Tagged: Toronto Blue Jays

Contract Demands Aside, Let’s Just Enjoy Watching Joey Bats This Season.

USA TODAY Sports Images

USA TODAY Sports Images

 

It’s been a few days since Jose Bautista’s shot across the bow at Mark Shapiro and Ross Atkins regarding his contract negotiations or lack there of.

It also seems like many Blue Jays fans have had a few days to digest the take it or leave it extension demand and the 150 million or perhaps higher demand depending on who you want to believe.

As for Mark Shapiro saying they wouldn’t negotiate through the public or the media, I’m sure they can’t be overly disappointed that the 150 million number went public, for all we know they could have been the one’s that let it leak out to the media in the first place. After an off-season like this past winter Lord knows the Blue Jays management needs all the PR help they can get.

I don’t blame Jose Bautista for the stance he is taking with the contract negotiations, he is a smart guy, he knows that he has been paid way under his market value over the life of his contract and is looking to get paid what he deems he is worth. Will he get a five year deal like he is asking? I highly doubt it, I’m sure at most teams will offer him a four year deal with a team option on a fifth year, Even that to me would be generous for a player getting up there in age. If it were me the most I’d be willing to give would be three years with a option on a fourth year.

I also think that there will be a team out there willing to overpay on a contract to Bautista, but I can guarantee that it won’t be the Blue Jays that do it. I also believe that when the dollar amount of the demand went public the fan base turned from pro Bautista on the issue to pro Blue Jays management and when Bautista walks at the end of the year it will take most of the heat off of Shapiro and Atkins.

This is after all a business and the Blue Jays have a budget that they have to live within, regardless of whether or not you think Rogers should spend like the big market team that in reality they are. Giving Bautista 30 million a season may not be such a huge deal over the next couple of years, but once his decline sets in and the time comes to re-sign Josh Donaldson to a big money deal, paying Bautista 30 million a year won’t look nearly as good as it might have seemed at the time.

There is also an argument to be made and it may not be just me being paranoid but there is no guarantee that Rogers will keep a payroll as high as it has been the last few years, even though I’ve made plenty of arguments over the years that they should be high spenders. If the team doesn’t keep winning I could see Rogers pulling back the reigns on the money. It wouldn’t be the first time and quite honestly I have zero faith in Rogers as an ownership. It be a pretty easy out for Shapiro and Atkins to use the lack of payroll availability when they explain why they couldn’t re-sign both Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion.

All that aside, lets enjoy watching the Blue Jays go out and win another division and hopefully have a longer play-off run than this past season. Lets also remember a pissed off Jose Bautista is more fun to watch than a non pissed off Bautista.

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With A New Regime In Town It’s Time For A Fan Fest

Courtesy @bluejays

Courtesy @bluejays

It’s that time of year again.

It’s the time that I again get on my soapbox and bemoan the fact that the Toronto Blue Jays have their heads stuck in the sand and haven’t done away with the current format of their Winter Tour and moved towards a more fan friendly type of event, like a fan festival.

New President Mark Shapiro hasn’t even been in his current position three months yet so the Winter Tour thing was most likely on the bottom of his list of things to do when he arrived in town. But one would think with the rising popularity of the team the past few years the organizers of the Winter Tour would realize that they must change the current format of the tour.

For example, the Toronto portion of their current  Winter Tour had an autograph session in a mall in Newmarket on Wednesday night. The event was slated to start at 6:30, due to the crowd that lined up early the line was cut off at 1:30 pm. There is an autograph session scheduled in Ottawa for Saturday morning and I imagine the same thing will happen there. This isn’t the first time this has happened as there were people turned away from events last year as well.

I’d also like to believe that Shapiro is enough of a forward thinker, he’s already renamed the “State of the Franchise’ to “The Leadoff”, that improving the fan experience is a big part of his job, it’s even a point he has brought up since he took the job. He also has the experience in improving the fan experience at the ballpark, he had a big part in the renovations at Progressive Field making it more fan friendly when he was the President in Cleveland. They even have “Tribe Fest” which they starter in 2013.

So I am proposing, just as I did last year, that the Blue Jays host a fan festival. They can host it during the third weekend in January and have it at the Rogers Centre. They can have autograph sessions, Q and A sessions with current players, heck they can even trot out some of the Alumni and the TV and radio broadcasters like other teams do. They could do what they do in Oakland during their fan fest and host a “garage sale” where they sell off game worn jerseys, broken bats, Spring training jerseys and other game used items. They could even do clubhouse tours. They could charge a fee of 10 to 20 dollars and have the proceeds from the ticket sales go to the Jays Care foundation. It would be a win-win situation for all involved, the fans would have a much better experience than the current Winter Tour provides and the Blue Jays would get some well deserved good will among the fan base.

The time has come, and with new leadership at the top it is my hope that they see the potential that is out there in doing a fan festival and dropping their current Winter Tour.

You can thank me later Mr. Shapiro.

 

 

Blue Jays Hire A Director Of Baseball Operations

The Toronto Blue Jays made an addition to their front office on Sunday hiring  Mike Murov as the Director of Baseball Operations according to a press release.

Murov comes to the Blue Jays from the Red Sox where he has been since 2010 where he worked as Assistant Director of Baseball Operations. Murov had worked previously with Cincinnati and Miami.

Murov’s responsibility in his new role with the Blue Jays will be to assist in directing and implementing decision-making systems and process across the department and will also assist in preparation and analysis of financial, statistical and contract information, he will also be assisting in contract negotiations and preparing for the arbitration process.

Blue Jays Sign Six Players To One Year Deals

 

 

Getty Images

Getty Images

The Blue Jays were busy Friday morning ahead of the 1 pm deadline to exchange arbitration figures signing six players.

The Blue Jays came to terms on one-year deals with Brett Cecil ($3.8million), Steve Delebar ($850,000), Drew Storen ($8.375 million), Aaron Loup ($1.05 million), Drew Hutchison ($2.2 million) and Michael Saunders ($2.9 million).

The Blue Jays were unable to come to terms with Jesse Chavez and American League MVP Josh Donaldson. The Blue Jays offered Chavez $3.6 million while he asked for $4 million. Donaldson asked for $11.8 million while the Blue Jays offered $11.375 million.

In Donaldson’s case, I know it is part of the process of the arbitration system, but to the fans that have endured a disappointing off-season going to arbitration over $450, 000 to the American League MVP just reeks of pettiness from an ownership that have been accused of being cheap. Realistically Donaldson should win his arbitration case so in the end he will most likely will get his $11.8 million dollars.

The Blue Jays are still a File and trial team so there won’t be any deals announced with Donaldson or Chavez before their arbitration cases.

This is the last year of arbitration for Cecil, Storen, Saunders and Chavez who will all be Free Agents at the end of the 2016 season.

Work On Dirt Infield Slated To Start Soon

Image via @James_In_TO

Image via @James_In_TO

 

 

I had an opportunity this past weekend while attending the Blue Jays fourth annual coaching clinic at the Rogers Centre to listen in on a session presented by Blue Jays head groundskeeper Tom Farrell. During the session he talked about properly maintaining any baseball field including the local minor ball field that the kids play on. During his session Farrell and his crew even did a wonderful demonstration on how they repair the damage caused by digging holes in the dirt area around home plate. The gathering of coaches would learn that from the top of the dirt to the actual cement surface is only four inches.

After the session a scrum of us gathered around Farrell, most of the questions revolved around diamond maintenance around your local fields. I did however ask Farrell just how big of a job it was going to be to install a dirt infield.

According to Farrell the work involves digging twelve inches of the cement surface so they can put in the sand, gravel and other material needed. Farrell says the 12 inches will allow the moisture to move through the materials to keep the dirt infield moist.

Farrell did say the biggest problem with the dirt cutouts around the bases is keeping the moisture in dirt because there isn’t enough space from the top of the surface to the bottom of the surface since it is only four inches. Farrell also added that they do keep the dirt cutouts tarped between games to avoid the cutouts from drying out, pointing out that when the weather is really warm and the roof is opened the dirt dries out really quick. In fact Farrell said that when the weather gets really warm it’s a common occurrence that when they are watering down the dirt you can see it dry out just as quick as the water is applied.

Farrell said that the work on the infield will start in February and is expected to take three to four weeks.

Jays Acquire Drew Storen

Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

The Jays dealt from an area of strength Friday night in order to add depth to a position of weakness as the they traded Outfielder Ben Revere to the Washington Nationals for reliever Drew Storen and unspecified cash considerations according to MLB Trade Rumors.

It’s is a deal that makes sense for both teams as the Blue Jays have a glutton of Outfielders and Washington had no need for Storen after acquiring Jonathan Papelbon at the trade deadline last season.

Revere who the Blue Jays acquired at the trade deadline played in 56 games as a Blue Jay hitting .319/.354/.381 only hitting one home run while swiping seven bases,  Storen made 58 appearances for the Nationals where he had 29 saves before losing his closer’s job at the trade deadline.

Both players are Arbitration eligible this year. Revere had two more years of team control while Storen will be a Free Agent at the end of this season. According to MLBTR they project Revere to earn $6.7 million this season while they project Storen to make $8.8 million.

How the acquisition of Storen affects the Blue Jays plans with Aaron Sanchez is anyone’s guess, but as I’ve pointed out in earlier posts with the logjam of starters competing for that fifth spot I really don’t see Sanchez leaving the bullpen for the rotation.

With Revere’s departure it opens the door yet again for Dalton Pompey to emerge on the scene and show he belongs in the big leagues, something that he couldn’t do last season. It also puts pressure on Michael Saunders to show what he can do as a Major League hitter, something that he hasn’t been able to show he is capable of doing.