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Pitchers and catchers for the Blue Jays report on February 16th, two weeks from today. Football is over but there is no sign of spring in Ontario. After weeks of nothing happening will anything happen this week? Who knows.

AJ Burnett's non-retirement could help the Jays in a way, even if they don't sign him. The market had two quality pitchers looking for a home, sorry Bronson. Now there are three. The Jays are rumoured to be interested in all three starters. They have competition from teams with money and willing to lose picks. If one of those teams sign Burnett then that is less competition for the Jays in signing Santana or Jimenez.

I find it hard to believe that Burnett would sign with the Jays. This is a player who seriously considered retirement, who wants to spend more time with his family and whose wife hates (or used to hate) to fly. With teams like the Pirates and Orioles closer to Burnett's Maryland home, Burnett would only come to the Jays if they overbid for him. But when has AA ever overbid for a player?

Other than starting pitching the Jays continue to hold a bucket-load of relief pitchers and Moises Sierra is still the best option for a right handed DH.

Meanwhile Brett Morel will be converted to second base to join with Chris Getz, Munenori Kawasaki, Jon Diaz and Steve Tolleson as Bison middle infielders.

Two Weeks To Go | 141 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Parker - Sunday, February 02 2014 @ 11:30 PM EST (#282314) #
Anthopoulos outbid everyone for Cabrera and Izturis.
Richard S.S. - Monday, February 03 2014 @ 12:55 AM EST (#282316) #
A.J. Burnett lives very close to Baltimore. The last time he was in Toronto, he needed his Wife driven from his home to Toronto many times as she DOESN'T FLY (with that emphasis). I prefer Jimenez or Santana, not Burnett and not totally in-house.

I watched GM's overspend on Free Agent relievers that were not and will not be better than Toronto's Relievers. Is A.A. overpricing his players or are G.M.s waiting for when A.A. has no choice?

A.A. will never overpay ever for any significant player this offseason. I think he's "gun-shy". Other than deals that have fallen though, I find it shocking that as of the State of the Franchise A.A. has not made a formal offer since those deals fell through (especially Free Agents).

christaylor - Monday, February 03 2014 @ 04:27 AM EST (#282319) #
2005 was, last I checked, a long time ago. Long enough for someone to get over a fear of flying.

As someone who lived in Boston last April, I think being gun shy is high praise.
85bluejay - Monday, February 03 2014 @ 08:28 AM EST (#282321) #
I like football - I am an NFL fan, but what I like best about the Super Bowl - it that marks the unofficial start of my countdown to spring training.

While I want the Jays to improve the roster, I'm okay with no moves rather than a bad move (overpay in yrs/money/prospects) - there isn't a FA that I'm overly excited about - Fans seem impatient for any transaction, I hope the FO is as patient as I am.
92-93 - Monday, February 03 2014 @ 08:30 AM EST (#282322) #
AA also outbid everyone for RA Dickey's services; cash isn't the only capital.
mike in boston - Monday, February 03 2014 @ 09:36 AM EST (#282324) #
Fans are impatient because this team won 74 games last year and the 2014 roster is (currently) largely the same.

I hope the FO is not foolish enough to think that this roster's terrible performance in 2013 was due to "bad luck" along with a one year lapse in the ability to play defense and stay healthy. If so, 2014 is going to be rough.
Beyonder - Monday, February 03 2014 @ 10:25 AM EST (#282325) #
"I hope the FO is not foolish enough to think that this roster's terrible performance in 2013 was due to "bad luck" along with a one year lapse in the ability to play defense and stay healthy."

I think that is almost exactly what they believe, apart from the part about the defence. I more or less believe it as well.
Mike Green - Monday, February 03 2014 @ 10:44 AM EST (#282326) #
The team underperformed expectations in 2012 too.  In both 2012 and 2013, independent observers expected that the run prevention would be better than it was.  The claim in 2012 was that the club was hit with an unprecedented number of pitching injuries and was therefore unlucky. 

The common theme is not facing problems, and it is a management issue.  One example would be the decision to pick up Lind's option.  Lind may very well end up providing $7 million (or $5 million net) in value in theory, but the way that it works on this club is a negative.  What this club needed was a first baseman who could field the position- James Loney signed for 3 years/$21 million and would have fit the bill.  There are, of course, other (perhaps more important) management decisions which have contributed to the club's poor run prevention performance despite the high profile starting pitching signings.

John Northey - Monday, February 03 2014 @ 10:48 AM EST (#282327) #
Well, in all trades whoever makes it outbid everyone else as in a trade there is zero incentive to trade with someone because you like that area better or the schools or because the other team is a contender or whatever free agents will say.  Of course, one could also say the Mets outbid everyone else when trying to get d'Arnaud and Syndergaard.
Mike Green - Monday, February 03 2014 @ 11:17 AM EST (#282328) #
On a lighter note, I had a dream last night.  Robin Yount  hit a long twisting fly down the left-field line at Camden Yards which had landed past the foul pole and in foul territory but had been called fair by the umpire.  The O's fans were livid, and it was unclear whether I might be witness to a riot. 

I woke up wondering "did Robin Yount ever have an at-bat in Camden Yards?".  BBRef supplied the answer.  He had 44 PAs there, but did not hit a home run.  Spring training cannot come soon enough for me.
92-93 - Monday, February 03 2014 @ 12:49 PM EST (#282329) #
"Well, in all trades whoever makes it outbid everyone else"

This isn't true. In some cases, a GM targets a specific player, and isn't looking to sell his asset to the highest bidder (as determined by the market). An example would be the Doug Fister trade, where we have been led to believe he wasn't being shopped around but rather Dombrowski was looking for a specific return. Dickey, on the other hand, was likely available to the highest bidder.
greenfrog - Monday, February 03 2014 @ 01:15 PM EST (#282330) #
The Rays seem to aim to gain numerous modest advantages across various aspects of the game (pitch framing, defensive positioning, consistently high level of team defense, managerial strategy, use of platoon / split advantages, etc). Suddenly they're beating you, and it feels like death by a thousand cuts.

The Jays, on the other hand, seem to have a front office that resembles the team's offense. They like to swing big (the Miami trade, the Dickey trade, the Rasmus trade). Sometimes they beat you with the long ball, or a dominant start by Dickey or Buehrle, or a dazzling play by Lawrie or Rasmus, but they seem to focus less on consistency and the finer points of the game, perhaps to the detriment of the team's W-L record.

The Navarro acquisition seems to me in line with this approach. With his 2013 slash line of 300/365/492, he could be viewed having a big offensive upside (AA said that he thinks Navarro turned a corner offensively last year). It reminds me of when AA said after the Dickey trade that he thought RA could outperform his 2012 numbers (233.2 IP with an ERA+ of 139).
Gerry - Monday, February 03 2014 @ 01:29 PM EST (#282331) #
Richard Griffin has an extended interview with Paul Beeston posted at the Star's website.  It's typical Beeston, mostly optimistic and mostly about some of the business side of the team.  The major player issue of note is that the Jays had the money to go after Aroldis Chapman but they didn't like his workout and passed.
92-93 - Monday, February 03 2014 @ 01:38 PM EST (#282332) #
One thing the Rays won't to do - continue to roll out Adam Lind vs. LHP despite YEARS of evidence supporting the contrary. It's incomprehensible that Lind received 100 PA vs. LHP last year, and that we've reached February and the club is no closer to making sure that situation doesn't repeat itself in 2014. Moises Sierra doesn't mash lefties and shouldn't be the team's only option.
John Northey - Monday, February 03 2014 @ 03:22 PM EST (#282333) #
It made no sense at all that Lind started 16 games vs a LHP.  Late in the year I could sorta understand as the injuries got insane at that point, but I'm certain he was dong that a fair amount in the heart of the season too.  With his 208/240/333 line vs LHP he was no better than letting Bonifacio hit (218/258/321 overall).  Talk about sad.

Sierra might be 1/2 decent and given the lack of options he has to be on the roster or let go. However, there has to be a decent RH bat out there who can play LF/1B thus have some value beyond DH'ing.  Heck, many AAA hitters would do far better.  Rasmus lifetime is a 643 OPS vs LHP, Goins will need to be hit for often if he is playing, Izturis should be kept off the field but if playing again would have to be hit for in close games, Thole also lands in that category.  A solid RH bat would have value on this club and shouldn't be that expensive (assuming he has issues with RH pitchers thus cannot get an everyday job in the majors).

Now, who here now can cover that role?
Kratz has a 220/281/407 lifetime line, but has a reverse platoon split (just a 600 OPS vs LHP)
Brent Morel hits 100+ points higher vs LHP but still is sub 700 OPS (very poor hitter)
Steven Tolleson is a spring invitee who has a 283/372/409 minor league line (nice) and plays 2B/SS/3B/LF (80+ games at each) with an 807 OPS in AAA (IL) last year. For whatever reason he has just 129 PA in the majors (69 OPS+) with a 739 OPS vs LHP.  He is well worth giving a shot at that final bench slot imo as he'd probably out hit any of the other options and provide an extremely nice backup all over the place (25 games in CF as well in minors).  It is his age 30 season but right now if it is him or Sierra I'd be temped to go with Tolleson unless Sierra lights it up in spring (ie: shows he is ready for the show).
greenfrog - Monday, February 03 2014 @ 05:51 PM EST (#282334) #
There are lots of adjectives that could be used to describe the Rays' approach, but one of them is "stingy" (in the best sense). They do not give away outs easily, either on offense or defense. They give the impression of doing *everything* in their power not to squander outs. This tilts the odds in the favour. Over time, this translates into significantly more wins.

The Jays do not have the same ethos. They seem to accept that it's OK to give away outs and then to try to make up for it at other points in the game / series / season.

I would like to see this issue addressed -- not just a bit around the margins, but completely.
Shaker - Monday, February 03 2014 @ 05:58 PM EST (#282335) #
"Now, who here now can cover that role?"

25 year old Kevin Pillar - OPS vs LHP in MiLB:
2013:   .943 in 216 PA
2012:   .781 in 149 PA
2011: 1.136 in 61 PA
Pillar has been very old at each level.

I would prefer free agent Jeff Baker. 
187 OPS+ vs LHP last year.  Career .875 OPS vs LHP.  Career 1.338 OPS as LF.  Career 2.165 OPS as LF vs LHP when leading off and swinging at first pitch.
It will be important for us to get off to a good start vs LHP in 2014.
smcs - Monday, February 03 2014 @ 07:45 PM EST (#282336) #
I would like to see this issue addressed -- not just a bit around the margins, but completely.

Trading in Arencibia for Navarro is a step in the right direction.
John Northey - Monday, February 03 2014 @ 09:55 PM EST (#282337) #
Baker had a very good year last year, but the 3 years before that was a total line of 261/303/392 86 OPS+. Ugh. However, he can play many positions.  Lifetime in 465 games he has 50+ games at 2B/1B/3B/RF plus 35 in LF. Extremely useful. 

His UZR is positive at 2B (1000+ innings) and RF (426).  But in 500+ innings at 1B and at 3B he is fairly negative (-8.2 and -16.3 respectively).  He'd be a good replacement for DeRosa, a step up I'd think.  He has yet to make $2 mil in a season and from 2007 through 2013 he has had between 159 and 333 PA (just once over 250).  As a backup he would be a great choice.  Dump Izturis and sign Baker and I think it'd be a good trade.  Entering age 33 season, same as Izturis is.  I see him as being what Izturis was supposed to be.
christaylor - Tuesday, February 04 2014 @ 05:37 AM EST (#282338) #
The Jays tried the stingy approach you describe in 2008 IIRC.

Defense was an under exploited efficency about that time but now I wonder -- is a road the Jays ought to even consider? Does anybody even look at +/- anymore? That was a good one.

Apropos of nothing Dewan's Super Bowl prediction won me a little bit of walking around money (pounds now, but they have Darrin on the cash here, so cool). There's a nice free article on the Bill James site, if anyone is interested...
Dave Till - Tuesday, February 04 2014 @ 06:45 AM EST (#282339) #
I'm wondering whether the Jays can afford to sign anybody any more, thanks to the Canadian dollar. It's gone from near par to 90 cents, and might fall further. That's a significant loss.

I think that the Jays are better than their record from last year, but they need a real second baseman and (ideally) two more starting pitchers. I'm hoping for at least one starting pitcher, but I'm not expecting anything. And I still wonder whether Rogers has told AA that (a) he isn't getting any more money and (b) if he wants to keep his job, he's not allowed to tell anybody that he isn't getting any more money.

If the team makes no more moves, they'll be tougher to create effective marketing for, though. So perhaps we'll see something.

Beyonder - Tuesday, February 04 2014 @ 08:02 AM EST (#282340) #
It is not the value of the dollar today that is an issue, but rather the value of the dollar at the time it is paid out to the player. You are talking years down the road. Currency fluctuation may also be something that Rogers has hedged.
greenfrog - Tuesday, February 04 2014 @ 08:28 AM EST (#282341) #
The lower dollar might convince some American fans to take in a Jays game or two at the RC this summer.

This goings-on this off-season are making me curious about next off-season. Will the Jays make Rasmus a QO? My guess is that they will if he has another four-plus-win season. But maybe not if he has another 1-3 WAR season.
Mike Green - Tuesday, February 04 2014 @ 08:50 AM EST (#282342) #
I don't know if the point was made directly, but Gibbons does have a RH DH option with personnel on hand.  Kratz catches and Navarro DHs.  Ideally, you'd like to have a 3rd catcher on the roster with this setup, but that does not work well with the 7 (or 8!) man bullpen.  Where is Cesar Tovar when you need him?
Beyonder - Tuesday, February 04 2014 @ 09:46 AM EST (#282343) #
If all of this chatter from Olney and others about the Jays being in the drivers' seat in the starting pitching market is true, this could go from being one of the most unproductive offseasons to a good one very quickly.

Jiminez and Santana were both predicted to fetch big dollars. It now looks like they are both going to sign for less, and for shorter terms, than both Garza and Ricky Nolasco. If we can get either on anything approximating a Kyle Loshe-like deal, that has to be considered a huge win, and will be another well-played offseason for AA.
John Northey - Tuesday, February 04 2014 @ 10:06 AM EST (#282344) #
The roster is a challenge to predict at this stage.
CA: Navarro/Kratz/Thole - Thole the only proven knuckleball catcher
1B: Lind (EE wants to DH I read) mixed with ???
2B: Goins
3B: Lawrie
SS: Reyes
LF: Cabrera
CF: Rasmus
RF: Bautista
There are 11 players.  Izturis and Sierra would finish it off if going with a 7 man pen (as is likely).  Neither has options and neither is really that good a choice for a roster slot.  Ideally we'd see some combo of the guys signed for AAA depth or Stephen Drew to play 2B with Goins as backup or free agent Jeff Baker as a backup (2B/1B/OF/3B).  The 3 catcher idea I love, especially since Kratz is a RH hitter, Navarrao a switch hitter and Thole a LH. Great for the bench to have options and to rotate them in with Lind.

Rotation: Dickey, Buehrle, Morrow, and pick 2 (Happ, McGowan, Rogers, Drabek, Hutchison, Redmond, Jenkins, Nolin, ...)
Bullpen: Janssen, Cecil, Delabar, Santos, Loup and 2 of losers from rotation (Happ, McGowan, Rogers all serious pen contenders if not in rotation), the two Perez's, Jeffress, and Wagner.

Sheesh.  What a pile of players to pick from for the rotation and pen.  Add in another starter (Burnett, Arroyo, Jimenez, Evin Santana) and you are very, very crowded.  My favorite to win the 4/5 slots are Happ & McGowan with Rogers close behind. Hutchison taking over a slot mid-season and Redmond the #1 backup.  Add another guy to the mix though and McGowan I see in the pen along with Rogers.  But who knows.
whiterasta80 - Tuesday, February 04 2014 @ 11:29 AM EST (#282345) #
The 3 catcher thing relies very heavily on Navarro continuing to have a good bat. If so, it makes alot of sense. But that is an awful big if.
92-93 - Tuesday, February 04 2014 @ 11:42 AM EST (#282346) #
"and will be another well-played offseason for AA."

I must have missed the first one.
Mike Green - Tuesday, February 04 2014 @ 12:02 PM EST (#282347) #
Navarro has hit .267/.337/.441 over his career against LHP (about 600 PAs).  Even if 2013 was a one-year blip, he'll give you more than Lind as a DH.  Last year, he absolutely killed LHP and it was not a BABIP fluke (6 HRs, 9 walks and 5 strikeouts in 71 PAs).  I wondered if he did that because he was not facing the tough lefties.  It doesn't seem so.
Beyonder - Tuesday, February 04 2014 @ 12:38 PM EST (#282348) #
What did you say at the time of last years' Marlins and Mets deals 92-93?
Mike Green - Tuesday, February 04 2014 @ 01:29 PM EST (#282349) #
Whether one approved of last seasons' big deals or not has little to do with whether  the 2012-3 off-season, taken as a whole, was a success.  I speak as someone who gave the Marlins' deal a qualified thumbs up and the Mets' deal a thumbs down. 

Personally, I think that if the 2014 Blue Jays are to succeed, the key factor will not be the off-season moves but rather steps forward taken by young players- some combination of Lawrie, Hutchison, Stroman and Nolin, and better than average health. It would be nice if a starting pitcher and a second baseman arrived before the bell rings, and if good ones do (at non-crushing prices), I will count the off-season as a success.

greenfrog - Tuesday, February 04 2014 @ 01:33 PM EST (#282350) #
Kratz catches and Navarro DHs

Navarro occasionally DHing against lefties is an interesting idea, but I don't think he should be the starting DH in that role. Putting both catchers in the lineup would create problems. What if the Jays need to pinch-hit for Kratz (career 220/281/407 and 163/252/348 against LHP) late in the game? They won't be able to.

Also, having Navarro as the team's starting catcher and starting DH against lefties (and pinch-hitter for Lind) may be placing too much of a burden on him. He's barely shown that he can be a starting catcher. You don't want him wearing down.

Lastly, Navarro *might* be able to hit adequately against LHP, but he can't run. This is true of a number of DHs (including Lind), but why amplify the problem? Navarro on the basepaths would be quite different from, say, (a healthy) Cabrera on the basepaths.

I do think the team needs some more positional player versatility. This is another area in which the Rays might be a good role model for the Jays.
Beyonder - Tuesday, February 04 2014 @ 01:46 PM EST (#282351) #
Well obviously the 2012-2013 offseason wasn't a success -- even Paul Beeston admits that. By "well-played", I mean that AA had a strategy, the strategy made good sense at the time, and he executed it. By that definition, the 2012-13 offseason was well-played, and there is a chance that this one will be as well.

I think our expressed feelings at the time of the deal are relevant. It is easy to complain and criticize now that we know how the story has unfolded. Far more impressive to have taken an unpopular position at the time of the deal and maintained it throughout. And maybe 92-93 did that. I don't know. But I did have a quick look for his comments in the Dickey "Yea or Nay" column, and didn't see anything.

85bluejay - Tuesday, February 04 2014 @ 02:06 PM EST (#282352) #
Well put, Mike Green, couldn't agree more.
Mike Green - Tuesday, February 04 2014 @ 02:48 PM EST (#282353) #
As I said up-thread, greenfrog, Navarro DHing against lefties, would logically work with a 3 catcher setup.  Navarro catches 80 games against RHP and DHs for about 40.  Kratz and Thole divide up the remainder of catching outings.  You get the benefit of Navarro's bat while sparing his knees- it is possible to never have him catch on back-to-back days.

The problem is maximizing use of the limited roster spaces in the age of the long pen.  Which goes back to the difficulty with having a DH who is really suited to being a platoon player and does not really have any value defensively. 

92-93 - Tuesday, February 04 2014 @ 02:58 PM EST (#282354) #
"What did you say at the time of last years' Marlins and Mets deals 92-93?"

I was happy the Jays were making an effort to compete, but I was very skeptical of the way they were going about it after years of hearing about payroll parameters, the need for fiscal responsibility, and the importance of drafting and developing our own system. I was very concerned that the club was ballooning payroll to an unsustainable level I perceived Yunel's inclusion in the deal as nothing more than a salary dump and was upset by it, and I showed how AA included extra talent in the Dickey deal because he forced the Mets to absorb Buck's salary, something that very likely forced the Jays to cough up Syndergaard. I was also one of the only people here who didn't have a problem with what the Red Sox were doing, and I defended the Shields-Myers trade from KC's perspective, saying that it might actually help them compete. I had a pretty good winter.
92-93 - Tuesday, February 04 2014 @ 03:00 PM EST (#282355) #
*I was very concerned that the club was ballooning payroll to an unsustainable level and that the moves would require trimming off the roster in the future.
Ryan Day - Tuesday, February 04 2014 @ 03:35 PM EST (#282356) #
Three catchers could make sense if Thole regains his pre-2012 form - at least then, he's a useful pinch-hitter and occasional 1b or DH. But Thole v.2013 is solely "guy who catches Dickey", which I'm not sure is worth a roster spot even with two catchers.
greenfrog - Tuesday, February 04 2014 @ 04:05 PM EST (#282357) #
In games against a LHP, it seems awfully cumbersome to start two catchers (at C and DH), then pinch-hit for the C (Kratz) when necessary, then bring in a third catcher (Thole) to replace the pinch-hitter and catch the rest of the game.

In other words, four players would be required to pull off this particular sequence. At least two of the four (Kratz and Thole) have not established themselves as decent ML hitters. It would leave little room for flexibility at other positions and on the bench.

It's not an ideal use of resources. For me, the solution is greater team-wide positional (offensive and defensive) flexibility.
Mike Green - Tuesday, February 04 2014 @ 04:10 PM EST (#282358) #
Thole had a .213 BABIP last year.  Presumably, you can project him to do better than that and as a result to be something close to his career .251/.322/.322 line.  That won't hurt you for 40 full-time games and same late inning work.  The real problem, as I see it, is roster space.
whiterasta80 - Tuesday, February 04 2014 @ 04:20 PM EST (#282359) #
Even more reason for MLB to add that 26th roster spot. I think it would make games entirely more interesting.
John Northey - Tuesday, February 04 2014 @ 04:25 PM EST (#282360) #
Yeah, if he has an OPS that would be a good slg% then there is no room for Thole and the other guys just gotta learn to catch a knuckleball. 

Given the Jays have all of Dickey's main catchers and none were that good with the bat (including Blanco who is long gone) who else has knuckleball experience?
Catchers for Tim Wakefield who are still active...
Victor Martinez : with Detroit as a DH/1B once in awhile catching, not available and probably not a good choice to catch
Jarrod Saltalamacchia: with Miami now as their main catcher
George Kottaras: caught him 18 times, with the Cubs now and had a 98 OPS+ despite a sub 200 Avg. He was purchased from KC in the offseason
And that is it for guys who are active who caught 7+ innings of Wakefield.

Before Wakefield the last guy to pitch a lot who used a knuckleball was Steve Sparks.

Checking Sparks we get Brandon Inge (no longer a catcher) and Ramon Hernandez (signed by KC this winter after Jays released him in the summer).  That's it for guys still sorta/kinda active.

Yeah, not a lot of choices out there.  The best option is obviously Saltalamacchia but he is with the Marlins so who knows come mid-season when they can trade him (you cannot trade a free agent in the first few months of a season after you sign them).  Kottaras I'm surprised the Jays didn't get as he was super-cheap. Might be available at the end of spring again which seems odd for a guy who catches and has a lifetime OPS+ of 96 and hits left handed - wonder if he is more of a stone glove or if everyone just gets too caught up in batting average.
jerjapan - Tuesday, February 04 2014 @ 04:32 PM EST (#282361) #
I was very concerned that the club was ballooning payroll to an unsustainable level I perceived Yunel's inclusion in the deal as nothing more than a salary dump and was upset by it, and I showed how AA included extra talent in the Dickey deal because he forced the Mets to absorb Buck's salary, something that very likely forced the Jays to cough up Syndergaard.

What's your logic  for saying that we forced the Mets to take on Buck's salary?  Is there evidence of this, or that Yunel was a salary dump?  I'd be super upset if Yunel was a salary dump as he had a great contract, and I'd be more upset if the Jays gave up extra talent on the prospect end of the deal to dump Buck's salary. 
Chuck - Tuesday, February 04 2014 @ 04:47 PM EST (#282362) #
I concur that Buck was a salary dump (which came with a price to unload). Escobar was less a salary dump than a "problem child" dump (he's a 3-win player being paid like a 1-win player, to the Rays' joy).
92-93 - Tuesday, February 04 2014 @ 07:07 PM EST (#282363) #
Adam Rubin ‏@AdamRubinESPN 17 Dec 2012
John Buck needed to be in deal because Jays at their financial limit. Toronto needed Mets to take the $6M. That's why Thole a Jay.

Mike Wilner ‏@Wilnerness590 17 Dec 2012
AA: We could not have done this deal without John Buck being included in this trade from a salary standpoint. #Bluejays #Jays

As for Escobar, it says a lot that the Marlins instantly flipped him for a marginal prospect. They weren't demanding Yunel in the trade.
greenfrog - Tuesday, February 04 2014 @ 07:41 PM EST (#282364) #
Man, are we ever starved for some player moves.
stevieboy22 - Tuesday, February 04 2014 @ 07:46 PM EST (#282365) #
"As for Escobar, it says a lot that the Marlins instantly flipped him for a marginal prospect. They weren't demanding Yunel in the trade."

Good points.

As a fan I wish the Jays could have found a way to hold onto him and moved Reyes to second... I have heard Yunel wasn't well liked in the locker room, combine that with the homophobia blunder, and it appears they were looking to get rid of him regardless of his contract.

It also says something that one of the most respected (and frugal) organizations in baseball jumped at a chance to have Yunel....

You can't help but wonder to what degree the homophobia blunder played in the decision.

I would argue they could have found a way to keep Yunel if it weren't for all the off field stuff.
SK in NJ - Tuesday, February 04 2014 @ 09:29 PM EST (#282366) #
I have to question the intelligence of the organization if a homophobic slur, while immature and stupid, is enough to get rid of an underpaid player who is a big time asset at a premium position. I mean, what if Encarnacion had the eye black instead? Trade him for peanuts, too?

The Jays could have kept Escobar and no one but the PC police would have batted an eye, and even they would have forgotten about it by the time the 2013 season started, much like everyone in Tampa Bay did.

I just don't see the logic there. Sure the Braves dumped him for nothing too, but they don't have a payroll/talent issue like the Jays do. Escobar was arguably right behind Encarnacion and Bautista as best bang for the buck on the team.

If the Jays could have kept Escobar and made the same trade, then they should have done it.
SK in NJ - Tuesday, February 04 2014 @ 09:31 PM EST (#282367) #
According to Buster Olney, Santana's demands have apparently dropped to "perhaps a three year deal".

Looks like Alex waiting out the market was a smart move, but it remains to be seen whether the Jays end up with anyone.
christaylor - Wednesday, February 05 2014 @ 02:22 AM EST (#282368) #
I assume you're also aware that the climate in Toronto isn't the same as in Tampa, Saskatchewan, or New Jersey. I played ball when I was in MA, there's a similarity in climate on this issue as T.O.

Also, what do we know about what else Escobar was doing inside the club house, as there are things that are tolerated in the Big Smoke that are not tolerated in the boring Bay area.

He signed his ticket out of town during that season, eye black or no. Sometimes, people just have to leave, it is what it is.
Paul D - Wednesday, February 05 2014 @ 06:47 AM EST (#282369) #
You might think that the defensive short comings and injury risk more than make up the difference, but they got Jose Reyes, who has been a top 5 player in the past, to play shortstop.   They no longer needed Escobar.  I think you're over thinking this.
John Northey - Wednesday, February 05 2014 @ 07:00 AM EST (#282370) #
I see Escobar as one of those guys who wears out his welcome no matter how good he is. There always seems to be a few players like that around - ones who are extremely talented but pure poison in a locker room. Sometimes putting a ton of them together works (ala the early 70's Oakland A's) but most of the time it doesn't.  Escobar being run out of two organizations despite clearly having value says something.

Escobar traded for....
1) Tim Collins (traded to KC, 1.6 WAR in 3 seasons with 5.2 BB/9 and 9.7 K/9), Alex Gonzalez (77 OPS+ for Atlanta, 56 for Milwaukee since then) and Tyler Pastornicky (67 OPS+)
2) the big Marlins trade (Jays took on a ton of payroll)
3) Derek Dietrich (0.0 WAR last year in 57 games - 2nd round draft pick who had 34 games in AA before the trade)

Not just for 'magic beans' but not the return one would expect for a guy with 23.2 WAR so far, just reaching his age 31 season this year, and with an extremely team friendly deal (team options for $5 mil a year for this year and next).  The Jays and Atlanta aren't thought of as stupid organizations so something more must be there outside of the numbers.  And not just the eye black.
christaylor - Wednesday, February 05 2014 @ 07:03 AM EST (#282371) #
Fair enough, but I'm stuck on:

1) Why did Miami flip him?

2) Why not have Escobar fill what became a sink-hole at 2B? It wasn't as if AA wasn't flush last off-season.

If two was just a baseball decision and AA wanted what he got at 2B, he made a bad one and it is time get going moving on.

When do pitchers and catchers report? When is the first game on
Oceanbound - Wednesday, February 05 2014 @ 07:43 AM EST (#282372) #
Maybe AA thought Escobar would have chafed at being asked to move to second. Either way, they ended up with Izturis and Bonifacio post-trade, and even the most hardened pessimist couldn't have expected both of them to end up as horrible as they turned out to be.

Also, I really don't like the thought of signing Ervin Santana. I just get the feeling that he'll be really mediocre for somebody. Wouldn't be thrilled with Ubaldo either.
Chuck - Wednesday, February 05 2014 @ 09:04 AM EST (#282373) #
Position moves -- Reyes to 2B, Escobar to 2B -- have been discussed in a few posts. I think these are more difficult to pull off than we imagine. Players have tremendous pride and are often only moved off of positions long after they should have been, and after that move has been negotiated behind the scenes for a good long while. Organizations are reticent to force the issue since they don't want pissed off players.

Reyes signed a superstar's contract to play in Florida. I can't believe for a second that he would have tolerated being moved off of shortstop. Even now, with a compromised ankle, the ramp-up period to get him to move to another position will take some time, even years. Should the organization acquire a new shortstop any time soon, it will be that guy that gets moved to 2B, not Reyes.

As for Escobar, I think the eye black fiasco sealed his fate. There's no question his contract is insanely cheap, and all the moreso given the inflation we have witnessed this off-season (Escobar is getting 5M to be a starting shortstop; Rajai Davis is getting the same to be a platoon LF). I don't think it was finances that led to his departure from Toronto. I doubt the organization even gave serious consideration to moving him to 2B and somehow keeping him out of the Marlins trade. I think the blow to his ego, on top of his existing immaturity issues, would have made him unmanageable. As for the Marlins immediately flipping him, well, chalk that up to cheapness. With Hechavarria they figured they had a cheap, major league ready (or close enough for a team that didn't really care about on-field performance) shortstop. Escobar, at 5M, was both redundant and much too rich for their cheap blood so he had to go. Someone -- the Rays as it turns out -- figured to be the recipient of a gift contract.
Mike Green - Wednesday, February 05 2014 @ 11:17 AM EST (#282374) #
I missed the Fielding Bible awards for last year.  The only Blue Jay top 5 placements were Dickey and Buehrle. 
Beyonder - Wednesday, February 05 2014 @ 11:36 AM EST (#282375) #
I think it would be difficult to overstate the effect that the new draft pick compensation scheme is having on player salaries.

It is obvious that we are seeing free agents go at bargain prices. But I think we may also be seeing extensions (like Colby's) put off (or signed for a lower amount) because the team has a little more leverage from the compensatory pick they will get if a free agent leaves. It is total genius on the part of MLB, and if you believe (as I do) that player salaries drive ticket prices, the rules are a good thing for fans as well.
Paul D - Wednesday, February 05 2014 @ 11:41 AM EST (#282376) #
Aren't the current draft pick compensation rules less onerous than those from before? Before you'd lose your draft pick directly to the team you signed the player from, where as now they only get a sandwich pick. In either case you lose the pick. Plus, now middling relievers don't have compensation attached to them.

I don't think player salaries drive ticket prices, but that's another conversation.
Chuck - Wednesday, February 05 2014 @ 12:00 PM EST (#282377) #
if you believe (as I do) that player salaries drive ticket prices

What drives ticket prices for college football games?

Beyonder - Wednesday, February 05 2014 @ 12:08 PM EST (#282378) #
You're right Paul D, but I think that it is precisely the removal of draft pick compensation for middling players that has made first round draft picks more valuable. There is less dilution in the currency of draft picks.

Also, by capping what teams can spend in the draft, draft dollars are more valuable than they were before. So forfeiting draft slot allocation becomes a much heavier penalty.

Teams seem to be much more reticent to sign a free agent when it means forfeiting their first round picks.
Beyonder - Wednesday, February 05 2014 @ 12:14 PM EST (#282379) #
I think "supply and demand" is a very facile answer to a much more complex question.

I can say this: As a person who runs a business (of sorts), when the cost of my inputs go up, I do everything I can do to pass those costs along to customers rather than absorb them myself. Every business does the same.

Paul D - Wednesday, February 05 2014 @ 12:17 PM EST (#282380) #
Interesting points on the draft Beyonder.
CeeBee - Wednesday, February 05 2014 @ 12:55 PM EST (#282381) #
I think Beyonder is right about the draft/UFA thing. When all the A and B types cost a draft pick you would lose a pick if you wanted to sign any good free agents. So far under the new system around a dozen players each year have cost a pick and they are pretty much shunned unless they are lucky or an exceptional talent.
whiterasta80 - Wednesday, February 05 2014 @ 01:21 PM EST (#282382) #
I think that it is the fact that you can't just spend your way out of a lost pick now. Before if you signed a type A FA you could just make up for it by throwing a tonne of money at someone with signing "issues". With the picks tied to money now, the talent is more likely to be at the top of the draft.

Right now- signing a compensation-attached free agent when you don't have a protected pick essentially means that you will have to punt the next draft (2-2.5 million left to spend on the first 10 rounds).
John Northey - Wednesday, February 05 2014 @ 02:17 PM EST (#282383) #
There is a big difference between pro sports and other businesses though.
1) there is a limited supply of seats - once sold that is it, and if not sold by game day it has $0 value.  If you sell video games it drops in value over time to near $0 but always has some value for example plus more can always be made but you cannot add another 50,000 seats for a game vs the Yankees.

2) No direct competition. If you want to see a Blue Jays game you have to buy from the Jays. You cannot get a Jays ticket from the Argos (for example) unless there is a cross-promotion going on in which case the Jays still get some of the profits.

Teams price tickets 100% independently of the cost of players.  If the players agreed to make $100,000 a year each next year the Jays ticket prices wouldn't budge a penny.  Likewise, they didn't jump prices by 50% when they jumped payroll last winter.  If people are willing to pay $100 a ticket for front row seats at a Jays game then that is what will be charged.  The Maple Leafs, for example, charge far, far more than other clubs in the NHL - one source lists the Leafs average at $124.69 ($200.89 per 'premium' ticket) with the Jets #2 for average at $97.84.  The NHL average is $61.01 and the Dallas Stars are cheapest at $36.09.  Premium seats go from $307.35 (NY Rangers - Washingon, Leafs, and Canucks are the only ones over $200) to $66.48 for the Red Wings.  Last I checked the NHL has a cap so the Leafs are hardly spending double what the Red Wings are or 25% more than any other club.

So, bottom line?  Player salaries have nothing to do with what you pay for a ticket.  It only decides if a team is profitable or not.  If not profitable then the team will fold or move.
John Northey - Wednesday, February 05 2014 @ 02:28 PM EST (#282384) #
AA found a good way to work around it - drafting 'unsignables' late when they wouldn't cost him anything if they walked then when he couldn't sign his #1 he used the saved cash from other guys drafted in rounds 2-10 to sign a couple of those other guys.  A tough strategy to pull off as you need to know those guys really want to sign but are giving 'smoke signals' that they won't.  Not sure if it is the best strategy, but it might allow one to work around the limits.
Beyonder - Wednesday, February 05 2014 @ 02:38 PM EST (#282385) #
There is no difference between baseball and many similar kinds of businesses. People write about the business of baseball as though it follows its own rules, or that it is somehow unique, but it is really indistinguishable from many other businesses.

Lots of businesses have limited or fixed supplies of goods. Lots of businesses have high up front costs like video game designers. Lots of businesses have no "direct" competition in the sense you describe it (although the Blue Jays have plenty of competition in the entertainment industry, or more narrowly in the sports entertainment industry). These businesses still attempt to push costs onto their customers, and do so whenever they can. If you are going to say that baseball is different for some reason, you have to explain why.

You point about ticket prices not budging a penny is because prioces of most goods are sticky -- once they reach a certain level they tend to stay there.

By way of example, if all other teams in baseball doubled their salary levels, AA would be faced with a choice between fielding a substandard product, or following suit. If he follows suit by raising salary, he will need to either take a hit to his bottom line, or think about other ways of increasing revenue. One potential way of raising revenue is taking a chance on whether fans will bear the brunt of an increase in ticket prices.

I am not saying there is a direct one to one relationship. I am saying that increased costs sometimes find their way into ticket prices.
Ron - Wednesday, February 05 2014 @ 02:52 PM EST (#282386) #
Are MLB players underpaid?

Outside of Boras, no other agents are bringing up the fact while revenues are skyrocketing, the pie for the players is getting smaller and smaller. The players only received about 42% of revenues last season. The players in the other 3 major sports get around 50% of the revenues. I imagine this issue and the free agent compensation issue will be big sticking points during the next CBA negotiations.
stevieboy22 - Wednesday, February 05 2014 @ 03:27 PM EST (#282387) #
"Outside of Boras, no other agents are bringing up the fact while revenues are skyrocketing, the pie for the players is getting smaller and smaller. The players only received about 42% of revenues last season. The players in the other 3 major sports get around 50% of the revenues. I imagine this issue and the free agent compensation issue will be big sticking points during the next CBA negotiations."

I have never studied the financial statements of a major league baseball team, but wouldn't it make sense that baseball players would get a smaller piece of the pie than other leagues?

The NBA and NFL spend next to nothing on minor league development. Where as a major league baseball organization has at least 5 minor league teams to cover (plus extended spring training). And although many of these players might only make a few hundred dollars a month, they still have to be housed and transported and all the other associated costs that go along with this. This is likely a cost of over 200 players in total?

I don't know if draft bonuses would be included in the 42%. I also don't know how much it costs to run a minor league team, how much the local owner covers and how much the major league organization covers...

I would be interested to hear more about how that works if anyone does know...
greenfrog - Wednesday, February 05 2014 @ 06:10 PM EST (#282389) #
Info on 16-year-old pitcher Hansel Rodriguez, who has signed with the Jays for $330,000 (the Jays had the money to sign him as a result of the Rule 5 draft-and-trade of Brian Moran in December):

In the above article, Ben Badler writes that Rodriguez is around 6'2", 180, with a FB in the low-90s and an above average CB, making him one of the top arms available in Latin America after going unsigned last year on July 2. Badler adds:

Rodriguez adds to a wave of impressive young international talent the Blue Jays have signed in recent years, including righthanders Roberto Osuna, Alberto Tirado and Miguel Castro, along with shortstops Dawel Lugo, Franklin Barreto and Richard Urena, among others.
scottt - Wednesday, February 05 2014 @ 08:34 PM EST (#282390) #
Video games are sold to retailers who sell it back to customers. When a game does not sell and is discounted, the retailer asks for a credit which is used to buy the next game down the road. That's called price protection. Unsold inventories are destroyed, like unsold books. 

Ticket prices are not independent of salaries.  Prices are set to generate the most revenues. Higher payroll increases cost. but might increase attendance. The Jays approach has been to spend money to retain talent. Unfortunately, they have not been able to develop said talent. 

christaylor - Wednesday, February 05 2014 @ 09:47 PM EST (#282391) #
Oh, I don't know, but I didn't pay for my Harvard v. Yale ticket in 2012 and I didn't go either damn school.
smcs - Wednesday, February 05 2014 @ 10:40 PM EST (#282392) #
Are MLB players underpaid?

The highest tier of players are all near the top in terms of salaries earned by North American athletes. Robinson Cano, a very good 2B, signed a contract that will probably pay him more than the Miami Heat will pay Lebron James, the best basketball player in the world. The NBA system is also set up so that it is far more lucrative for a top player to re-sign with the same team, than sign with a different team.

The opposite side is that young players, like Mike Trout, make peanuts and have next to no room for negotiation for the first 6 years. The NBA, NHL and NFL all pay their top young players (1st round draft picks) more, and give them some negotiation power, earlier in their career. The disparity between the highest and lowest paid is probably the highest in the MLB.

Once baseball players have negotiation powers, there are virtually no limits on what they can ask for and what they can sign. NBA players are limited to 4 or 5 year contracts, starting at a max of roughly $15MM with very exact numbers in terms of escalation year to year (7.5% per year, I believe). NHL players are limited to 7 or 8 years, with a realistic top at around $10MM, but a CBA-negotiated max at a certain percentage of the total cap, with teams being heavily penalized for negotiating 'dead years' to lower the overall cap number. NFL players can ask or negotiate whatever they want, but there is virtually no guarantee to what they are signing. The numbers may seem large for NFL players, but the reality is that the stated salaries of years 4 and beyond in a contract are heavily dependent on the player still being on the roster.

So, are MLB players underpaid? The bottom of the league probably is, compared to their peers in the NHL or NBA, because of the sheer number of AAAA-type players, but the top level players definitely make more than the top players in the NHL, and there are more top earners than in the NFL or NBA. Just as an example, the 2014 Jays will probably have 4 guys make more then $10MM. The 2013 Buffalo Bills had 2 guys make more than $10MM. The Leafs have 0. The 2013-14 Raptors have 0, and teams are generally maxed out at 3.

This is something that likely won't change with the next CBA, because the current members of the MLBPA will be the guys eligible for the huge raises at the expense of the low service time players, who will have much smaller voice within the PA.
christaylor - Wednesday, February 05 2014 @ 11:53 PM EST (#282393) #
I like the current system baseball has it seems most in-line with the balance of government regulation (read: commish) and unmitigated American greed after years of toil -- echoes of the American experience.

Work hard and be gifted with luck of opportunity and heath, succeed, or perhaps get injured/ill perhaps go bankrupt. Trout is just the latest in a long line of young players who will be paid.

Perhaps affordable insurance against injury, for young players and bubble players that pays out against an estimated expectation of future earning is the answer to the youth being underpaid during some of their best years. What about this: make the players buy their own health insurance or pay a fee. For arb players, the team pays the health insurance. For FA, their on their own to insure their right arm with Lloyds.

The NBA, NHL, and NFL seem to be versions of the same messed up system; they're variations on a them.

...and don't get me started on the Michigan Wolverine's big house and the indentured servants who take the field there.
John Northey - Thursday, February 06 2014 @ 08:07 AM EST (#282394) #
The NBA and NFL both have a cheaper farm system - the US College system.  Those players are 'paid' well under $50k a year depending on college (factoring in 'full ride' and partial). Those players don't factor into payroll or service time.  Also MLB has the gold plan for pensions (what the union first fought for) where it maxes out for a fair number of players and anyone who reaches the majors for a single day of service time gets something for life.

The MLB union should fight to shift free agency back to 5 years and arbitration to 2 years as that would have the greatest impact on players. As Marvin Miller said back in '85 it was a major mistake of the union to let it shift to 3 years for arbitration then.  Increases in the minimum are also good to fight for as that forces the Miami's and Tampa's of the world to pay more as well.

Mike Green - Thursday, February 06 2014 @ 09:55 AM EST (#282395) #
Here's a great article on hang-time and outfield defence.  FWIW, the Blue Jay outfield defence last year (at least in the flycatching department)  appears to have been about average, maybe a bit below.  That basically fits with what you would expect- Rasmus being a little above average and Cabrera being a lot below, but Rasmus being more important.  
greenfrog - Thursday, February 06 2014 @ 12:38 PM EST (#282396) #
Very good article. I wonder if this is something the Jays have considered, or whether it's news to them. Subjectively, it seemed pretty clear that Cabrera's lack of mobility was really hurting the team defensively.

Arroyo's ask is reportedly now 2/$22m. Would AA sign Santana or Jimenez if the price dropped to, say, 3/$36m?
Mike Green - Thursday, February 06 2014 @ 04:08 PM EST (#282397) #
Ralph Kiner has died.  He was a great hitter for about 8 years.  Looking back at his career gave rise to a question that maybe somebody knows the answer to.  Kiner led the league in home runs as a 23 year old rookie  in 1946 with 23, ahead of among others Johnny Mize, Stan Musial and Del Ennis.  I wondered if there was something with the baseballs after the war.  Mize had hit 40 homers before, and would again.  Musial and Ennis developed power a little later. 

Mize got into only 100 games in 1946 and maybe it was just a random thing.  The league leaders, aside from Mize, prior to America's entry into the war were Ott and Camilli, and they were done by 1946. 
Gerry - Thursday, February 06 2014 @ 04:59 PM EST (#282398) #
Brett Wallace has been DFA'd by the Astros.  The Jays trading for him was a mistake, the Jays then getting rid of him was better.
Ryan Day - Thursday, February 06 2014 @ 05:06 PM EST (#282399) #
I don't know if you can really call trading for Wallace a mistake - Michael Taylor has spent most of the past 4 years in the PCL, with a handful of forgettable MLB games.
92-93 - Thursday, February 06 2014 @ 07:06 PM EST (#282400) #
If Arroyo can get 2/22, you'd think Santana can get more than 3/36. I can't see him coming to Toronto for just that, the offers would have to be really weak everywhere else.

I still don't think the Yankees are done. Sabathia-Kuroda-Tanaka-Nova-Phelps is not a strong rotation, and Drew is an obvious fit.
christaylor - Thursday, February 06 2014 @ 07:39 PM EST (#282401) #
I realize that this is veering way off the topic of baseball, but to call the NCAA a farm system is a little perverse -- it is more of a culling system than a farm system.

The incentives are misaligned, coaches run their players into the ground and spit them out, player development means nothing to them in general.

Is the education that Spartan players (be they Basketball or Football) or any of the top NCAA sports teams worth 50k*4... I would say not. There are the odd exceptions, true, but in general the utility of an athletes Bachelor's degree is on par with a good community college. Yes, it is that bad. Not to knock on people who would not be given a chance in the messed-up world of America higher education, but they aren't punching a golden ticket by any means, and the running players into the ground on the field and mollycoddling them off, that creates problems.

My one data point is Harvard -- no athletic scholarships are given. The Ivy League isn't exactly representative, but Harvard has tried hard recently to field a competitive basketball team without break its own rules.
Richard S.S. - Thursday, February 06 2014 @ 07:59 PM EST (#282402) #
If A.A. could get Ervin Santana or Ubaldo Jimenez for 3-4 years at $14.0 MM - $15.0 MM per year he should jump at signing them both. Four Starters capable of 200 IP, should let the team compete. Should one of the young Starters develop enough to win a job, in a year or two, Pitchers can be traded, just keep the best ones.
Ron - Thursday, February 06 2014 @ 09:47 PM EST (#282403) #
One way to ensure younger players get more money is to scrap the draft and make every incoming player a free agent. Who wants to be the next Curt Flood?
sweat - Thursday, February 06 2014 @ 10:10 PM EST (#282404) #
The only reason to get both would be to trade Buehrle for a 2b. They have lots of guys to compete for that 5th spot.
soupman - Friday, February 07 2014 @ 12:32 AM EST (#282405) #
skydome is a hitter's park. santana gave up more HRs than probably anyone in two relative caverns.

signing him, especially to a 3 year deal basically means we have to see him run out there to get obliterated for 3 years. if the jays "prize" this offseason is santana, pass the barf bag.

remember when we used to laugh at the angels for incorrectly evaluating OUR players?
dan gordon - Friday, February 07 2014 @ 03:22 AM EST (#282406) #
Mike Green - That's an interesting suggestion about 1946 HR totals. Mize had a broken hand in 1946, which probably hurt his performance. He was really up and down with the HR totals throughout his career (28,43,16,26,22,51,40,19,25 from 1939 to 1950).

As far as Kiner is concerned, the fence was moved in dramatically in LF in Pittsburgh after the 1946 season, from 365 to 335 feet. There were hitters in the AL who had a lot of HRs, T.Williams hit 38, Greenberg hit 44, Charlie Keller hit 30.

I think part of it was that there was a bit of a gap between the early power hitters of the 20's 30's (Gehrig, Ruth, Foxx, Ott, Klein) and the big generation of power hitters that came into the game in the late 40's and 50's (Snider, Mays, Mantle, Musial, Matthews, Hodges). Musial was already playing by 1946, but didn't develop as a power hitter until 1948. The war gap may have hindered the development of several players as well, and ended the careers of others. Tough to come back after a few years off in your 30's.
John Northey - Friday, February 07 2014 @ 07:03 AM EST (#282407) #
Agreed that Santana is not a solid choice for the Jays.  The big free agents and a few ratios...
Bronson Arroyo: lifetime HR/9: 1.2 BB/9: 2.5 K/9: 5.8 Age 37
Ervin Santana: lifetime HR/9: 1.2 BB/9: 2.8 K/9: 7.1 Age 31
A.J. Burnett: lifetime HR/9: 0.9 BB/9: 3.7 K/9: 8.3 Age: 37
Ubaldo Jimenez:  lifetime HR/9: 0.7 BB/9: 4.0 K/9: 8.3 Age 30

That would be going from worst HR/9 to best.  1/2 a HR per 9 innings is a massive spread and that isn't factoring in that Jimenez pitched in Colorado for 5 1/2 seasons. 
xFIP (adjusting for H/9 and HR/9) gives us... Jimenez: 3.96, Burnett 3.66, Santana 4.24, Arroyo 4.39

To my thinking, especially given Burnett would probably prefer Baltimore or Washington, Jimenez is easily the best choice.  Wildness is an issue, but for a 3 or fewer year deal I think Jimenez has the best shot at success here given age and raw numbers.
John Northey - Friday, February 07 2014 @ 07:11 AM EST (#282408) #
FYI: for those wondering, Colorado's smallest effect on pitching was a 108 PF (ie: upped offense 8%) while the strongest the Jays have ever seen is a 110 (1982 Exhibition) which is the only time they had a 108 or stronger. Skydome's strongest two are a 105 in 1990 and a 104 in 2011.

So only once have Toronto pitchers ever seen a park as hard to pitch in as Colorado is every single season and that was way back when Lloyd Moseby was in his 2nd season and just 22 (as was Jesse Barfield and George Bell who spend the year in the minors) while Dave Stieb was the Jays ace in a 4 man rotation (38 starts).

timpinder - Friday, February 07 2014 @ 07:59 AM EST (#282409) #

Soupman and John Northey,

I've been thinking the same thing for a while now and I couldn't agree more.  Jimenez is the only remaining FA starter that I'd like the Jays to sign at this point (assuming Burnett is off the board).  Some people point to the addition of a sinker to Santana's repertoire in 2013 and his career best 46.2 GB%, but he still gave up 1.11 HR/9 in spacious Kauffman Stadium.  He's always been very prone to giving up HR's.  I think he'd be eaten alive in Toronto and I'd bet Hutchison would outperform Santana at Rogers Centre in 2014.

Jimenez on the other hand has clearly been a better pitcher than Santana over the past 5 years.  His FB velocity has dropped, but he seemed to compensate well last year by throwing fewer fastballs and more sliders and split-finger fastballs.  His batted ball percentages last year seemed to generally be consistent with the previous 4 years, with 2012 being the outlier of course.  Not that Jimenez would be a savior and catapult this team to the World Series, but I see him as a clear improvement over Happ so at the very least he could help the Jays.  Other than consuming innings, I'm not sure that Santana would be a marked improvement. 

Even with Jimenez, I don't think the Jays are getting to the playoffs without a fully healthy season from Morrow and one of the young starters, namely Hutchison or maybe Stroman, stepping up and usurping Happ as the 5th starter.  But signing Jimenez would be a step in the right direction.  The added bonus of signing Jimenez over Santana would be that he'd likely come cheaper.

greenfrog - Friday, February 07 2014 @ 08:25 AM EST (#282410) #
One advantage to the falling prices for Jimenez and Santana is that if the Jays can sign one (or both) to a relatively team-friendly contract, he could be an attractive trade chip if the Jays fall out of contention.
John Northey - Friday, February 07 2014 @ 10:32 AM EST (#282411) #
Hmm greenfrog... gets me thinking...
Could it be worth it to the Jays to sign a few of these free agents who have draft picks attached then trade mid-season if they aren't needed?  Right now teams are going a bit coo-coo about their draft picks.  The highest pick that can be lost this year is #12 (since the Jays #11 is protected).

All time the #12 overall pick has reached the majors for at least a cup of coffee 31 out of 49 times.  Of those who reached the average WAR is 9.5.  The best is Nomar Garciaparra followed by Kirk Gibson, Jered Weaver, Billy Wagner, Delino DeShields and Matt Morris.  Those 6 are the total #12 picks who had 20+ WAR (so far).  8 players had negative WAR, another 9 under 5 suggesting those 17 were pretty much a waste of time (easily replaced).  8 more were 5-19 WAR, so those had some value and might have been worth as much as some free agents.

Thus you can say 14 of the 49 players drafted in the #12 slot (which probably would be best of the potential lost picks) had enough value to make one hesitate about signing a free agent.  The most recently drafted guy in that group was from 2004 so remove the last 9 and you have 14 of 40 or 35%.  Thus a 1 in 3 chance of getting a player of significant value in 3-6 years or a player who helps you today is the choice.  Or a 15% chance at a star level player who would almost certainly be worth more than the free agent and at a very low cost. 

Yeah, if you are at the 'near playoff' level of the success cycle then skipping a decent free agent just to save that pick is a mistake. And since the Jays would lose a 2nd/3rd/4th round pick if they signed 3 guys then it would be well worth it to sign them if they think the player would be worthwhile trading mid-season.  If they think Santana can hold up in the dome, sign him and Jimenez and then trade one mid-season if you can get a good package (one or two prospects, who would probably be better prospects than the average 2nd/3rd round pick). Grab a 3rd free agent and do the same with him (or with the guy he'd replace).
Mike Green - Friday, February 07 2014 @ 10:46 AM EST (#282412) #
The February 9 birthday team has no Hall of Famers, but quite a few familiar names:

C- Pat Moran
1B- Charlie Jamieson
2B- Damaso Garcia
SS- Tom Daly
3B- Carney Lansford
LF- Spike Shannon
CF- Endy Chavez
RF- Al Smith
DH- Benny Ayala
Bench- Eliezer Alfonso (C), Mel Almada (OF), Andy Reese (UIF), Charlie Reipschlager (C/OF/1B)

SP- Earl Whitehill
SP- Juan Pizarro
SP- Burt Hooton
SP- Scott Feldman
SP- Charlie Puleo

RP- Dan Quisenberry
RP- Josh Collmenter
RP- Brad Hennessey
RP- Seth McClung
RP- Cy Moore

Jamieson was mostly an outfielder (and a poor fielding one at that).  I am pretty sure that he would have been a better defensive first baseman than Willie Stargell even if he didn't hit as well.  Tom Daly was Craig Biggio-lite.  He started out his career as a catcher than moved out to second base in his late 20s.  He played a bit of shortstop, and would probably have been better there defensively than Damaso Garcia.  You do have some other defensive choices.  Lansford could play first base, with Al Smith at third and Jamieson in the outfield if you wanted- but my guess is that the alignment I have suggested would be better.

It's a long-sequence offence, with one too many offensive sinkholes.  It would be so much better with a natural shortstop, Daly at second base and Damo (sorry) on the bench or getting limited work while Daly catches. 

christaylor - Friday, February 07 2014 @ 12:04 PM EST (#282413) #
Not to be thick -- but didn't a bunch of people return to baseball in 1946?

Is that not a more parsimonious explanation than a broken hand?
christaylor - Friday, February 07 2014 @ 12:11 PM EST (#282414) #
Dan Quisenberry -- an under-rated pitcher, even with the success he had. "The future is like the present, only longer"... I would think it funny if the Jays were beaten in the ALCS by an upstart Royals team this year. One can only hope...
soupman - Friday, February 07 2014 @ 12:17 PM EST (#282415) #
Tommy Hanson is talking to the rangers, according to mlbtr.

Didn't know he was a FA. Man, he fell off a cliff. I don't get it - i hear most concerns are a velocity dip of a couple mph...

too bad it's a week before pitchers report, because he sort of seems like the kind of guy they might have wanted to take a flyer on to try out the weighted ball program.

seems like this offseason had lots of potential to attract guys for that reason...but maybe it's not exactly rocket science.
greenfrog - Friday, February 07 2014 @ 12:33 PM EST (#282416) #
From Klaw chat (I didn't know this, at least not to this level of specificity - it explains a lot):

Matt (Toronto)

I've heard players and analysts on MLB network radio absolutely ripping Toronto for its tax rates. How much does this factor into players signing here? isn't a lot of it inacurate?

Klaw (1:44 PM)

Highest marginal rates of any MLB city, right? Over 51%. So the Jays have to pay more - about 10% more than any other team - to land a free agent. Cost of doing business.
SK in NJ - Friday, February 07 2014 @ 12:58 PM EST (#282417) #
According to some articles, Jimenez is looking for three years, and between $35-40M. If that is accurate, then I'm surprised he hasn't been signed yet. I wonder what Toronto's offer is? Apparently the Jays have a price and are only going to sign Jimenez or Santana if they fall to that price.

I've given up on Burnett. He's my first choice based on the options available but I think he goes back to Pittsburgh. After him, Jimenez is clearly the best option. A little unpredictable, but that is the market. Santana and Arroyo at Rogers Centre just seems like a very bad idea, so I'd remove them from my list.
92-93 - Friday, February 07 2014 @ 01:24 PM EST (#282418) #
I think Law is grossly underestimating the premium the Jays must pay to bring a FA here, unless that figure is solely from a tax perspective.
Gerry - Friday, February 07 2014 @ 01:36 PM EST (#282419) #

The marginal tax rate in Ontario now is around 46%.  However ball players spend a lot of days out of Canada so they minimize tax on their earnings.  I think "some" US players don't like having to pass through customs so often, don't like having no ESPN on their TV's and don't like having to sit through 35 minutes of hockey coverage on TSN or Sportsnet before getting to their 5 minutes of baseball.  Plus the weather at the start of the year is an issue to some, bearing in mind that Detroit, Minnesota or Milwaukee or no better.

The tax issue is a red herring for me.  Ontario taxes are not too far off the taxes charged in some US state/city combinations.  No tax states like Florida or Texas don't get all the best ballplayers.  There is little evidence that tax plays a role in player signing, I think the mention of taxes is an excuse to cover for other things.

Paul D - Friday, February 07 2014 @ 01:40 PM EST (#282420) #
I think Law is grossly underestimating the premium the Jays must pay to bring a FA here, unless that figure is solely from a tax perspective. This stuff is so hard to figure out, since you don't get good details on offers which were turned down. I tend to lean towards the idea that if anything, Law is over stating it - Players pretty much go to whichever team will pay them the most, the the times when Toronto has offered the most money and been turned down are extremely rare. Maybe. Possibly. Who knows.
92-93 - Friday, February 07 2014 @ 02:11 PM EST (#282421) #
I find it hard to believe that it only took an extra 1m to sign Izturis or 1.6m to sign Melky. I think the Jays were MUCH higher above the next best offer than 10%, in these scenarios. Probably at least 33%.
Paul D - Friday, February 07 2014 @ 02:22 PM EST (#282422) #
I think Melky signed here because Toronto was the only team willing to guarantee a second year.
92-93 - Friday, February 07 2014 @ 02:38 PM EST (#282423) #
Right. And an extra year is a heck of a lot more than 10%. I think that's why Maicer chose Toronto as well.

The Jays need to make up for a lot more than just a tax difference when they want to sign a free agent.
Gerry - Friday, February 07 2014 @ 02:42 PM EST (#282424) #
Ben Nicholson-Smith suggests the Jays are waiting for Ubaldo or Santana to get an offer and then the agents will come to them to match or beat the offer.  It's a form of a game of chicken.
Paul D - Friday, February 07 2014 @ 02:47 PM EST (#282425) #
Right, but that extra year wasn't a Toronto premium, that was the "Get Melky" premium. The team that 'wins' a free agent always pays more than anyone else offered.
Ryan Day - Friday, February 07 2014 @ 03:03 PM EST (#282426) #
I remember reading somewhere that it was Anthopoulos who wanted the 2nd year, not Cabrera - the idea that a one-year deal would primarily benefit Cabrera, who could would use it to re-establish his PED-free value and then bolt to another team.

I can't find anything online right now, though, so perhaps I made it up.
Richard S.S. - Friday, February 07 2014 @ 03:20 PM EST (#282427) #
A.A. wanted the second year on Melky. Melky and his Agent wanted a one year (with incentives) "pillow contract" to prove his worth. A.A. paid about $3.0 MM-ish more if he'd go two years. ( So basically $5.0MM in 2013 and $11.0 MM in 2014). Without the suspension (getting caught), Melky would have gotten a minimum of $75.0 MM over 5 years.

A.A. believed (until Bonifacio was acquired) that Maicer was going to be his Starting 2B and gave another year to acquire him. A.A. went through all this last season, how we forget.

Agents have been asked about why Athletes don't want to come to Toronto. The main reason is not knowing about Toronto. Taxes, Turf and Customs are just excuses they use to not know.
John Northey - Friday, February 07 2014 @ 03:29 PM EST (#282428) #
There are a lot of issues for players when they sign somewhere.  I suspect the order of issues though is fairly simple.
#1) Most money - always an easy selling point if you offer more than anyone else, often is all it takes
#2) Contender - especially for players late in their careers who haven't won yet
#3) Location - close to wherever the player is from
#4) Unpredictable issues - from wife likes the area (or hates it) to 'large Jewish community' to schools to who knows what.  For examples of each see Storm Davis, Shawn Green, and an assortment of players respectively.

The Jays in the early 90's had #2 easily plus #1 often.  #3 will rarely be a plus for the Jays, but also an issue for many other clubs (who wants to go to Pittsburgh).  I suspect 1/2 the teams in MLB need to be like the Jays once were (top contenders and top dollar) to get the quality free agents. Look at what Seattle shelled out for Cano, or what Texas did for A-Rod years ago for extreme examples.  It isn't just a Jays problem, it is a problem all clubs hit.

Heck, back in the early 90's no one wanted to go to the Yankees as I recall. They were a bad team, had a nightmare owner, and insanity was around the club non-stop.  So everyone has it happen.
timpinder - Friday, February 07 2014 @ 03:55 PM EST (#282429) #

Ryan Day,

You're right.  I distinctly remember AA saying that in an interview.

Mike Green - Friday, February 07 2014 @ 04:48 PM EST (#282430) #
The A's extended Coco Crisp for 2015 and 2016 at $11 million/year with a vesting option for 2017 at $13 million.  Crisp is now 33 years old.  My initial reaction: that's insane.  I looked up his BBRef age comps; they included David DeJesus, Steve Finley and Jose Cruz Sr; some of the other comps, like Jimmy Piersall, don't really fit other than statistically. 

It does look like Crisp's talent set does tend to age better than most.  I guess I have to wrap my head around the idea that Crisp might hit 30 homers this year...
Beyonder - Friday, February 07 2014 @ 04:49 PM EST (#282431) #
I think Gerry is correct. For one, if players are getting any advice at all, I think it unlikely that they are paying the highest marginal rate the way we all might. If the income is earned through a corporation, that company may be able to hold onto the money until it decides to path it out to the player as a dividend, at a much lower tax rate.

Second, if taxes played a huge role in player signings, you would see scores of players flocking to Florida, Texas, and Washington teams (or signing at a discount there), since they have no state income tax.

Lastly, Toronto is not the only jurisdiction with high tax rates:

This raises another issue with Keith Law. Toronto has not signed a big ticket free gent since BJ Ryan, and yet he seems totally comfortable stating that a 10% premium is required. It's fine to hold that view, but it is not one anyone can hold with anything resembling certainty.
soupman - Friday, February 07 2014 @ 05:52 PM EST (#282432) #
i just took him to mean that players are going to look at their take-home pay, not the club's payroll #s when making a decision.
Mylegacy - Friday, February 07 2014 @ 06:21 PM EST (#282433) #
A player - say my age (67) and skill set (nil) playing for a MLB minimum salary (400,000.00 ish) could expect to get very few (OK no) endorsement contracts. A slightly younger player (one not in need of a hip replacement in the next year or two) who can smile for the camera's and say "cheese" could on the other hand secure some endorsements. This situation would impact his earnings, thus his taxes, etc.

I imagine Cano left MILLIONS on the table by going to Seattle over what he could have earned in NY (the big apple, sewer central). Had he accepted less baseball salary in the Bronx, I can't see any scenario, with endorsements, in which he would not earn MORE than he is earning on the We(s)t Coast. Perhaps, he longs to be a "12."
Richard S.S. - Friday, February 07 2014 @ 06:29 PM EST (#282434) #
Bronson Arroyo signs two years for $23.5 MM ($9.5 MM per plus buy out). So the least any Free Agent Pitchers is going to sign for is three plus years and $12.0 MM or more.
Lylemcr - Friday, February 07 2014 @ 06:38 PM EST (#282435) #

"Players pretty much go to whichever team will pay them the most".

I totally disagree with this.  The players talk to each other and they find out what organizations are good to play for,etc etc.  So, when you have a bad rep, or other issues (like you are not in contention), you have to overpay.

I think of Seattle as a great example.  The Seahawks were able to attract top free agents this off season at bargain prices.  It had alot to do with Pete Caroll and the ability to win.  The Mariners had to overpay to get Cano and have a reputation for a bad management team.

Paul D - Friday, February 07 2014 @ 07:33 PM EST (#282436) #

I totally disagree with this.  The players talk to each other and they find out what organizations are good to play for,etc etc.  So, when you have a bad rep, or other issues (like you are not in contention), you have to overpay.

I think of Seattle as a great example.  The Seahawks were able to attract top free agents this off season at bargain prices.  It had alot to do with Pete Caroll and the ability to win.  The Mariners had to overpay to get Cano and have a reputation for a bad management team.

What's the evidence for this in baseball?  Seriously, there's virtually none.  Highest bidder wins at least 95% of the time.

whiterasta80 - Friday, February 07 2014 @ 08:22 PM EST (#282437) #
Actually I think there's plenty of evidence that highest bidder doesn't always win. The Cardinals and Red Sox have regularly got discounts on players over the last little while (Beltran comes to mind). The Padres and Athletics get a yearly discount on a pitcher looking to turn things around (Colon, Kazmir, JJ). That's just what comes to mind immediately.
Paul D - Saturday, February 08 2014 @ 08:03 AM EST (#282438) #
Well the problem with this discussion is that ultimately it's all circular.  I don't think there's anything to suggest that Colon, Kazmir or JJ took less than they could have made elsewhere.  Which all gets back to the fact that we don't usually know the details of contracts which have been turned down. 
whiterasta80 - Saturday, February 08 2014 @ 11:07 AM EST (#282439) #
Convenient to leave Beltran (documented) out of the equation. Like I said, that was off the top of my head and I was pretty sure that Colon and Kazmir were documented (as it happens they weren't). But Tim Hudson is, ditto Shane Victorino (last season) and mike Napoli (this). There's plenty of examples that are definitive.
Hodgie - Saturday, February 08 2014 @ 01:24 PM EST (#282440) #
I fail to see how Victorino is a clear example - Boston was generally derided for paying the player 3Y/$39M and the only other significant offer that was reported at the time was the Indians 4Y/$44M.
Lylemcr - Saturday, February 08 2014 @ 05:01 PM EST (#282441) #

There is also no evidence to show that it always money.  You don't know what contracts people are getting offered and they are refusing.

If it was all about money, you would not see things like "no trade contracts", or even better "Don't trade me to team x,y and z". 

Like I said about Seattle, Avril and Bennett came here(for the Seahawks) at a discount because of the opporunity to play in a winning franchise.  Mariners have documented proof of being a bad franschise and that is why they had to overpay to get Cano.

Also, Safeco is known as a pitcher friendly park and kills hitters.  Why would you want to sign as a hitter here?  Toronto has the same problem, but visa versa.

Last, another problem in Seattle is that you will not get the press coverage you will get in the east coast (or LA).  If you want national coverage, this is not the place to be.  Toronto has the same problem.  It is the center of the Universe, if you are Canadian, but barely exists if you are American.

Four Seamer - Saturday, February 08 2014 @ 05:18 PM EST (#282442) #
I would be extremely cautious about trying to compare NFL and MLB free agency experience, if for no other reason than the fact that MLB contracts are guaranteed and NFL contracts are not.  Selling yourself to the highest bidder does not necessarily put more dollars in your jeans if you can be cut at any time, which players (no matter how good) on bad teams routinely are. 
Lylemcr - Saturday, February 08 2014 @ 07:48 PM EST (#282443) #

Ok.  Football and baseball is different.  But, Seattle is the same. 

Bottom line for me, the Blue Jays are not as desirable as everyone thinks.  It is not just a money issue.

bpoz - Saturday, February 08 2014 @ 08:15 PM EST (#282444) #
Thanks on the info on Hansel Rodriguez, greenfrog..
Thomas - Sunday, February 09 2014 @ 12:42 AM EST (#282445) #
I think the Dodgers made a very good signing in getting Maholm at $1.5 million for one year.

If the Jays don't have a huge amount of money to spend, I'd rather them have signed Maholm and Stephen Drew than Ervin Santana.
whiterasta80 - Sunday, February 09 2014 @ 07:42 AM EST (#282446) #
So to clarify, we are saying that Victorino is not an example by citing the proof that he did turn down more total money? I'm assuming that you arguing that AAV trumps total $ in this case but at 33 I'd argue that it doesn't. Either way the Beltran, and Hudson examples stand as well documented and I'm getting a bit tired of having to chase down examples of something that MLBPA goes to great lengths to prevent being documented. In my opinion it happens (taking less $ or years) often. I'd love to poll the site because I think most people would agree.

Agreed Thomas re-Maholm. At that price he would have made me a lot more comfortable next year and would have given AA a backup should he swing and miss on the other free agents.
Chuck - Sunday, February 09 2014 @ 08:12 AM EST (#282447) #
In my opinion it happens (taking less $ or years) often. I'd love to poll the site because I think most people would agree.

I don't think anyone would argue that it never happens. The question is, how often does it really happen? And absent the hard data (a couple of data points notwithstanding), all anyone can do is guess.

whiterasta80 - Sunday, February 09 2014 @ 08:40 AM EST (#282448) #
Fair point. Just to clarify: my original response was to a statement that 99.5% of the time it is about money. I found that incredibly high.
Oceanbound - Sunday, February 09 2014 @ 09:39 AM EST (#282449) #
Well the Seattle and Cano thing is sure in favour of money being more important. I don't think anyone is arguing that every place is equal in the eyes of players, just that if you throw enough money at them, they'll generally forget about any "problems".
Chuck - Sunday, February 09 2014 @ 10:43 AM EST (#282450) #
just that if you throw enough money at them, they'll generally forget about any "problems".

Especially because money is so often used as a barometer for respect. And I imagine that holds true for a great many in general society as well.

Mike Green - Sunday, February 09 2014 @ 11:16 AM EST (#282451) #
Happy 30th birthday, Dioner Navarro.  The February 9 birthday team features an impressive everyday lineup:

C-    Dioner Navarro/Todd Pratt
1B-  Pete O'Brien
2B-  Akinori, Iwamura
SS- Specs Toporcer
3B- Heinie Zimmerman
LF-  Vic Wertz
CF- Mookie Wilson
RF- Vladimir Guerrero
DH-John Kruk

Bench- Clete Boyer, Buzz Boyle, Charlie Bassett (all of these guys could play)

The pitching staff is nowhere near as good:

SP- Tex Hughson
SP- Jim Nash
SP- Eddie Solomon
SP- Roy Mahaffey
SP- Erv Palica

RP- John Urrea
RP- Pat Underwood
RP- Freddie Schmidt
RP- Doug Linton
RP- John Burke

It's not quite the Big Red Machine, but I think this club would do all right, winning plenty of 5-4 games.  The defence is very good; a pitcher like Eddie Solomon would probably thrive. You can put Boyer at third and move Zimmerman to second for an even better defence. 

Mike Green - Sunday, February 09 2014 @ 11:35 AM EST (#282452) #
Actually, now that I look at it, I've forgotten Randall Delgado and Ramon Garcia for the pitching staff.  Both are better than John Burke and Doug Linton, and more importantly can give you some decent starts.
92-93 - Sunday, February 09 2014 @ 12:24 PM EST (#282453) #
I can certainly understand preferring Drew to Santana/Ubaldo, especially if the former is only going to require a 2 year deal with a team option. It's really hard to say you prefer A over B unless you know exactly what it would take to bring each of those players to Toronto.

There's incentives on that Maholm 1.5m deal, and I suspect if he ends up in the rotation because Beckett & Billingsley aren't ready (and they don't want to push the kids) that he will gobble up a lot of innings and that 1.5m will actually be around 5m. Smart depth signing by the Dodgers in that stadium, but not exactly one I would've wanted the Jays to be dabbling in, given their plethora of close-to-MLB-ready arms and Maholm's mediocre NL track record.
Mike Green - Sunday, February 09 2014 @ 12:57 PM EST (#282454) #
Maholm would be an acceptable placeholder.  That he would do any better than Rogers or Redmond in the RC with this defence behind him is highly speculative.  Personally, I wouldn't bother.  Take the money and spend it on Drew, or use it indirectly to assist in the acquisition of one of Seattle's second basemen. 
Paul D - Sunday, February 09 2014 @ 03:30 PM EST (#282455) #
On another subject, have they announced who's going to replace Morris on the radio broadcasts yet?
Parker - Sunday, February 09 2014 @ 04:20 PM EST (#282456) #
I would certainly much rather have Maholm than Happ - for reasons of performance, salary, and acquisition cost. Of course, there's no way he would've signed that contract with the Jays.
stevieboy22 - Sunday, February 09 2014 @ 06:40 PM EST (#282457) #
I was surprised by the lack of interest in Maholm.

I am assuming that he would have gone to a team that would have offered him a starting spot.

Even a team like the Marlins or Astros may have been wise to bring him in with the intentions of flipping him at the all star break.

I wonder if this says anything about the market for Santana/Jimenez...
vw_fan17 - Monday, February 10 2014 @ 02:41 PM EST (#282471) #
Not replying to anyone in particular, but, being a Canadian living in the US, and considering US citizenship, there's always dual taxation to worry about.

From (numbers appear slightly out of date):

The tax treaty between the United States and Canada preventing double taxation for those who cross the border for work can complicate tax planning for Canadian-based NBA, NHL and MLB players. (There are no NFL teams north of the border.)

This is because Canada's top tax rate of 48 percent is 13 percent higher than the U.S. maximum (35 percent), and Canada taxes individuals based on their residency while the U.S. taxes people based on citizenship.

"As a result, it's advantageous for Canadian players to move to the U.S.," says Losi. "That's what a lot of the NHL guys do. As long as you don't have Canadian-source income, you don't pay Canadian tax, you save 13 percent on every dollar, plus there are a lot more deductions and credits in the U.S."

While the reverse is often true for U.S. players signed to Canadian teams, Raiola sees a solution to help even out the tax discrepancy.

"Get a signing bonus from a Canadian team, which under the treaty is only taxed at 15 percent," he says. "Canada withholds 15 percent, you get a full credit, pay the 20 percent down here, and you're not penalized for playing for a Canadian-based team."


In other words, it's a real problem, not an imaginary one. And then, of course, there's the "city tax" for playing in a given city, etc. I'm sure their accountants have a nice "if you take this contract, you end up with $xx.xx at the end" for every contract big-name free agents are offered, and it's NOT a simple calculation. But, I'm sure they've all heard that Toronto is more expensive once they've been in the league a few years. Just because it's simple for Canadians to move to the US and not pay Canadian taxes, don't assume the reverse is true. And of course, if you're making $20M/year as a star athlete, you can bet your bottom dollar the IRS will be there to make sure they get "theirs".

The tax rate for living in California is roughly comparable to Ontario (one of the most expensive in all the US: sales tax of just over 10%, CA income tax of up to 12.3%, federal tax up to 39%). After all deductions, we pay significantly less tax than I would expect to pay in Ontario. And even if it was equivalent - unless family pulled me home (in my case it does, but for the normal MLB player, it does not), where would you rather live? If you grew up in California, which is (adopted) home to many, MANY MLB players? When you could have family, sun, beach, surf, sand, "California girls" AND more $$$ in your pocket, plus you know the culture, the people, already have all your ID/bank accounts in your name, etc.. Honestly, as much as I enjoy hockey, I do NOT miss snow, after 25 years of shoveling driveways.. When my kids want to play in the snow, we drive an hour or three "to the snow", they play, and we go home again..

Moving to the US, especially when moving in the middle of the year like I did, and having to split taxes between the two countries, establish new ID, new credit status, new bank accounts, etc was NOT fun. I can't imagine the reverse is any more enjoyable.

Just some food for thought...
ayjackson - Tuesday, February 11 2014 @ 10:18 PM EST (#282499) #
The top tax rate is higher than 48%, let alone 35%, in a lot of States.
Michael - Thursday, February 13 2014 @ 03:14 AM EST (#282514) #
Valid point in general about taxes, but the sales tax in California is generally less than 10% [it is 8.75% for me. It is 7.5% from the state and then each city/county sets its own rate that is usually just over 1%, but sometimes 0].

LA county is generally 9% (although a couple of cities are 9.5% and 3 are 10% [La Mirada, Pico Rivera, and South Gate]. Oakland is 9% while San Francisco and San Jose are 8.75%. Most of San Diego is 8%. If you average the sales tax counting each city/tax region equally you get 8.08% as the average (but that is probably a small under estimate as the bigger populated cities generally have higher taxes).

The other place California taxes get you is capital gains income is taxed as state income tax. There is also a surtax for millionaires of 1% in addition to the 12.3% top rate.

There is also California SDI and social security but those are both capped and wouldn't cause much issue for ball players as they only impact around the first ~$115K of income, IIRC.

There are also property taxes in California that can be expensive if you buy a new property (but then are protected from going up much as long as it isn't resold). They aren't super high rates, but because housing in parts of California can be very expensive (around $500 a square foot near me) that adds up too.

Another difference that can make California more expensive is for all that taxes, you aren't generally getting any health insurance (unless you are over 65 or below poverty line). Not sure if MLBPA helps with this, because a ball player could easily go broke health expenses if a health condition for themselves or a family member happened between employment (like free agent off season) and they weren't covered by the team anymore.
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