Earlier this week, Toronto Blue Jays General Manager Alex Anthopoulos admitted that he doesn’t “expect to do a whole lot more between now and spring training.” While it would be a mistake to take anything a general manager says at face value, especially this particular general manager, it shouldn’t be all that surprising that an organization using phrases like “payroll parameters” in November should find itself on the sidelines in January.

While the team may have failed to fill its clear need for starting pitching depth, it did improve on other areas of weakness from last year. This occurred most notably in the acquisition of reliever Sergio Santos from the Chicago White Sox in exchange for Nestor Molina. Immediately following this trade, I gave the Blue Jays a slight edge on the deal, but my appreciation of it, from a Toronto perspective, has grown almost every day since.

There seems to be a lack of understanding among the team’s fan base over just how good of a swap this was. The Blue Jays gave up a prospect that many pundits wouldn’t have listed in the organization’s top ten for a young reliever with tonnes of swing and miss stuff to go along with minimal wear and tear on his arm. The fact that Santos comes with an incredibly team friendly contract that includes three club options puts it out of the park for the Blue Jays.

Toronto further strengthened its bullpen by reacquiring right-hander Jason Frasor, again from the White Sox (the third trade between the two teams in the Anthopoulos era) and signing lefty specialist Darren Oliver to a one year deal for a guaranteed $4.5 million (the largest free agent signing of the Anthopoulos era).

Not content with merely shoring up its relief staff, the Blue Jays also acquired veteran backup catcher (and arguably the worst batter in the history of baseball) Jeff Mathis, corner outfielder Ben Francisco and second baseman Luis Valbuena in small trades with various teams that provide bench depth.

And that’s it.

These moves appear to have more in common with the type of transactions made by teams who are ready to compete for a division title. Other than Santos, they’re not the type of acquisitions that we’ve seen Anthopoulos make in the past.

On the surface, it’s easy to criticize a franchise for making a collection of small moves like this when it’s located in one of the largest markets in North America and owned by the richest owners in Major League Baseball. However, to do so would ignore, not only the many expenditures the team has taken on outside of payroll, but also the way in which Major League Baseball franchises are run.

Teams, much like businesses, rarely receive investments without first showing an ability to make money. Yes, television ratings are up for the Blue Jays, and yes, Rogers certainly takes advantage of the content that the team provides for them without cost, but comparing viewership numbers between teams is wildly inaccurate due to the differences in Canadian and American measuring systems, which sees Canada count viewers and the United States count homes.

For a more accurate measurement of revenue, we can look at attendance for Blue Jays games, which ranked third last in 2010 and sixth last in 2011. By mentioning the poor attendance figures, I’m not suggesting that the team doesn’t benefit its corporate over lords, it just doesn’t do so to the point of justifying large investments in payroll.

For a better idea of what I’m talking about let’s take a look at the Texas Rangers. In 2008, the Rangers ranked 21st in payroll and 25th in attendance. In 2009, the team moved ahead into 19th in payroll and 18th in attendance. Then, in 2010, the team went all the way to the World Series on a payroll that ranked 28th in baseball, while drawing the 14th most amount of fans to its games. In 2011, the team returned to the World Series on a payroll that last year ranked 13th in the league, while drawing the 10th most amount of fans to its games.

This off season, the Rangers will end up spending over $110 million on acquiring and signing Yu Darvish. We’ll see how that affects attendance figures this coming year, but I’m imagining that it will bode well. More importantly however, we see that the only time a dramatic increase in payroll expenditures occur is in the year following a dramatic increase in attendance. The well run Rangers have increased payroll as a reward for attendance, not an incentive to increase it.

Of course, adding to the team’s ability to do this is a television deal for which the organization will begin seeing money come their way shortly (at least that which wasn’t already fronted so that the team could afford to take part in the 2010 playoffs). While the Blue Jays, being owned by a company that televises its games on its own network isn’t going to receive this type of committed investment, it will see a rise in the ad revenue it creates for its ownership if trends continue.

This is why I suggest that paying for players up front is putting the cart before the horse.

Along with this important element is the fact that the Blue Jays have several players on their current roster whose anticipated performance for 2012 is more questionable than usual. While we’re bound to see several forecasts and projections on the team in the coming months, given the recent up and down years from several of Toronto’s regulars, the team can once again be forgiven for having a wait-and-see approach. After all, there’s been a large element of variance to the performances of Kelly Johnson, Adam Lind, Colby Rasmus and Travis Snider. Toss in a couple of sophomore seasons from J.P. Arencibia and Brett Lawrie, and there are only two every day players who can be characterized as reliable.

Quite simply, that’s not the type of team that’s one big signing away from competing. Even if we look at the two reliable contributors, we see one that was run out of town by his former team and another who was a non-tender candidate two off seasons ago.

And this is why the Blue Jays haven’t acquired the players that a large portion of their fan base wanted them to attain. It can be a confusing pill to swallow because we’ve seen the front office razzle and dazzle its way to major talent acquisitions in each of the last two off seasons. However, the team is at the point now where it must see exactly what it has in the Rasmuses and Sniders of its roster.

Not only would the team be foolish from a financial stand point to begin adding big money signings to its current roster, doing so would most likely block the team from seeing exactly what it has right now. Fans will casually throw around their desires for upgrades, but exactly what players are available that have the talent of the players from whom they’d be taking over?

This isn’t to throw the 2011 roster off the cliff as a meaningless collection of players that will inevitably finish fourth. Far from it. The large amount of question marks could just as easily go the right way as it could the wrong way, and whatever way it goes will dictate how the next off season goes.

The long suffering fan base of the Toronto Blue Jays has waited almost twenty years for a return to the playoffs. I understand that eagerness for the post season, but now isn’t the time to rush the gates. Now is the time to hold the course and see exactly of what this team is made.

Comments (132)

  1. I will point out the one flaw in your article, which may or may not be a flaw.

    It relates to YU…I’m going out on a limb and I’m going to predict that he will be heading back to Japan. Just my gut feeling, but don’t count your chickens before they hatch.

  2. Not to be at all argumentative, but making that leap that attendance “bodes well” citing the Yu Darvish signing, seem contradictory to your previous opinions that there is in fact no cause and effect of signing players and increased attendance.

    • I believe he is assuming Yu will have a positive impact on the WIN/LOSS record. Parkes always maintained that winning will put butts in the seats.

      • Exactly. Rangers improve rotation with Darvish. I’ll adjust to make that point clearer.

        • So you’re saying Fielder won’t also have a positive effect on the WIN/LOSS record? I’m not okay with paying Fielder 200mil, but growth requires investment. You buy players to increase the number of wins, which would then bring more fans to the park.

          • Signing Fielder would be putting the cart before the horse. First you win, then you put fans in the seats, then you sign a Fielder to put you over the top.

            BTW Dustin, I am positive that The Blue Jays get paid for the television rights from Rogers, otherwise they could not survive. It’s called vertical marketing, and for Rogers, it allows them to move money from a big pocket into a small pocket. I am sure they would like to sell some games to Fox or TSN, but once they start winning, that, too shall come to pass.

          • There’s definitely an arrangement as George suggests. My point was that we’ll never see a huge $300 million deal like we’ve seen for the Rangers and the Angels.

  3. The first couple months of the offseason have got to be one of the worst times to buy talent. The contracts to Pujols, Paplebon, etc.. are ridiculous as is Fielder’s price tag. The asking price for (rumoured) Garza and Gio have been ridiculous too. As AA has said, there were deals out there but they were losing deals. This off-season is a success if the Jays do nothing more. We’ll have our extra front line starter. In time.

    • Sometimes the best moves are the ones you don’t make. Gil Meche, anyone?

    • In the MLB, I believe there is a distinction between games that are carried by a national network and those which have “local” markets – usually only in their city. The distinction is that national TV contracts are shared equally among all MLB teams. This is the same for tv deals with national networks in countries other than the US – i.e. Japan, Canada, wherever.

      Given that Rogers is a national network but also the owner of the Blue Jays, I think they’ve basically cut out a middleman, so the NETWORK (i.e. Rogers) pays MLB for the right to broadcast and make money off the games (revenue that is split equally between all teams, including the TEAM (the Jays). However, I wonder if Rogers and the Jays might be able to make the case that all games on Sportsnet East are technically “local”; that way, the team (the Jays) wouldn’t have to share the revenue they get with all the other MLB teams. I suspect that the problem there is that the MLB probably defines Rogers as a “national network.”

  4. I don’t agree with using tonnes in lieu of tons. Baseball isn’t British.

    • But Santos has 10% more swing and miss stuff than similar relievers that play in America.

    • The Blue Jays are Canadian, however, and Dustin is quite within his rights to be metric if he wants to be.
      We have to draw a line somewhere, though. Can you imagine Buck saying “the winning run is just twenty-seven point four three two metres away!” ;=)

  5. Out of nowhere (as in I’ve never thought he would sign with the Jays), I’m almost convinced that the Jays will sign Prince Fielder. I think I’ll write about it tonight.

  6. A couple concerns about your argument here:

    1. The argument about putting the cart before the horse re. spending and attendance might make sense in a new market, but we all know how many people will go out to see the Jays if they are serious contenders. A pretty good argument would be needed to suggest that the attendance figures from the early 90s wouldn’t be reached again.

    2. We can quibble about why certain GMs do certain things, but to suggest that the Rangers bid so high for Yu because they had seen an attendance spike last season seems to miss the point. They had just appeared in their second straight WS, lost again, and had also just lost their #1 pitcher. They know they have a good enough team to contend again IF they improve their rotation to make up for the loss of Wilson. It’s not a simple response to increased attendance.

    3. Your analysis of the spending/attendance issue, like many of the similar articles written this off-season, suggests that Rogers may not want to spend until attendance increases, but does not explain why that is a good strategy, nor why we, as fans, should be satisfied with it. Most of us who would like to see Fielder signed aren’t blissfully unaware that Rogers wants to turn a profit; reminding us of this fact isn’t much of an argument.

    • Wow talk about completely destroying an argument! Not that this article made any actual sense, just a bunch of BS excuses. Perfectly written! Thx for saving me the time.

      Oh, and some evaluators had Molina 2nd in their organizational prospect rankings. Also, our system is generally ranked in the top 5 so relatively speaking our fringe top 10 prospect is probably top 5 on average. Just saying, I wouldn’t be surprised if Molina was much better than Santos, not to mention much cheaper as 6 years of control is better than the 8 mil or so Santos gets if he’s still here in year 6.

      • Ah, I forgot the Molina/Santos thing. I don’t think any of us have any idea of how good he will be, so I’d hesitate before saying he’s likely to be better than Santos, but still, his value is a bit misrepresented in this article.

        That trade may work out for us, but it was hardly the one-sided affair it’s made out to be here.

        • How is it misrepresented? How many scouts/publications rank him in the top ten? Top twenty? Top thirty?

          • I think he’s talking about John Sickels at MinorLeagueBall. As far as I know, Sickels is the only one bullish on Molina (BA thinks he could be a league average starter, while Goldstein and Law are not fans).

      • Thanks Billy for your expertise in player evaluation.

        • Where did I evaluate anything?

          “There seems to be a lack of understanding among the team’s fan base over just how good of a swap this was. The Blue Jays gave up a prospect that many pundits wouldn’t have listed in the organization’s top ten ”

          How many publications rank Molina outside the top
          10? Who are these pundits? Sickles – like Daniel said – has/had him ranked 2nd, Baseball America has him 2nd in the white sox rankings. You came with a blanket statement with no actual sources that was biased towards your argument. I was just pointing out that wasn’t exactly the case. This could turn out to be a great trade, but I had the same initial reaction, slight edge TO. No new rankings have come out to change that view.

          • Yeah, but BA didn’t rate him in the Jays top 10. He’s only #2 for the White Sox because their system is so shallow. That says more about the deficiencies of the ChiSox farm than it does about Molina’s value.

          • Maybe, or it’s a nod to the strength of the Blue Jays farm, which is universally rated top 5. Molina’s value from what I’ve read is around a Drew Hutchison level, the Jays have a lot of similarly talented players, the difference between 7 and 13 is subjective as they’re in the same tier talent wise.

          • I think you are completely underrating the value of Santos. Regardless of how good you believe Nestor Molina can be Sergio Santos is already a capital C closer signed for 1 million dollars this year, then 2.75 million next, and 3.75 the year after that.

            Fangraphs tells us that he was worth 7.3M to the White Sox last year alone.

            The great thing about the depth of the Jays farm system is that they have enough arms to withstand shedding one of them in order to fill a gaping hole on the team. They did that with Stewart in order to get Rasmus, and now Molina in order to get Santos, yet despite that they still have Hutchinson, Drabek, McGuire, Syndergaard, Norris, Nicolino, and Wojciechowski as 3 star or above arms in our system.

            Santos is easily worth the cost of one of our many arms.

    • You’ve made some good points here. One must always be careful when trying to determine the difference between correlation and causation. If you were inclined you could write almost the exactly opposite article with spending as a means to increase attendance instead of attendance causing increases in payroll. And there is the third option of extraneous variable causing both i.e. the economic recession.

      Instead of applying the Texas Rangers example to the Jays we could look at the Marlins method. With their increases in payroll there will most likely better their record and become a more competitive team which in turn will fill seats and raise revenues. Although this is probably a poor example because the Marlins do not have a sustainable way of doing business.

      Businesses must spend money to make money. If they were to sign a few free agents they’d be investing in the human capital of the team. The way for a business to grow and become more profitable is with the accumulation of capital. So there is a business justification to the team spending money now to increase profits later.

      • Let’s look at the Marlins. Let’s look at how they didn’t spend money until they saved it up by not spending it for years and taking revenue sharing from MLB and stockpiling it. Only when they got a new stadium deal on the dime of the taxpayers do they end up spending. The model is similar: don’t spend until you’ve made enough to do so.

    • I personally think the Jays are willing to spend money now. I just think they are stubborn about paying someone more than they value his worth and haven’t been able to find a trade for an elite player that they are willing to make. I really think that if a player like Zach Grienke or Joey Votto was to become available, they would make the deal, or, if the price for Prince Fielder fell to something they were comfortable with, they would sign him. Even if by making these moves it put the payroll up to around $100 million.

      • Definitely. And who wouldn’t.
        This is the sort of approach that any rational person would and should take in any $ decision. You always have a maximum you’re willing to pay before you walk away.
        To suggest that your favourite team should do otherwise is kind of foolish.

      • Personally, I think if the Jays should just sign Fielder if his price drops to 6 yrs at 130-140 mil. Maybe with an option for year 7. To be honest, that’s not really that much of an overpay in today’s market. AA has to be realistic and see that prices for top talent have gone up with inflation over the years. Even if he views Fielder as a 20 mil guy…he may have to alter his expectations and pay him 23 mil a year.

        Now, if Greinke or Votto became available, sure they would look great in a Jays uniform. But on the other hand, especially in Votto’s case, they will end up being more expensive than possibly Fielder right now. If Votto truly became available, he would cost the Jays 4 top prospects to just to get him. And by the looks of it, the Reds probably won’t be interested in either Snider or Drabek as part of any deal for him.

        After the Jays trade those 4 top prospects…they will then have to give him a 7 yr deal whether they want to or not as I’m sure he’s not going to be interested in giving a discount. If you ask me, AA is being way to optimistic with the trade route and overly pessimistic when it comes to free agency. When it comes to big time players like Fielder or Votto, it will ultimately be cheaper to just pay a small premium in free agency than to give away prospects and then give a free agent type extension too.

        Just my thoughts.

    • 1. AJ Burnett, BJ Ryan, Frank Thomas. That sure brought in the fans! The Jays were tied for 10th in errors, 24th in staff ERA, and 6th in runs allowed last year. One or two big names isn’t going to fix this. They don’t need Fielder because they were 6th in baseball in runs scored, ahead of 6 of the 8 playoff teams.
      2. The Rangers were able to bid and win the auction because they had the revenue to do it. Any baseball team is a business, and if they lose money, they are not going to be around long.
      3. See my point #2. A team like The Yankees is only able to carry a $202 million payroll because they have the revenue stream to do it. Even they have limits, however, as they scramble to reduce payroll to avoid the luxury tax. I am sure there are Yankees fans who, like yourself, are screaming at Cashman to spend money.

      As far as Fielder specifically, how long do you think fat boy’s knees will hold up playing on turf? It’s not beyond the realm of possibility that in 3 or 4 years, The Blue Jays would be paying the most expensive DH in major league history. Is that someplace you want to be? The same fans screaming to sign him today would be the same ones screaming for AA’s head.

    • 1. No one is doubting this. What’s doubtful is that the team will be winning enough to draw the fans. Thus, why this is a good time to take stock of what they have on the roster.

      2. Without the increased attendance which translates to increased revenue, they would not be able to go after Darvish.

      3. It doesn’t matter whether or not it’s a good strategy for fans. It matters only that it’s a good strategy for the ownership because they are in control of the franchise. Making money before spending money is always good for a business.

      • “Making money before spending money is always good for a business.”

        What business school did you go to? This is dead wrong, today in the business world if you don’t spend money you won’t make money. Competition is stronger than it ever has been and unless you have a product that no one else does, you have to spend money to separate yourself from the pack.

        • I did go to business school and to some extent you’re right. Start up companies especially need to eventually take the plunge and start spending money to make money.
          BUT, you have to do it right, with the right timing and you can’t go overboard (i.e. spend like a fortune 500 when you’re really just some nerds in a garage).

          For the Jays, they have scaled back in recent years in order to rebuild and SHOULD be ready to pounce when they see an opportunity. They should not just pounce for the sake of pouncing.

          It’s all about balance and timing.

          • I went to business school as well, and my comment was only in response to his reference about the business world.

            Of course you have to spend within your means, but expecting to make money before spending money will ensure failure in the business world (except of course as I mentioned when you have something that everybody wants and no one else can supply)

        • And this is the reason the economy is where it is today, because business schools teach garbage like that.
          If you look at all the successful sports teams and companies they are successful because they spend money smartly and do not overextend themselves. Spending money just because you can makes the Minnesota Twins, not the Boston Red Sox.

          • “And this is the reason the economy is where it is today, because business schools teach garbage like that.”

            Well put. Businesses in the real world fail all the time by over-extending themselves and then not achieving the revenues required to sustain their ongoing investments.

            Successful businesses, on the other hand, dabble carefully in different approaches to achieve their goal, and when they find a method that works, they invest aggressively to make it work.

            The Blue Jays are not a Prince Fielder, nor a Yu Darvish away from competing seriously, so as fans, we shouldn’t be hoping for frivolous wasting of money on those free agents beyond some moderate valuation of their talent. And as owners, it’s unreasonable to expect Rogers (or any other owner, whether prince or pauper) to spend that money until the team’s management has shown some success in creating revenues, which also haven’t come.

            For every team that made that one big free agent signing that put them over the top and THEN had revenues follow, there are a dozen that made the investment, didn’t see a winning product appear on the field and then didn’t see the fan base and revenues expand.

          • Who said anything about over-extending themselves. You have to have the money to spend it or you shouldn’t be in the game.

            Also the way the game of business is played is changed, and that can be thanks in part to a lot of tech companies like google, yahoo, etc. that spent the money before they had the revenues to justify their spending.

            If you know the market potential, you need to spend to achieve that potential, otherwise don’t expect any growth.

            Again, I can’t stress this enough, obviously you have to spend within your means.

            • I think people are looking at Rogers in terms of the financial means when they should be looking at the Blue Jays in terms of financial means. There’s a difference between the two that people seem to be ignoring.

          • Please tell me how the Jays are overextending themselves?? They have a 75 mil dollar payroll and are owned by the wealthiest owners in baseball. Even if they signed Fielder…they would be only at 95 mil-100 mil. Seems like Rogers should be able to afford a payroll like that.

            It would be different if adding Fielder were to take the Jays from 125 mil to 150 mil and we were still only drawing 20,000 fans on average to each game. But we’re talking about a payroll under 100 mil even if the team added Fielder. Certainly that is not overextending the team!

      • As to 1, I don’t disagree with what you’ve said here, but this seems different from what you argue in the article. Here you seem to be saying (and, if I understand you correctly, I’d say I agree) that we shouldn’t spend big until we know that we have a good enough roster (i.e. one that is one big signing away from competing hard). That’s very different from saying that we shouldn’t spend until we see attendance increase.

        I don’t disagree with 2 either; I was just saying that the picture is a little more complicated than you made it seem. Increased revenues allowed them to bid high on Darvish, but is not why they did it.

        What you said in 3 gets to the heart of what I don’t understand about your stance. The tone of your article is that this decision not to spend big is good for the team. If you really believe that, fine, and I’m not inclined to disagree right away. But if you think it’s good for business…we follow the Jays because we like the team and the sport, not because we’re fans of business. It doesn’t make us irrational mouth-breathers to want what’s good for the team. If you’re just being a realist, and reminding us that Rogers cares about profits over baseball, fine. But it seems like you’re defending these decisions to baseball fans, on the grounds that they represent good business, and that I find perplexing.

        • I’m looking at higher attendance (which causes higher revenue) as a symptom of a winning team.

          • Could be a chicken and an egg thing though as it’s difficult to become a winning team if you don’t add the pieces to make it a winning team.

            I see this season as another ‘let’s see what we’ve got’ year for the Jays, and there are no guarantees that they will be in any better of a position next off-season. Then again, spending money doesn’t guarantee anything either, so I’m fully prepared to be patient and have accepted this.

  7. I think that there’s a certain degree of truth here but, being as I’ve seen the Rangers used as the model both here and elsewhere, isn’t it just a teensy bit disingenuous to use the Rangers’ payroll from the last several years and not take note of the drastic change in the financial circumstances of their ownership over that same time? Isn’t it just as legitimate to say the Rangers payroll situation is an example of how a team can throw around more money provided they don’t have ownership that’s teetering on the edge of/in the midst of a bankruptcy?

    Also, when you say “Teams, much like businesses, rarely receive investments without first showing an ability to make money.” is your argument then that the Jays, as is, are losing money? Forbes’ valuation of the team had them as being barely in the black with an operating income of 3.6 million so, if that’s taken on it’s face, the ability to make money has/is being shown. Otherwise it would seem that your argument is that a business won’t invest money to grow a profit which doesn’t strike me as correct. Typically investment comes before growth, not the other way around.

    • There is absolutely ZERO evidence that a significant increase in payroll will have an impact on attendance unless said increase greatly improves the team. So any argument about adding payroll must include analysis as to how these moves are going to improve the teams record. As Parkes has clearly stated multiple times, the uncertain predictability of multiple positions (CF,LF,2B,#2,3,4,5SP) makes that analysis nothing but guess work.

      • I didn’t say anything about a significant increase in payroll or it’s potential impact on attendance. I said that if the threshold for further investment in the team is profitability than it’s already been reached.

        Now, admittedly, Forbes’ numbers reveal a razor thin profit margin but, as has been mentioned, there’s a degree of murkiness about the Jays’ profitability and their broadcast rights because of Rogers’ ownership. This isn’t 1937. A team’s profitability isn’t solely dictated by the turnstile. A ton of the team’s profitability is tied up in TV ratings and advertising dollars.

        I’m not advocating that AA sign any player or that they need to invest X number of dollars to prove themselves as genuine. All I was saying was that A) the Rangers were in extraordinary financial circumstances a few years ago and that they’re not a good comparable and B) the team can’t claim to be waiting for profitability because they are profitable.

        • The Forbes list is based only on the actual Major League team and does not take into account interest and taxes on that “profit”. Minus the minor league payroll, instructors, facilities and draft bonuses and you are getting close to an actual number. So the only way you can say the ability to make money has been reached is if you have some sort of insight into the money being made as a media property and you don’t.

          • It also doesn’t account for revenues taken in by the minor league system.

            Forbes’ claim that the Jays are profitable isn’t bullet proof but the claim that they aren’t is entirely baseless.

            But, even still, the point is that growth doesn’t usually precede investment.

    • If you can justify spending $180 million – $200 million on Prince Fielder based on the $3.6 million in operating profit from 2010, please come with me the next time I seek a loan from the bank.

      • If Forbes thinks the Blue Jays turned a 3.6m profit, I’d expect their actual profit to be 10x that. I’m actually stunned that Forbes has the Blue Jays operating at a profit without having any idea of what their TV contract is worth.

      • Like I said, I’m not advocating signing any particular player. You’re the one who said that most businesses don’t receive investment without first showing the ability to make money. 3.6 million isn’t a lot in the grand scheme of things but it is a profit and it’s not exact.

  8. In response to the third last paragraph:
    Prince Fielder is an upgrade over Adam Lind.

  9. These moves appear to have more in common with the type of transactions made by teams who are ready to compete for a division title

    Or teams hamstrung by a small budget.

    On the surface, it’s easy to criticize a franchise for making a collection of small moves like this when it’s located in one of the largest markets in North America and owned by the richest owners in Major League Baseball.

    On the surface?

    the Blue Jays have several players on their current roster whose anticipated performance for 2012 is more questionable than usual… Quite simply, that’s not the type of team that’s one big signing away from competing.

    You can’t have it both ways. Sorry.

    Not only would the team be foolish from a financial stand point to begin adding big money signings to its current roster, doing so would most likely block the team from seeing exactly what it has right now.

    So… it is better to burn yet another year trying to figure out if this collection of questionable talent is good enough?

    This is why I suggest that paying for players up front is putting the cart before the horse.

    Sigh.

    • Just accept that you and your desire for the Jays to compete is wrong and you’ll feel a lot better.
      It’s not like the Jays had the highest payroll in the league when they won the World Series and even if they did, that doesn’t prove anything.
      Just drink some of the KoolAid and it’ll all go away…

  10. These moves appear to have more in common with the type of transactions made by teams who are ready to compete for a division title. Other than Santos, they’re not the type of acquisitions that we’ve seen Anthopoulos make in the past.

    I’ve seen this comment made before by writers this past month and it makes little sense to me. Last year Anthopoulos signed/acquired Francisco and Rauch, and already had Frasor. He was already stocking his pen with $3-4 MM relievers.

    • See; you’re making the common and I might add, pedestrian mistake of confusing results with process.
      You see, results are a happenstance; unpredictable and volatile, difficult to attribute and subject to the whims and vagaries of chance.
      For this reason,you never aim for results.
      What you want to do (if your smart like me), is aim for process. A good process always gets the expected results and if it doesn’t; it’s not due to the integrity of the process because results are unpredictable and volatile, difficult to attribute and subject to the whims and vagaries of chance. Chalk it up to bad luck I guess. We (and by we, I mean us; the smart ones) all know that the method is sound…

      • Good point. A far better approach is to sign a proven closer for a long term deal that makes no sense on the FA market because you think he’s good and you think is worth guessing at. Ignore the process, ignore the method, and find the guys who get on the cover of Sports Illustrated, and pay them as much as you can to get them to play for you. Then fans will come out, based on a sense of moral obligation to pay for the contract that they so coveted. If the admittedly-unpredictable outcomes don’t play out as you want them to, we as fans, and Rogers as owners can take solace in the fact that we have a big name player in town and that’s why we’re paying more to attend the games, even if they lose most of them.

        • That’s certainly one alternative. The other is to acquire the best players, pay them the commensurate dollars and then win a World Series or two because, you know; you have the best talent which does sometimes mean something when you are playing a sport. Not that acquiring top flight talent is a proven method of actually winning or anything…

          • Ignoring the obvious question of how accurately you can identify who the best players are, and accurately project that over the time of a contract, how can you afford a team full of them? Would you seriously expect the team to operate at a loss while they wait for the fans to come back to a winner? Or do you sincerely believe that if (taking the extreme example) the jays signed Pujols, Prince, Yu, CJ, Reyes, and traded the farm to get Verlander, the team would sell 4 million seats? I seriously doubt it.

            It’s going to take time for the seats to fill in the stadium, and that’s only going to happen when there is sustained success. For the team to ‘invest’ an extra hundred million or two per year in the team in the belief that they’re going to witness a correlated leap in attendance, they’ve got to be 99% sure of their investments equating to victories on the field, as well as asses in the seats following those wins. In a hockey city like Toronto, it takes a while to get the attention of fans to sports that aren’t played on ice.

          • Identifying the best players is a fairly straight forward process, they don’t call them the best for nothing. Identifying the talented/underpaid/underperforming is a bit more of a crapshoot. That’s why I think they should try to sign some of the actual best players and not waste too much time on trying to get lucky.
            As for 4 million, maybe not but I’ll go out on a limb and suggest that had they managed to get Darvish or Fielder;they would’ve seen an early season attendance spike (that’s really marketing 101). If, by obtaining an elite player; they managed to stay in contention all season long-I have no doubt the attendance would rise as would the season ticket renewal.
            People are stupid (that is, not all people are stupid) and I know a handful of former season ticket holders who miss the good old days and would re-up if they thought they’d see a return on the investment.
            Personally, I can only really guarantee my own actions. I will not attend any games until the Jays are:
            A: actually good
            B:trying to be good and not just talking about it

            Do I expect Rogers to operate at a loss? No. But I don’t think adding a bat and a good arm would put them in that position. I also find it ridiculous to expect fans to ‘operate at a loss’ while Rogers gleans a profit while failing to even come close to competing for the past 20 years.

  11. I wish this article used actual examples of players or trades that could hypothetically be made. Instead it just describes why the Jays should not spend money to acquire better players. Okay, sure. Just tell your buddies at Rogers I don’t pay to watch mediocre teams.

    • That`s right, I too wish to read rampant speculation based on absolutely zero evidence or knowledge. Please Mr. Parkes why doesnt your reputable site provide me this?

  12. According to the comments section this article is full of shit.

  13. I can’t believe the team is so happy with being middle of the pack. Bautista is in the prime of his career and is going to be wasted if they don’t add another piece in the next couple of years. By the time the young talent they’re waiting for develops, Bautista won’t be hitting 40 homeruns anymore. Adding Prince Fielder would make them a legit wild card contendor right now.

    You would think being owned by a company like Rogers that they would be a little more willing to spend money to get players to help them win. I guess not..

  14. Your and Beestons’ focus on attendance is now secondary to the value of the media rights. The new contracts clearly bear this out. The NFL has seen the same phenomenon due to HDTV, internet and mobile streaming.

    And while it’s not apples to apples, in 2010 Neilson estimated 2.58 members per viewing household at any one time. Therefore, the Blue Jays with over 500k viewers per game would still out-rate the Rangers with 120k on Fox Sports Southwest and especially the Nats with 67k on MASN. Yet the Nats have a quasi market based deal (they share MASN ownership with the OrioLOLes) at $60mm per, up from $20mm per and the Rangers are at $80mm up from $20mm. The Angels at $150mm per up from $50mm per obviously is a current outlier but I’m not so sure the Blue Jays value isn’t close to that given Sportsnet’s national reach which matches the Blue Jays national fan and advertising base. Not to mention all the cross-promotional opportunities which I’d be surprised if they get accounted for properly.

    I used to focus on attendance and make the same arguments when McCowan would spout off about $120mm payrolls, as I saw no logic in Rogers spending money generated by other divisions on the Blue Jays. Bottom line is that the economics of exclusive sports content has changed dramatically in just the past few years.

    You are correct that Rogers does not have a duty to spend all of the value the Blue Jays are creating for them. It probably makes smart business sense though to reinvest in a division whose ROI has increased so much in the past few years. I hope though that fans, and older school management types like Beeston do “get it” though. The increase in value of the media rights are already adding the kind of value that Beeston was imagining with more people coming to the ballpark.

    As for whether there are good places to spend the money if it’s there, we simply don’t know. I believe AA has shown though, that he is a very shrewd trader and asset allocator and I have to believe there are bad contracts out there (ie. Teahan) that could help net another Rasmus type of trade to acquire top notch controllable talent. Chone Figgins anyone?

  15. Besides the Cubs, there is only two teams in the last 5 years who has increased payroll by at least $20 million, without have making the playoffs within the previous two seasons. The Orioles and the Blue Jays. The Orioles were 1 win worse and saw no change in attendance. The Jays improved by 7 wins to 87(2nd place 10GB) and a whole extra 3,546 fans per game. So unless spending can almost guarantee a playoff spot, it is money wasted, and I am of the belief that no move will do this. There is just way too much volatility with this roster.

    • So are you saying that a 20 million dollar increase in payroll resulted in a 7 game improvement in record!! Holy jeez with Lawrie playing the whole season, Rasmus and Johnson we could be looking at an 88 – 90 win team. That’s definitely in the playoff picture even without the extra wildcard.

      But more to your point, of course the 2 AL east bottom feeders wouldn’t improve enough with an added 20 mil that’s only 10% of the competitions payroll.

      With that extra 3,546 fans per 81 home games times $28 per ticket on average, we get get an extra 8 million dollars in gate revenue. That’s 40% of the 20 mil back in gate alone.

      • That’s some pretty shaky math there. If we’re talking about 3,546 newer, mostly ‘casual’ fans coming to check out a game because of new free agent acquisitions, I’d imagine that the majority of them would be sitting in the cheap seats. Assuming an average revenue of $28 from these people is aiming pretty high, I think.

        • Ok well if everyone bought a 500 level ticket that’s 3.5 mill and 18 % of the contract. But that much less realistic in my opinion.

          • Throughout the history of baseball, a free agent signing has never had a measureable impact on ticket sales. Attendance only goes up with additional wins.

          • So adding Fielder won’t add additional wins. How much do you wanna bet? Lind vs Prince in an avg. of fWAR/rWAR for the upcoming season. I’d bet anything i could really, admittedly I’m a poor student so that’s not much, maybe $500 – $1000 I could do. How about it Parkes?

  16. The comments on this post are ridiculously stupid. The majority of them take one point assume its true and use it for the basis of their argument. Parkes is casting his pearls before swine.

  17. I could do without all the speculation on the causal relationship between spending, winning, attendance, and spending. The second half of the post is bang-on: There isn’t anything out there worth what it’s taking to buy it.

    But you should stop putting up anything relating to payroll, free agent acquisition, etc until next off season. There is a segment that a) doesn’t care about the realities of the current roster and lack of quality in the market and b) just wants the team to spend money for the sake of it. This crowd can’t be convinced even if you put up a well-written post that addresses both of these things.

    I think there should just be a ceasefire on this argument and then next year you and me and others can show this crew that they were demonstrably wrong this offseason.

    • What will you be showing you are right about? That AA couldn’t make the franchise better with an extra $30-$50mm in baseball expenditures to make them closer to what the team is creating in value for Rogers? Notice I said franchise and not wins in 2012. None of us knows how he would allocate that money if he had it, but the evidence so far is that he would be able to improve the team both short and long term.

  18. Don’t want to get involved in the how-much-is-too-much to pay for a player argument, these things are only proven after the fact.

    But Rogers spending/earning is out of whack; this will be the 3rd season where Rogers siphons Jays games away from cable 22 and adds them to premium station SN-1, for which all Canadian providers had to belly up to co-host. The launch of the new unis will bring in more $$$ at Skydome sales (along with sharing revenues with MLB on their website), so 2 new streams of revenue have been added while keeping payroll down. I’m assuming the MLSE deal will drive more cross-marketing ops, with increased advertising at the Dome (and SN1) and marquee corp box seating increases.

    Baseball Prospectus’ “Baseball Between The Numbers” sites that stadium quality rating plays a large role in increasing attendance to games, and altho this chapter was written in 2005, the fact that Skydome continues to rate poorly is telling. For a corporate argument that sounds like “we’ll spend when the attendance grows”, not using any of the increased revenues to improve the plant is disheartening.

    Honestly, how much could cupholders cost? Or offering more than 10k giveaways at sold-out Canada Day games? Or prizes that aren’t Budweiser rejects?

    • Yes! The stadium experience is the thing that needs the most improvement in the short term. Rogers could do a lot to improve it and it would pay immediate dividends.

      Sadly, I think the the drink holders at every seat bit is the best thing Yankee Stadium the third could have possibly done. Well, that and fixing the AA level outfield wall.

      RIM used to give away Blackberries at the games and that was at least a cool prize. I won the Budweiser trivia thing once and, well, apart from wearing the jersey at the annual Beerfest at the CNE grounds, it’s a pretty useless prize. Rogers could make things much better.

      And as countless people have said before, the jumbotron is wildly underused.

      And please, for the love of sanity, no more Tweeting Tuesdays!

  19. The lack of patience among the fans is obviously showing but Anthopoulous is working his magic and showing proper patience.

    The team has to prove they’re a contender before they start spending on big pieces. Snider and/or Rasmus need to prove they’re high level players, Kelly Johnson needs to show he can be a quality contributor and the young pitching rotation has to prove they’re up to the task and JP Arencibia needs to develop into a more complete hitter. Lawrie looks great and they need him to continue his play.

    Romero has developed into a 2 with potential to be a 1, but Morrow hasn’t shown result yet, Cecil regressed and Drabek fell apart. All need to prove they can bounce back and help the team be a contender.

    Signing Fielder does make them a better chance at winning the Wild Card, but it’s as equally risky in hamstringing the team again like the Vernon Wells contract did for JP Ricciardi. They’re better off building with the young talent, and with this team they CAN compete if the players developing like they should. Then, you add a Fielder type to go from a Wild Card contender to World Series contender.

    Look at the Tampa Bay Rays, they’ve been in the Playoffs three of the last four years with NO major signings, and actualy subtracted some big bats. Imagine if Tampa had Toronto’s payroll opportunities, to now actually add some elite offense to that amazing rotation.

    Toronto’s minor league depth will start to make it tough to keep guys down, and then you can trade the pieces you don’t need. Rushing is what Ricciardi felt like he had to do, and his hand was forced with Wells’ free agency. He would have got the same contract on the free market and Toronto was sick of losing their “elite” players. Except Wells got hurt and fell apart. And the same can happen to Fielder who’s body is a bit of a risk.

    Let’s hold our chips for another year and play to be great, rather then just very good.

    • So you compare us to Tampa Bay in that we don’t need a big bat because they don’t and still made the playoffs. But if we had their pitching ( we don’t ), imagine if we did ( we don’t ) because then we should/could add a big bat with are hypothetical large budget. Riiiiiight???

      Or we could be like the Yanks and sign premier free agents and obvious upgrades like Prince and make the playoffs what like 95% of the time in the last 20 years. I’d take that over a 4 year blip.

      • But that wouldn’t be the smart way to do it. The great thing about the ‘smart way’ is you don’t actually have to win.

    • And what happens if Romero blows out his elbow this spring? Or Joey Bats tears an Achilles? Tomorrow is promised to no one. In my estimation, the Jays are going backwards and hoping to get lucky. They wasted Halladay, they look like they’re willing to waste Bautista…talent like that doesn’t fall in a lap everyday.
      If the Jays won’t spend their money, I won’t spend mine. They can keep waiting until tomorrow, I’ll find something else to do in the meantime.

      • This could just as easily be a comment from the 80′s before everything came together and the Jays became perennial contenders. In retrospect, which would you rather have done: “found something else to do” during those years and only started watching the team once they were on top, or followed what turned out to be an incredibly exciting rise for a young, talented team?

        I often wonder why some people even bother watching sports. You’ll only care about the team when they’re successful? What the hell is the point of even being a fan then? It’s not like we’re talking about the Orioles here… this is a team that’s very clearly on the rise, an organization packed to the brim with exciting young talent, run by one of the best/smartest front offices in the game. If that doesn’t make you want to watch, then I don’t understand why you’re even here.

        • I grew up on those 80-90′s jays, I was in the bleachers at the Ex every Saturday for 5 years. Guess what happened?
          The team went out and acquired the best players, had the highest payroll and won 2 World Series. That was 20 years ago. Let me know when the Jays are ready to compete again, after a lifetime of waiting; I’m bored of it.

          • Then stop watching, if you don’t enjoy it. Spare the rest of us your whining, at least.

          • Why don’t you eat a fat one? Or is your opinion sacrosanct? You want to support a perennial loser; move to Pittsburgh; clueless jock rider.

          • But the 80s Jays built the core first. The ’85 team, the first team to make the playoffs, had a low payroll and a ton of exciting home grown players and no large free agent contract. And honestly, that team was better than the Series teams. Don’t twist the narrative.

        • 1984-1994 : 4 ALCS appearances and 2 WS trophies.
          1994-2012 : nothing

          I doubt you’ve ever bought a ticket so just keep wondering why the people that pay the freight for your free ride are getting a little tired of the journey.

  20. 1) Santos was a win. I agree with that. In all likelihood, Molina’s ceiling is Santos anyway. Even if Molina becomes a dependable big league starter, the edge swings the other way, but we still made out okay.

    2) Traded for Mathis. I don’t understand this move considering the guy gets paid over 2 million when surely any AAAA catcher would do the same shitty job. Unless he has the ability to help young pitchers throw strikes in a way other guys don’t, this was a bad move.

    3) Missed out on Darvish. I’m okay with this, and actually happier about it than most fans. But the way they handled the whole thing was a mistake.

    4) Missed out on Latos. They should have met the package that the Reds gave up. Missing out on Latos was a big loss considering the search for a pitcher and considering where his contract is at.

    5) They signed Darren Oliver for 4.5 mill. Another bad move in my opinion. You’ve already got Perez to be a loogy if necessary. 4.5 mill on old man Oliver, when Madson is signing for 8.5 is a very bad move, and certainly unnecessary for a team that isn’t ready to compete.

    This off-season has been a bad one. They’ve spent money on Mathis and Oliver that they shouldn’t have, and missed out on trading for a pitcher that would have made them a legitimate contender.

    Also, as a final point – if Rogers owns the broadcasting rights to the Jays, that is at the very least equivalent to a lucrative TV deal. You can’t ignore that income stream and turn to stadium numbers only. To do so is to ignore what makes the Jays so valuable to Rogers.

    Think about it this way. If a broadcasting company is willing to pay X dollars to a team for its rights, they will then turn around and also make Y by broadcasting the games (if it’s a sound business model at least). In the case of Rogers, they get both X and Y.

    For them to continue to spend below league average should not be acceptable to the fan base. And while I agree that this free agent pool has been a weak one, we do need a 1b, Fielder is available, and there is neither a 1b in our system to replace Lind, or a 1b available next year.

    If Fielder signs for 10 years, then the Jays should be out. But if he signs for 5-6 and they haven’t made a good run at him, then it will be another failure of the front office this off-season in my opinion.

    • #4) We don’t know what sort of package the Padres wanted from the Jays for Latos. Most likely it would have included one of (or both of) Anthony Gose and Travis D’Arnaud. If it was both, I would imagine AA would have felt that was too much. His stated goal is to have sustained success and selling the farm for just a couple of years of one good (not great) pitcher is too much to ask.

      This off-season saw the market for starting pitchers go way over where it should have been.

      #5) As for Oliver vs. Madson, Oliver isn’t a complete LOOGY and can actually pitch full innings with success. Also, and maybe more importantly, there is no reason to believe Madson wasn’t given an offer by the Jays. There’s just also no reason to believe he would *want* to come to Toronto; and that is the most important question. Cincinnati is in a weaker division and it’s a much easier sell to free agents that the Reds are going to be genuine competitors this year. If I’m Madson and I’m given two offers of $10M from the Jays and $8.5M from the Reds, I’m going to pick the Reds. The Jays will need to have, at the very least, a 90 win season before higher quality free agents genuinely want to be in Toronto.

      • I believe Latos is under control for 4 years.

        If anything, I think that fans get way too attached to prospects. I realize that D’Arnaud/Gose/etc may become stars one day. Maybe we’re trading away a Jeff Kent…. but it’s more likely that we’re trading away David Sinnes/Tony Medrano/Chris Stynes (what it took to get David Cone for the second time).

        Som prospects become stars. But most don’t. So to lose out on a 24 year #2 type pitcher under team control for 4 years in my opinion was a huge missed opportunity.

        I’m actually much more upset that we lost out on Latos than Darvish. Darvish may not be any better than Latos but would have cost $125M for 5 years. Latos comes at a significantly lower price freeing up money for the Jays to retain their homegrown talent and/or go after that final piece for contention.

        • There are 5 words to describe why outbidding the Reds for Latos would be a bad idea:

          Hutchinson, Nicolino, Syndergard, McGuire, patience.

          John, While fans may overvalue prospects, I am sure The Jays have a system of metrics in place that can place a dollar amount on every player in baseball in terms of his value to the team. While it made sense to pay a Cadillac price for David Cone, who helped them win a World Series, it doesn’t make sense to pay a Cadillac price for a Buick at this point, especially since a couple of the names above could be on the 25 man roster in half a season.

          While we may not have any Cy Young winners on our roster, we could have 5 number 2 guys in a year, if we just wait it out. Heck, I would take 5 number 3s if they could all pitch 200 innings a season!

          • The point I was trying to make is that the prospect we traded in 92 for Cone became a borderline HOFer whereas the propects we traded for Cone in 95 didn’t pan out. Prospects are highly speculative assets that fail more often than not.

            Obviously the Jays place values on their minor league players but I imagine that they must factor in a certain level of risk that reflects that prospects are a guess at best. Perhaps I’m in the minority but I would rather have a proven top end of the rotation pitcher under team control for 4 years than a few lottery tickets. While hopefully doubtful, there is a very real chance that NONE of the stud pitchers in the Jays’ system match the quality of Latos.

            Personally, I find it crazy that many fans are disappointed that we lost out on spending $125M on Darvish but aren’t upset that we lost out on Latos since the cost of the prospects were too high. There was an excellent article at Grantland where the writer summarizes that “Prospects have never been trendier than they are right now. Which means that now is the perfect time to cash out.”

            With a full season of Lawrie/Rasmus/Johnson/Santos plugging most of 2011′s problem areas, I think that the Jays are a top quality arm or two away from contention. Trading the farm for a mid-back end of the rotation type pitcher is a mistake but when an elite young pitcher is available I think that it’s a mistake to not pull the trigger.

      • The problem is, the Jays need another good arm and they didn’t get one.
        The market for starters is always going to be “way above where it should be” because of supply and demand. Demand from teams that actually want their fans to know they are trying to compete and possibly win.
        The great thing about free agency is that it only costs you money.
        You don’t have to trade that up and coming hotshot and 2 future position players for an aging warhorse at the deadline (if all the balls fall into place), you can hold onto your assets and still lock in 20% of your games; it just takes some cash and some balls.
        If the team isn’t as close as you’d have hoped, you still have an asset that you can trade to re-up on youth and prospects. All I’ve seen this off-season is sideways acquisitions that do nothing to move the Jays up the chain, just another year of wait and see. Amateurs play the slots, pro’s play poker.

  21. Yes, sign Fielder and forget that the last 4 or so years of his contract will be a huge burden on the team. I’m willing to wait a bit longer for winning if it means not being handcuffed later on.

    • With the Yankees and Red Sox completely out of the offseason spending picture, a wealth of cost-controllable, young talent at just about every position, and Jose Bautista in his offensive prime, there was really no better time to spend than now. Despite this, we got the same bogus excuses and bullshit as usual. Can’t say I’m surprised, though.

      And why would anybody think it would be any different next season or any other season? Rogers has never spent money to win on this organization (shown through their repeated below-average payrolls over the last decade), they simply don’t have to in order to run a profit. If the team wins on its own, I’m sure they’ll be happy to spend a little more, but until then, we’re left with an ownership running a team in Toronto like it’s in a small-market.

      As it stands, they’re hoping to go the cheap way like the Rays did and get lucky. That would be great if it happens. Many fans seem to be eating that approach up. The problem is it’s really not as easy to do that as that organization made it look. A lot of things have to go right, especially in a division where two teams basically buy their way into a playoff spot each season.

      • Why don’t we bring Brad Fullmer back out of retirement?

        I don’t see giving Prince Fielder an 8-10 year deal as a good use of spending, I really don’t. I also don’t think putting him in the lineup automatically puts them in the playoffs.

        And who else, exactly, should they have been spending their money on this winter? A 31-year-old Albert Pujols? An overrated CJ Wilson? Pay over $100 million for a pitcher who’s never been in the majors but probably will be good, at least for 2 or 3 seasons?

        Hard to say the time to spend is now when there isn’t much to spend on.

      • “As it stands, they’re hoping to go the cheap way like the Rays did and get lucky.”
        Somebody said “You make your own luck”, and nothing The Jays or Rays do is by accident.

        The Jays’ top ranked farm system didn’t happen by accident. They have spent over slot every year to sign their top picks, and have avoided trading them away like the plague.

        The largest scouting system in baseball didn’t happen by accident, but it made possible the Brett Lawrie, Yunel Escobar, and Colby Rasmus trades.

        The Dominican baseball academy, and the international signings didn’t happen by accident, but many graduates are now working their way up the system.

        The fact that the majority of the 25 man is made up of first round picks didn’t happen by accident.

        The fact that there is a young, talented, long term solution at every position didn’t happen by accident.

        The fact that everybody in the lineup can hit double figures in homers didn’t happen by accident.

        The fact that they have a low payroll didn’t happen by accident, but expect the payroll to push $100 million in the next few years due to arbitration.

        The fact that they haven’t spent a bundle on free agents didn’t happen by accident. It just means that the time is not yet right.

        The fact that some fans are screaming to sign Fielder didn’t happen by accident. It just means that they lack the patience and understanding to see this process through to the end.

        • The fact there is a young, talented, long term solution at every position

          First base? Second base?
          There’s a reason people want Prince, and he’s younger than Lind to boot.

          Our most talented player is also not very young.

    • For those of you that are screaming for The Blue Jays to spend now, it would be instructive for you all to follow 2 teams that play in the NL East.

      The Marlins sucked last year. They couldn’t hit, and they couldn’t pitch. They play in a tough division and they just spent a ton of money signing free agents. It is rumored that they are in the process of trading away the top prospects in their farm system for another pitcher. They may finish as high as third, but probably won’t make the playoffs. If they get injured, they don’t have the minor league depth to back them up, and they stand an outside chance of being abysmal.

      The Braves on the other hand, play in a tough division, they maintain a strong farm system, develop a core group of home grown players, aren’t big players in the free agent market, and keep their payroll between the ditches ($82-105 million). Like The Jays, they are both owned by media empires, and play in similar sized markets.They have been to the playoffs 15 times in the last 21 years, with 5 World Series appearances.

      Who should we model The Blue Jays after?

    • Going on 20 years and still waiting.

  22. “This is why I suggest that paying for players up front is putting the cart before the horse.”

    i get what you’re saying here (articulating the thought process of Rogers), except that it doesn’t hold water for those people who are already watching and going to games. for them, it sucks.

    i agree with fullmerfan. anyone who is arguing against signing fielder is a complete idiot and an asshole. it’s patently obvious that this is the EXACT type of free agent signing a team with means ought to be signing.

    the fallacy that some here keep repeating that they’d be willing to wait four years for a great team in order to avoid a potential bad contract in the future. but what if the current roster does improve and then deserve max deals themselves? are you going to then say, oh no, don’t sign them because we’ll be handcuffed 4 years from now and won’t be able to sign a high end free agent? sigh.

    not getting Yu, and not getting fielder would be a set back for this team. and would indicate a gross mis-management of opportunity by the GM and the ownership. period. end of story. any other opinion is simply idiotic.

  23. The Jays won 81 games last year and were 16 games back.There will likely be improvement, but not enough to make this a playoff team unless everything goes right. The Jays could spend money to become playoff contenders but fall short of the championship. Unless we want our GM to rely on “anything can happen in the playoffs.” We decrease our odds of winning a championship if we spend a $100mil just to get to the playoffs, than if we build a playoff team and then spend $100mil.

  24. One of the best pieces you’ve ever written Parkes.

    I agree. It’s painful to endure another year of patience. But I think fans need to realize, Fielder isn’t probably the answer, and whether or not Rasmus, Johnson, Snider, Cecil, Morrow can have comeback seasons will be much more integral to the Jays success in 2012 and beyond than a flashy free agent signing.

    If the Jays are ever going to throw 200 Million at a player, I’d rather them wait for Joey Votto.

    • In 2011, it was whether Lind and Hill would have comeback seasons. Now it’s guys like Rasmus, Lind, and Snider. Undoubtedly, in 2013, it will be some other players’ questions that are used as excuses to hold back spending to win.

      This idea that the Jays are just biding their time and waiting to spend down the road on stars also makes little sense. I mean, wait for Joey Votto? How do we even know he’s going to be a FA? And if he actually is, why would anybody assume that the Jays of all organizations would be willing to outbid every other team for the right to give him as massive contract?

      Hitters as good as Prince Fielder don’t become available all that often. Especially in years when the two highest salaried teams in baseball aren’t even able to bid.

    • You realize that Votto is older than Fielder, right? Would you rather sign Fielder going into his age 28 season or take a gamble on Votto being available going into his age 31 season? Oh right, he’s Canadian, so he must be the better option!

  25. hey parkes, how much are the blue jays paying you?

    i’ll double it!

    btw, thames>snider

    not even sure snider still has the fielding edge. he probably does,but, not by a whole lot. alot of people are seeming to just over look him and figure him to just roll over for snider.a bit ridiculous considering he didn’t get sent back down when he got called up and snider got called up and sent back down like 3 times.

  26. It’s still hilarious that people justify not wanting to go after Fielder because the team might not contend this year even if the Jays get him, as if this is a one year thing, and as if Fielder is some aging veteran. He’s still going to be playing at an All-Star level beyond 2012, when the Jays young assets will be blossoming and AA will supplement the core with even more talent.

    • What I don’t want is for AA to spend big bucks to buy wins in Aug. and Sept. Properly built teams buy those wins in October. First step build a playoff team. Then buy a piece to become a winner. Rebuild take more then 3buy years to complete.

      • What about the Cardinals? I’m sure they’re glad that they juuuuuust did enough to squeak in the playoffs, no?

  27. you fellas are missing a key element to YU from a revenue standpoint. Texas will not reap nearly the same level of reward. Consider our Asian-centric population as compared to honkey tonk texas. Even from an advertisement point of view, signing him would be like printing money from the fucks at rogers media (I am confident that my boy Griff has addressed this).

    Prime example being when the yankees signed Matsui. When he came to town, it was all asia from the ads to the media to the people in the seats. even if he flops, they can ride the interest level through a fairly lengthy honeymoon period.

    Jays missed a serious business opportunity but from strictly baseball – how much of Yu is hype?

    what we need to ask ourselves is – Are the Jays a Jack Morris and Dave Winfield away from a title? A Molitor and Cone?

    If so, one of which can be added at the deadline.

    That is all

    • Yu is Japanese. Most of the asians in Toronto are Chinese. I can safely state that getting Yu would not have lead to an explosion of asian fans attending Jay games. Did Matt Bonner get you out to a Raptors game?

      • i safely say that you are at least half a retard. is toronto not more international and asian centric than say honkey tonk texas? it presents a marketing bonanza and if executed properly, very profitable.

    • Another point, why wait and see if we’re close at the deadline and then spend in prospects what we can spend in dollars now? Not to mention, spending now will arguably help in making a decision on whether to spend later. The answer is: Rogers is cheap and doesn’t want to spend money as long as sucker fans keep buying the company line.

    • Yeah, because I definitely watch a lot of Japanese television because of the white people in it.

  28. I’m bullish on the Jays chances of improvement in 2012. The giant sinkholes that were CF/3B/2B & Closer have been filled. The Sox and Yankees are another year older and neither made any improvements during the offseason. If all goes well, I don’t think that a 85-88 win season is out of the question for the Jays.

    Many fans are demanding that the Jays sign Fielder. I don’t think that’s the answer as the Jays were able to score plenty of runs. We need a top of the rotation arm as our starting pitching in 2011 was pretty terrible.

    We have an opportunity to compete right now and I think that the major misstep this offseason was the reluctance for AA to pull the trigger and acquire a top of rotation arm for prospects. When you’re close to contention, that’s when valuing your marginal benefits should change. If the cost of the deal is 4 prospects but AA only wants to give up 3, it’s that one prospect that makes the difference between 200 innings of Mat Latos versus 200 innings of Drabek/Mcgowan/Laffey. Maybe a trade costs more prospects than what you want to spend but if making the trade could make the difference between the playoffs and sitting at home in October, I think that you have to go for it.

  29. Just a quibble with this bit (forgive me if I missed an earlier discussion on this)…

    “For a more accurate measurement of revenue, we can look at attendance for Blue Jays games, which ranked third last in 2010 and sixth last in 2011.”

    … when the new CBA came down they announced that that the 10 smallest markets and 10 teams with the smallest revenue would be entered into a lottery for extra draft picks. When the list of teams became public the Toronto Blue Jays were nowhere on the list. I’d call that fairly conclusive evidence that attendance is not the most accurate measurement of Jays revenue. Per MLB they are at minimum 19th in the league in revenue.

  30. Great post Parkes! Agree with what you saying. Wait it out another year with the roster see what we got. When the Jays show they can win enough on their own say 88-92 and the Jays still don’t spend to put them overt the top then I’ll be upset, but until it happens (which I believe to be withing the next 2 years) AA and the Jays have my support as they are following the plan they set out to do from Day 1. YOU DON’T NEED TO SPEND MONEY TO IMPROVE YOUR TEAM. TRADES TRADES TRADES. JAYS HAVING BEEN SPENDING TOO ANYWAYS. SO HATERS JUST GTFO

  31. So you completely disregard television viewership because it’s not comparable enough to the US measurement? The Jays television rights on the open market probably have a value of $200 million a year. Texas just signed an $80 million a year contract to have their games broadcast for 20 years. They have an average HHs of 67,681, or 67,681 homes tuned into watch the average Rangers game. The Jays averaged 541,000 viewers per game last year, let’s assume for arguments sake that there were 3 people in each house watching the TV, that puts the Jays at an HHs of 180,333 almost 3 times greater than Texas. So Jays fans take a sniff of the smelling salts and wake the f*ckup, nowadays attendance is such a small portion of a team’s revenue. Rogers is making hundreds of millions of dollars and crying poor because attendance is low. It’s the perfect storm for Rogers, they hold the television rights valued at approx. $200 million but can always point to attendance as why they are unable to spend money. In 2011 TV viewership increased 23.8% but payroll has decreased over 30% from its peak 3-4 years ago.

    • I’ll just say this, if Santa Claus was anything like the Jays management/ownership; I’d have converted to Judaism by now. If I want to wait 20 years for a payoff, I’ll buy a Tbill.

    • Looking at that $200 million a year sum, I don’t think you’re familiar with television rights in Canada. I’m not dismissing anything out of hand, I’m just saying that the reality of the situation is that the Blue Jays aren’t going to get the same kind of television deal as Texas or Los Angeles. It’s a two way street as well. Why do you think viewership was up last year? Rogers spends a heck of a lot of time marketing the team through its media empire.

  32. I’m not sure of the exact numbers, but it is crazy that Parkes ignored this element to revenue.

    If the Jays had traded for Latos (and if it took D’Arnaud and Gose so be it…) and signed Fielder, we’d be a contending team this year, and still have money left over to go after Grienke (or name your preferred FA) next year to become a dominant team.

  33. @Dustin Parkes do you know how much money the Jays make Rogers? From the way you talk you seem to have a great deal of insight into the jays. Please tell us some facts from where you are drawing your conclusions. Do some of your facts include that Sportsnet made a profit of close to 700 million in 2010, the bulk of that revenue attributed to the Jays? How about the millions of dollars attributed to the Jays Rogers makes of cable subscribers. How about TV ratings where the real money is.

    No Dustin it’s obvious you have no clue about anything related to the Jays. The fact is Rogers has the money to field a ballclub in the 150 mil to 200 mil mark. B Cooper is right, Rogers is a cheap company that uses attendance as an excuse to keep their budget low. If Rogers every tried to compete in the AL East, the fans would come back. But for now we’d rather catch the game on TV.

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