How the Blue Jays Spend Money


Last month Alex Anthopoulos dropped a bombshell when he announced during the winter meetings that the Jays had “payroll parameters.”

It shouldn’t have been shocking news. Every team in baseball has a payroll limit, just as the resources of every business are finite.

It was disappointing for many Jays fans though, as many felt as though the club was poised to increase payroll into the 120 million + range that had been alluded to on numerous occasions by team president Paul Beeston. The timing was rough, as the big free agent signed elsewhere and the Jays failed to make a major splash.

Cue the predictable scorn of Jays nation against the seemingly unsympathetic corporate ownership.

Before coming to the conclusion that Rogers is “cheap,” let me remind you of some of the ways in which the Blue Jays have spent their financial resources since Alex Anthopoulos took over as general manager in October of 2009.

Roy Halladay trade:

The Jays sent $6 million dollars along with Roy Halladay to the Phillies in order to acquire prospects Kyle Drabek, Travis d’Arnaud and Michael Taylor. The cash kicker ensured the club received the prospects AA had his eye on.

Vernon Wells trade:

5 million bucks headed west to Anaheim in the Wells deal, allowing the Jays to free up the remaining 81 million left on VW’s deal. Oh, they also picked up Mike Napoli and Juan Rivera for good measure.

Draft:

2010: $11.6 million (3rd most in MLB)

2011: $11 million (9th most)

Alex Anthopoulos dramatically changed the Blue Jays draft policy when he took over as GM. While his predecessor J.P Ricciardi was known for selecting polished college players, AA has been much more aggressive in picking up high-upside high school players. This philosophy required the club to go over slot many times, pushing their first year player draft spending over the 10 million dollar mark in both ’10 and ’11. The strategy involves more risk, but the payoffs can be much greater. The teams willingness to spend big on draft day has made the farm system one of the top 3 in baseball and the dividends will be evident as early as the 2012 season.

International free agents:

2010: $8 million

The big ticket international signings in 2010 were  Cuban shortstop Adeiny Hechevarria ($4 mil. signing bonus, $10 mil total) and power righty Venesuelan Adony Cardona ($2.8 mil.).

2011:

The Jays signed 4 players in Baseball America’s top 40 international prospects: Roberto Osuna (4th), Wuilmer Becerra (5th), Jesus Gonzalez (21st) and Manuel Cordova (33rd). Most of the signing bonuses have not be made public, but it is safe to assume the Jays spending was in the vicinity of the $8 million spent in 2010. With the cap on int. signings imposed by the new CBA, the Jays were smart to use their financial resources to pick up some serious talent while the system was still open.

Mark Teahen:

The Jays picked up Teahen’s 10 mil.+ price tag for the remainder of 2011 and 2012 last July in order to acquire Colby Rasmus.

Front office staff:

AA has “doubled spending on scouting and front office staff,” according to Bruce Arthur of the National Post. Again, the additional funding here has likely played a role in the transformation of the farm system from one of the worst in baseball, to one of the best.

Paul Beeston:

The team president said today on the Fan 590 that Rogers has “never denied a request to increase payroll or to spend on player development,” reports Ben Nicholson-Smith of MLB trade rumors.

***

While the Blue Jays payroll will likely sit around the $80 million mark for 2012, fans should understand that the owners have spent a significant amount of money over the past two years in order to put the club on the right path. They may not have nabbed Fielder or Darvish, but their financial strength has allowed AA to bring in high-ceiling talent like d’Arnaud, Drabek, Rasmus, Daniel Norris and many others. The club has taken a calculated, prudent approach to building a team that is capable of having sustainable success, and this takes patience. I for one, would take this philosophy over the immediate gratification of massive free agent signings any day of the week, and twice on Sundays.

-SB

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Tags: Colby Rasmus Juan Rivera Kyle Drabek Mark Teahen Mike Napoli Roy Halladay Travis D'Arnaud Vernon Wells

  • Blueboo

    Have you any idea why we waste so many roster spots at the AAA level with players well beyond their prime. I read that we had signed Figurea (that isn’t spelled right) today. Why? He will be drawing social security before he has any significant time with the Jays.

  • AliDrizzyTajadod

    @Blueboo they need someppl to fill spots…and some are for emergency call ups…for example if the back up catcher went down they dont wana send up D’arnuard and have him sit on the bench, they much rather have a 31 year old fill that joh

  • jakely

    Good article Scott. I wish Anthopolous never mentioned it. The screaming for spend big now is pretty loud. The only possible conclusion they haven’t yet being Rogers is nuclear grade cheap and they have no intention of ever spending. It shouldn’t be too hard to see maybe the timing isn’t right.

  • scottbarber

    @Blueboo I think part of it has to do with the PCL being such a hitter friendly league. It seems like they try to avoid having top pitching prospects go to the 51′s (they jump from AA to MLB) so they don’t have to get hit around in a notoriously hard league to pitch in.

  • Blueboo

    Have you any idea why we waste so many roster spots at the AAA level with players well beyond their prime. I read that we had signed Figurea (that isn’t spelled right) today. Why? He will be drawing social security before he has any significant time with the Jays.

  • AliDrizzyTajadod

    @Blueboo they need someppl to fill spots…and some are for emergency call ups…for example if the back up catcher went down they dont wana send up D’arnuard and have him sit on the bench, they much rather have a 31 year old fill that joh

  • jakely

    Good article Scott. I wish Anthopolous never mentioned it. The screaming for spend big now is pretty loud. The only possible conclusion they haven’t yet being Rogers is nuclear grade cheap and they have no intention of ever spending. It shouldn’t be too hard to see maybe the timing isn’t right.

  • scottbarber

    @Blueboo I think part of it has to do with the PCL being such a hitter friendly league. It seems like they try to avoid having top pitching prospects go to the 51′s (they jump from AA to MLB) so they don’t have to get hit around in a notoriously hard league to pitch in.

  • gnor

    I think the “buy now” fans are those that don’t understand the process or the timetable, and no amount of logic is going to shift their point of view. To me, both became obvious when the prospects from the Roy Halladay trade landed in A ball.

  • jakely

    I hear that gnor.I’ve tried my share of arguing the point to no avail. If there was ever a franchise that needed overhauling, it was us. I blows me away how I can see such a stellar work in progress and continually see fans bashing the hell out of it. Most of it based solely on the misguided notion the good teams spend blah blah. Never any sense of what stage this is really at or the timing factor. Not too many teams got to good spending big two years into one of these. They usually turn out Met-like. The current jays mgmt get it, so we should be ok.

  • gnor

    I think the “buy now” fans are those that don’t understand the process or the timetable, and no amount of logic is going to shift their point of view. To me, both became obvious when the prospects from the Roy Halladay trade landed in A ball.

  • THE_FAKE_BOSH

    Patience helps build a winner, but it doesn’t get you much revenue.

  • jakely

    I hear that gnor.I’ve tried my share of arguing the point to no avail. If there was ever a franchise that needed overhauling, it was us. I blows me away how I can see such a stellar work in progress and continually see fans bashing the hell out of it. Most of it based solely on the misguided notion the good teams spend blah blah. Never any sense of what stage this is really at or the timing factor. Not too many teams got to good spending big two years into one of these. They usually turn out Met-like. The current jays mgmt get it, so we should be ok.

  • THE_FAKE_BOSH

    Patience helps build a winner, but it doesn’t get you much revenue.

  • Eagles11

    The part of the process I am really looking forward to is when, Norris, Drabek, McGuire, Hutchinson, Jenkins amongst others are hammering down the door to get to the big leagues. When this occurs we will see AA truly work his magic and we as fans will see a 30 year old Romero traded away for a boatload of prospects and be replaced by Norris, who might just be a lot better then Romero. If this plan works the cycle of young controllable talent filling the major league roster will be something to watch. With all those pitchers pushing to get into the bigs, I would rather see AA trade proven pitchers and replace them with young top of the line talent. Think about the bounty the Jays will get when those pitchers push Romero, Morrow out of the rotation, total restock of the minor league system. What will Romero and Morrow get on the trade market? What would you rather see them do? Same goes with our positional players, think about when Hechavarria, Gose, Marisnick, D’Arnaud, and AA is able to trade either Escobar or Johnson depending on where Hech plays, Rasmus, Snider, Thames and either Arencibia or Lind, if they put Arencibia at 1st when D’Arnaud is ready, they can trade Lind, things in Jays town will be really exciting starting this season with so much potential. Well done AA keep up the great work.

  • Eagles11

    The part of the process I am really looking forward to is when, Norris, Drabek, McGuire, Hutchinson, Jenkins amongst others are hammering down the door to get to the big leagues. When this occurs we will see AA truly work his magic and we as fans will see a 30 year old Romero traded away for a boatload of prospects and be replaced by Norris, who might just be a lot better then Romero. If this plan works the cycle of young controllable talent filling the major league roster will be something to watch. With all those pitchers pushing to get into the bigs, I would rather see AA trade proven pitchers and replace them with young top of the line talent. Think about the bounty the Jays will get when those pitchers push Romero, Morrow out of the rotation, total restock of the minor league system. What will Romero and Morrow get on the trade market? What would you rather see them do? Same goes with our positional players, think about when Hechavarria, Gose, Marisnick, D’Arnaud, and AA is able to trade either Escobar or Johnson depending on where Hech plays, Rasmus, Snider, Thames and either Arencibia or Lind, if they put Arencibia at 1st when D’Arnaud is ready, they can trade Lind, things in Jays town will be really exciting starting this season with so much potential. Well done AA keep up the great work.

  • scottbarber

    @Eagles11 Even when you consider the fact that many of the Jays top prospects won’t work out, AA’s job transforming the farm system has left the margin of error in a very comfortable spot. Some of those prospects will reach their potential and it will leave the Jays in the fortunate position of filling roster spots and/or trading for other major leaguers. You nailed it I think.

  • Eagles11

    Exactly, he has narrowed down the margin for error, have the Jays ever had a farm system this deep before? It seems the Jays have about 7-10 potential front of the rotation starters, some will pan out some will not, the ones that do will force the hand of AA and in doing so he will be able to either restock the minor leagues or fill out spots on the major league roster, his flexibility going forward will be remarkable, I enjoy watching AA operate vs. JP who this winter would have gone off track, signed Darvish, Fielder and in doing so would have cost the Jays in the long run. AA is sticking to his guns and not varying off track, well done AA.

  • scottbarber

    @THE_FAKE_BOSH A winner should bring revenue though..

  • juanguzman

    for the past year or so i have heard that jays management targeted 2012 as their year to contend. because of this , i am disappointed that they did not go after some big name free agents. however, i am happy that they at least made a fair bid for darvish. this tells me that they are looking to put a winning team on the field. i do understand the importance of a good farm system , but i think there needs to be a mix of good young talent and free agent signings to build a winner.as far as contending in 2012, i’m not sure the division is possible but maybe a wildcard if morrow, cecil, rasmus and lind bounce back. also, maybe mcgowan will be the “jays darvish”. who knows. GO JAYS!!

  • scottbarber

    @Eagles11 Even when you consider the fact that many of the Jays top prospects won’t work out, AA’s job transforming the farm system has left the margin of error in a very comfortable spot. Some of those prospects will reach their potential and it will leave the Jays in the fortunate position of filling roster spots and/or trading for other major leaguers. You nailed it I think.

  • Eagles11

    Exactly, he has narrowed down the margin for error, have the Jays ever had a farm system this deep before? It seems the Jays have about 7-10 potential front of the rotation starters, some will pan out some will not, the ones that do will force the hand of AA and in doing so he will be able to either restock the minor leagues or fill out spots on the major league roster, his flexibility going forward will be remarkable, I enjoy watching AA operate vs. JP who this winter would have gone off track, signed Darvish, Fielder and in doing so would have cost the Jays in the long run. AA is sticking to his guns and not varying off track, well done AA.

  • scottbarber

    @THE_FAKE_BOSH A winner should bring revenue though..

  • juanguzman

    for the past year or so i have heard that jays management targeted 2012 as their year to contend. because of this , i am disappointed that they did not go after some big name free agents. however, i am happy that they at least made a fair bid for darvish. this tells me that they are looking to put a winning team on the field. i do understand the importance of a good farm system , but i think there needs to be a mix of good young talent and free agent signings to build a winner.as far as contending in 2012, i’m not sure the division is possible but maybe a wildcard if morrow, cecil, rasmus and lind bounce back. also, maybe mcgowan will be the “jays darvish”. who knows. GO JAYS!!

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  • jakely

    I dont recall anyone from the jays saying 2012 was the target year. The start of year 3 is not a realistic expectation. Rebuilds never get done that quickly. I have a hard time finding examples of megadeals given out to players during the early stages of any rebuild, that the team and their initially excited fans haven’t totally regretted. I think it’s fool’s gold. Zito, A-Rod and Soriano instantly come to mind but there’s many. I think it`s proven beyond doubt. All I see is a big pot full of talent acquired by AA in 2 short years that soon reaches a boiling point in Toronto. As soon as that happens away we go. I`d much rather have all the financial flexibility at my fingrtips then. That`s the recipe for annual.

  • jakely

    I dont recall anyone from the jays saying 2012 was the target year. The start of year 3 is not a realistic expectation. Rebuilds never get done that quickly. I have a hard time finding examples of megadeals given out to players during the early stages of any rebuild, that the team and their initially excited fans haven’t totally regretted. I think it’s fool’s gold. Zito, A-Rod and Soriano instantly come to mind but there’s many. I think it`s proven beyond doubt. All I see is a big pot full of talent acquired by AA in 2 short years that soon reaches a boiling point in Toronto. As soon as that happens away we go. I`d much rather have all the financial flexibility at my fingrtips then. That`s the recipe for annual.

  • ace frehley

    Seems like AA has his own version of Moneyball, which is based on lots of trade-able young prospects that come relatively cheap. Hopefully he can cherry pick the best of this lot and continually offload the veterans at the same time and keep the process in motion. Good article.

  • ace frehley

    Seems like AA has his own version of Moneyball, which is based on lots of trade-able young prospects that come relatively cheap. Hopefully he can cherry pick the best of this lot and continually offload the veterans at the same time and keep the process in motion. Good article.

  • jakely

    They’ve projected it to death. Was it here I read having an annual contender with Canada to yourself is the equivalent of The Dodgers having California to themselves? That’s a big pie. Ownership just might want in on that. They pull this off and Canada will go jay crazy all over again. It will feed itself from there.

  • jakely

    They’ve projected it to death. Was it here I read having an annual contender with Canada to yourself is the equivalent of The Dodgers having California to themselves? That’s a big pie. Ownership just might want in on that. They pull this off and Canada will go jay crazy all over again. It will feed itself from there.

  • Blueboo

    I asked the question why they used old stiffs to fill out their AAA roster. The answer come back that they may have to send a young guy up there and sit him on the bench. Do you realize that you are using the whole years roster spot to protect another roster spot? How dumb is that? Why not have two young guys developing and if by chance somebody gets called you are not out anything. The other way you a stiff all year whether he is at AAA or sitting on bench at bigs? Just a waste.

  • Blueboo

    I asked the question why they used old stiffs to fill out their AAA roster. The answer come back that they may have to send a young guy up there and sit him on the bench. Do you realize that you are using the whole years roster spot to protect another roster spot? How dumb is that? Why not have two young guys developing and if by chance somebody gets called you are not out anything. The other way you a stiff all year whether he is at AAA or sitting on bench at bigs? Just a waste.

  • scottbarber

    @Blueboo I don’t think the block young players with vets in AAA. I think that they tend to avoid playing top (young) pitching prospects in Vegas because it is such a tough place to pitch, which is why they generally jump from AA to the majors. That is why I think they have older/depth pitchers down there.

  • scottbarber

    @Blueboo I don’t think the block young players with vets in AAA. I think that they tend to avoid playing top (young) pitching prospects in Vegas because it is such a tough place to pitch, which is why they generally jump from AA to the majors. That is why I think they have older/depth pitchers down there.

  • Blueboo

    A- they were doing the same thing in Syracuse

    B- that doesn’t explain the position players

  • scottbarber

    @Blueboo I don’t think they block younger players though. My guess would be that they fill positions with vets when they don’t have younger players to put in those spots. I think it is typically done for (extreme) depth.

  • Blueboo

    A- they were doing the same thing in Syracuse

    B- that doesn’t explain the position players

  • scottbarber

    @Blueboo I don’t think they block younger players though. My guess would be that they fill positions with vets when they don’t have younger players to put in those spots. I think it is typically done for (extreme) depth.

  • gnor

    @scottbarber@Blueboo The reason they have “old stiffs” in AAA is for the same reason they have then in the major leagues: mentoring and coaching, and examples.

  • gnor

    @juanguzman I would love to see any source you can produce that either Beeston or AA targeted 2012. As far as I know, and I read a lot about The Blue Jays, the timetable is flexible. What they do have is a plan, and they are committed to working the plan. If you look at where the top prospects are in the system right now, you might be able to project that 2014 would be a good target, but nobody from The Jays would say that.

    As far as free agents go, no “big name free agent” is going to sign here until they get to the playoffs, and they can show the guy that he’s the piece they need to put them over the top. It’s not like picking cans off a supermarket shelf. The player has a choice too, and unless the Jays choose to absolutely blow him out of the water, he will sign with a team that has a chance at a World Series Ring.

    You should look at the 1991 Blue Jays. They didn’t sign White and Winfield until the had their own core in place and had traded for Alomar and Carter. They had also been to the ALCS twice before that, and the FAs were what they needed to put them over the top.

  • gnor

    @scottbarber@Blueboo The reason they have “old stiffs” in AAA is for the same reason they have then in the major leagues: mentoring and coaching, and examples.

  • gnor

    @juanguzman I would love to see any source you can produce that either Beeston or AA targeted 2012. As far as I know, and I read a lot about The Blue Jays, the timetable is flexible. What they do have is a plan, and they are committed to working the plan. If you look at where the top prospects are in the system right now, you might be able to project that 2014 would be a good target, but nobody from The Jays would say that.

    As far as free agents go, no “big name free agent” is going to sign here until they get to the playoffs, and they can show the guy that he’s the piece they need to put them over the top. It’s not like picking cans off a supermarket shelf. The player has a choice too, and unless the Jays choose to absolutely blow him out of the water, he will sign with a team that has a chance at a World Series Ring.

    You should look at the 1991 Blue Jays. They didn’t sign White and Winfield until the had their own core in place and had traded for Alomar and Carter. They had also been to the ALCS twice before that, and the FAs were what they needed to put them over the top.

  • Blueboo

    Your asking the fans to suck up another one/two or three years before you are ready by the plan. If the criteria is making the playoffs,why wouldn’t help the process along by signing a Fielder? Your prospects are still there. You may not find a bat like that for another ten years. 19 years and counting and your asking for patience. DENIED

  • Blueboo

    Your asking the fans to suck up another one/two or three years before you are ready by the plan. If the criteria is making the playoffs,why wouldn’t help the process along by signing a Fielder? Your prospects are still there. You may not find a bat like that for another ten years. 19 years and counting and your asking for patience. DENIED

  • jakely

    blueboo, you may think it’s smart of the team to veer off course, but it’s not. Blame Ricciardi, he forced this.

  • jakely

    blueboo, you may think it’s smart of the team to veer off course, but it’s not. Blame Ricciardi, he forced this.

  • Blueboo

    We have had a mythical plan for 19 years. When it comes to the Blue Jays I will respond in due kind , Alex the cheque is in the mail. he will understand what I am talking about.

  • Blueboo

    We have had a mythical plan for 19 years. When it comes to the Blue Jays I will respond in due kind , Alex the cheque is in the mail. he will understand what I am talking about.

  • jakely

    No we have not. We had no plan for those years. We’ve had a plan for 2. It’s not hard to distinguish between eras and blaming the current regime for past ineptitude is way off.