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I’d like to say that this week Stephen Brunt of Sportsnet made the long trip up a couple flights of Rogers Campus stairs to have a little chat with ever-optimistic Jays President and CEO Paul Beeston, but… it turns out the both of them were in Dunedin. Brunt still managed to sit him down for a Q&A though, and while there’s still a lot of typical Beeston PRspeak, a couple comments did stand out– even if, y’know, they don’t cover much ground that hasn’t already been mined to shit.
Firstly, Beeston admitts that the Yu Darvish situation got out of hand on the club, and that they should have handled it differently.
“We have to be a little bit more transparent than we were,” Beeston tells Brunt. “Alex and I probably have a minor difference of opinion on what we should do. Alex doesn’t tell anybody anything. He believes that’s a competitive disadvantage, playing things out through the press, and I tend to agree with him. That said, with the Darvish situation–and that was the real killer– they said he went over to Japan to look at him and then all of a sudden we were supposed to sign Darvish.
“It doesn’t make any sense that just because he saw him, we were going to sign him. We let that thing build over a period of five days and then we got hammered. We should have said we’re not in, or we are in. We just kind of went rope-a-dope. I think we could have handled that a little differently, and I think we will in the future. And then the Prince Fielder thing happened.”
Beeston is right here, in a way. It doesn’t make any sense that, just because they saw him, they were going to sign him. But it did make sense when coupled with the fact that so many obstacles to making a big free agent signing didn’t exist when it came to Darvish– having negotiating exclusivity meant that the Jays wouldn’t have to worry about making a competitive offer yet still being spurned because of things like the division or the country they play in, or the turf they play on– and the club’s unflinching failure to extinguish the rumours.
Later in the interview Beeston also sort of endorsed the notion that any publicity is good publicity, in a way, so it’s hard to know just what to make of his comments, except as being the most prudent thing for someone in his position to say– which, when you think of it, is basically what his whole job is.
And he keeps with when asked about the much-debated notion of “payroll parameters,” and statements from Alex Anthopoulos this winter that fans need to come out before the club will put resources in– which he says were misinterpreted.
“The fans can count on Rogers spending the money,” he says, “because we’ve had the discussion with ownership. But at the same time, we’re running a business here. It’s not saying the fans have got to come out and then we’ll spend money. That was misinterpreted.
“The fact is, we’ve got to win to make the fans come out, and then we spend the money. But we have to give them the reason to come out. That got lost in Alex’s comment that day. It was that we win, you come out, we’ll spend the money–it won’t be money we put in our pocket; it will be money reinvested in the team.”
He also notes that while Tampa is trying to keep their salaries down, the Jays are looking to take theirs up, long-term.
It’s easy to get cynical about this stuff– especially when it comes from Beeston– but I tend to think that’s all basically correct. They build the club to win on a lower MLB payroll, like Tampa or Texas (who were in the $55- to $68-million range from 2004 to 2011), and then they continue to spend to keep their top players, rather than following in the Rays’ footsteps of losing or divesting themselves of guys like Crawford and Garza.
It really does make sense. Not that, y’know, we didn’t already know all this.