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As a public service, we're pleased to present, free of charge, two alternate versions of tomorrow's standard Canadian newspaper article on the Jays' decision [not] to offer arbitration to Carlos Delgado. Since Delgado's return [departure] will be a major story, this will surely be of assistance to harried columnists. Editors should feel free to adapt the article of their choice to suit the precise circumstances and/or agendas of their publications (e.g., search-and-replace "Godfrey" for "Ricciardi.")

Version 1

The end of an era: Jays wave goodbye to Delgado, future

It’s over.

Carlos Delgado, the best player in Toronto Blue Jays history, is gone. The Blue Jays refused to offer Delgado arbitration by the midnight deadline, which means they can’t sign him until next May.

Not that that will be an issue, because Delgado will be snapped up by another club – probably AL East rivals New York or Baltimore – within days. The rich will get richer, and the Jays – well, their bottom line will look just that much better, won’t it? And that’s what it’s all about for Ted Rogers, after all.

But there’s more. By refusing to offer Delgado arbitration, Jays GM J.P. Ricciardi also passed up the opportunity to receive compensatory draft picks from whichever team signs him. Which means that when the best player in Blue Jays history walks away, his team will be left with nothing – not even draft picks – only memories of what coulda-shoulda been.

So the Carlos Delgado Era is over. But there’s more than one show ringing down the curtain today. You’re also seeing the beginning of the end of the Blue Jays franchise.

The loss of Delgado – a surefire Hall of Famer, a tireless community contributor, a good citizen in the mercenary jungle of major-league baseball – is a stark symbol that Ricciardi and the Jays just flat-out can’t (or won’t) compete with the payroll monsters in their own division, let alone the rest of major-league baseball. If you can’t pony up the cash to keep this man – well, what’s the point? Who will you keep?

Ricciardi’s shrewd trade of Delgado-for-nothing just further solidifies the conviction that this team has no interest in winning, no interest in returning the franchise to its glory days under Pat Gillick and Paul Beeston. The game plan is the same: sell the locals on a five-year plan, blame injuries, blame the system, blame everyone but yourself.

Toronto’s sports fans, who are smarter than this, are buying into this plan in ever-dwindling numbers. Delgado’s departure will be the watershed point, and the vast array of empty blue seats at Rogers Skydome next season will make it clear that the fans aren’t buying anything anymore.

Looks like the Expos will soon have company in the baseball afterlife. Adios, Carlos; take the dream with you.

Version 2

The end of an era: Moneyball out, status quo in at Skydome

It’s over.

Carlos Delgado, the most expensive player in Toronto Blue Jays history, will be back next season. And with his return, the J.P. Ricciardi Moneyball Era in Toronto is officially over.

You’ll hear rumours of interest in Delgado from clubs like the Mariners and Dodgers over the next few weeks. Forget about it. Delgado’s place on the roster, and his gigantic share of the payroll, are all but written in stone.

If a player accepts arbitration, the arbitrator cannot cut his last yearly salary by more than 20%. That means the lowest the Jays could offer Delgado for 2005 is $14,800,000. If you think any team in this marketplace will give Delgado that much, the Blue Jays have a retractable-roof stadium to sell you.

Fact is, Delgado’s coming off one of his worst seasons as a pro. He couldn’t even crack his standard 100-RBI mark, his defence was again indifferent, and he hurt his reputation by refusing to waive his no-trade clause at the trading deadline.

Can you blame him? Would you want to pose for your driver’s licence photo on your worst bad-hair day? Multiply that by about 18 million and you’ll understand why Carlos Delgado and his agent, David Sloane, have no interest in testing the free-agent waters this year.

Ricciardi probably offered arbitration in the hope that Delgado would sign elsewhere, and Ricciardi could get more of his precious draft picks. Whoops! Better go check your computer spreadsheets again, guys: Carlos is back, and as a result, there’ll be no Matt Clement, no Corey Koskie, no new bats to revive one of the league’s worst offences.

But this isn’t just about a gross miscalculation. This is also about a fundamental reversal of the Ricciardi plan.

The Blue Jays hired Ricciardi to win on a budget; so far, all he’s managed to do is lose on one. With the World Series flag set to fly proudly over his hometown heroes’ Fenway Park next season, the GM has finally realized that no one here is buying all the Moneyball-driven, statistics-based, low-budget claptrap.

With an increasingly impatient ownership breathing down his neck, Ricciardi has opted for the crowd-pleasing gesture, the status quo and crossed fingers. This isn’t the way to build championships: Pat Gillick and Paul Beeston knew that, and when it was time to replace Tom Henke with Duane Ward, they weren’t afraid to pull the trigger. Of course, Eric Crozier is no Carlos Delgado, anyway.

So welcome back, Carlos. Consider that albatross in your locker to be an early Christmas gift from the organization.
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The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Mike Green - Tuesday, December 07 2004 @ 11:54 AM EST (#11208) #
Nice piece of satire, Jordan.

Frankly though, the merits of the decision are interesting to me, and the negative spin which will be applied in some segments of the print media to the decision is just irritating.

It is not obvious what should be done. My own view is that whatever decision is made should be the occasion for neither praise nor criticism. Rather the focus should be on the implications for the remainder of the roster next year and beyond.
Named For Hank - Tuesday, December 07 2004 @ 12:14 PM EST (#11209) #
I can't wait to compare this to tomorrow morning's offerings. That was great, had me chuckling all the way through.
_Tyler - Tuesday, December 07 2004 @ 12:15 PM EST (#11210) #
Version 1 should mention that Delgado is a member of a visible minority group, and the Jays interest so far sounds like it's confined to white players-Clement and Koskie.
_Ryan Day - Tuesday, December 07 2004 @ 12:16 PM EST (#11211) #
I can't wait to compare this to tomorrow morning's offerings.

They're both way too positive for the Star. They might fit in the Sun, though Version 1 would need to mention the Jays will never again see a player like Delgado after firing all their scouts.
Named For Hank - Tuesday, December 07 2004 @ 12:17 PM EST (#11212) #
Good call, Tyler.
_Jim Acker - Tuesday, December 07 2004 @ 12:19 PM EST (#11213) #
Did anyone hear JP's interview this morning on the FAN? I missed it, just wanted to know if any news came from it
Named For Hank - Tuesday, December 07 2004 @ 12:20 PM EST (#11214) #
I think Gerry gave a mini-summary of it in the Hijack Central thread.
_MatO - Tuesday, December 07 2004 @ 12:20 PM EST (#11215) #
The headline in version 1 is way too positive for the Star.
_Peter - Tuesday, December 07 2004 @ 12:20 PM EST (#11216) #
Basically J.P is in a no win situation, what can anyone do in this case. Should have got him signed earliar?

Well the Jays wont give him arbitration, and someone will sign him, and fast, and someone will sign Greg Zaun and J.P will get his draft picks. The Jays will get Matt Clement and others that will not be offered arbitration by midnight tonight.
_Tassle - Tuesday, December 07 2004 @ 12:24 PM EST (#11217) #
My own view is that whatever decision is made should be the occasion for neither praise nor criticism.

That's true, but you could say that about nearly any decision. No decision a GM makes should be met with praise or criticism until the effects of that decision are fully realized, but they will be subjected to each mercilessly regardless of the fairness of such a determination. I'd rather analyze the merits of each course right now, as there should be enough for each educated fan to have their own ideas of whether or not to offer arbitration. Of course, it's still a tough decision regardless, and I wouldn't want to be in J.P. shoes right now.
_Scott Levy - Tuesday, December 07 2004 @ 12:49 PM EST (#11218) #
Did anyone hear JP's interview this morning on the FAN? I missed it, just wanted to know if any news came from it.

COMN, under "hot audio" it will say "JP Ricciardi on the morning show". You can hear the interview.
Gerry - Tuesday, December 07 2004 @ 01:01 PM EST (#11219) #
Good job Jordan but your bye bye Carlos misses the point. The point will be that JP never liked Carlos, that JP has blamed Carlos for his lack of payroll flexibility for years, that JP is to blame for Carlos's departure and that JP better win next year now that he has tons of dollars to spend. Its not about the Jays, its not about Rogers, its all about JP.
_david struyk - Tuesday, December 07 2004 @ 01:13 PM EST (#11220) #
if delgado does leave then he is a trater cause he said that he wants to come back to toronto and also that he loves the city and he loves the fans of toronto TRADER CARLOS DELGADO IS A TRADER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
_Moffatt - Tuesday, December 07 2004 @ 01:23 PM EST (#11221) #
I traded a $1.20 to Tim Horton's this morning for a medium coffee. I don't regret the move.
_Wedding Singer - Tuesday, December 07 2004 @ 01:33 PM EST (#11222) #
I think that offering arbitration is the way to go. Even if Carlos takes it, the Jays get to keep a great hitter in the middle of their lineup for another year. They also have a tradeable asset at the deadline, since I don't think Carlos will have a no trade clause in his 1 year contract. It also gives JP some more time to work out a long-term deal at a more reasonable price. The Jays aren't going to win it all this year - its probably a break-even proposition from a win-loss perspective to keep Delgado over signing Clement and Koskie (just as examples). If Delgado doesn't sign long-term, and you don't trade him during the season, then you let him go and spend the money on next year's free agents - after the kids have had another year to develop.

If Carlos doesn't accept arbitration, then at least you get the draft picks. I think both options are preferable to losing him for nothing.
Pistol - Tuesday, December 07 2004 @ 01:48 PM EST (#11223) #
I traded a $1.20 to Tim Horton's this morning for a medium coffee. I don't regret the move.

You forgot to emphasize that it was in all Candian $.
Pistol - Tuesday, December 07 2004 @ 01:52 PM EST (#11224) #
I think that offering arbitration is the way to go. Even if Carlos takes it, the Jays get to keep a great hitter in the middle of their lineup for another year. They also have a tradeable asset at the deadline

Teams that trade for players with big contracts don't give up top prospects.

You'd be better off not offering him arbitration and using that money in the draft and taking good players late in the draft for big money. You'd get a lot more that way then by overpaying Delgado by approx. $8 million (why do people assume that an arbitrator will cut his salary by the max?) and trading him for a B+ prospect.
_Marc - Tuesday, December 07 2004 @ 01:55 PM EST (#11225) #
If you're Carlos and the Jays offer arbitration... and he cannot make less than $14 million for one year... why wouldn't you take the deal? It's probably at least $4 million to $5 million more than you are going to get from anyone else. You take the one year contract, hopefully play an injury-free year and hit the jackpot next winter.

I highly doubt the Jays offer arbitration, as much as I would like to see the Jays get some sort of compensation for the loss.
_Prisoner of Ham - Tuesday, December 07 2004 @ 02:23 PM EST (#11226) #
if delgado does leave then he is a trater

Is there some deep irony I'm missing here, or are you unable even to keep your misspellings straight?

The word you are gumming for is "traitor" and Delgado is certainly not one of those.
_John Northey - Tuesday, December 07 2004 @ 03:01 PM EST (#11227) #
I think a big question for Carlos is can he get a 4 or 5 year deal elsewhere. If someone offers that then arbitration becomes a poor option.

Lets estimate...

Arbitration = $15 million
What does he need to 'break even' as a free agent in 2005/2006?

If offered 3 Years at $8/Yr = $24 million
Needs 2 years at $4.5 million to break even after 2005

If offered 4 Years at $8/Yr = $32 million
Needs 3 years at just under $6 million to break even after 2005

If offered 5 Years at $8/Yr = $40 million
Needs 4 years at just over $6 million to break even after 2005

Lets shift to $9 million a year...

3 Year deal requires...
2 years at $6 million

4 Year deal requires...
3 years at $7 million

5 year deal requires...
4 years at $7.5 million

So the big question is what Delgado is getting offered now and what he thinks he might be offered next year if he stays in Toronto for one more year.

For the Jays the question is can Delgado be worth $15 million in 2005 on a one year deal, or is that money better spent somewhere else. The going after higher risk/cost draft picks is a good idea rather than signing a couple of mediocre free agents. Could the Jays execute it though?
_Vernons Biggest - Tuesday, December 07 2004 @ 04:03 PM EST (#11228) #
Here's a story that suggests Carlos will explore more offers after midnight. COMN
_Matt - Tuesday, December 07 2004 @ 04:39 PM EST (#11229) #
They also have a tradeable asset at the deadline, since I don't think Carlos will have a no trade clause in his 1 year contract.

Yeah, but don't forget that Carlos would be a '5 and 10' player going into this year... Meaning that he essentially gets no-trade priveleges automatically...

I did see this in the sun today though, where they offered the following scenario: COMN for full article
- The Jays and Delgado agree to a plan that will allow the two sides to continue to negotiate until Jan. 8. Under that scenario, the Jays would offer arbitration, Delgado would decline the offer and that would enable negotiations to continue.

Are you even allowed to do that? Doesn't that just act to circumvent the whole purpose of the arb. deadline to begin with? I would think that everyone would use that option if that were the case... Then the compensatory draft pick would be automatic should you decide to let that FA go... Ugh...
_Mike in CT - Tuesday, December 07 2004 @ 04:52 PM EST (#11230) #
J.P. will be out of excuses once Delgado's contract is off the books. If he fails after this, then he should be the next one out the door.

They have never won anything with Delgado so I don't think losing him is the end of the world. He put up big numbers but was rarely huge in big spots.

Let's see what J.P. can do now. If he can't put together a winner without Delgado clogging up the payroll then the Jays should replace him.
_Mike in CT - Tuesday, December 07 2004 @ 04:55 PM EST (#11231) #
Peter Gammons has mentioned a potential trade of Alexis Rios for Nick Johnson.

Gammons' rumors are rarely anything close to the truth, but I'm not sure I like that deal very much.
_James W - Tuesday, December 07 2004 @ 05:25 PM EST (#11232) #
Mr. Gammons also mentioned that Chris Woodward is likely to be non-tendered. ...

The Rios-Johnson rumour was mentioned on another site, so it was probably mentioned between Bowden and Ricciardi before being quickly shot down by one of the GMs.
_BCMike - Tuesday, December 07 2004 @ 05:51 PM EST (#11233) #
Gammons' rumors are rarely anything close to the truth, but I'm not sure I like that deal very much.

Does anyone like that deal? I like Johnson, and would be thrilled if the Jays could some how get him, but I wouldn't be prepared to give up Rios. Rios' upside is just too good for a guy who hasn't yet managed to play a full season.
_Lylem - Tuesday, December 07 2004 @ 07:34 PM EST (#11234) #
They traded Phelps for a bucket of Balls. Why not...

Jays are very deep in outfielders. So why not. The rumor is that the Jays are trying to create a package deal with Armas Jr. Don't the Nationals need a 3rd Baseman? We can give them old Cement Glove.

But the thing that doesn't make sense is the $$ for this. Isn't Rios a lot cheaper?
_Ryan - Tuesday, December 07 2004 @ 07:55 PM EST (#11235) #
The Jays can't move Rios for Johnson, not yet anyway. Rios needs at least one full season in a Jays uniform before he is considered for a trade.

If the two options for the Jays are either keeping Delgado or signing Clement and Koskie I think the second option is both smarter and better for the club. You might still be missing a number 4 hitter but at least you have 3 starters capable of winning 15 games each. And behind the big three is David Bush (who I really like) and Chacin/Towers/Rosario. I think the starting pitching will be the best it's been since 1993 under that scenario.

Then with Koskie in place you can try your hardest to unload the biggest bust since Ben Grive in Eric Hinski. If Cincy still wants to take him on for Austin Kearns the Jays come out better for that deal as well. You could then consider moving Kearns to 1B or turn him around in a deal for a 1B. Heck, maybe the Jays even let Crozier start at first. I hear hes a solid defender, something Carlos Delgado will never be able to buy with all his Seattle/Baltimore/Mets money.

Regarldess of where Carlos goes and if the Jays get a pick for him or not Toronto will still be better for it simply becase they'll have $20 mill to spend on pitching. God knows the bullpen could use some help.
_JackFoley - Tuesday, December 07 2004 @ 08:12 PM EST (#11236) #
"If Cincy still wants to take him on for Austin Kearns the Jays come out better for that deal as well."

That only makes sense if Cincy views Hinske the same way they view Rich Harden. Further, the Jays have no where near 20 mil to spend. Lastly, neither Clement nor Lilly have ever won 15 games.
_Donkit R.K. - Tuesday, December 07 2004 @ 10:17 PM EST (#11237) #
Gross and a prospect for Johnson? Gross and Hinske (Bowden coudl see him as ana snwer at 1B) for Johnson? Gross, Hinske, and Chacin for Armas and Johnson? Remember, we're dealing with Bowden here.
_Donkit R.K. - Tuesday, December 07 2004 @ 10:20 PM EST (#11238) #
"Note: The Jays say they will offer catcher Gregg Zaun arbitration. He made $400,000 last year."

COMN, last line
_dave501 - Tuesday, December 07 2004 @ 10:26 PM EST (#11239) #
5 years from now we'll look back and realize that cutting ties with Delgado was the best thing the jays ever did. I know what i'm about to say next is a stupid comment, but good ol' Pat Gillick would have dumped him long ago. People always talk about what a leader Delgado is. Maybe so, but i'm glad the jays wont have to follow that sinking ship anymore. No doubt, he's one of the greatest hitters the will ever see, but i've never seen anybody so happy to loose. Wipe that smile off your face man. He reminds me of the guy in the movie 'major league' who had his calculator in his pocket so he couldn't slide, or the shortstop played by the guy from who wouldn't dive for the ball. good riddance fat a$$, your bat will be missed but that $17million smile will not.
_Tyler - Tuesday, December 07 2004 @ 10:31 PM EST (#11240) #
I'm down with the first sentence of the post above mine. After that it kind of goes downhill. What did you expect him to do in 2K3, give the Jays a solid #2 and come out of the pen in addition to destroying the league offensively?
_Four Seamer - Tuesday, December 07 2004 @ 10:48 PM EST (#11241) #
Apparently the Royals are going to non-tender Jeremy Affeldt (COMN). He's 25, and assuming he can stay healthy, might he be someone JP shows some interest in?
_Jordan - Tuesday, December 07 2004 @ 10:53 PM EST (#11242) #
To quote Bart Simpson, I would be on Jeremy Affeldt faster than Oprah on a baked ham.
_Tyler - Tuesday, December 07 2004 @ 10:56 PM EST (#11243) #
He's gotta have arm problems or something. That doesn't make any sense.
_Vernons Biggest - Tuesday, December 07 2004 @ 11:04 PM EST (#11244) #
Ok dave501,

So you're faulting Delgado because he smiles.

That is just merely a testament to what a happy guy he is. Whats wrong with the fact that our star, amidst the losing, could still have fun with his teammates and have the passion for the game that he had?

I'd rather have that than having our star have a negative impact on the team, asking for a trade, giving the fans the impression that he wasn't giving his all, or that he merely didn't care.
_Moffatt - Tuesday, December 07 2004 @ 11:31 PM EST (#11245) #
He's gotta have arm problems or something.

Well, technically, yes. More specifically, blisters on his fingers.
_Jordan - Tuesday, December 07 2004 @ 11:34 PM EST (#11246) #
The latest word on Affeldt from the Kansas City newspapers was that negotiations were proceeding very well and that Affledt was expecting a raise to the million-dollar range to be the closer. That doesn't sound like a non-tender situation to me. In the unlikely event that that's what happens, I would immediately suspect an injury, above and beyond his normal blister issues. A healthy and unattached Affeldt would be of interest to pretty much every team in baseball.
_Jacko - Wednesday, December 08 2004 @ 08:05 AM EST (#11247) #
If Delgado was serious about returning to the Jays in 2005, he should have accepted a trade to a contender in 2004.

There are/were several compelling reasons:

1. Because of the 20% rule, he knew that it would make no sense for the Jays to hamstring themselves by offering him arbitration this winter.

2. Had he been traded away, the Jays would have been able to compete on equal footing with other suitors, something they could not do this winter because of (1). And lay the blame for the no-trade clause where it belongs -- at the feet of Ash and Godfrey.

3. The extra 6MM or so saved in 2004 by getting him off the books could have been used to sweeten a deal to bring him back for 2005 and beyond.

I'm sure Ricciardi explained as much to him when "no-trade-gate" occurred last July. Delgado also happened to get as hot as a firecracker for the final two months, and could very well have been a difference maker in the postseason.

Forget about the people skills. This was a no-win situation. Delgado and Sloane had a chance to help the Jays bring Delgado back at a fair rate, but instead played hardball in their negotiations. The Dome has been a very good place for him to hit over the years, and the fans and city of Toronto have been very good to him. I can only conclude that Delgado made his final decision about leaving in July.

Given that Delgado already decided he was on his way out of town, I have no idea why he postponed the inevitable by disallowing a trade.
_Ryan Day - Wednesday, December 08 2004 @ 08:47 AM EST (#11248) #
And now we have today's headlines, today. From Griffin's column:

It's all PR spin. Basically, the team offered a loyal employee a 62 per cent pay cut for slamming 32 homers and driving in 99 runs and being the public face of the organization in trying times.
Pistol - Wednesday, December 08 2004 @ 09:17 AM EST (#11249) #
Affeldt had torn muscles in his rib cage this season, but was pitching at the end of the season, and was doing pretty well.

I imagine the Jays would be interested. I believe JP has tried to trade for him in the past, and compared David Purcey to Affeldt when he drafted him.
_Four Seamer - Wednesday, December 08 2004 @ 10:07 AM EST (#11250) #
I see Griffin and others in the media this morning continue to lambaste Ricciardi for acknowledging this summer that the Jays had asked Delgado to waive his no-clause. My mind still boggles that the media complain about this.

Unless my memory is faulty, JP did not call a press conference to announce to the world that Delgado had refused to waive his no-trade. He was asked, as he had been repeatedly by members of the media, about the status of Delgado at the deadline and whether a move might be made, with the reporters specifically asking about the clause. So for answering the very specific question that the reporters were asking, the press turns around and excoriates him for having the temerity to discuss in public these "very sensitive discussions". If the media was so concerned about Delgado's privacy, why were they hounding JP for months about what he was going to do with him?
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