Blue Jays Coverage in January Can’t Be Bad.


Reading Cathal Kelly’s article in the Toronto Star on the state of the Blue Jays.

“Sports is a zero-sum game. Every time your opponent gets better, you are, by definition, getting worse.”


Can’t you be getting better too? Or can’t your improvement be so much better than your opponents that the very fact they’ve improved is irrelevant?

“Spending a lot of money is not bad for teams. It’s bad for corporate bottom lines. I’m assuming here that you don’t own shares.”

I am having a tough time with this one too. Team do have budgets don’t they? I mean even the big ones do have limits I would assume. There is a cause and effect to every move a team makes. Mike Illitch’s pockets aren’t endless. If Prince Fielder goes bust for whatever reason, you don’t think that will have implications on the Tigers ability to make another move?

“Successful teams succeed because ownership encourages them to take risks. The Jays ownership is entirely risk averse.”

I think this is probably true, however, and I have no reason to believe this, with Beeston at the help, he probably feels that he knows the model to success. He’s done it before and it worked. I am sure Jays fans will prove me wrong, but to me what the Jays are doing under AA is similar to how the winning team was built. The big moves that the those Jays to take them over the top were risky, at least as Kelly defines risk. Am I alone in thinking that the reason the Jays have been adverse to risk is as much about their lack of confidence in their current ability to succeed? Of course if someone would interview ownership…….

“However, let’s not give these corporate mopes a pass as a team on the cusp watches a series of impact free agents receding into the distance, now playing for clubs the Jays will have to climb over in order to ever become serious contenders.”

I guess it depends on just how on the cusp they believe they are.

I love this gem by Jeff Blair:

“The Blue Jays are going to try to kill teams with relief pitching and homegrown hitting this season, their front office believing it is pointless to test the resolve of team owner Rogers Communications Inc. In the meantime, they are among a group of teams whose road to the promised land of the wild card just became a whole lot harder. But that’s just off-season conjecture and guesstimation. ”

Answer me this, had the Blue Jays signed Fielder to the same deal, would not EVERY article have called them insane for doing it under those terms?

I’ll tell you what AA/Beeston and Rogers have done. Perhaps even by doing nothing, they’ve shown there is a hunger for the Jays out there and in the middle of a hockey season where the Maple Leafs are still in the thick of things; the city is talking baseball. Even if the banter is not positive, that can’t be that bad can it?

Did you see this form Steve Buffery?:

“In my opinion, Rogers is the worst (major) sports franchise owner in this city’s history, with the possible exception of Harold Ballard, though say what you want about Pal Hal, the man did have an unquenchable thirst to win. Rogers? Not.”

Them’s fighting words no?

“If Rogers was serious about winning, they would spend more. Period.

As for this crap about waiting for the time to be right — and I know I have harped on this before — why do Jays fans have to wait? Jays fans have already waited 18 years. Why do Jays fans have to be patient — like those Rogers employees lecture them to be. Yankees fans don’t have to be patient. Red Sox fans don’t have to be patient. And they’re not patient. And guess what? The Yankees and Red Sox get into the post-season a lot. Not every year, but a lot.”

For what it’s worth, Steve Stavros killed a deal that would have brought Wayne Gretzky to the Maple Leafs doesn’t that put him in the ring for worst owner ever??? 🙂

On the topic of the Maple Leafs trade rumours, I think we’ve learned this about Brian Burke; if there’s a rumour out there, it’s probably not true. Most of what he’s done has caught us by surprise. The so called insiders have been left outside on these types of things. So if we are hearing names being whispered I am feeling pretty secure that those players aren’t going anywhere.

Happy Thursday!


Fine, but again I ask, the fine folks at Rogers. Ask the questions, all these scribes are well enough connected to get to the right parties. Ask the powers that be the questions.

About the Author
Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
January 26, 2012 4:02 am

Memo to McCowan you have had the suites from Rogers on your program before lets get them on again….unless they will give the no comment which is why they wont come on…

itchy butt
itchy butt
January 26, 2012 5:16 am

God, Buffery is an awful writer.

Ballard? Winning???? Jiri Crha, Ron Sedelbauer, Norm Aubin, Dale McCourt, Bunny Laroque, Paul Higgins, Jim Rutherford…….getting rid of McDonald, Sittler, Palmateer………

Yeah, Buffery, he was COMMITTED alright!

Ami Angelwings
January 26, 2012 6:47 am

Actually, I think if they DID sign Fielder to that contract, the media would in general be saying that a) it might very well end up hanging on the Jays neck and they’d regret it and b) it shows the Jays are willing to make bold moves and Rogers is making a big statement. Given what I’ve read from much of the media, I doubt there’d be “WOW THIS MOVE IS TERRIBLE” as much as “this move could be terrible down the road, but this is a bold step.” probably with some rhetoric about sending a message to other teams and fans and the usual stuff… xD

mike (in boston)
mike (in boston)
January 26, 2012 7:26 am

i guess the TSM editor didn’t make the move to Seattle …

I think this is probably true, however, and I have no reason to believe this, with Beeston at the help, he probably feels that he knows the model to success. He’s done it before and it worked.

When the Jays were last in the playoffs they had the highest payroll in baseball. When Beeston took over as president (’89) they were far along in their development phase. I’m not sure it makes much sense to infer from Beeston’s CV to the team’s future success, assuming the payroll remains in the middle of the pack.

January 26, 2012 10:27 am

I think this article is random, and without foundation to a large extent and, sorry Cathal, the analogy is misplaced and inaccurate.

I’ll refer back to my comment under the ‘are we bugging Bob’ post of 23/1.

Everybody’s impatience is tied to 18+ years since the last World Series, but people are forgetting that the path the Jays are currently on (which I believe is that of how the team was built 29 years ago…i.e. treat 2012 like 1983, and we should be in solid contention/in the playoffs in 2014 and beyond for a sustained period) was only started just over two years ago. AA has had to basically start from scratch…the only reason AA couldn’t treat the team like an expansion franchise when he took over was that he had several assets (i.e. Halladay and Alex Gonzalez among others) right off the bat that he could trade to start building the farm system to where it is now at.

The next step is to use the 2012 season to trot out some of the top end pitching prospects (again, in some cases) like Cecil, Drabek, Alvarez, Hutchinson, McGuire and others to fill in the back end of the rotation to see if they’re MLB ready/worthy, along with seeing if their high ceiling position players (Lawrie, Rasmus, etc.) will pan out.

Significant free agent signings are the last piece a properly built team (like the Jays in ’92-’93) needs, and won’t likely occur until before the 2014 season. THAT is when people can hammer Rogers, who will need to put the cart before the horse in terms of putting out larger payroll potentially before a significant rise in attendance would otherwise justify it.

Chef Mike in Burlington
January 26, 2012 10:37 am

SIgning name players is more than about their performance on the field, it’s about names that folks want to see as well. My mom knows who Arod and Jeeter are, but couldn’t pick Lawrie out of a police line up.

You kill yourself with another Wells deal, but doing nothing can’t be the only other option if you want me in the ballpark 5-6 times a year. 50% full houses must are fine for Rogers it seems…

itchy butt
itchy butt
January 26, 2012 11:02 am

Who gives a rat’s ass about names? Lawrie sure MADE a name for himself fast! By the time you get a “name” they are usually on the downhill part of their career. I want an exciting team that can put up some W’s, not some superstar that never lives up to expectations.

I hope I am wrong, but I say Fielder has 2-3 more good years.

mike (in boston)
mike (in boston)
January 26, 2012 11:23 am

Buffery might be a buffoon but he’s not wrong about this:

Yankees fans don’t have to be patient. Red Sox fans don’t have to be patient. And they’re not patient. And guess what? The Yankees and Red Sox get into the post-season a lot. Not every year, but a lot.

living in Boston the expectation going into every off-season is that the team will do something to fill areas of need. It’s not a question of “if the team will try to improve”; the only question is “what is the best way to fix whatever was wrong with the team.” This sometimes leads to bad deals (Lackey) but that’s the gamble you take. The good deals make the bad deals easier to live with. This is, in my opinion, decidedly better than making no deals at all.

January 26, 2012 1:09 pm

“Blue Jays coverage in January Can’t be Bad”

From a business perspective it may be, some recent studies from US Universities indicate there is a direct link between perceptions in social media buzz and share price for brands no less than Starbucks, Coke and Nike. Can the link between dissatisfaction with Blue Jays off season activity and Rogers stinginess (headline in the print version of Kelly’s article) have an adverse impact? On its own there may not be the numbers, but link it to the price increase they just passed on – it doesn’t help.

Without the statements linking budget to revenues, we are probably more into the argument as to whether this is the right time in the development of the team to add pieces through FA. Now there is a different dialogue in which the Jays are struggling to protect their brand. For a property owned by a media company, they sure appear to be behind the stories much more than they are out in front.

From a purely marketing perspective, is this perception you want out there to attract the new or casual fan?

As for media reaction, I think Amy nailed it if they had signed Fielder.

Steve from Waterloo
Steve from Waterloo
January 26, 2012 2:30 pm

In a sport without a salary cap, I am less inclined to care about what an owner spends.

Certainly we all have budgets, but Boston/NYY/NYG/Chicago/Texas/Anaheim all seem to spend a lot of money to do their best to be in contention, Pretty sure they are making money. Toronto is a bigger market than some of them (5th largest?) and plays the part of the poor popper.

Buffery’s column raised my ire a bit, I must admit. I thought maybe I should use the 24 hour rule before speaking out…

I am a fan, I want to see my team at least compete to win – not the superficial competition to see who finishes 3rd in the division.

I’m a Leaf fan – I only can expend so much patience on one team. Let’s go Rogers….

January 26, 2012 2:47 pm

“Yankees fans don’t have to be patient. Red Sox fans don’t have to be patient”

They did have to be patient, before they put together great organizations.

The Yankees were a mess for a lot of the 80s and early 90s (to the extent that they actually drew 21,000 a game in 1992 – hard to imagine! About the same as what the Jays are drawing now – link: But they built an incredible young core with guys like Jeter, Posada, Rivera etc etc. Then, as they got really good they blew their brains out on free agents. From what I recall there were some tortured Maple Leaf-esqe Red Sox fans before this decade as well.

The elite teams we see now, were pretty much all built the same way AA is attempting to build the Jays. Develop/trade for a ton of young, high ceiling MLB talent. Then, when they get good, people start coming out. Then they spend a ton of cash. Texas, Philadelphia, TBay (minus the attendance/spending), LAA etc.

This isn’t to say the plan is perfect. Rogers could expedite things if they had let the Jays, say, bid on Fielder. And they could have afforded it, and I bet it would have paid off in the long run.

January 26, 2012 3:01 pm

Pudge you should work for Jays PR (not saying that as an insult, but in a serious way) if they give specific of what their process is (as you put out), and (here is this word again) give a TIMELINE, I know myself is ready to be more accepting. Even though it might fall falt to some because a lot of the media folks who support AA and Jays tend to throw “compete in a couple of season” for the past few season now.

I think it’s becoming very clear that Gillick was the brains behind the Jays success and not Beeston. Gillick took the Orioles to the playoffs in 96 & 97 (I will allow you to pick yourselfs off the floor, yes Baltimore made the playoffs) took Seattle to the playoffs in 2000-01 (oh yeah and got a skinny guy named Ichiro from Japan), and to top it off, won the WS with the Phillies. Now lets look at what Beeston has done, well he is friends with a lot of people in high places, enjoys golfing with McCown and not wearing socks, and I think worked a couple of seasons with the Argos.

Not sure if Jays owners are worse than Ballard, I would say now I would take MLSE over them any day of the week. Classic MLSE knew how to at least promote their teams, they got big name GM and did compete with other teams in spending. Even something like putting natural grass at BMO Field for the fans, quality of the game and players was something MLSE did, while I doubt if the media monsters would even bother (you know it’s everythings about multi-platform like the Skydome) I think we will wish for classic MLSE instead of new MLSE like we wanted Cocacola classic after new Coke was introduced.

I hear a bit of “Hey at least they are talking about the team” With that I say maybe, But than again this past summer I kept hearing about negativity about Rim and not sure it it helped their product much lol.

January 26, 2012 3:02 pm

Even though a lot of the talk is frustration-based right now, I will say there seems to be more passion about the team now than I can remember in ages.

When this blog started up, I remember there were an awful lot of ‘nobody cares about the Jays’, ‘Toronto has a baseball team?’ type comments. Even when the Jays were very good from 06 to 08, I don’t think people seemed as invested as they do now (though those teams were seriously challenged for playoffs).

At least the angry fans aren’t indifferent. Look at the poor old Argos.

I still don’t think this will translate into attendance until the team is good, but it shows what a big potential there is for this market, if the team finally gets their act together and plays some meaningful late season baseball.

January 26, 2012 3:08 pm

Overall, I haven’t much liked Rogers as owners – but I will give them one bit of credit..

The Blue Jays TV and radio product was atrocious for a while. Warren Sawkiw as colour man? Jamie Campbell as pbp? Sam Cosentino as in game host? With respect to those guys, they weren’t ready for a big time gig like that. It really sounded minor league … like an OHL broadcast or something. And, considering it’s essentially a team owned network, it reflected on them pretty badly.

But adding Ashby, Buck, Zaun and Shi Davidi and moving Campbell to host has drastically improved the broadcasts. I actually think the broadcasts are very well done now. As we saw with what TSN did for the CFL by creating Friday Night Football, I do think investing in your broadcasts can create a positive perception about the games as a whole.

A Helpful Citizen
A Helpful Citizen
January 26, 2012 3:11 pm

“Who gives a rat’s ass about names?”

At a guess, I’d say the twenty-five thousand people per night who stopped going to Jays games in the mid 1990s, that’s who. And since they’re the ones that Rogers wants to lure back to the ballpark (or, more accurately, they are the chaperones of the wallets that Rogers wants to lure back), it’s probably not a bad idea to actively pursue a player who has already proven he’s good, rather than furiously rubbing a rabbit’s foot for decades in the hopes of becoming a perennial irritant like Tampa Bay, because their young-and-cheap longshots all pay off at the same time. In the (almost entirely fruitless) seasons since, the club has repeated signed big name players who were years past their best-before date to compliment the seemingly endless stream of “future all-stars” we are assured are waiting in the wings at AAA. Refusing to sign a highly productive twenty-eight year old free agent because he *might* not produce at that level for the entirely of the contract seems to be their current m.o. This is not an improvement.

“I want an exciting team that can put up some W’s, not some superstar that never lives up to expectations.”

Read: If only we can get eight other position players like Lawrie at *exactly* the same time, they won’t have to spend money on those damned “good”, “proven” players, and we’re home free! This is such delusional idiocy, I don’t even know where to start. I suppose the easiest way not to be disappointed is to simply not bother in the first place…trying, after all, is clearly the first step on the road to failure. If you think eighteen largely worthless seasons in a row is a price worth paying in order to see a potential (that word again…) superstar like Brett Lawrie on the cheap, well, more power to you, I guess. You’re pretty much the prototypical Rogers consumer, and I have little doubt they are praying like hell that there are at least fifty thousand more like you at home. That way, they won’t have to actually spend money in order to field a good team. I do have to wonder why you’re following the Jays, though, when the Kansas City Royals have effectively been fielding your kind of teams for more than a decade now…and hell, look how successful THEY’VE been! Next year is our year! Sheeeeee-iiiiit…

Look, I don’t want to spoil the warm glow of nostalgia that people have for the “home grown” teams of the late 1980s / early 1990s, but the only reason, the ONLY reason, they eventually won two World Series titles is because they had the highest payroll in baseball. Period. Yes, they had developed talent like Olerud and others in house, but the lion’s share of the players responsible for those titles were big name free agents. I know the popular narrative tells us that they simply filled gaps with big names, but it’s horseshit. The home grown players filled the gaps. The building blocks were big-money free agents: Morris, Stewart, Cone, Winfield, Molitor, Henderson, Carter, Alomar (the latter two cost Fred McGriff, recall; salary aside, that makes them damned expensive, circa 1990). Getting the best lead-off hitter ever (while he was still performing at a high level) isn’t “filling a gap”. Or getting three of the best starting pitchers in the league within two years. Or two veterans who had three thousand plus hits a piece. The money is what brought them prosperity, and any retrospective thoughts otherwise are simply willful ignorance. You want to win? SPEND, for Christ’s sake. THAT’S how you win. Yes, broke-ass Tampa flirts with greatness every year, but in a market with four million people and a demonstrable history of success through affluence, there is absolutely no excuse for stringing your fan base along for *another* two decades hoping to emulate them. If you want to attract the best players to your club (and unless you’re a blithering idiot, you likely do), it’s probably a good idea to demonstrate that you are actually committed to fielding a great team (read: spending money to attract good players), as opposed to trying to field the best team you can with hopes and wishes, lest that whole “pursuit of excellence” thing adversely affect Rogers’ bottom line. Right now, they are hoping to back their way into success with a young, cheap team. The trouble is, that’s much more of a longshot than throwing down two hundred million dollars on a player who has consistently produced for years. Building the circa-1995 Cleveland Indians is clearly the dream of cost-conscious (read: cheap) GMs; quite why the fan base should accept this win-the-lottery-as-a-retirement-strategy thinking is entirely beyond me.

January 26, 2012 5:16 pm

“in the hopes of becoming a perennial irritant like Tampa Bay”

Last 4 seasons:

Tampa Bay – made playoffs 3 times. 2 division titles. 1 WildCard. 1 World Series appearance (loss)

NYY – made playoffs 3 times. 2 division titles. 1 WildCard. 1 World Series appearance (win)

Bos – made playoffs 2 times. 2 WildCards. 0 World Series appearances.

I don’t think the Jays should (or intend) to be as cheap as Tampa Bay has been, but the Rays certainly aren’t ‘professional irritants’. They’ve been just as good as Boston and NYY.

January 26, 2012 5:41 pm

Wow, ‘Helpful Citizen’, your ‘nostalgia-bashing’ paragraph is so off base, it’s not funny…well, ok, it’s freakin’ hilarious.

You might want to go to your eye doctor, because your hindsight needs a new prescription…

For starters, of all the players you listed, only Alomar and Carter were true building blocks, and they were obtained in one of the best baseball trades in our lifetime…using players that were products of the Jays farm (McGriff and Fernandez). A comparison (albeit much more low key) in the AA era, potentially, would be the separate trades that brought Yunel Escobar and Lawrie to the Jays (i.e. the trading of solid vetrans (Alex Gonzalez and Marcum) for player(s) who are younger (moreso Alomar than Carter), with high ceilings for performance, and/or will likely be with the team for many years.

Besides Alomar & Carter, the building blocks of the 92/93 teams were players who came up in the Jays farm system and/or were with them for many years…Gruber, Sprague, Borders, Olerud, Guzman, Key, Steib, Ward, Henke, Stottlemyre and others. Devon White is the only ‘core member’ of those teams that did not come up in the Jays system, and he was obtained in a trade with two players who, again, HAD come from the system (Sojo, and the immortal Junior Felix)

‘Building blocks’ are those players who form the core of the team – on a long term basis! All the other players you listed were veteran (everybody except for Cone was at least 34 when they first joined the Jays) add-ons who didn’t play for the Jays for more than two (except for Molitor who played three) seasons!

All this brings me to the point that, in order to make an effective splash in the free agent (and trade) market, you HAVE TO BUILD THE FARM first. As I have said elsewhere, AA has taken a farm system that was ranked in the bottom 5 in MLB, and re-stocked it to where it is now top 5 (and likely top 3). He can (and already has with the Sergio Santos for Nestor Molina trade) now start to convert the prospects into potential core members of a team that can make the playoffs. However, he is also still at the prospect evaluation stage, needing to see which prospects can hack it at the MLB level, and become a member of the core of a future playoff team.

Oh, and by the way, “Names” do not bring Jays fans out to the park, winning does. Otherwise the Dome should have been at near sellout numbers every single time Roger Clemens and Roy Halladay pitched for the team, seeing as how they were Cy Young Award winners (Clemens both years he was with the Jays, Halladay once) for the team. As a bonus, Clemens won his Cy Youngs in TO on the basis of completing the fairly difficult pitching Triple Crown – leading the AL in wins, ERA, strikeouts – in BOTH years he was in Toronto!!

‘Helpful Citizen’…you (and the Jays) need to learn to walk, before you can run.

January 26, 2012 5:49 pm

As a follow-up…I suspect a lot of the frustration of Jays fans is ultimately rooted in a general dislike/hatred (which I share) of Rogers, the craptacular communications overlord, and not specifically because of their role as owners of the Jays.

If Labatt’s was still a 100% Canadian company who owned the Jays, we wouldn’t be griping about them nearly as much. We would likely drink more beer to improve their bottom line so that they could then improve the Jays! 🙂

January 26, 2012 5:55 pm

A p.s. to my rebuttal to ‘Helpful Citizen’…a tip of the ball cap to and for providing the stats that I double checked for the points I was making (I forgot Jack Morris “soiled” the bed in ’93 as a starter for the Jays…under .500 record, ERA over 6! Yikes!!).

A Helpful Citizen
A Helpful Citizen
January 26, 2012 6:51 pm

“Oh, and by the way, “Names” do not bring Jays fans out to the park, winning does”

Yes, and “winning” is something that this team hasn’t done since 1993…when it had the highest payroll in baseball (and, incidentally, names). Your impassioned invoking of the names of hallowed mediocrities from farm systems past doesn’t change the fact that *they spent a shitload of money to add some of the best players in the game*. Do the Jays win without “building blocks” like Ed Sprague? Probably, unless mid-level third basemen have far more value than history would suggest. Do they win without Cy Young award winners on the mound and three, count’em, three future Hall Of Famers at the plate? Not a prayer, son. Not. A. Prayer. Your assertion that it was the likes of Sprague, Gruber and assorted other stars-by-Toronto-standards-and-mediocrities-by-most-others who were responsible for their World Series successes does you absolutely no credit. It’s kind of touching, in an “awww…he thinks he’s people!” sort of way, but it is the worst kind of revisionist twaddle. Yes, the Jays had a good farm system. But they won because they were to the early 1990s what the Yankees, Red Sox, Phillies, and indeed most other clubs that have given a good goddamn about winning have been in the interim: The team with the biggest wallet.

As to your assertion that building a solid farm system will enable the kind of strategic additions that are required to secure top level players in trades, how about this: SIGN THEM AS FUCKING FREE AGENTS. How difficult is this to understand? If you have trade bait, use it. If you don’t yet, PAY MONEY TO ACQUIRE THEM. Does Rogers have money? Judging by my most recent monthly statement, yes, they do. Do they have a sufficiently rich minor league system? Not yet they don’t, although as you (correctly) observed, they are making great strides in that respect. So, with those two parts of the equation clearly understood, explain to me again why the answer to twenty years of worthlessness is to ask the ever-dwindling fan base to wait *another*…what? Five? Six? Seven years? This isn’t a mom-and-pop operation. This is a team in one of the largest markets in North America, owned by one of the wealthiest corporations in the country, and still we are being told that the long-term approach is clearly the best course. In the quiet words of the Virgin Mary…come again? By what measure? And if you don’t think that signing a $200 million free agent (NOT, I hasten to add, resigning a Vernon Wells type for stupid money simply because he’s already here, and you’re afraid that you won’t be able to draw better players to a “foreign” country) would stimulate attendance growth in a market that has been largely moribund since 1993, I hope to Christ you don’t have an actual business dependent on your acumen.

Oh, and FYI: Roger Clemens did indeed have a great (if now highly suspicious…) rebound in Toronto, but let’s not kid ourselves: As per my earlier observation, he was effectively written off as dead by the Red Sox when the Jays acquired him. He was a big splash in the Toronto sense of the term—he used to be a star, fell on hard times, and wound up in Toronto. He did indeed revitalize his career here, but let’s not kid ourselves that this is any way comparable to signing a twenty-eight year old superstar free agent in his prime. You want to build? Build around *great* players. Not “he’s pretty solid” players. You can, if you’re willing to spend decades in the doldrums, do that. But if you are, in terms of potential resources, one of the alpha teams (and make no mistake: that owner in this market makes the Blue Jays exactly that), why the hell are you so determined to fashion yourself into a beta one?

At best, it’s misguided. At worst, a shameless and poorly concealed cash grab by a corporation that unquestionably has the resources to contend, but has opted instead to bumble their way into contention, maybe, sort of, hopefully one day, kind of, by adopting the (generally less successful) approach of teams with lesser means. You necessarily need a $300 million payroll, but if your answer is to basically bide time and do fuck-all until maybe, possibly, one day down the road the farm system grows into a controllable, cost-effective All-Star team, you are completely and utter daft.

January 26, 2012 7:42 pm

Who went to town in your bowl of Corn Flakes this morning? Sheesh…I do promise to respond to your diatribe in full, at some point on the 27th. For now, have a good evening and get a good sleep because you obviously need it.

A basic point to consider with regard to your Rotisserie/Fantasy League approach to operating a baseball team:

FREE agents have a right to choose where they go…they don’t always go to where the money is greatest (i.e. CJ Wilson turning down an extra $20 million from the Marlins to go to his hometown area Angels…plus, the Angels are the more competitive team), for a variety of factors. While money is a large consideration (which the Jays do have), a winning organization (which the Jays do not currently have…as you have pointed out) is a key consideration to the players (veterans with proven, excellent track records like Winfield, Morris, Molitor, etc.) that you want to attract to “put you over the top”. A lot of the quality free agents are key additions, not core players, to teams that had already demonstrated a track record of winning (i.e. the Jays from 84 – 91 won three division titles and finished 1st or 2nd in 6 of the 8 seasons, and nobody named Morris, Molitor, Winfield, Stewart, or Cone was on any of those rosters). If the money is equal, or in some cases less, the FA will sign with the team that is closest to winning (i.e. Fielder to Detroit; Washington was apparently in the mix…gee where would you want to go to win soon?), especially if the player has not won before.

To achieve all this, the Jays must become competitive first in order to ‘sell themselves’ to prospective free agents. Your rambling assumes that the Jays just have to go “what’s your best offer (not that the FA’s rep would divulge it), we’ll beat it by 25%” for FA’s to come. It’s just not that simple. Among other factors, like it or not, if the winning is not already present, many free agents likely are more hesitant about Toronto simply because it is not in the US (unless they are Canadian or maybe from a US state close to Toronto). The winning track record, especially for a Toronto baseball (or NBA) team, HAS TO BE THERE.

itchy butt
itchy butt
January 26, 2012 8:03 pm

Citizen, I have no idea what the hell you are blathering on about. Nostalgic? I am the least nostalgic human in the world. I could give a fuck about what happened before.

Anyway, I don’t have the time or energy to go into some rambling stream of consciousness like you did. Why do I follow the Jays? Because I feel like it. But I don’t cry if they lose, don’t shit my pants when they win. I simply enjoy the game. whether they win or lose, my mortgage still exists.

Man, I’m starting to see what turned me OFF sports for so long.

January 27, 2012 4:51 pm

Here goes:

– First, I never said you can win without big time free agents. All I said/implied is that it is not the right time for the Jays to go after those free agents. If they develop as I think they are planning to, they damn well better start throwing some money around, to the right free agents at the time, in two or three years. If they don’t, I too will be worked up about their inability to crank open the corporate purse strings.

– You can’t play Fantasy League GM with real-life most MLB teams. Name one team that acquired the majority of their players via free agency in the year they won a championship. It. can. not. be. done. Yes the Yankees can do a better job of covering up mistakes/filling holes with a larger wallet, but they still had the ‘Core Four’ and other homegrown, or acquired using homegrown, talent for their entire championship run.

– The Jays only had the highest payroll once they added the free agents in 92 & 93….after they had already been a solid, consistent contender for several years, largely WITHOUT free agents. The current Jays are nowhere near that level to simply wave a wand and bring every free agent here…even if every free agent would want to be here (as described in my post last night).

– What you’re insanely proposing ‘AHC’ is what the Miami Marlins are actually attempting in 2012. They’re reaching for free agents and they will likely do no better than 3rd in their own division, because they do not have the homegrown depth (i.e. back of the rotation) that is still a necessity to win over a 162 game + playoffs season. Miami is also a perfect example to refute your notion that by simply throwing the most money at every top free agent, they will all swoon and come to that team…see Pujols, Albert and Wilson, CJ as perfect examples of free agents who avoided the Marlins despite being offered comparable or superior money.

– Sprague and others from the core that you are conveniently glossing over sure made a bunch of big plays during the playoff runs, which helped, not caused (as you mistakenly seem to think I said), them to win!

– One of the reasons you don’t sign free agents too soon is because they do not magically turn into trade bait down the road. Think about it, if you have acquired someone as a free agent, that means you financially outbid most, if not all (depending on the players motivation for signing in the first place) other teams that were interested in getting said player. Those teams will not then be willing to give up players AND pay the high salary that you are shelling out down the road in a trade scenario. Your team is essentially stuck with that player if they crap out. If by luck you find a sucker to take the large contract off your hands, you are not getting the equivalent talent level in players back from that team.

– Since you asked McFly, I will explain AGAIN (hello, is anybody home?). While fans have been waiting 18 years, AA has only been in the job (and in the re-build process) for 2+ years. Baseball, especially, is a sport that takes years to construct the base for a winning team (with the very rare exception).

– Clemens, as he (albeit, most likely on an artificial basis…that he was able to sustain nonetheless) proved with the Jays and Yankees, was mistakenly written off by an idiot GM of the Red Sox who got into a pissing contest with him, and lost badly. Clemens was not a 2nd tier star at that point, Boston just thought he was, and was badly mistaken.

– Again, using the ‘learn to walk before you run’ analogy…most ‘Alpha’ teams evolve from being a ‘Beta’ team. They don’t just suddenly wake up as WS Champs, they have to get out of bed and stretch first.

So endth the lesson…

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x