every single MLB owner has looked at the success of the Rays, and demanded that management at least try to follow that model, which is of course, based on drafting and controlling young players prior to free agency.

  13. Wouldn’t you think this would be a good time to start investing more in the draft if anything? I mean, it’s always good to have buttloads of prospects but won’t the Jays’ current window be closed in a few years? It’d be great to have young and cost-controlled folks ready to come up once the current core (Dickey, Buehrle, Edwin, Bautista, etc.) are either retired or exiting their primes.

  14. Anyone know how broadcasting rights work in MLB? I’m sceptical of Rogers because if the Jays do have all of Canada to themselves, then Rogers will behave like big Canadian companies have always behaved: monopolize the market and then do fuck all to improve the product. I’m also tired of the organization telling fans that they need to come out or else. They’re essentially blaming consumers, which is fucking insane considering the last 20 years of meaningless baseball.

    • Welcome to the last 13 years of Rogers ownership!

      • Jesus fuck. You’re telling me. I started following the team again in 2010 for this shit? You have to wonder if the folks at Rogers stick their dicks halfway in a pussy when they’re going to fuck because they sure like going half in on everything else.

      • Seems like the Jays have always been corporate owned (Labatt, InBev, Rogers). I’d like to see what they would be like if run by a deep-pocketed, slightly eccentric billionnaire, who is a huge fan of the game first & foremost. Sadly, those seem to be in short supply.

        • Testify!! How come oil sheikhs looking for a new toy only buy soccer teams?

        • Labatt won and fielded really good teams. Hell, they overpaid for significant UFAs too. Let’s not forget that the Jays were the Yankees of the early 90s as they spent like no one else. Things turned sour because Interbrew, if I recall correctly, said they would run the team based on the bottom line, not on the win-loss column. Rogers seems to have continued that proud tradition.

          • I agree with the general sentiment, but if the Jays had signed Buehrle and Reyes to the exact contracts they’re on now, would people still be complaining about the team’s unwillingness to open the wallet for free agents? I think a lot of the “Rogers is cheap” talk, while often warranted, comes from the team’s inactivity in free agency while ignoring the actual contracts they’ve taken on the last couple years.

          • Yes, that’s exactly the way I remember it. That’s why the Miami trade was an earthquake — it indicated that Rogers was ready to spend big.

            I thought last year that if the team was a contender, interest/attendance would ignite.

        • That someone was Ted Rogers. He rescuesd the Jays from otherly corporate ownership

  15. PONY UP

  16. Makes it seem like Rogers is Mr Potter from Its a Wonderful Life. If the team hangs in there, I’m sure AA will present a good suggestion or two that will convince the highers-up to sign off. Maybe?

  17. They better be able to spend on the draft… If they dont want to go balls out in player salary a few years down the road you need to be able to draft as well as possible to stock the farm with young talent….if Rogers wants to own the team that long it would be stupid to cheap out on the draft of all things.

    As for this year, yeah theyre a heartless business so i think they’ll spend only if they think the value comes back and a playoff berth and the attendance and ratings that go with it have some decent value….so they’ll likely wait a while a get an idea of just how good our chances are before they decide if/how much $ AA can play with to make a run

  18. Stoeten, do you have a take on Gideon Turk’s exchange with Pelley on Twitter? Do you think there’s anything beyond Pelley’s typical corporate ra-ra horseshit?

  19. So theoretically we should get a clue into their plan next week. If they do some bush league thing at the daft to save money then it lends some weight to the report and we can probably start crossing off any starters that can make an impact because they wont pay them. But if the draft is relatively uneventful and goes smooth they pick a guy within the range we can keep dreaming up James Shields trades that will never happen. Right?

    • Unfortunately they could pick guys with little or no intention of actually signing them, one supposes.

      • Andrew do we know of any names at this point that would fit that description? Guys who are signing risks? I don’t follow the draft at all but would assume the High School guys are the most high risk. The name I have read linked to them the most is Touki Toussaint but haven’t read anything about his signability.
        Also dont know if signability is a real word or a made up one used only at the MLB draft.

        • Based on history all HS kids are signability risks for Jays; those kids who project to improve their slot position and at the same time attend a quality program and have the “college experience” for a couple years before going pro. Specifically, I would say kids with verbal to high profile programs (i.e. Vanderbilt, LSU) or familiar influence (i.e. Jakson Reetz to Nebraska where his father played football).

  20. Just a thought. When the players agreed to defer money for Santana, was it because the vault is shut tight or was it because Beeston refused to sign off on it? I could swear I read something about Beeston thinking Santana wasn’t a good addition and he felt AA was making a desperation move. This could be wrong though.

    • I’m not sure about the particulars — I don’t know/remember that such things have necessarily come out — but there could be something to it, for sure.

  21. Hey Andrew, just wondering what you thought about Gideon Turks exchange with Pelley? I thought it was pretty interesting.

    • Likewise, Stoeten. That exchange seems almost bizarre, but it too lends some credence to the likelihood that Roger is acting cheap as fuck thanks to the new CEO.

      • Honestly, sounds like the scenario the commenter above described and Stoeten mentioned as a possibility is probably true.

  22. Also, small sample and all, love how Pillar said “I’m going to make it impossible for them to send me down” and he’s been everything they need in a 4th outfielder.

    My dad in Canmore is so excited about the streak that he impulsively bought a ticket to Toronto and will be taking the series in this weekend.

    Fever for the Flavour.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QAURo0rwt6g

  23. On a YTD basis RCI.B shares are down 8%, materially underperforming the gains posted by rivals T (+12%) and BCE (+8%). With revenue growth in both Cable and Wireless having flat-lined, I am having a hard time seeing a new CEO (Guy Lawrence) opt to allocate more resources to Media without first being able to point to an up-tick in revenue in the unit.

    In other words, if the front office can present the business case (we are winning, so more people are coming, and more people are watching) then the payroll may have some wiggle room. But I think the team has to keep it going for another month and generate some additional excitement (and more importantly generate some revenue).

  24. Why do I get the impression that even if the Jays were drawing 4 million a year, Rogers would still cut corners?

    • Being corporately owned in Canada will do that. I actually have a terrible feeling that salary dumps will happen at the deadline and attendance will be the excuse. Yup, I’m pissed off at the cunts running Rogers. Really? Not ponying up for the draft? That’s fucking rubbish.

      • This seems like the kind of comment that should be held off until the thing you’re pissed off about actually happens.

        • I’d agree if Rogers deserved the benefit of doubt, but they don’t. Past behaviour is the best indicator of future behaviour.

          • I’m alluding to Rogers being fucking cheap, of course, not a salary dump that my irrational self is telling me could happen.

          • But previous behaviour also suggests that they’re willing to spend a lot of money on the draft and international signings despite a middle of the pack/bottom half payroll, doesn’t it?

  25. If cash for the draft is an issue, instead of trying to draft cheap, signable, lessor prospects in the early rounds, I wonder if they try to draft guys they know they can’t sign in order to hold onto their draft positions for next year in hopes that cash will free up.

  26. If my Systems Analysis course taught me anything (hard to pay attention, mind you), Rogers doesn’t know how to be an owner of a baseball franchise. When they bought the NHL, they did so with a long term vision of, in short, making their money back and then some. Ditto with MLSE. Obviously owning a baseball team is a little more adaptive than TV rights, or a hockey team with a salary cap, but the cost-benefit plan can’t be dismissed after 1 fucking season.

    You build a 5-year plan much like Anthopoulos did from the start, stick with it, and see where it takes you. While you’re not in business to lose money, they make $500MM quarterly. They earned $1.56B in 2011. They have over $18B in assets (2011). I think they can afford a fucking gamble once in a while.

    As much as I’d like to see Rogers pony up for a trade, deep down I know they won’t. They have a terrible track record for displaying any desire to fund a winning team, almost to the point where I wonder if they care. I some times wonder if they funded “The Trade” only to display some goodwill with the fanbase.

    TL;DR I hate Rogers, and they suck.

    • Don’t you mean Econ or Bus 101 course?

    • Here’s the thing though. Companies set budget targets for each division, including Rogers. Rogers Media has their budget constraints set at the corporate level, so it doesn’t matter what Wireless, or Cable is doing or what the entire company is doing. It only matters what Media contributes to the bottom line and whether they are meeting their targets, and the Jays ARE NOT. Team attendance is DOWN 5,310/game from 29,128 to 23,818 and they are the 2nd worst team in terms of changed attendance figures year over year.

      Factor in what Sportsnet is going to do with hockey, and the Jays instead of being the pillar of Media now becomes a spoke in the wheel. Media is going to focus on doing everything to increase hockey revenue while the Jays will sit off in some corner and will have to deal with the budget constraint handed down to them in the off-season.

      In short, Anthopolous and Beeston will have to beg and plead for more money. The NHL is where it’s at in Media now. They tried to blow their wad last year and it completely failed. They can’t present that argument this time around because it’s a crap shoot. “Look,” management will say, “you’ve managed to win 9 in a row with the crew on the field now… why do you need to spend more money???”

      And as for TV money, huge windfall of about $30MM went out to every team this year, but the Jays are now subject to getting their revenue sharing cut back as part of the new CBA which gradualy phases in over the next four years.

      • Thing is, part of the reason attendance is down is because the signal was sent after the Santana debacle that Rogers wasn’t interested in adding to payroll. It might be more complicated than that, but that was the public perception – Rogers was nickel and diming when they had a property that could make them a ton of cash if they invested what, in their terms, was a small bit of cash.

        Fans tend to turn out when the team management makes it look like they’re trying. Rogers, with the singular exception of last year, has never done that. They can’t be surprised – unless they’re truly thick – that fans would reward their apathetic stewardship with undying loyalty. Of course, that IS how they run their main business line…

        • You’re only 100% right about this.

        • Exactly. Any idiot on the interwebs could have seen that this team going into the off-season was much better than what was displayed in 2013. I personally wouldn’t have guessed that they would be guaranteed to be leading the division come June 1st, but I figured they’d be around .500. But my expectations were severely tamed because Rogers will likely never figure out how to properly run a baseball franchise.

          It’s because of this that I have yet to attend a game this season. I love the Jays and I greatly enjoy watching them, but I find it hard to hand over $70 for a decent seat when they find it hard to hand over money to better their product.

          • Half-price tickets can be had for on Stubhub. Section 221R for $30 each last night. You can sit up top for $7, and you can sit down in 115 / 116 on most nights for $40. Don’t buy tickets off of bluejays.com.

            And hell, everyone knew the weaknesses of the team in the off-season (C, 2B, starting rotation) and Anthopolous only solved the C situation by shipping Arencibia.

            I look at this club akin to what was going on in the summer of 2012 after the three injuries to SP in a week…. the starting lineup was punching out 6 runs / per game pretty much from mid-June to the end of July and was maintaining a .500 record. To me, there’s nothing that tells me that the trend of scoring 5 runs a game won’t stop.

            Conversely, there’s nothing indicating that the current iteration of the rotation will be any better than last year and that the 3.15 SP ERA so far in May is going to hold up.

            But even still, if the team manages to go .500 for the rest of the season (which I think they can), I see them with 86 wins, and that’s nothing to sneeze at.

  27. If this bullshit is true…why don’t they take that monstrosity of a statue to Uncle Ted and sell it or melt it own? The proceeds should at least allow them to have full “war chest” for the draft signings.

  28. Lack of draft “war chest”? WTF?! Teams don’t do well year after year without drafting well. It makes no sense to skimp on draft money AND FA money. Obviously draft money is considerably less than FA money so Jays should be going all out, declaring they have no financial restrictions on slot funds in upcoming draft or internationally.

  29. If Rogers being cheap as Scrooge turns out to be true, and the Jays don’t add at the deadline if the playoffs are in sight, I propose we gather at the Rogers Centre and pull down and burn that fucking ridiculous statue.

    St. Louis has Musial. Pittsburgh has Clemente. San Fran has Mays. Toronto? We’ve got a statue of Ted Fucking Rogers, a shitty owner who gained his fortune by being sheltered by pointless Canadian competition laws in telecom.

  30. Rogers is just pulling the old Boss tactic of crying poor. Then when a trade is made they can take credit for “committing to winning”.

    Never take anything that comes out of Rogers or MLSE at face value. It’s corporate snakery to the core.

  31. The part I can’t understand is if they really don’t give a shit then why are they about to spend presumably a boat load of money on putting grass in?

  32. The Jays have the fourth highest draft pool budget this year at $9,458,500 according to Callis.

    http://jimcallis.mlblogs.com/2014/04/02/draft-international-values-increase-by-1-7-percent/

    In the grand scheme of things, that amount of money is really a pittance, especially when you consider the potential payoff of gaining control of one or more impact players for the next 6 years of their career. The Jays have a substantial advantage this year in that they are permitted by the CBA to spend more on the draft than all but three other teams. It strikes me as being an extremely short-sighted strategy to not exploit that advantage.

    • This is a good point, rdillon. I remain skeptical about this throwaway line in Davidi’s piece for the reason that this amount of money is actually quite small, and that there never is really much variation between slot money that’s permitted and what is actually used.

      The problem with this story is going to be the optics. Say Toussaint is a tough sign (I have no idea whether he is or is not) and the Jays draft him at 9 because he is an excellent high school pitcher. Say he then decides to go to LSU (or wherever…but with a name like Touki Toussaint, it’s got to be in Louisiana, right?). Now, people can say that Rogers are cheap fucks who ordered AA to draft someone they would never sign just to save money and then point to this Davidi one-liner. I just don’t get why they’d imply that sort of thing to a reporter.

  33. You gotta think that the tightening of the Rogers purse strings is due to that massive multi-billion dollar NHL deal, no? I mean, that’s clearly where the company’s interest currently lies – trying to get it ready for the fall… Sad, really.

  34. Anybody thinking that, if the budget is as tight as Davidi says, that they use an early draft pick as collateral for a trade? That might be a way that AA gets immediate help for the stretch run.

    • If AA figured out a way to trade draft picks, then he really is a ninja!

    • Does anybody know if this (taking a particular player, on behalf of another team, and trading them to that team) is allowed by MLB? I know the actual trading of draft pick slots is not allowed…wasn’t sure about this “gentleman’s agreement” scenario.

  35. The draft is the most cost effective way to acquire talent. Why why why why would you skimp on that? I couldn’t think of a worse thing to do.

  36. This smells like bullshit. I know Rogers comes across as clueless sometimes but they aren’t this stupid.

    I’ll be happy to bitch about it when it actually happens.

    • “Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I’m not sure about the universe.” — Albert Einstein

  37. Me thinks AA slipped info he wants other teams to hear out to Shi early so teams dont assume Jays have money to spend. I think there is some but not unlimited

  38. Not sure I buy the “Rogers won’t spend on the draft” story, but wonder if the players and union would still sign off on restructuring/deferring money like they did for Santana to augment the draft war chest.

  39. If this team is still looking like a contender in July and Rogers doesn’t make money available to the org. I will be full onboard with a ‘Rogers sell the team’ movement.

  40. There’s an Arrested Development reference in relation to that photo that is just waiting to be made.

  41. Haha. This is a good interchange between Gideon Turk and Keith Pelley on twitter:

    https://twitter.com/gideonturk/status/472014985380364288

  42. #SAD

  43. If AA can get package Ricky Romero and get anything in return, he should automatically win Executive of the Year.

    I don’t think there’s a bigger pile of dog poop in baseball right now then the Buffalo Walking Machine

    • My question is, “Was he EVER any good or did someone (Maddonand the Rays) just decide to stop swinging at his pitches?”

  44. This makes me really upset. Why don’t you sell half to Bell so that the team can be under the MLSE umbrella? The three teams already there are getting a ton of money – look at the friggin’ soccer team.

  45. It’s a pretty flawed idea to consider spending money to contend only if the team is already in contention.

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