Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Has Rogers tightened the Jays' pursestrings?

Bruce Dowbiggin over at the Globe and Mail has been voicing concerns lately that Rogers is underpaying the Blue Jays for their TV rights, restricting the cash the team has available for payroll. Publicly, the team has been saying that they simply don't see good value available in the FA market, and maybe they're right. The last time the Jays went into the FA market, they got a broken BJ Ryan and were left hanging when AJ Burnett opted out of his contract.

This year, the rumbling was that the Jays might be a player for Prince Fielder or Albert Pujols, but the Jays grumbled about the prices being too high, instead deciding to stick with some combination of Lind and Encarnacion at first. Granted, those are talented players, but there was also talk that the Jays would be able to clear one of Lind or Snider out in a trade.

But was it all just a smokescreen? Was Anthopolous simply letting everyone think he had money to spend when Rogers has told him that he needs to hold his cash? We heard that the Jays would be a player for Yu Darvish - but when asked after he went to Texas, Anthopolous wouldn't comment on whether the Jays had bid. Had he been told not to, or to keep any bid low?

I'm not sure, and it might be out of line to suggest as much. Looking at AA's moves, it may well be that he thought it didn't make sense to sign long deals for Fielder or Pujols. If Bautista, Lawrie and Escobar repeat their performance, and Lind and Colby Rasmus have bounce-back years, maybe the lineup IS good enough. Keep in mind that Kelly Johnson, Arencibia, and the LF spot are likely to be at least useful. There's enough talent in the lineup that a star first baseman might have blown out the budget too much long-term. AA may have a hope that he can maneuver to get Votto instead - either by trade or in free agency - and not have to pay him a premium to come north. At this point, we have no idea whether Fielder or Pujols were given offers by the Jays, or whether they would have wanted more cash to move to Toronto.

There may be all sorts of other reasons - tax, accounting or otherwise - why Rogers decided not to make a larger TV payment to the team. They may have wanted to avoid letting fans know the profitability of the team, so as to avoid having to deal with inflated expectations from both fans and potential signees.

It would be nice to see one more real SP on the roster, but otherwise, I'm OK with where the Jays are right now. Anthopolous has made enough good moves that I'd give him the benefit of the doubt for now.

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