A lot was made of yesterday afternoon’s comments from Alex Anthopoulos in which the Toronto Blue Jays general manager mentioned the phrase “payroll parameters.” The calculated response from the always cautious and measured Toronto fan base went something like this:

Payroll parameters is code for budget. How dare a baseball team employ such measures. I’ve never heard of such things before.

I understand that both Anthopoulos and Team President Paul Beeston have hinted at a certain level of fluidity to the team’s spending, claiming that the money would be there when they wanted it to be there, but anyone thinking that there weren’t guidelines in place as far as spending goes, before or after the new collective bargaining agreement, were only fooling themselves.

Blue Jays fans became even more enraged at remarks Beeston made that suggest a slight alteration to their previous policy on spending.

We’re still capable of going to the $120 million payroll once we start drawing the people. The formula hasn’t changed.

Perhaps not, but that entire formula hadn’t really been fully revealed. What’s with that new qualifier? As much as we might question whether such statements had been left conveniently incomplete before, we really shouldn’t be surprised.

The Toronto Blue Jays are still Rogers Baseball Operations, and it’s simply not realistic to expect that the organization be run in a benevolent manner for its fans. Yes, the ownership has a lot of money, probably more than any other owner in Major League Baseball. And yes, the market that they play in is large, but until that market acts its size, it’s unreasonable for fans to expect a chicken before the egg has hatched.

A phrase like that is likely to inspire questions of which should come first under such a scenario. However, we’re no longer at the question period.

The team, as Stoeten over at DJF has pointed out, has already invested in eggs. They’ve bought a ton of eggs over the last two years, investing heavily in prospects by putting more money into trades, draft pick signings and international free agents.

The organization did this for a reason. They did it so that they wouldn’t have to buy a chicken that could end up being a turkey. I’ve written about this a few times, but the organization has been spending money and just because you may not be able to see it in their payroll, it doesn’t mean that it isn’t there at all.

Think back to Anthopoulos’ first major move as a general manager, when he traded Roy Halladay to the Philadelphia Phillies. The team threw in an extra $5 million to sweeten the pot for the Phillies and attain the quality prospects (Kyle Drabek, Travis d’Arnaud and Michael Taylor) that they did. After that, they spent $4 million on Adeiny Hechevarria’s signing bonus and another $6 million as part of the terms of his contract.

Then in the 2010 first year player draft, the Blue Jays went above slot for twelve of their picks, paying more money than what Major League Baseball advises. Including $2 million to Deck McGuire and $1.5 million to Dickie Thon Jr., Toronto spent more than $11.5 million in signing bonuses. After the draft, the Blue Jays continued their shopping spree with international free agents, spending a combined $3.5 million on Venezuelans Adonis Cardona and Gabriel Cenas.

This year, the Blue Jays made their presence known at the draft to such a degree that it caused Baseball Prospectus’ Kevin Goldstein to remark that if Toronto was any more aggressive they’d punch someone in the face on their way to the podium to announce their next pick. Drafting seventeen high school players in the first fifteen rounds of the draft isn’t what penny pinching organizations do. Nor is once again spending $11 million in bonuses.

And the spending on young players didn’t stop there. Almost immediately following the draft, the Blue Jays were again dipping into the international free agent market, signing Dominican shortstop Dawel Lugo to a $1.3 million contract. The Jays also landed the highly sought after Venezuelan right-hander Manuel Cordova for an undisclosed amount, as well as Mexican pitcher Roberto Osuna, Venezuelan Jesus Tinoco and other international prospects that have all been highly touted by Baseball America.

This is why I can’t understand the complaining from fans that the Blue Jays haven’t done enough to improve. All they’ve done over the last two years is improve. And they’ve done it dramatically. However, instead of acknowledging a system that exercises financial prudence, fans are more likely to be heard bemoaning a lack of investment in free agents.

Do you really know what you’re getting in free agents?

There were ten free agent contracts handed out this past offseason that exceeded $30 million in total money. At the time, I believed that three of them were actually good or fair deals for the respective teams. Admittedly, I was pretty wrong about the $51 million given to Adam Dunn by the Chicago White Sox.

All of the contracts were for multiple years, but here’s how they’re looked at the end of the season via FanGraphs WAR, Baseball Reference WAR and Baseball Prospectus’ WARP.

  • Carl Crawford, BOS: 7 years for $142 million, 0.2 fWAR, 0.0 rWAR, 1.4 WARP.
  • Jayson Werth, WAS: 7 years for $126 million, 2.5 fWAR, 2.1 rWAR, 2.4 WARP.
  • Cliff Lee, PHI: 5 years for $120 million, 6.7 fWAR, 6.9 rWAR, 5.4 WARP.
  • Adrian Beltre, TEX: 4 years for $80 million, 5.7 fWAR, 5.2 rWAR, 5.5 WARP.
  • Adam Dunn, CHW: 4 years for $56 million, -2.9 fWAR, -2.7 rWAR, -2.6 WARP.
  • Derek Jeter, NYY: 3 years for $51 million, 2.3 fWAR, 0.7 rWAR, 1.8 WARP.
  • Victor Martinez, DET: 4 years for $50 million, 2.9 fWAR, 2.9 rWAR, 3.3 WARP.
  • Paul Konerko, CHW: 3 years for $37.5 million, 3.1 fWAR, 3.6 rWAR, 3.0 WARP.
  • Rafael Soriano, NYY: 3 years for $35 million, 0.3 fWAR, 0.7 rWAR, 0.2 WARP.
  • Jorge de la Rosa, COL: 3 years for $32 million, 1.4 fWAR, 1.6 rWAR, 0.9 WARP.

How many of those players would you like to be attached to for the next (at a minimum) two seasons? Lee and Beltre? For sure. Are you really expecting Konerko to improve at his age? Okay, maybe Crawford, hoping that he’ll bounce back. But for six more years?

Certainly some of these players will improve their numbers next year by progressing back to their true talent level, but all of them are past their expected peak performance, which brings up a scary possibility for at least seven of the nine teams that spent a collective $629.5 million on the top free agent signings last off season.

It’s easy to say that it’s not your money or, specifically, if you’re a Blue Jays fan, that its Rogers’ money and they make enough of it in their other ventures. And you’d be right. It isn’t your money. But nor is there an infinite amount of money available for any team to spend solely on baseball players, not even for the New York Yankees. Investing heavily in one player means that the organization can’t invest in others.

Everything that the Blue Jays have done since Alex Anthopoulos took over has suggested that they do indeed have a budget for payroll. And while we can certainly hope to see payroll rise in the future, it’s not going to be to levels at which Rogers begins hemorrhaging money. They’re not a profitable corporation by accident.

There was a reason that Jose Bautista signed his $65 million extension after Vernon Wells was traded, and it’s not a coincidence that once you factor in the amount of money that the Blue Jays gave to the Angels plus Juan Rivera’s salaries, plus the amount of money spent on acquiring and paying Frank Francisco, that the amount of savings in those deals was very close to the money it took to keep Bautista locked up.

That’s not penny pinching. That’s smart business that allows the team to take the same amount of money being spent on a bad player and reinvest it in a better player, all while opening the budget up to future acquisitions.

The Tampa Bay Rays have done this in the American League East, won the division and even gone to a World Series. Now, the game has changed a little bit since then with the new collective bargaining agreement, but the Blue Jays have a very good head start.

So, what’s the benefit of going forward with free agent acquisitions right now when the operation of the team isn’t creating enough revenue to afford it? Like the Rays, the Blue Jays are attempting to build a winner on the field through their system, which, unlike the Rays, will in turn will increase revenue, thanks to a large market that supports winning baseball, to the point where the team can retain the talent that they built and invest in the right free agents and trades as they become available.

The Toronto Blue Jays are building a franchise that can be sustainable on its own regardless of how much its ownership makes through its other ventures. It’s building itself into a money making operation, which in turn will be good for the fans even if it might take a little bit more time than we want it to.

Is this strategy fool proof? Absolutely not. But it is a viable way of competing in a difficult division of baseball. And when you look at that list of free agents that were signed last year and consider the ones changing teams this year, it’s not as though there is a fool proof plan that exists.

Think of the Miami Marlins. Is that what you want your franchise to do? Before you answer though, consider the Jose Reyes contract. There’s a reason that deal is so back end loaded. They’re not thinking of the sustained success that comes from being a well built and viable business, like the Blue Jays are. They’re going for a one off cash grab and then cycle through misery. Frankly, I’ll take my chances with Toronto’s method over what the Marlins are doing in Miami these days.

Comments (58)

  1. Well put. It’s all about value for AA and Beeston, and if they do think that Lind can get anywhere close to his 2009 numbers, he will be putting up great production for literally a quarter of the price it’s going to take to sign Fielder.

    Would you rather run your organization like the Rays or the Orioles? The Jays are a Rays that can keep their homegrown talent thanks to the large market and future payrolls.

    • Why is the choice between Rays and Orioles? Is there some reason that the Jays can’t be run like the Red Sox that I’m missing?

      It’s not like they’re lacking the resources or the market.

    • All the FA’s the choose to use as examples are nowhere near the talent level of Prince Fielder. Prince has contended for MVP each of the last 5 years. He’s a top-tier talent. None of your examples even come close.This is a guy who up until this point in his career has shown he can stay healthy. Seriously, how are you going to compare Carl Crawford to Prince Fielder in terms of hitting. That’s bush-league.

  2. Really well thought out article, Dustin. Great points.

  3. Would they be thinking about inking Lawrie to a Longoria-esque extension? It makes sense from a marketing standpoint and while there is risk from a baseball standpoint, most people agree he will be a viable major leaguer for many years. Given the Jays preference for team back-weighted team options, I can’t see it not being talked about this winter.

    If payroll does increases substantially (and it likely will) it’ll hopefully be to accomodate the players we know we want to keep. If the Rays had the budget, they would’ve certainly been competitive for Crawford last season. That’s the position I’d like to think Beeston and AA are striving for.

  4. Excellent piece of work Sir

  5. As always, the Jays can aspire to be more than the Rays with their resources.

  6. For the right contract length, I think Fielder is the only high cost guy the Jays should be actively pursuing on the FA market right now. Obviously his body type is a concern, but if they could sign him to a contract of say, 6 or even 7 years (taking him to age 34 or 35), would it be all that risky?
    He’s an elite hitter, ton of power (imagine him at the Rogers Center, NYS, or Fenway for nearly 100 games), good walk rate and average. How often are there free agents at that level and his age? Especially now when teams often lock those types up long-term so they’ll be hitting free agency in their early 30s. You might only get 4 or 5 elite years out of him, but wouldn’t it be worth it?
    The Jays aren’t that far off from contending and I’m sure bringing in a player like that would send a pretty big signal to the fans.
    I’m all for the approach you’re speaking of, but when there is a guy like Fielder available, isn’t that the time to open up the pocket books?

    • As you alluded to earlier, Fielder’s prime will only last for another 4 or 5 years, thus it only makes sense to sign him to a 4 or 5 year contract. Vesting options can be used to extend Fielder’s contract, and it will give him the incentive to work harder.

      In terms of dollar values, I was thinking either: $100m/4yrs or $115m/5yrs. I’m just wondering if Fielder will agree to such a deal.

  7. But if I can read and understand these points, shouldn’t that mean Fullmer Fan can to? Or is this his Braille?

    • It’s the same talking points that Parkes has been using for a year now to justify Rogers treating this team like it’s in a small-market. Nothing changes.

      • You need the foundation first. Then you plug the few holes that remain with free agents. Spending wildly because you can isn’t the way to compete year over year over year.

        The Yankees plug their holes with cash, but also developed guys named Cano, Jeter, Rivera, Posada or in Boston you have Youkilis, Pedroia, Ortiz (essentially, since he was nuthin’ in Minny), and Elsbury who came through the system.

        They sign guys at the right time, to enhance their core. The Jays had no core till AA rebuilt it. It’s the Rays way today, but once the Jays are good enough to win, they’ll be able to keep or ENHANCE what they have through trading their minor league depth for big league talent (Santos) or signing free agents because we are a big market team.

        Spending like a drunken art dealer isn’t the way to win in the AL East, unless the core of your team can back it up.

        • They have the foundation. Look at the talented, controllable players on the MLB roster and the minor league depth that AA has assembled. With Bautista in his offensive prime, there is no better time than now to spend.

  8. Thank you. I’m so tired of these whining fans. Sustainability builds our team not for 1 or 2 years but long term for the future. Once we get their we will be able to sign the agents to put us over the top an still replenish our pipeline. We aren’t there yet. When we do, it will be great. We will be able to field a competitive team long term, like the braves of the 90′s did. They were able to stay competitive for the better part of 15 years. This is what we want. Not Miami blowing their load on aging stars to be stuck 4 years down the road with massive overpriced contracts they any unload. Rogers is committed long term. Is Jeffrey Loria? Would anyone put it past him to make all these signings have the team make playoffs and then sell high leaving the next owner with high hopes, but in reality overvalued crippling contracts? The jays are going about this in the right way. In AA we trust.

  9. I get that “payroll parameters = budget”. Too many view it as BEING budget.

  10. Excellent article. Santos was a fine economical pickup, but I’d want to add another arm at the back of the bullpen. Madson, if they could get him for 3yr at $9m or less would give them Janssen in the 7th, Santos in the 8th and Madson in the 9th while affording them injury protection. That matches up with anybody and does not represent silly dollars. If Johnson returns, just fixing the bullpen puts them in the hunt; and I think everyone expects AA to trade for a starter. They can probably get Madson, & Johnson both on three year deals for less than it would cost to land Fielder.; and likely, there would be enough left over to pay the kind of starter for whom AA would trade. Would I like Fielder? Yeah. Would I like him more than the other trio? No.

  11. In other words, the Jays don’t want to rely on handouts from daddy and want to stand on their own two feet. there’s absolutely no shame in that and fans should realize that

  12. The only problem with this is that not enough people will read it. (and to be “that guy” there’s a typo in there with would”)

    Great piece.

  13. Nicely argued. However, there are additional clues to the Blue Jays’ willingness to spend. For instance, taking on the contract of a less than replacement level player (Mark Teahen, I’m looking at you) in order to facilitate the acquisition of Colby Rasmus. And what if the Jays signed Fielder for a shit-tonne of money? If you do, what do you do with Jose Bautista who is still your best player? The team pay grid gets thrown out of whack. No matter what you do for a living, nothing is more irritating than knowing some shitbag who produces less gets paid more than you. Did that come across as overly bitter?

    • Did you seriously just call Prince Fielder ‘some shit bag’?
      I am not taking anything away from the incredible 2 season Bautista has put up…. but Prince has been doing it way longer and is 4 years cheaper… and is a FA (not buying out ARB prior to getting to FA)…..
      Fat as fuck, yes. Some shit bag, fuck no!!!

  14. Really well put. I was a bit urked by some of the comments that I had been reading from AA and Beeston, but you’ve managed to calm me down haha. Jays 2013-3013 baby…a single tear.

  15. I have a two word rebuttal to this article: PRINCE FIELDER!

  16. Rays had 7 years of this blue jays had 2, the Rays had two teams to overtake the bluejays have three and if last two drafts showed Baltimore is getting more serious with only being 1 maybe two years ahead of Baltimore we could very well be having to take on four teams in the next two years.

  17. “Yes, the ownership has a lot of money, probably more than any other owner in Major League Baseball. And yes, the market that they play in is large, but until that market acts its size, it’s unreasonable for fans to expect a chicken before the egg has hatched.”

    I don’t often chime in, but Parkes, this is the biggest load of bs you’ve written in a while.

    Rogers is the richest owner in baseball.

    Toronto, on its own, its the 5th largest market in North America and the league. The Toronto market is all theirs, unlike NY, LA & Chicago who split it between two teams.

    But that’s not all they have. They are Canada’s team and in reality have a market of 33 Million. Larger, by far, than any other team in baseball!

    Our dollar has been at or above par for the last few years. You know they hedge and buy millions when the dollar is above so they actually pay less for the same payroll as as every other team in the league!

    They have been receiving millions in revenue sharing for years.

    They have more than enough to spend on the draft, International free agents, cash throw-ins for trades AND to sign top free agents.

    No one who understands baseball, or sports for that matter, thinks they should be signing mid range free agents just to do it. Prince Feilder is a different case. He’s a 27 year old, elite free agent that plays a position that has been a weakness on this team for years and I don’t see a high end 1B on the way from with in. Feilder would improve the team now and for years into the future. He is exactly the type of free agent that they should be going after hard. Yet they don’t.

    Until this team starts acting like a big market team it is insulting to suggest the fans should act like big market fans. What a joke.

    Mike.

    • Fans need to realize that the Rogers Corporation does not depend on the Blue Jays to turn profits. The Rogers Corporation’s core business is their cable, telephone and internet services, and thus that is their primary focus.

      Ultimately, the Blue Jays are just a ‘secondary project’ to Rogers

      Whether the Blue Jays make $5m or $50m, all profits are ultimately reinvested back into the team. Until fans begin to fill the stadium, there will be a lack of incentive to invest.

      Now, the story is different for other ownerships. The Steinbrenner family DEPENDS on the Yankees to turn a profit because that is the ONLY (or main) business venture. Thus there is a strong incentive for the Steinbrenner family to heavily invest in their team. The same idea is true with John Henry and the Red Sox; he depends on the Red Sox to turn a profit.

      Sure the Rogers Corporation is rich, but they lack the incentive to invest.

  18. Dustin, with all due respect, while make some valid points, you are missing some key factors. First, the team’s payroll last year was approximately 70 million. That’s way below league average. Beeston suggested the team’s salary would reach 120-140 million. Fans aren’t suggesting the team needs to increase salary to 120 million now but an increase to 90+ million is reasonable. Remember the teams payroll with Riciardi was approx 90 million. That would put the team at league average.

    Also, remember that with the new CBA, the team won’t be able to spend nearly as much money on the draft (given the salary restrictions for draft picks and fewer picks the jays will have) or on signing international free agents. That frees up money to spend on the team payroll. This team can sign a player like Fielder and still operate with a budget next year of 90 to 100 million. So enough with this nonsense that a rich large market team like the jays shouldn’t spend big in the free agent market on the right player.

    • Two things:
      1) Sustainability to long term success is built from the ground up. Teams that are built from the ‘top-down’ are playing an extremely risky game. Look at the Mets or the Cubs. Sure they draw a moderate number of fans, but it’s never enough to sustain their $100m payroll. Top-down teams usually experience short-term success in exchange for long-term damage, and really, the Yankees are the only exception.

      A $90m payroll sounds reasonable, but right now, raising payroll is not the key success.

      2) Fans need to realize that the Rogers Corporation does not depend on the Blue Jays to turn profits. The Rogers Corporation’s core business is their cable, telephone and internet services, and that is their primary focus.

      Ultimately, the Blue Jays are just a ‘secondary project’ to Rogers.

      Whether the Blue Jays make $5m or $50m, all profits are ultimately reinvested back into the team. Until fans begin to fill the stadium, there will be a lack of incentive to invest.

      Now, the story is different for other ownerships. The Steinbrenner family DEPENDS on the Yankees to turn a profit because that is the only (or main) business venture. Thus there is a strong incentive for the Steinbrenner family to heavily invest in their team. The same idea is true with John Henry and the Red Sox; he depends on the Red Sox to turn a profit.

      Sure the Rogers Corporation is rich, but they lack the incentive to invest.

      • That dosnt even make an ounce of sense.

        Mike.

      • There’s more then one way to win and going all in has worked just as much as building within.

        Lakers, Celtics, Redsox,Yankees, NHL Colorado, Rangers, .
        Heat.

        Countless others not saying our way is wrong it isn’t but you can;t say that you only win that way, when it’s not true.

        • @ Parkes in not funny:

          I never implied that building-within in the only method. In fact, going in all-in is very necessary when the time is right. BUT IT”S NOT.

          The Rogers Corporation is very frugal, (ie. they will only invest when necessary or ready), and currently the Blue Jays are NOT READY to go all-in.

          Some of the examples you mentioned above (I’m only familiar with basketball and baseball), those owners will perennially pour ridiculous sums of money into their teams. Considering that the Yankees and Red Sox are in the same division, it means that the Blue Jays will be taking a back seat when it comes to spending.

          You are right, that going all-in is necessary, but now is not the time. Small and medium investments will continue this off-season, and if the necessary improvements are are made in 2012, then 2013 will be a real possibility.

  19. While I agree with some of what has been said, this is the time for the Jays to take a large step forward. If that step is signing Fielder or giving up some prospects for a top of the line pitcher, so be it. This team has about 20,000 fans avg. per game, that are true die hard fans. They have been waiting for 18 years in some cases to see this team make it to the playoffs. The longer it takes, the more of them will drift away.

    Personally, I don’t care if Rogers ups the payroll by $30 million this year to pay some elite players. Put the ticket prices up $5.00. Do a little more promotion of this team and it’s young stars. But don’t put it on the fans to come out to the ballpark in order to up the payroll. It is the Jays and Rogers responsibility to put that product on the field, that fans want to come and see.

  20. I’m going to be honest. I would be absolutely ecstatic if the Jays threw their money in with Prince Fielder. I believe in that investment.

    With that said, there is a lesson in the list of free agents from the 2010-2011 offseason that you provide, Parkes. I’d really like to see the addition on a good, young starting pitcher through trade and I’d love for the Jays to take a risk on Fielder, but if they stand pat this offseason then I’m honestly okay with that. I think that the pieces are already there internally for this team to get really good really fast without any major additions. It’ll take a few things breaking the Jays way for that to happen, but it’s going to take a bit of luck with or without Fielder and/or another impact starter. This is the AL East. To make the playoffs in this division the Jays need to be one of the two best teams in baseball. Could they be that good with Fielder? Sure, but it’s far from a slam dunk.

  21. I’ll just leave a short comment here. The Blue Jays are building a good team as it stands. But in the division we’re in we do have some needs.
    A) We need a solid 2 or 3 starter. Someone to follow Ricky so he’s not purely a ‘slump-buster.’ Someone consistent. The Cliff Lee to Roy Halliday.
    B) We need a solid, legitimate closer. I would have loved to see Papelbon (Even though I think his best years are behind him) Heath Bell, or Houston Street come to this team. No more of this B.S ‘We’ll make this guy a closer.’ We need a legitimate one.
    And lastly
    C) We need another truly elite hitter (Fielder, or Pujols, anyone?) to give Bautista some protection, and keep pitchers honest, and in the strike zone. They’d either have to pitch to Bautista, OR – Insert Name of Elite Hitter here. – If they walked both of them, well. Lawrie? Lind? Thames? Kelly Johnson? Arencibia? Rasmus? Encarnacion? Even Escobar has pop in his bat. The moral of the story is, With a serious hitter, our line-up would have devastating potential, as there would be a need to pitch to a hitter with power. Keeping pitchers honest, allows for more offense. If you pitch around too many players, eventually you’ll need to go right at one of them. What do I know, though?

  22. None of the spending Parkes outlines ever brought the Blue Jays total spending (payroll + draft + international market) anywhere close to league average. That’s all we ask for. Nobody is demanding Beeston raise payrolls right to 120-140m. What we do expect is a return to the level of payroll that JP was working under with Godfrey for the last 3 years he was here: 80-100m. If AA is going to keep mentioning the Rangers, how about he actually emulates them and starts picking up some FA talent on one year deals? AA mentioned Milton Bradley (1/5m), Colby Lewis (2/5m), and Vlad Guerrero (1/6.5m) but he isn’t even making moves like THAT yet. When guys like Bedard are going for 4.5m, what’s the excuse for the Blue Jays to not be in on that type of player?

    • Spending does not equal winning. The Jays were a .500 team under Riccardi while throwing good money at bad, and are a .500 team with a young, controllable, talented core with the opportunity to take a huge jump forward this year.

      The dollar figure doesn’t mean shit – it’s what you spend it on that matters.

      • Actually, spending is directly correlated with winning games. It’s a choice that Rogers is making not to contend.

        • To be more accurate, wise spending with smart management is directly correlated to winning games.

          Large payroll teams with dumb management (ex. Mets, Cubs) will never thrive, long term.

          JP Ricciardi was an idiot, so regardless of the money spent, the Blue Jays went nowhere.

          • #1. Spending as a whole is directly correlated with winning games. The more you spend, the more wins your team is likely to have.

            #2. The Jays currently have a smart management team capable of wise spending, allowing them to enhance this effect. Rogers, however, has not allowed them to do this.

            #3. JP Ricciardi was no idiot. He was an decent GM for this team over a fairly long period of time. He assembled several very good teams under significant payroll constraints.

  23. And just to clarify on Bedard: it’s not the specific player. It’s the idea of a one year deal to a guy you’ve identified as having upside that can help the club. So whoever you decide that player is, why aren’t the Jays targeting him?

  24. The Blue Jays are being owned like a business. It’s not the size of market that affects the budget, it is the income. And with the attendance right now, (with all the other stuff), Toronto is only getting probably an average to slightly below average income. So until that income goes up, (ie they get a winning team that generates interest), Rogers has no reason to raise the payroll. Getting angry at them isn’t going to change that.

    • You are one of the rare people to actually realize that fact …

      The Rogers Corporation’s main source of income is their cable, telephone and internet services. The Blue Jays are just something ‘extra’. Regardless of how well the Blue Jays profit, whether it’d be $5m or $50m, all that money will eventually be reinvested in the team.

      You can say there is a lack of interest to invest in the team. The money will eventually come, probably the year after the Blue Jays reach the post-season.

      In a way, it might be a bad thing for the Blue Jays to be owned by Rogers. Unlike Rogers, the independent sports owners (or partners) are heavily inclined to invest. It is not uncommon for independent owners to rely on their sports teams to generate profits, because those owners are likely living off a portion of those profits. It’s not 100% true, but if you look at the Steinbrenner family and the Yankees, or John Henry and the Red Sox, then you’ll know what I mean.

      • Where are you getting this nonsense?

        John Henry’s main income is the Red Sox??? Are you his accountant? The guy is worth over a Billion dollars.

        • Actually, in recent years John W. Henry & Company Inc. has been experiencing many difficulties with the firm.

          Whether or not the company is loosing money or not is beyond me, however, it is very plausible that John Henry has been using profits of the Red Sox to cover for possible losses elsewhere.

          And Mike Bertolli, just because you can’t deal with the truth in the overall idea of my comments, you shouldn’t go about lambasting individual statements or examples.

          Your habit of taking words out of context makes for very poor arguments.

  25. Good article, but don’t you think they are wasting Bautista’s prime with no protection behind him for the 3rd year in a row? how many times did we see “the bat being taken out of his hands” due to such a poor number 4 hitter. Just the name Fielder on the lineup completely changes an oppositions game plan and forces them to pitch to Bautista. Fielder changes the game before he even steps up to the plate!! and what better way to put fans in the seats than sign a big name guy and prove that you are for real about winning. Theres lots of excitement from last year, new jerseys and new playoff format. people want to get excited about baseball again, but we want to see that they are serious about winning now and not 2-3 years away, as we’ve heard for the last 8 years. this has been the longest 2-3 years of my life!

  26. tell me you wouldnt want an opening day line-up of:
    Escobar
    Rasmus
    Bautista
    Fielder
    Lawrie
    Lind
    Arencibia
    Snider/Thames
    K.Johnson

    your crazy if you dont get excited at that lineup!!
    now take out fielder and add EE…..lineup doesnt seem as fun or scary anymore does it?
    SIGN FIELDER!!!!!

  27. It’s a good article. I have been convinced that Fielder, at 27 and with his resume of production, is a different kettle of fish than your normal overpriced FA. though, I don’t have any complaints with the way AA is managing the team.

    The bigger picture item, to which Fulmer Fan alludes ever so slightly, is that the Jays can be a billion dollar enterprise. They can be a perenniel contender. They can capture the interest of the nation – they have no competition for the baseball dollar. They don’t need to do it by Rogers subsidizing losses (no pubco should do that). The revenues can be there in a sustained fashion with some initial success, good management and active promotion through various Rogers vehicles.

    They just need that initial investment. Too many, because of his age and reliable production history, Fielder represents that perfect launching point.

    Otherwise, we are wasting away our cheif asset’s peak years on nothing. Bautista would be better off on a contender and we would be better off with prospects.

    • Where’s my editor? Too many syntax errors!!

    • I want my team run like the Rays instead of the Orioles to be certain.. but I want the Jays run BETTER than the Rays.

      The Rays often have to make marginal/bad decisions because of financing.

      I’d say only Beltre is a comparable in terms of production – and even then – Prince is 5 years younger. If the Jays are waiting for a more perfect player – they’re not going to get it.

      If in 1-2 years we’re in contention and then sign a guy who’s older than 30 to “put us over the top” I’m going to call BS.

  28. Sacrilege though it may be to admit on a mostly Jays-focused blog, I’ve been a Red Sox fan since roughly birth. As much as people want to paint the Red Sox as Evil Empire Redux, I would argue that only the Yankees seem to be insulated against bad contracts. The Red Sox have had plenty of boom-bust cycles as a result of high payroll, and although I believe they’ll still be good this year, I’d argue they’re at the start of a bust precisely because of bad long term deals they’ve doled out. Look at their most successful players in recent years. They’re either home grown (Youk, Papelbon, Lester, Bucholz, Pedroia, Ellsbury, Varitek) or buy low opportunities (Ortiz). The only FA signings that have really worked out well for them since 2004 were the first contract they gave to Beckett, and the ridiculously team-friendly contract they got Beltre on (arguably another buy low). A-Gonz and Crawford might work out, but I wouldn’t bet the farm on either contract, and they’re likely going to end up eating money on the Lackey contract, although they seem reluctant to at this point.

    This rambling point is all to say that even very rich teams can’t afford to eat the back end of contracts, and that the Red Sox haven’t bought their way to the top…they’ve drafted well, developed players well, and proved good talent evaluators. They developed a good core, retained it, and added to it…that’s where the free spending should come in.

    I also wish we could stop with this ‘Canada’s team’ bullshit. I grew up in Atlantic Canada and live in Western Canada, and since my first Jays game in 2005 (any baseball trips previous revolved around the Expos or Red Sox), I’ve been lucky to make it to a game or two a year. I think I’ve been to 6 Jays games total in the last 6 seasons. Even though I follow the Jays religiously, I can’t be counted in their market size. Ditto with TV numbers…most national Jays games have an audience comparable to a regional Yankees or Phillies game.

    • This is Canada’s team. When the Jays won in ’92 and ’93 there were parties in the street in almost every city in this country.

      The fact that you happen to be a Red Sox fan is, well, irrelevant. so I’m not sure why you would even bring it up. The vast majority of baseball fans in Canada are Blue Jay fans and if the Jays make a run the casual fans all over the country will jump right on board.

      • I was using the Red Sox to make a point about how you build a winner, totally unrelated to the “Canada’s team” business (though Atlantic Canada and parts of Quebec are firmly in Red Sox country). My point was that you can’t count a bunch of casual fans across the country into the Jays market size when those people don’t have an opportunity to attend games on a regular basis. It’s a good thing that most games are broadcast nationally, and the ratings are good (not great), but you simply can’t count people that geographically can’t support the team directly into a market size.

        • If they watch on TV they are part of the market. In todays world thats where the money is.

          • When I’m in the States, I watch the Sox nationally on ESPN and TBS. Does that mean I should count in their market size?

  29. i say for the right amount of years you sign Prince no matter what, even if it is a alot of money per year, if you can get him for a few years say 3-6 i think that be perfect, but none of this 10 year + crap

    • I could totally get behind that, but I don’t think there’s a snowball’s chance in hell that Prince will sign for less than 7 years, nor should he.

  30. It’s all well and good that we’re investing in these junior athletes, and it’s important to build quality in the minors, but it’s time to put more focus on putting a winner on the field at the Rogers Centre in 2012, not in Vegas, New Hampshire, BC…

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