Nearly half a day has transpired since Ken Rosenthal dropped the bombshell that Blue Jays players offered to defer salary in order to allow Toronto to sign free agent starting pitcher Ervin Santana, Blue Jays President and CEO took to the radio. In an interview with Matt Galloway of CBC Radio (H/T Brendan Kennedy for the link), Beeston touched on a number of subjects, including the report from Rosenthal.
Skipping forward to the 2:38 mark on the embedded clip, Beeston confirms that there was discussion with players about deferring salary with some players, but did not confirm that negotiations ever got to a point where there were serious plans in place to do so. Additionally, Beeston was put on the spot in regards to whether the Blue Jays had a “budget” in place, but refused to call it a cap.
Beeston confirmed that the Blue Jays as a business have a budget in place, but proceeded to spin it away from that talk, noting that the team spent heavily on this year’s roster and that they felt they wanted to develop from within more than commit further to free agents. He also confirmed that the Blue Jays will not spend at the same rates of the Los Angeles Dodgers, New York Yankees, and Boston Red Sox, but felt comfortable with where the Blue Jays have spent.
Toronto Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos has refused comment on the report, according to various media outlets.
As noted in Rosenthal’s piece, while it was wishful thinking by the players to try to move money around in such a hurry, it was likely fruitless. One agent even went as far to note that the union would have balked at such an arrangement unless there was significant gain for the player deferring funds. Past attempts to do something similar, like when the Boston Red Sox nearly acquired Alex Rodriguez from the Texas Rangers, have generally met with a resounding “no” from the players’ union.
Regardless, it is another unique plot twist in the saga of the Blue Jays offseason. Had there been at least one pitcher signed this winter, just one, it is likely this would flow under the bridge without issue. However, the team’s lack of activity confounded fans and pundits alike which causes reports like this to snowball quickly.
This is not likely the last we’ll hear about this, as the Blue Jays and their players will be answering this question from the media quite a bit in the coming days and perhaps months if consistent pitching doesn’t put it to bed.