Last Friday, just in time for the home opener, Ken Rosenthal broke the story that several Jays players were willing to defer salary so that the jays could sign Ubaldo Jimenez. AA and paul Beeston basically confirmed that in interviews. I wondered what impact that freeze had on the off-season. What transactions that we thought the Jays were in on, were they in fact no-where near? I assume AA became aware of his budget shortly after the season ended. As the season was coming to a close he was talking about adding starting pitching. By the winter meetings he was focused internally. But he never made that public, and all winter the fans thought that the Jays were all-in, and could add to the payroll for a playoff push. All off-season the Jays were thought to be waiting on Jimenez and Santana. Were they?
Remember that Rogers appointed a new CEO last year, one who has the reputation of a cost cutter. His arrival could easily have come with a directive, all budgets are frozen until I get to review the operations. I don't remember the exact date but the CEO did not meet with the Jays until early this year.
So how do off-season events look now?
The Jays did not have the budget to sign Tanaka. Knowing that, did they even bid? We don't know but why would they bid?
The Jays were disappointed when Detroit traded Doug Fister. Detroit received a minor league prospect in return. AA has said that the Jays "did not match up" with the Tigers. The Tigers motivation for the trade remains uncertain but they just signed Miguel Cabrera and they tried to sign Max Scherzer. Could payroll reduction have been one of the reasons for the trade? If so, did the Jays not match up because they couldn't take on Fister's $7.2M salary?
The Jays did not, and do not, have the budget to acquire Stephen Drew. They could not acquire him in the off-season and not when Reyes got injured. Similarly, the Jays could not afford Ubaldo Jimenez or Kendrys Morales. And they probably did not bid on Matt Garza.
We all know now that Ervin Santana back out of his deal with the Jays. We don't know why. We know he was in contact with some of his friends on the Jays. Did one of them say to Santana "I have agreed to take a pay cut so you can come to Toronto"? Maybe Santana was not comfortable with that, perhaps he did not understand the players would get the money back the next year, maybe he didn't want to have the pressure of his fellow players sacrifice riding on him. We may never know.
Back in February Scott Boras called out Rogers. He said “They’re a car with a huge engine that is impeded by a big corporate stop sign … a successful and committed ownership that needs to give their baseball people financial flexibility.” In retrospect it sounds like Boras knew what the Jays budget situation was.
Do Ryan Goins, Dustin McGowan and Drew Hutchison owe their position on this team to Rogers frugality?
These are the events I remember. Are there others that you remember that could have been impacted by the budget cap?