Thursday, November 14, 2013

ClubberSpeak: You Have To Pay To Play...

((HT: Jim Lang Blog))

It's never too soon to talk baseball... at least, in Clubber's mind...

Hey, let's think warm thoughts...

And here we go...

Veteran Blue Jays reporter Shi Davidi of Sportsnet. ca Tweeted and then wrote about something yesterday that really bothered me:

Alex Anthopoulos on Tuesday: “There has been some speculation about the Blue Jays being a surprise team in pursuit of free agent second baseman Robinson Cano. Unless he’s willing to settle for five years, you can forget about it, as the Blue Jays have no intentions of moving off their policy of contracts for six years or more.”

This has nothing to do with Shi or the quality of his writing. He is a pro’s pro and is very good at his job.

It has everything to do with the Blue Jays archaic team policy of not signing players to any contracts longer than five years.

The price of doing business with the big boys in MLB requires that you have to fork over long term deals if you want to sign star players.

In 2011 the Tigers signed Prince Fielder to a nine year contract. That same year the Rangers signed Yu Darvish to a six year deal.

Meanwhile the Blue Jays are sticking to their “Five-Year” rule.

It is all well and good that Paul Beeston and Alex Anthopoulos want to strictly adhere to their “Five-Year” rule. The problem is that the rest of the General Managers around Major League Baseball are playing by a completely different set of rules.

Every other team, especially the perennial contenders, seem to be willing to hand out long term contracts to free agents.

I’m sure there are times when management and ownership of these respective teams really don’t want to sign a player to a nine year contract. But if that’s what it takes to sign a star player that will make your team a contender, then you bloody well do it.

What if James Shields and his agent contacted Anthopoulos to let him know that they would like to sign with the Blue Jays. Are the Blue Jays going to say no to Shields because he wants a seven year deal?

Apparently they would.

So Shields would gladly sign a deal with another team willing to give him the term he wants.

I am not suggesting for a second that Shields even has a desire to sign with the Jays. The point is that the Jays automatically reduce the number of players they could possibly take a run at in free agency because of their “Five-Year” rule.

So while other teams around baseball are preparing to lock up marquee free agents to long-term deals the Blue Jays are not moving away from their “Five-Year” policy.

But it has “only” been 20 years and counting since they were in the post-season. So why should the Jays change? Apparently they are convinced that their way of doing things will eventually turn the team back into a winner.

Meanwhile the rest of baseball thinks otherwise.

Anthoploulos and the Jays will make some moves and sign some players. Just don’t expect to see elite free agents signing in Toronto anytime soon.

At least not until the Jays decide to scrap their policy on free agent contracts.

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