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There has been some recent suggestions that the Blue Jays will not increase payroll for next year.  The newspapers are full of bad economic news every day and Bud Selig recently had Paul Volcker talk to the baseball owners about the economy.  In 2009 the Jays will likely see headwinds from the economy, from the value of the Canadian dollar and from loss of sponsors such as GM.  What does it all mean?

I started thinking about this when I saw JP quoted by Jordan Bastian as follows:

The current economy has affected many clubs, including Toronto, which is dealing with a weakened Canadian dollar as well. This winter the Jays will not be able to increase their payroll, which was roughly $97 million in 2008, and they don't have an excess of available money to spend.

"It's just the reality of what's going on," Ricciardi said. "We have to be cognizant of what's happening in the world and what's happening from a standpoint of what we're going to be able to get involved with. We don't want to get involved with a contract that might be something that handcuffs us down the road.

"I just think we're really doing a little bit more soul searching and saying, 'What makes sense for us both present and future?' We may have enough answers inside without having to go outside."

Under the circumstances, Ricciardi did say that the Jays aren't ruling out using trades as a way to free up some more payroll. Though he wouldn't go into specifics, two options include possibly shopping closer B.J. Ryan (owed $20 million over the next two years) or trying to move first baseman Lyle Overbay (owed $14 million through 2010).

"We'll be open to anything," Ricciardi said. "We're not in a 'slash payroll' mode, but we're in a situation where if we can make ourselves better via trade, we'll look that way. But if we can't, this is the team we have, and we'll just be creative with what we've got here and try to plug in our holes internally."

 

The Blue Jays don't usually talk openly about budgets but if I read through those words I see a payroll reduction being in the cards.  Why would that be?  As I said above I see three reasons, the eeconomy, the dollar and specific sponsor changes.  Let's look at each one.

The Economy

Even a monk in Tibet is probably aware of the stresses in the global economy.  More important to the Jays is the state of marketing budgets in North America.  Remember that sports teams profit from being a conduit for marketing to attendees, viewers and listeners.  When companies are concerned about their financial performance marketing budgets are often the easiest and first cut. Yesterday Bud Selig had Paul Volcker talk with baseball owners about the economy, he wasn't there to tell the owners to spend more money.  A slowing economy could hit teams in two areas, lower attendance and fewer marketing dollars being spent on sports.  The media is full of stories of people cutting back on spending although these stories are more applicable to the US than in Canada.  Nevertheless there will be spillover in Canada and many companies might also cut back on group outings and events.  Also the Jays have made money in recent years from fans of the Yankees and Red Sox coming to Toronto to catch a few games.  The numbers of those fans coming in 2009 would be uncertain.

Forbes, in their annual sports valuation issue, give $23 as the average ticket price for the Jays.  If we include concessions let's say that each attendee earns $30 for the Jays.  Will the Jays attendance in 2009 be impacted?  We know that a winning team can improve attendance but based on 2008, the spending plans of the Yankees and Red Sox, and the ascent of the Rays, it would be tough for the Jays to budget an attendance increase for that reason.  If we assume a .500 season attendance could be reduced by fans being more careful with their dollars.  If attendance were to drop by 100,000 the cost to the Jays would be $3 million.

The Volcker story quoted Bud as saying that no-one knows what 2009 will bring.  That is probably true, however I would be very surprised if the Jays were budgeting an increase in attendance for 2009.

Canadian Dollar

The Canadian dollar has been on a big slide versus the US dollar since the summer.  The Canadian dollar is seen as a commodity currency so as oil and commodities reduced in price the Canadian dollar declined too.  The current exchange rate is around 1.25 and as the Jays look at 2009 an average rate of 1.25 would not be unreasonable.  Sports Business Journal recently ran a story on the impact of the dollar on Canadian sports teams.  In that story they state that the Jays earn 40% of their revenues in US dollars while 85% of their costs are in US dollars.  The difference is 45%.  The Forbes annual baseball valuation story puts the Jays revenues at $160 million.  45% of $160 million is $72 million.  For the purpose of this comparison let's assume the Canadian/US dollar exhange rate was 1.00 in 2008 and will be 1.25 in 2009.  By my calculation that change in exchange rate will cost the Jays $18 million.

The Globe and Mail had a story on October 29th, now behind a pay wall, where Paul Godfrey is quoted as saying that each drop in the dollar costs the Jays $760,000.  A 25 cent drop would cost the Jays $19 million, pretty close to the $18 million in the preceding paragraph.

Specifics

Again per Forbes the Jays major sponsors are: General Motors, MasterCard, HSBC, and Labatt Breweries.  Obviously GM will be cutting back on spending.  I recently saw a news story suggesting that the GM sponsorship would end costing the Jays approx. $5 million per season.  It might be possible to find a replacement sponsor but probably not at $5 million. 

Richard Griffin recently quoted Paul Godfrey:

"We've submitted a (budget) figure but have not got a definite response," Godfrey said yesterday. "I expect we will know in the next four, five or six days. The thing that makes me nervous is what's happened in the economy. It's taken a big turndown and we already know we've lost two sponsors Shoppers Drug Mart and General Motors.

 

The amount of the Shoppers sponsorship is unknown.

Summary

As the Jays prepare their budgets for 2009 they will be looking at falling revenue and profitability from several sources.  A conservative drop in attendance of 100,000 plus the changes in the dollar and GM's departure as a sponsor will lower the Jays profitability by $27 million.  $27 million is a lot of money, about 15% of revenues.  In this environment it would be almost impossible for the Jays to increase payroll and in fact it would be not out of the realm of possibilty for JP to be asked to reduce payroll.

Questions

Q: Were the Jays not making money before this change?

A: Rogers ownership of the jays is buried within the financial statements of Rogers Communications Inc.  The Blue Jays are part of the Rogers Media division which is the smallest of Rogers divisions.  The Blue Jays revenues appear to be less than 10% of Rogers Media which includes TV stations owned by Rogers.  Rogers media itself is profitable although Rogers has recently lowered their guidance for profitability for the end of the year due to lower ad spending for their TV stations.  This makes it even tougher for the Jays to seek more money when the rest of the division is suffering too.  Forbes 2008 story  on baseball valuations put the Jays at around break-even.

Q: Why doesn't Ted Rogers just cover it, he can afford it?

A: This is the never-ending debate, is a sports team a business or a plaything.  In Rogers case it is a business and it is a part of a public company.  Ted Rogers does not own the Jays personally, Rogers Communications owns the Jays.  Rogers Communications is a public company with the usual expectations of investors that it exists to make money for the shareholders. Rogers Communications could decide to pump money into the Jays but that would depress the stock price and make a lot of widows and orphans unhappy.

Q: What about the true value of the team to Rogers?

A: This is a tough question to answer.  If you go to a game you will see a lot of ads for various Rogers products.  Most games are shown on Sportnet and radio is on the Fan, both Rogers companies.  There is good spinoff for Rogers but there is no way that we can guess at that value to Rogers.  However much that value is it won't persuade Rogers to spend more money on the team.

Finally

The biggest impact to the Jays is in the currency.  While no one knows what will happen in the short term, many experts forecast the Canadian dollar to strengthen long term due to problems in the US and a return to higher oil prices.  Until then the Jays will have to muddle through and lower payrolls are probably part of that future.

Blue Jays Budget Woes | 66 comments | Create New Account
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Ron - Friday, November 21 2008 @ 03:14 PM EST (#194309) #
With the Canadian dollar going down faster than (...hey Da Box is a family site...) K-Rod's velocity, I wonder if the Jays will receive the currency equalization payments which equaled roughly 5 million per season. Also, I know the Jays usually purchase large amount of US dollars to help cover payroll when rates are favourable. I wonder how much they purchased when the Canadian dollar was on par or even worth more than the US dollar. 

With free agency kicking into high gear soon, we will found out how much the slumping US economy will impact the spending habits of MLB teams.
whiterasta80 - Friday, November 21 2008 @ 03:22 PM EST (#194310) #

Even if the Jays did load up on US dollars when it was at par (as all Canadian Sports franchises should have) I suspect that they'll "use" the economy as a way to justify cutting payroll.  Short of upping payroll  30 million we won't be a good team next year so we might as well slash payroll.

I suspect we'll see alot of this false "times are tough" claims from plenty of companies, sports franchises, and government agencies.  Its not often that people are given an excuse to slash costs to ridiculous levels.

John Northey - Friday, November 21 2008 @ 03:42 PM EST (#194311) #
Last year I dug into the figures and estimated the Jays, at a par dollar, could afford a $125 million payroll with room for profit.  If you assume they now are $27 million in the hole vs last year due to currency/etc. then that means last years payroll of $98 million is about all they can afford this year.

So, what to expect?  I'd expect a 10% payroll cut to $88-89 million (Rogers needs profits) and for the Jays to get that currency adjustment for being good little Bud friends in the past (should've known there was a reason for them to stick with slot in the draft and the like).  JP is being creative by offering more years to free agents (appears to be the first to offer 5 to AJ), probably figuring if he is still here in 4-5 years he can deal with the payroll issues then when economic times should be a lot better.  I suspect we'll find a lot of free agent bargains come the spring as guys find few takers for the mid-range player and the high end guys (Manny, CC) fighting over who gets to sign with the Yankees and who has to 'live with' a lower contract.  Lets hope the Jays find a taker quick for BJ if they are trying to dump his $10 million a year deal.

In truth, this might be the ideal time for teams to lock up guys long term.  An uncertain economy will cause players to get nervous and take deals for less than they would've last winter, and extra years will look like gold to them.  So now is the time to talk turkey with Halladay, Snider (if you think he is for real), and any free agents who could be good for awhile.

Yup, it will still be an interesting winter.

MatO - Friday, November 21 2008 @ 04:18 PM EST (#194314) #

Doug MacLean, formerly the President and GM of the Columbus Blue Jackets of the NHL, had some interesting things to say about the costs of running an NHL franchise a few weeks ago on the FAN.  He said that costs other than player salaries in the NHL run about $30M per season.  I suspect that MLB costs per team are higher considering draft bonuses and international signing bonuses on top of having larger scouting staffs and more minor league players under their control.  Something to keep in mind when trying to determine when trying to project how much payroll Rogers is willing to finance.

timpinder - Friday, November 21 2008 @ 07:51 PM EST (#194317) #

If the Jays cut payroll and don't pick up any free agents this could be a long year for fans since we might see a sub .500 season for the first time in a while.  Even if Downs goes to the rotation and pitches well, Ryan returns to form, Hill and Lind have break out campains and Rios and Wells match their career best seasons, I don't see the Jays finishing better than 3rd, likely 4th.  EVERYTHING would have to go right for the Jays to make the playoffs.

jerjapan - Friday, November 21 2008 @ 08:27 PM EST (#194319) #
JP is being creative by offering more years to free agents (appears to be the first to offer 5 to AJ), probably figuring if he is still here in 4-5 years he can deal with the payroll issues then when economic times should be a lot better.  I suspect we'll find a lot of free agent bargains come the spring as guys find few takers for the mid-range player and the high end guys (Manny, CC) fighting over who gets to sign with the Yankees and who has to 'live with' a lower contract.  Lets hope the Jays find a taker quick for BJ if they are trying to dump his $10 million a year deal.

In truth, this might be the ideal time for teams to lock up guys long term.  An uncertain economy will cause players to get nervous and take deals for less than they would've last winter, and extra years will look like gold to them.  So now is the time to talk turkey with Halladay, Snider (if you think he is for real), and any free agents who could be good for awhile.

Yup, it will still be an interesting winter.


Good call again John.  Definately lock up Halladay this off season if he's interested, Snider too.  Although, if my investments prove anything right now, it's that anything can happen ...

BJ though?  He was a fringe expensive pick up for a team like the Mets this year before the market collapse ... at this point in the economic freefall, with his contract, no chance we get value back for him.  Salary dump option only these days.   
timpinder - Friday, November 21 2008 @ 09:20 PM EST (#194320) #
If you could dump Ryan's salary for even a token prospect, but used that $10 million per year to sign someone like Milton Bradley, then I think it makes sense.  The Jays need starting pitching and a bat or two, but with Downs, League, Carlson, Accardo, Tallet, Frasor and Wolfe/Janssen/D. Romero forming a strong bullpen, Ryan is expendable.
Jays2010 - Friday, November 21 2008 @ 09:38 PM EST (#194321) #
If the Jays want to go the bargain basement route, I don't think it would be the worst thing in the world. I just hope JP targets better guys than Ohka/Thompson/Zambrano. If we can move Ryan for an ok prospect and somehow sign Penny and maybe Garcia, I think we could still have a solid 1-12 pitching staff for around $25-30 million. And when (hopefully) McGowan is back by May, whoever is performing better between Penny/Garcia stays, while the other can potentially be traded. As for hitters, Bradley/Rivera are interesting names who may be steals. If this is all JP does it would be hard to be a playoff team next year without a lot of overdue good luck, but another 85 win season seems reasonable.
TamRa - Friday, November 21 2008 @ 10:08 PM EST (#194322) #
I think the worries are overstated in this regard - it is a long-standing baseball practice, when a team is owned by a media conglomerate, to arrange the bookeeping in such a way as to make the team iteself appear to be barely profitable while the whole (in this case Rogers Com) rakes in the profit.

If I am to believe what I have read elsewhere, RogCom was wildly profitable in the first half of 2008 and THAT is what the shareholders are looking for, not what any one individual division does (they are savvy enough to understand the shell game).

So I think the profitability or lack thereof of the Jays themselves is a smoke-screen. They can chose, if they like, to let the unlearned fan think the economy is forcing a decreased payroll - but I doubt seriously there is an actual need to.

So the poor-mouthing could either be a cover for a CHOICE not to spend, or it could be a "below the radar" manuver (not unlike the "stand pat" routine early last winter.

That said, as much as I like the idea of a Manny or someone in Toronto, I really do believe in almost all the players we have here and I'd be fairly optimistic that we'd have a good team in 2009 without any major signing (albeit, uncertain about how the performance of other teams limits our chances) - so I could live with a team that more or less "stood pat) - which would cost us about $82 million in payroll. Maybe try to sign a Juan Rivera and a Josh Bard or something...call it $90 million.

I'd be fine with that.

But I don't believe for a minute that it is something they Jays are forced to do.


greenfrog - Friday, November 21 2008 @ 10:29 PM EST (#194323) #
I think the Jays should (1) go all the way and make a legitimate run at the playoffs (which IMO would require at least two moves: adding a DH like Bradley/Giambi/Manny and a half-decent SP)

OR

(2) stand pat, take the draft picks for AJ, make some forward-looking moves (possibly involving Overbay or Ryan) with a view to competing in 2010, and accept that the playoffs aren't likely in '09.

The latter scenario is kind of depressing, but perhaps more realistic at this point. I think one reason that JP is still fixated on Burnett is that he might be the key to extending Halladay beyond 2010. If the Jays lose AJ, fail to sign any major free agents, and hold fast on payroll, what kind of message does that send to Doc, who isn't going to be in his prime forever?
greenfrog - Friday, November 21 2008 @ 10:36 PM EST (#194324) #
Note: I still wonder what would have happened three years ago had JP said to AJ, "look, we love you (to the tune of $55M/5 years), but we're just not willing to include an opt-out clause. It's against club policy."

What would have happened? Would AJ have signed with St. Louis instead? My feeling is that he probably would have accepted the Toronto offer, despite what JP claims. Of course, we'll never know for sure.
Petey Baseball - Friday, November 21 2008 @ 11:54 PM EST (#194325) #
Interesting, greenfrog. You're right, there's no way of knowing what would have happened if there was no opt out clause offered.  I would think it was probably the tipping point that brought A.J. here, as the chess game between the two was epic during the winter meetings
  

VBF - Saturday, November 22 2008 @ 02:48 AM EST (#194327) #
The plaything vs team debate has always been puzzling for me. It seems like the real plaything teams in professional sports, the Mavericks, Yankees, seem to do well financially and their big player investments pay off. I suppose there are other examples that don't see that level of success.I've always found it very puzzling why teams would not follow this model. I mean, if the Jays brought back Burnett, signed Manny and acquired another high profile starting pitcher, I'd think that they stood a solid shot at the playoffs, and once you can make it, your investment will pay off.

Because they aren't doing that, to me, suggests that they either don't have confidence in the people they put in charge of running the team, or that in a playoff year would not make up their investment. But they are sticking with Ricciardi, and we all know that the city would be abuzz if the Jays made the playoffs. Maybe they felt that their window was in 2006 when they signed about 150 million in salaries in a few months.

I also wanted to mention that television revenues make up a very substantial portion of overall contribution by the Blue Jays to Rogers (more than other teams), which is something that I don't think gets as negatively affected during the economy as ticket sales, merchandise, sponsorship revenues. So while there is all sorts of questions with regards to currency exchange and attendance, their core source of revenue, I think, should stay the same as long as the team does not fall completely out of contention.

Jdog - Saturday, November 22 2008 @ 09:46 AM EST (#194328) #

the Mavericks, Yankees, seem to do well financially and their big player investments pay off

Im hoping you mean their big spending pays off with them being a good team year in and year out. They have had more than plenty of big player investments that have not paid off, Carl Pavano, Hideki Irabu, Drew Henson...etc. (was Kevin Brown a big investment as well). Anyways they Yankees have issued out tons of bad big player deals, which they get away, however they haven't won a WS in how many years? Mick?

westcoast dude - Saturday, November 22 2008 @ 10:53 AM EST (#194329) #
One could make the argument that two of the teams most impacted by the Great Depression 2.0 will be the Yankees and the Red Sox. In New York, there was unbelievable money made by the investment banks writing credit default swaps and the bonuses paid in the Boom were out of this world. That had a trickle down effect. Well, that's over and it's not coming back. Now that Main Street is getting squeezed, expensive college educations are on the block which will impact Boston, where the rest of the economy was already in rough shape. As long as those teams are winners, the buzz will be there, but if  people are eating Kraft Dinner, they'll be more inclined to watch games on TV. Conspicuous consumption is unfashionable and may become unsafe. To some extent these issues also confront Bay Street, but the rsource sector is bottoming and will soon recover, I'm betting. 
andrewkw - Saturday, November 22 2008 @ 11:46 AM EST (#194330) #
This might end up being a good thing for the jays long term.

Before the dollar crash and everything else they were unable or unwilling to spend more money to bring in enough players to be a serious (not fringe) contender.  Now they appear to be unable or again unwilling to even keep enough of a payroll to keep the fringe contending team afloat.  They certainly could make the playoffs if everything goes right for them and everything goes wrong for everyone else however 4th place is much more likely. 

This may be the kick in the pants they need to say we're going to have to rebuild at least somewhat.  I'm not suggesting a marlins like selloff but trading away what you can for value and making a more serious run in 2010 or 2011 at which time the dollar and most other economic problems will have sorted themselves out.  Either that or we will be too poor to afford internet and computers to debate this let alone tickets to the games :)

Wildrose - Saturday, November 22 2008 @ 12:58 PM EST (#194331) #
One could make the argument that two of the teams most impacted by the Great Depression 2.0 will be the Yankees and the Red Sox. In New York, there was unbelievable money made by the investment banks writing credit default swaps and the bonuses paid in the Boom were out of this world. That had a trickle down effect. Well, that's over and it's not coming back.

You'd think this would be the case, but the Mets and Yanks are having no difficulty  selling seats for their new stadiums.

New York Mets vice president David Howard says the 49 luxury boxes for the team's new stadium, which are priced between $250,000 and $500,000, have already sold out. That's an impressive achievement, given the bad economy and the team's second straight horrific collapse down the stretch. The New York Yankees have also reported strong luxury-box sales for their new stadium.

This totally flabbergasts me. Is there so much money in N.Y. it  just doesn't matter? Are they not dealing with reality? I'm a little afraid that we'll see the rich get richer and the poor get poorer in this new sports era.

As long as those teams are winners, the buzz will be there, but if  people are eating Kraft Dinner, they'll be more inclined to watch games on TV.

I think this is a good observation. Many feel, people will cocoon more in this new economy, Jays T.V.  revenue might actually increase.  It's really hard to know how all of this will actually play out.
westcoast dude - Saturday, November 22 2008 @ 03:06 PM EST (#194332) #
Thanks for the link, Wildrose. As F. Scott Fitzgerald said in The Great Gatsby, "the rich are not like you and me." Nowadays, that would be the uberrich. There is staggering wealth in New York. Even  if foreign central banks stop showing up at Treasury auctions because the yields are so low, it won't change life in Central Park West. If you mix hubris with bad karma, something has to give, but I don't know what it will be.
Lucky - Saturday, November 22 2008 @ 03:46 PM EST (#194334) #

Sorry, this is off-subject, but does anyone know if the Jays have re-signed Wayne Lydon or if anyone else has?

TamRa - Saturday, November 22 2008 @ 04:01 PM EST (#194335) #
I've seen no report on Lydon signing.

But I'll take Rock, Jr. over him anyway, thanks.


Mike Green - Saturday, November 22 2008 @ 04:41 PM EST (#194336) #
During the last depression, one team competed regularly with the Yankees in the AL, the Detroit Tigers of Hank Greenberg, Charlie Gehringer, Tommy Bridges and Schoolboy Rowe.  Are you listening, Travis Snider and Aaron Hill?

Patience will definitely be a virtue for fans here.

ayjackson - Saturday, November 22 2008 @ 05:30 PM EST (#194337) #

I've read that this latest market crash bears more resemblance to the Panic of 1907 than the Great Depression.  There was no central bank bailout after Black Monday, but in 1907, in the abscence of the Fed, JP Morgan led a rescue package.

What was the baseball landscape like at the turn of the century?

westcoast dude - Saturday, November 22 2008 @ 06:27 PM EST (#194338) #

In 1907, the dollar was as good as gold. The twenty dollar bill was a certificate for one troy ounce gold, or a gold certificate. The dollar bill was a silver certificate, one ounce silver, payable upon demand. It's what we need to return to now. Galveston Rep. Ron Paul made an impact and talked about a Gold Standard. It really would solve our problems, but mabe it was for the best that Obama won it all.

 

Lucky - Saturday, November 22 2008 @ 09:31 PM EST (#194339) #

Hate to appear dumb, but who is Rock, Jr.?

brent - Sunday, November 23 2008 @ 01:51 AM EST (#194340) #
Tim Raines' son
CaramonLS - Sunday, November 23 2008 @ 04:42 PM EST (#194345) #
This totally flabbergasts me. Is there so much money in N.Y. it  just doesn't matter? Are they not dealing with reality? I'm a little afraid that we'll see the rich get richer and the poor get poorer in this new sports era.

Gotta love some of the fat cats in corporate America.  The guys who manage my retirement fund can still get their Yankee tickets, while my savings goes spinning out of control.
greenfrog - Sunday, November 23 2008 @ 06:46 PM EST (#194347) #
From BP's 'Every Given Sunday' column (short quote from their Rumors and Rumblings section, I'm hoping this is OK):

'The Red Sox also have interest in right-hander A.J. Burnett on the free-agent market, though it is described as "mild" by a person familiar with the situation, and many believe he will return to the Blue Jays if they offer a five-year contract, though the Braves, Orioles, and Phillies also have varying degrees of interest.'

Dave Till - Sunday, November 23 2008 @ 06:54 PM EST (#194349) #
My theory: New York has so many wealthy people that, even when the economy is nose-diving, there's still lots of money to spend on Yankees luxury boxes. Even in the Great Depression, there were wealthy people - in fact, because prices were so low then, wealthy people had it easy.

I was fascinated by this comment in the original article:

Yesterday Bud Selig had Paul Volcker talk with baseball owners about the economy, he wasn't there to tell the owners to spend more money.

How does this work? Does he insist that representatives of all 30 teams be at the phone at a certain time? After all, Selig works for the owners, not the other way around.

(Digression: I have this vision of Selig showing up at Yankee headquarters, demanding a meeting on the subject of fiscal restraint, and then being forced to cool his heels in the waiting room for a couple of hours so that Swiss Family Steinbrenner can show him who really wields the power in baseball. The Yankees waiting room would probably feature somewhere between 8 and 12 pictures of Derek Jeter. But I digress.)

As for the offseason: I'll be curious to see whether the Yankees sign Burnett (my guess: yes), and whether the Jays will be forced to plead poverty due to the tanking economy and Canadian dollar. Is this a return to the Interbrew era, when Jays promotional people were forced to market Jays games by featuring all the wondrous opponents that would be coming into town? ("Come see Your Toronto Blue Jays get beaten to a pulp by Nomar Garciaparra and the Boston Red Sox! Tickets available in all price ranges.") If the Jays stand pat in the off-season, they'll likely win about 75 to 78 games and finish fourth; they'll have trouble drawing well with that kind of record.
Mike Green - Monday, November 24 2008 @ 10:03 AM EST (#194353) #
Here's an interesting review of Rule 5 prospects.  Daniel Mayora (a shortstop presently playing second base) would be an interesting addition to the Jays system, if there were space on the roster and the club was aiming at 2010 and 2011 rather than 2009.  The difficulty is that he would essentially lose a year of development time, and he just finished his age 23 season in high A.  Mayora's career minor-league OBP is .361, not .261 as indicated in the linked article.
John Northey - Monday, November 24 2008 @ 11:41 AM EST (#194354) #
I'd think a good idea if the Jays like any Rule 5 guys more than their own 40 man guys is to do a trade with the team for the guy ahead of time and put him onto the Jays 40 man.  Cash would probably work in many cases, perhaps a very low end (C or D) prospect.  Makes sense for both teams as the Jays wouldn't lose anything vital and the team losing the player gets something in return, even if it is just an extra $50k on top of the amount they'd get otherwise.
Mick Doherty - Monday, November 24 2008 @ 12:10 PM EST (#194355) #

Anyways they Yankees have issued out tons of bad big player deals, which they get away, however they haven't won a WS in how many years? Mick?

Harsh. They last got a ring in 2000, in other words, not yet in this century. But they have won 26 overall and four since the Jays last spilt champagne.

StephenT - Monday, November 24 2008 @ 12:27 PM EST (#194356) #
During the last recession (early 1990's), the Jays had no trouble selling out the dome.
John Northey - Monday, November 24 2008 @ 01:49 PM EST (#194357) #
Seasons without a World Series win for the Jays = 15

That 15 is the number of years before the 1992 win and the seasons since the 1993 win. So we've had 30 years without titles total (29 where a title was given out) and 2 with titles at the end. Given we had 26 teams in MLB back in '77 and 30 now that is a pretty good ratio.

Scary thought eh? 2 titles in 32 seasons and it is better than should've been expected. If the Jays go another 28 years without a title they will finally be hitting the point where one could say they are 'due'. Another 58 years and they will finally be overdue. Ouch.

Teams winning World Series since 1993...
Yankees: 4
Red Sox: 2
Marlins: 2
Atlanta, Diamondbacks, Angels, White Sox, Cardinals, Phillies have 1 each.

9 teams have a title since 1993. 20 non-Blue Jay teams do not. So 20 teams have fans who have not ended a season on the high of a series win longer than the Jays.

Heck, 7 teams have never won (Rockies, Nationals, Padres, Rays, Mariners, Astros and Brewers) while 2, the Rangers in Texas and Giants in SF, also have never won for their current home town fans.

Mix in long, long waits for Cub fans (100 and counting) and Cleveland (60 years) plus teams that haven't won in so long that kids born when they won are now out of school - Pirates (29), Orioles (25 years), Tigers (24), Royals (23), Mets (22), Dodgers (20) and the 3 who won just before the Jays A's (19), Reds (18), and Twins (17).

Yes, the 15 years is frustrating and a division title or wild card would help. However, as a fan who was there for the '85 and '89 and '91 division titles I can tell you that simply making the playoffs gets old fast. The 1991 title I really have no memories of as it was so secondary getting the title - it was more the frustration of watching the team fall apart in the playoffs that I remember. 1989 was fun as the team came back from an ugly hole early on, but we knew the Jays were doomed vs the powerhouse A's of that era. 1985 was fantastic but the pain of the playoff hit hard.

Remember, things could be worse. Just look at that 20 team list above and imagine waiting 60 years or 100 years for a title. And remember, 30+ year waits will be common now.
Mick Doherty - Monday, November 24 2008 @ 02:06 PM EST (#194359) #

while 2, the Rangers in Texas and Giants in SF, also have never won for their current home town fans.

Actually, the Rangers have never won a title ever for ANY city. They were the Washington Senators II -- the original that did win something wayyy back when became the Twins. The Rangers, unlike some of the other teams you name -- SFG, HOU, for example -- have never even been to a World Series, much less won one.

Greg - Monday, November 24 2008 @ 02:48 PM EST (#194360) #

I was just surfing across baseball-reference this morning and found the 2004 Rangers

They were a lot better than I remembered...mediocre offence, but a very strong bullpen and some good performances in the rotation.  Whatever happened to Ryan Drese?  I remember he got a shot with the Nats a couple years ago...he was a sinkerballer right? 

Mick Doherty - Monday, November 24 2008 @ 02:54 PM EST (#194361) #

Whatever happened to Ryan Drese? 

Drese had a decent year in '04, won about 15 games, then killed many a fantasy team with an ERA near 7 in 2005 and was let go on waivers, as you note, to WAS. He didn't do much for them and I don't know what's happened to him since.

And all he cost the Ranges was Travis Hafner!

Ron - Monday, November 24 2008 @ 03:35 PM EST (#194362) #
The Pirates signed Drese to a minor league contract at the end of June. Before the Pirates scooped him up, he was playing in the Atlantic League.
Glevin - Monday, November 24 2008 @ 04:01 PM EST (#194363) #
"9 teams have a title since 1993. 20 non-Blue Jay teams do not. So 20 teams have fans who have not ended a season on the high of a series win longer than the Jays."

But it's not all about the World Series. There is tremendous excitement in being in a pennant race. In getting to the playoffs, in winnings a round, of even getting to the world series. The Jays haven't really been close to the playoffs since 1993. The Jays have finished 10 or more games out of first 14 out of the last 15 years. Since 1993, every team in the AL except Toronto and K.C. has won their division at least once. Look at this way...since 1993-Times won division/times got wild card spot/World Series
Tor-0/0/0
Bal-1/1/0
Bos-2/6/2
NYY-10/3/4
TB-1/0/0
Min-3/0/0
Chi3/0/1
Cle-7/0/0
Det-0/1/0
KC-0/0/0
Ana-4/1/1
Oak-4/1/0
Tex-3/0/0
Sea-3/1/0


So, by this measure (which is not a bad one), the Jays have been tied for the least successful team in the AL since they last won. If you are frustrated, you have reason to be.
JohnL - Monday, November 24 2008 @ 04:14 PM EST (#194364) #

The Rangers, unlike some of the other teams you name -- SFG, HOU, for example -- have never even been to a World Series, much less won one.

Houston was in the WS once, in 2005, but were swept by the White Sox, so maybe you blinked that fall and missed the event.

On another topic, Jeff Blair is no longer a baseball columnist at the Globe, but has been "promoted" to a general sports columnist. His first column is today. 

 

Dave Rutt - Monday, November 24 2008 @ 05:03 PM EST (#194365) #
Since 1993, every team in the AL except Toronto and K.C. has won their division at least once.

I was looking at the same numbers the other day - if you include the NL, the Jays have the 4th longest playoff drought, beaten only by KC, Pittsburgh and Washington/Montreal (who presumably would have made it in 94). On the bright side, we're by far the best current team of those 4....
Dave Rutt - Monday, November 24 2008 @ 05:07 PM EST (#194366) #
Houston was in the WS once, in 2005, but were swept by the White Sox, so maybe you blinked that fall and missed the event.

I believe that's exactly what Mick was saying... Texas has never been to the WS while Houston and San Fran have.
Chuck - Monday, November 24 2008 @ 05:33 PM EST (#194367) #
Whatever happened to Ryan Drese?

98 K in 208 IP typically does not portend well.
JohnL - Monday, November 24 2008 @ 05:56 PM EST (#194368) #

I believe that's exactly what Mick was saying... Texas has never been to the WS while Houston and San Fran have.

Woops... big mental blink there....

Carry on.

 

TamRa - Monday, November 24 2008 @ 10:58 PM EST (#194371) #
Sorry, this is off-subject, but does anyone know if the Jays have re-signed Wayne Lydon or if anyone else has?

Your Christmas came early:

http://www.baseballamerica.com/blog/prospects/?p=1808#more-1808

For reasons which remain a mystery to me, they did indeed resign Lydon and Rick Bauer (maybe they thought they were getting jack?)

The Nationals resigned Wagner, which takes one of my targets off the market (unless you get him via the Rule 5)

The Giants signed Jesus Guzman (an excellent choice mutually) - another player I would have loved to have seen in las Vegas in 2009. Joel Guzman is, however, still out there.






jerjapan - Wednesday, November 26 2008 @ 04:07 PM EST (#194410) #
Minor league free agents are certainly one road to finding the 'buried treasures' we need to compete next year  - but  what about Japan?  JP has yet to dip into the market (Ohka doesn't count - he was in the Red Sox farm system for his entire career before making the bigs, if memory serves me ...)

This is an interesting article about Japanese free agents, although it's not a strong batch this year.  Uehara surprises me, when I lived in Japan years back he was a dominating force, mentioned in the same breath as Matsuzaka ...

Sorry bout the crude link, I can't recall how to do these properly. 

http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/hotstove08/news/story?id=3717007



John Northey - Wednesday, November 26 2008 @ 04:08 PM EST (#194411) #
Well, did the dumb thing and read Griffin's latest (geez you get desperate for baseball fixes in the winter).
  • It seems he and Wilner are not on good terms: "Is Wilner frustratingly addictive like sticking your tongue in a cavity to see if it still hurts? That type of addictive?"
  • He wants the Jays to go for Jon Garland (91 ERA+ but shiny 14-8 record), but after talking with Godfrey, Cito and others he figures the Jays won't go for him
  • Wants the Jays to chase Raul Ibanez (LF/DH) and Orlando Cabrera (SS)
  • Also wants them to sign Kenny Rogers, Pedro Martinez, Paul Byrd (one year plus option each)
  • Still has a hate on for JP: "J.P. is lucky that nobody in Rogers management has the stomach right now for a serious GM search otherwise he would have been gone in October."
  • "J.P. Arencibia ... will be a Mike Piazza type of guy" - we wish!
If he is right on JPA then I'll live with the sub-replacement level writing we see from him 90% of the time.
Gerry - Wednesday, November 26 2008 @ 08:52 PM EST (#194415) #
Dustin McGowan update from Jordan Bastian.
greenfrog - Wednesday, November 26 2008 @ 08:57 PM EST (#194417) #
JP Arencibia (career minor-league OBP): 318
Mike Piazza (career minor-league OBP): 352

Not much of a comp. Piazza's major-league OBP was a robust 377. On the plus side, Arencibia was pushed hard last year and is still only 22. Note: during his age 23 season, Piazza hit 377/441/658 at AA, then 341/405/564 at AAA, and ended his season in LA (where he struggled in 69 AB). The next year he raked for the Dodgers (931 OPS).
greenfrog - Wednesday, November 26 2008 @ 09:02 PM EST (#194418) #
Also, PIazza has a career slugging % of 545, which Arencibia will be hard-pressed to match if he doesn't develop more plate discipline. Of course, Piazza's offensive numbers are a pretty high standard. Arencibia could be a couple of notches below and still be very useful (and quite possibly a better defender).
Ryan Day - Thursday, November 27 2008 @ 09:00 AM EST (#194421) #
I suspect you're ascribing too much thought to Griffin's analysis. "Piazza-like" probably refers to little more than "a catcher who can hit home runs while  playing adequate defence." Though BA seems quite impressed with Arencibia's abilities behind the plate, so it may be a generally lousy comparison all around.
christaylor - Thursday, November 27 2008 @ 09:41 AM EST (#194422) #
If memory serves, the doubts about JPA ability to catch came from his pre-draft season when he was playing with a back injury. Both before the injury and since, there have been little doubts about his defense.

Right now, my hope is that JPA can put up several seasons like Rod Barajas' 2005 season. If he can do that starting in 2010 or 2011, the Jays will be set at C. Piazza is too much to wish for...
Ryan Day - Thursday, November 27 2008 @ 09:53 AM EST (#194423) #
At the time of the draft, BA said: The verdict is out on whether he'll stay behind the plate as a pro. His receiving skills are rudimentary at best, and his footwork prevents him from getting off better throws despite solid-average to plus arm strength.

But in their top ten for this year:
An agile and fundamentally sound receiver who calls a good game, he's bilingual and a natural leader. He threw out 34 percent of basestealers in 2008, and evaluators rave about his easy, accurate and strong throwing arm. He also improved his blocking skills, dramatically reducing his rate of passed balls.
christaylor - Thursday, November 27 2008 @ 10:05 AM EST (#194424) #
If McGowan can start the season... I will be very happy. Throughly happy. Halladay, McGowan, Litsch, Purcey. That's better than a lot of teams 1-4. Add in Burnett or Sheets or even Lowe or Pedro, that's all, to varying degrees a rotation that could win quite a bit, provided the offense has a healthy Rolen that doesn't hit like he did in July, Snider in there everyday, Wells repeating 2008 without the injuries and a DH who can slug (or even a nice platoon partner for a Lind who doesn't hit like he did in September).

Is the minimum up there, too much to ask?
ramone - Thursday, November 27 2008 @ 11:34 AM EST (#194425) #

That minimum might be too much to ask as JP said in the Sun this morning that there may indeed be a payroll cut this year:

http://www.torontosun.com/sports/baseball/2008/11/27/7549416-sun.html

 

timpinder - Thursday, November 27 2008 @ 12:51 PM EST (#194426) #

If there is going to be a payroll cut then I think the probability of Ryan and Overbay getting traded increases.  Ryan can be replaced by Downs/League/Accardo and Lind could man 1B with Snider in LF. 

I read an article (ESPN?) that Ricciardi recently shot down rumors that the Jays were interested in Bradley or Giambi.  It looks like a minor rebuild might be in the works.

John Northey - Thursday, November 27 2008 @ 01:06 PM EST (#194427) #
A payroll cut this winter might be ideal timing come spring.  I suspect many teams will be cutting back and come March a lot of guys who otherwise would've signed for big bucks will be left out in the cold, thus opening up bargains.  I'm betting one of the many DH options will be door knocking come March (Bradley and Giambi are my top bets due to past history mixed with inflated belief in what they are worth) and the Jays will be able to pay 1/2 of what they otherwise would've.  Mix in trading away Ryan and/or Overbay with Lind moving to first base while our 10 man bullpen fills in nicely (10 guys who should be in the majors are hunting for 7 slots) for the loss of Ryan.  Some pitchers also could be looking come spring (not AJ but others who have been mentioned here).

This is a winter where the GM who holds out the longest might be the happiest.  

greenfrog - Thursday, November 27 2008 @ 01:53 PM EST (#194429) #
Agreed. I think a lot of teams are waiting to see what happens to the US economy as well. Committing $150M to a player in a deflationary environment would seem to be insane.

Ryan Day: describing Piazza as a player who "catches adequately and hits home runs" is a bit misleading, don't you think? The guy was a career 308/377/545 player. Here are his Baseball Reference offensive comps:

Johnny Bench
Yogi Berra
Juan Gonzalez
Duke Snider
Chipper Jones
Vladimir Guerrero
Matt Williams
Moises Alou
Larry Walker
Jim Edmonds

It's sort of like saying, well, we should be able to count on Brett Cecil being a Glavine-like pitcher for the Jays.
Ryan Day - Thursday, November 27 2008 @ 02:40 PM EST (#194430) #
That was, essentially, Griffin's description, not mine, based on him referring to Arencibia as "Piazza-like". It's hard to put the two players in the same category unless you use a very broad definition, and it's not like Griffin is prone to precision when it comes to this sort of thing. It might just be based on an RBI estimate.
greenfrog - Friday, November 28 2008 @ 07:29 AM EST (#194436) #
In case anyone isn't quite aware of just how good Halladay was last year (courtesy of baseballanalysts.com):

"Turning to pitching leaders, Roy Halladay led the American League in the following categories: baserunners per 9 IP (9.91), complete games (9), pitches per start (107.2), batters faced (987), innings pitched (246), most pitches in a game (130), opponent OBP (.276), opponent OPS (.621), K/BB (5.28), highest GB/FB ratio (2.00), and opponent OPS vs. curveballs (.480). The Toronto righthander also led the AL in component ERA (2.62) and highest average game score (60.48)."
John Northey - Friday, November 28 2008 @ 10:12 AM EST (#194437) #
The stats say that the time to sign Halladay, despite his really good year, is now.  He is still darn good, one of the best, but with the economy tanking he might be open to an extension now, especially if it can be set to allow for payroll flexibility in the 2010 and beyond period.  How?  By making use of the loss of AJ and giving Roy a big bonus up front with a smaller salary later.  If the Jays have a $100 million budget still (possible) then the smart move is to do long term plans - namely, get guys locked up who you want (like Halladay) while avoiding expensive one year options.  Sign Roy for an extra 3 years (2011-2013) and pay him $10 mil of those 3 years salary this year and maybe another $10 mil in 2010 (money budgeted for AJ) thus freeing up $20 million for the 3 years after that, when the Jays will be needing it to pay for raises to guys like Snider, Marcum, McGowan, and Listch along with scheduled increases for Wells, Rios and Hill. 

It makes a lot of sense as it helps future payroll issues, helps the fan base feel safe that at least Roy will be here long term, and you don't end up committing tons of cash to a free agent you don't trust to be good for the whole stretch (pretty much any other pitcher).  I'd rather see, say, CC and Manny come here but if we are being realistic then lets try to plan out how the Jays will be for 2009-2014 rather than just 2009 as I do intend to be a fan for that whole stretch :)  Get Roy signed and we'll have Wells/Rios/Hill/Halladay as the core through 2013 along with non-free agents (under 2 years of service so far) Litsch, Lind, Purcey, and Snider and all minor leaguers in the current system.

I'd be seeing about Lind & Snider long term as well (if the Jays feel Lind is a long term option).  Heck, if Marcum and McGowan will sign cheap then maybe do it with them too via Hill type contracts (team option after a couple of years).  Hard economic times can be good for planning if you do it right.
timpinder - Friday, November 28 2008 @ 11:03 AM EST (#194438) #
I agree that it might be wise to use the Burnett money to extend Halladay, and signing Snider a la Longoria could be a good move too.  However, I'd avoid McGowan and Marcum right now.  There's no telling how they'll bounce back from their surgeries, and by the time Marcum is ready to return in 2010 he may have already been adequately replaced by guys like Mills and Romero for all we know.
John Northey - Friday, November 28 2008 @ 11:12 AM EST (#194439) #
True, McGowan and Marcum are both coming off injuries - that is exactly why now is the time to look at long term deals. 
...
OK, I heard the head scratching.  The trick is right now their negotiating leverage is at as low a point as it can get (assuming they will be effect ML pitchers) thus the trick is to do a multi-year option based deal ala Hill's where the two of them get locked in dollars for 2009 and 2010 then club options for 2011-2014.  Some incentives could be there based on health (games or innings) and/or performance (ie: Cy Young or MVP points).  These two have yet to cash in big time so locked in money, say $5-8 million total for 2009/2010, then options worth around $7-10 mil per year could be very attractive to them while creating amazing payroll flexibility if they are healthy and productive (hopefully) or a minor cost ($10-16 million in 2009/2010 but no more after that) if they are not.  All this depends, of course, on what the Jays medical personnel think of the two pitchers making a full comeback.

Not a conventional move, but non-conventional moves are needed if the Jays are to keep playing with the big boys without a $150 million payroll. 

Seamus - Friday, November 28 2008 @ 02:05 PM EST (#194442) #
I think your Halladay idea makes a lot of sense, John.

There have been rumors about the Jays exploring that this off season - so we'll see I guess.

I'm really curious to see what the Jays do this offseason, in general.  Right now it seems pretty bleak, but surely there must be some sort of plan, and they're not just going to 'do nothing' as has been implied.

CeeBee - Friday, November 28 2008 @ 06:48 PM EST (#194445) #
John, is there any way we can get the Blue Jays to sign you up as a consultant. I think you're bang on with the Halladay, Marcum, and McGowan signups and Snider and Lind might be a good thing too. Strike whilst the players are worried about the future and the Jays could come up smelling like roses for not too much risk. Really, the Jays have to take a few risks like that anyway if they want to compete in the A.L. East.
cwally - Tuesday, December 02 2008 @ 07:13 PM EST (#194524) #

I didn't see this posted here, but it's definitely a further sign that the payroll will be slashed.

http://www.metronews.ca/edmonton/sports/article/149390

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