Are Toronto Blue Jays Fans Being Set Up?


Perhaps it’s Brian Burke’s self imposed holiday roster freeze, or it could be the recent struggles of the hockey team, but it’s mid-December and the Toronto Sports fan is talking baseball. Not steroids, not how much the Yankees or Red Sox spent on free agents, but rather Toronto Blue Jays baseball.

In case yu (sorry) haven’t noticed, word is in almost every major sports publication that the Toronto Blue Jays are going to be announced as the highest bidder amongst MLB teams, earning them the right to try to sign Japanese pitcher Yu Darvish. If the Jays win that right, it means they will have outspent other bidders and therefore spent a fortune int he process. The knock on Rogers (whether warranted or not) has been their reluctance to spend on the Jays. Spending on this player will likely shut up those critics for the time being.

Unfortunately, it’s all speculation right now.

Enter the Toronto Star’s sports media columnist Raju Mudhar:

“The problem is that the excitement heightens the backlash if the Jays do not win the bid. Considering how much fans are putting into this pursuit, it will fuel a fan revolt and spur plenty of disparaging comments online from some of their most knowledgeable fans. ”

With all due respect to Raju, that’s a load of crap.

Fans aren’t putting anything into the pursuit, media sources in NY claimed that the Jays were the highest bidder. That same story has been repeated by multiple sources around MLB including Toronto media outlets. If the Jays aren’t the winners, why would their be a fan revolt? Let’s say the Jays bid what people say they did, 40-50 million and another team went higher, the fans are going to revolt over that? Please. Disparaging comments from their most knowledgeable fans for not winning? No. Those comments would come if they didn’t bid or if their bid was a token bid. Win or lose, I have to think that this will bring lots of good will.

Bruce Arthur of the National Post has other thoughts too:

“It would be wonderful for Toronto if Rogers changed course. But as the old saying goes, I’ll believe it when I see it. Yes, Rogers should expand the payroll parameters, sure, if only to truly prove to Torontonians — so many of whom pay the company on a monthly basis — that they really are more serious about winning than they are about budgets. If the Jays have committed US$52-million to negotiation rights to one pitcher, a year after starting the season with a US$70-million payroll, then it only makes sense that times have really changed. If they have, watch baseball fever consume this city, and beyond.

But I wouldn’t hand over your whole heart yet, Toronto. Not until the Jays show theirs.”

So, again, if the Jays are the winners, it looks like there is a lot of reasons to be hopeful if your a baseball fan in Toronto.

By the way, we are told all the time that those who write the stories don’t write the headlines. Is it more or are those who write the headlines in Toronto amongst the worst at their trade anywhere in North America? If I were a scribe in Toronto I’d demand the right to write my own headline (and I don’t care what’s never been done before). The headline writer butcher story’s all the time which really do effect how an article is viewed or if it is viewed at all.


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December 19, 2011 4:06 am

Good for the Jays/ Rogers ay least they are now trying to show there fans some hope, and fans are talking baseball in December for the right reasons…hopefully they will succeed..and spending money…I know only time will tell…
As for the Leafs well a lot of negitive chatter about the coach again just like a broken record… fire Wilson already and bring up Dallas Eikins from the Mariles now, and see were they are at the end of the season…should be alot of quality coaches by then if things don’t work out..

December 19, 2011 5:09 am

I very much disagree. Take some time to explore the dozen or so Blue Jays forums around the internet and you’ll see that fans are indeed very much invested in this. Comments such as “This reminds me of the early 90’s” and “Finally good to see the Blue Jays spending money again,” etc. At the end of the day, do you REALLY think the Blue Jays fandom, caught up in the most attention the team has had in years, is just going to say “Oh, they put in a high bid but came away with nothing? Oh well. At least they INTENDED to spend some money.” No, Raju is dead on the money. The anticipation has been so built up by the media (that the Jays are the likely high bidders) that nothing short of winning the bid and signing him will suffice. And most aren’t even all that sure of why they even want him so much. Many fans expressing their doubt that Rogers would ever actually pony up money for a big name, having (unfairly, in my opinion) been branded as unwilling to spend what it takes to win. Not getting Darvish at this point would be yet more evidence, in their mind. Winning the bid and then not signing him would accentuate the point. How easy is it for the Blue Jays to make headlines by throwing out an outlandish bid to make it look like they’re “trying.” Then, low-ball Darvish into rejecting a contract, with the believe they’ll still come out in terms of PR.

Meanwhile, Toronto has suddenly found itself at the forefront of baseball talk even outside of the city. But countless online comments from fans of opposing teams can be found criticizing the Blue Jays for their losing ways, never spending money, or just for being a place where “no right-minded player of note would ever want to play.”

There is no doubt in my mind that the Blue Jays have indeed been set-up to fail through this process if a Darvish signing doesn’t come to pass.

December 19, 2011 9:05 am

If the headline you are referring is: “Is Brian Burke to soft on Toronto Maple Leafs coach” then I wholeheartedly agree with you.


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mike (in boston)
mike (in boston)
December 19, 2011 10:00 am

Win or lose, I have to think that this will bring lots of good will.

it depends: they have reportedly been “in” on lots of high priced/high talent players (Chapman, and Papelbon most recently). However, this has not led to any major free agent acquisitions for the major league roster. Meanwhile, the major league payroll has been between bottom third and bottom-half for the last several years.

So, win or lose, this move will build good will. But if they are outbid then the expectation will be that they move on to another A-level target. If they do not, and play out the season with a middling payroll, then people should rightly be upset. The Jays don’t need to pick a year to “go for it”. They need to commit to spending more on players that can make a difference in the short term every year. There simply is no excuse for this ownership not to be spending more on payroll.

December 19, 2011 3:51 pm

I actually believe the Toronto Star columnist is pretty accurate…I’m in bar right now Cookstown Ontario and people in here are talking about this ‘Japanese’ the Bluejays are thinking of signing…if people in a small town north of Toronto are discussing this, imagine what’s happening in T.O. ..I think if you go online and read the T.0. papers online comment sections you will see just how much their fans are invested in this and there will be major disappointment if the Jays don’t bring this player to the T-dot …or Prince Fielder failing that…I’m a jays fan tired of Rogers Communications being cheap…we are 23rd in payroll …if they want people to get excited start spending some money…

December 19, 2011 5:53 pm

Great comment Mike (IB). The knowledgeable/passionate fans of the Jays that Mr. Mudhar is referring to are, in part, those found on Based on the number of Darvish-specific posts and comments on that site just in the past week, there is a fair number of hardcore fans that are already skeptical, if the Jays lose the bid, how much effort Rogers really put into the bid . It’s getting slightly insane. Goodwill will likely only be generated in a losing situation if a credible document showing that the Jays put in a competitive bid is revealed (not likely to happen due to the nature of the bid process). Goodwill will also be harder, if not impossible, to achieve in a losing situation against the backdrop of Rogers buying a portion of MLSE.

Will it lead to a ‘revolt’? Unlikely, seeing as how T.O. sports fans have put up with the Leafs ineptitude for the past 44+ years. But, as Mike rightly pointed out, a failed Darvish bid will need to be followed up by something tangible where $$$ is actually being spent by Rogers (i.e. signing Fielder, as an example), or 20,000+ attendance days will be a thing of the past (except for maybe the Red Sox and Yankees).

Jorge W. Bush
Jorge W. Bush
December 19, 2011 11:19 pm

texas blows, so does rogers.

darrell b
darrell b
December 20, 2011 12:58 am

Texas wins the right to negotiate with Darvish… Let the Rogers bashing begin. I am a die hard Jays fan and have waited for this day since I first saw Darvish pitch in the world baseball classic. I am disappointed but I’m not going to boycott the team, nor will I cancel my cable.
To many casual fans, Yu Darvish is nothing but a name. A name that many people had not heard of two weeks ago. A name that became trendy when it was rumoured that the Jays were the highest bidder for his posting. “Fans” say that when Rogers spends the money they will come out to the park. What gets me is that many of these “fans” that rant about only coming out when Rogers spends money are the same people that booed Vernon Wells for being paid 26 million a year to hit 250.
JP Riciardi was a genius when he signed AJ Burnett and BJ Ryan and traded for Troy Glaus. As I recall all three of these players were booed out of town as were Frank Thomas and Alex Rios. Why? Because they were all overpaid.
Spending wisely is not as trendy as blowing every other team out of the water to sign a mediocre player. The Jays could have signed Jayson Werth and Adam Dunn last year and John Lackey the previous year. That would have been trendy, but where would they be? There’s your $120 million payroll.
If the Jays let Bautista go last year I would have been mad. That would make me question ownerships commitment. If Anthopolis starts trading players like Romero, Laurie, Arencibia and Rasmus when they are due raises in a few years, that will make me question ownerships commitment. Not spending a quarter of a billion dollars on a player that does not want to play here or losing out for a player on a secret bid is disappointing, but won’t make me boycott all that is Rogers.

December 20, 2011 2:47 am


This is disappointing. Would have been really, really fun.

But there’s no need to jump off a bridge.

A) from all accounts the Jays did make a competitive bid. It does seem there was intention there.

B) It’s Dec 19. The Jays have (maybe) the best system in the game. It’s PRETTY safe to say we should see another major trade or two. Maybe an FA signing (Beltran?). Yu was not the only way for the Jays to greatly improve themselves this offseason. Neither is Prince.

December 20, 2011 2:48 am

But having said all that, I’m still bummed out. It just would have been so damn fun.

December 20, 2011 4:58 am

Toronto Bluejays 23rd in MLB payroll…..Toronto Bluejays 23rd in MLB payroll…

John Kim
John Kim
December 20, 2011 6:22 am

yeah count me in as one of the fans revolting. I can’t believe I followed this story for months. Screw Rogers. I’m tired of following a mediocre team for the last 2 decades. Not even bidding 52 was stupid, and they could have managed expectations better. Yu was the only free agent who might be worth the contract. I’m done with the team, until they actually get good. Nothing ever changes, we still have the worst owners in baseball.

December 20, 2011 10:08 am

“With all due respect to Raju, that’s a load of crap

Fans aren’t putting anything into the pursuit, media sources in NY claimed that the Jays were the highest bidder. That same story has been repeated by multiple sources around MLB including Toronto media outlets. If the Jays aren’t the winners, why would their be a fan revolt?”

Just as predicted?!?

Chef Mike in Burlington
December 20, 2011 1:32 pm

Gee, they “intended” to make a real bid??…Really??? Anyone here is a smart sports person, but just say it out loud…

“Rogers, who has spent approx $65M on TEAM payroll for each of the last 3 years will be spending $50M+ for the rights to just TALK to ONE guy”…

…no way in hell guys, the bid was nothing more than a way to stay in the press when they’re done jackshit since the end of the season to make themselves better. I know you can better via the draft, the farm, the minors and class B and C level free agents, but does anything realisticly see 85+ wins here??

mike (in boston)
mike (in boston)
December 20, 2011 1:35 pm

Blair has a nice article summing up the facts, and pointing the corner into which Rogers have painted themselves. The comments provide a pretty good insight into the mindset of the fanbase. There are quite a few fansites still in the honeymoon phase with AA, but it’s pretty clear that we’re into a new era of (legitimate) criticism now.

December 20, 2011 3:48 pm

First the coverage, during the segment before the midnight hour. Somehow the likes of Wilner and Lajoie put the blame on we the fans for buying into the hype, not the fan590 who had around the clock coverage of Darvish coming to the Jays, not the Jays for not controlling the hype that was going on hard since Friday. I “love” how they said that the Jays can’t comment on every rumor, like this was like any other rumor. This new blame fans first attitude from the Jays and their apologist are taking is really doing wonders.

I think fans are finally starting to wake up with this soft gloves attitude towards media darlings Anthop and Beeston. Only Brady seems to remember that the Jays got nothing for Wells/Napoli. They keep talking about great “Budget deals” they are having, as a fan I don’t care, this isn’t a salary cap league, how about the best available player possible.

They keep spinning the talk on how smart Anthop is for not talking about timelines for success, as a fan I WANT a timeline (they don’t have to meet it perfectly, but as a fan I would like to know where we are on the schedule and not go blindly) and now the same media praise this guy for not saying how much they bid, but as a fan i would like to know. Why is the Jays media the voice of the team and not the fans?

When there seems to be this constant excuse of not spending money (last year not enough quality FA, this year the quality FA want to get paid a lot of money. shocking!) Fans are starting to see this run around game.

December 21, 2011 4:54 am

I’d be curious to know how many of the fans complaining of the way the Jays are growing this team are old enough to remember how Gillick and the Jays built the team in the 1980’s when only the Yankees, Tigers and Royals won more games in the AL. I remember. And it’s exactly how they’re doing it now.


[…] Are Toronto Blue Jays Fans Being Set Up? Not steroids, not how much the Yankees or Red Sox spent on free agents, but rather Toronto Blue Jays baseball. In case yu (sorry) haven't noticed, word is in almost every major sports publication that the Toronto Blue Jays are going to be announced as … Read more on Toronto Sports Media […]

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