I really don’t think I have to explain that it’s been a frustrating few months for Jays fans, or how antsy everybody is getting about just what the hell is happening with the remaining pitchers on the free agent market. It’s a fact of life at this point, even if it’s one that’s maybe making us not quite as panicky as we were a few weeks ago.
The plan, it seems, is working. Buster Olney tweeted yesterday that Ervin Santana may settle for a three-year deal, and Tony Lastoria of Fox Sports Ohio wrote that Ubaldo Jimenez is now looking at three years as well. It also feels like the number of teams involved in the pitching market is no longer near as robust as it was back when Masahiro Tanaka was all that anybody could talk about.
Teams like the Dodgers, and Diamondbacks, and Orioles still seem to be in on the Bronson Arroyos of the world, but when it comes to Ervin and Ubaldo — the guys with the draft picks attached — few teams other than the Jays are being linked, and Alex Anthopoulos is said to hold a “commanding position.”
So, before that’s no longer the case, why don’t they just sign one of them??!?!!?
It’s a question many, many have been asking. One such instance came yesterday in Richard Griffin’s chat with readers at the Toronto Star — reader “Tim” wrote, “Hi Richard, is AA tempting fate by continuing to wait out the Jimenez & Santana? Granted their prices appear to have dropped significantly since the start of free agency but isn’t there a point where their price becomes too appealing for other teams to pass up? Seems to me AA is playing a dangerous game” — and Griff not only indulged the question, but said, “I agree. Do it now if you can.”
This would make sense to me if free agents were analogous to an Xbox One on Black Friday, but that’s hardly the case. Santana and Jimenez are auctioning off their services, and most plausibly, it seems like the Jays waiting for one of their preferred player’s agents to come to them and say, “OK, we’ve decided we’re going to move forward with an offer of X-dollars from team-X, will you beat it?”
If the Jays are willing to pay the most, they’ll get the player, and that won’t change whether it happens now, a week from now, or if it had taken place earlier in the off-season — the final price, though, may change, and most likely in their favour.
That’s not to say that there is no aspect of timing involved in free agent negotiations, but if a team is going to come out of the woodwork willing to pay far more for either of these free agents than they had shown all winter, that too will happen regardless of whether the process moves forward now, or a week from now.