Blue Jays & David Price: Will he Return if They Win It All?

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We’ve been very quiet about David Price‘s return to the Blue Jays at the end of the season. It has been hush hush for a couple reasons. Firstly, we really should just be enjoying the ride. No point getting hyped up about something that is a month (or two, if we’re lucky) away. Secondly, like a no-no, talking about it might jinx it. I don’t really believe in that kind of thing, so I’m gonna talk about it.

Actually, I’m not the only one. Yesterday, Jeff on Jays brought you 10 reasons why Price will remain with the Blue Jays. Others have been talking about it too. You can’t help it. It’s at the back of everyone’s mind. Kristina Rutherford of Sportsnet sat down with Price and eventually brought it to the forefront. After asking him questions about his sweet tooth and ice cream, she hit on a subject that was designed to gauge his commitment to Toronto.

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Price tried to provide the right answers. His personality, as it tends to do, shone through. He was playful and respectful. When asked if he would become a Candian citizen, he joked that he’d definitely do it if he comes back next year. The ceremony would be on the field and everything. Then, she hit him with the money question: What are the chances of being a Blue Jay next year? Here’s what he said:

“I have no idea. You’re trying to get me in trouble! I would say the same per cent for every team. Well, I guess the Blue Jays would be ahead. It’s been awesome being here. I would definitely come back here if everything worked out the way we envisioned it.”

Toronto Blue Jays
Toronto Blue Jays /

Toronto Blue Jays

This brief response kind of hit every check box that an impending free agent is given when responding to these types of questions. Leave the possibility open for all teams. Check. Be respectful to current fan base. Check. It is actually quite a boring response. Until he throws in that last statement. If everything “works out”, he’ll definitely be back. You have to assume that things working out means winning. How much winning is not clear, but is there really any amount of winning that players settle for? The goal is to win it all. So, reading into his comment, if the Blue Jays win the World Series, Price will return.

Except, is it that easy? All of this presumes that the decision rests solely with Price. Any player, regardless of how many rings he wears, is ultimately swayed by money. They can say they aren’t, and Price may be the most truthful if he were to talk like this. He looks to want to have fun and enjoy his time where he plays. He seems to value the experience. But, he won’t be discounting his services greatly. Even though Toronto seems to be a great fit for him, Price is still going to be seeking Price money.

Can the Blue Jays provide that? Perhaps. But, perhaps not. The new club president will have a lot to say about that. The team will have to sort that out and decide if Alex Anthopoulos is GM next season before they can seriously pursue Price. That’s not even the biggest obstacle. As always, the money is. We have heard many times that this club has the means to spend with the best of them. Money really shouldn’t be an object. We’ve also heard about expiring contracts. But, let’s look at that.

Mark Buehrle may retire. The Blue Jays would be wise to offer him a qualifying offer. If he retires, they get a draft pick. If he signs elsewhere, they get a draft pick. If he accepts, they get another year of Mark Buehrle. Yes, please. It’s a win-win for the Blue Jays. A decision about R.A. Dickey needs to be made. Will they pick up his $12M option? Or, buy him out for $1M? Potentially, they have $32M coming off the books right there. But, it would be wise to offer at Buehrle. It might even be a good idea to pick up Dickey’s option. Otherwise, the Blue Jays would be entering the winter with Drew Hutchison, Marcus Stroman, Aaron Sanchez and Roberto Osuna as their rotation candidates. Marco Estrada is an impending free agent who will look to cash in on his great season. That creates issues moving forward. 

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  • The Q.O. to Buehrle will likely be north of $15M. The option on Dickey will bring the total to $27M (or more, depending on the Q.O. amount, which will be set in the fall). Not really saving much money there: $5M. Ricky Romero‘s money is coming off the books. Add another $7.5M. That’s $12.5M. The Blue Jays hold a $14M option on Bautista. Think they won’t pick that up? They also hold an option on Edwin Encarnacion for $10M.

    This one could go either way. The offense will take a hit, but they could afford to use that money elsewhere. A guy like Justin Smoak could be cheaper as a 1B/DH. Not better, but cheaper. Speaking of Smoak, he’s eligible for arbitration this coming year. Arbitration is another area that the Blue Jays will see an increase in payroll. Think Josh Donaldson won’t see a huge bump on his $4.3M?

    The point here is that even before the Blue Jays look at adding the kind of money Price would command, they’re already looking at increasing money spent for next year. All of this money that could come off the books looks to potentially be tied up elsewhere. That’s not a good omen for the chances of signing Price. Of course, this could come down to priorities. If the Blue Jays do in fact win big this season, they could see the impact it has on revenue and make efforts to repeat the success.

    If that is the case, they could make signing Price a priority and make all the other decisions after (and based on) him. The Blue Jays already have a high payroll. This offseason will go a long way to increasing it. They’re going to have to spend. That is true even before they consider Price. In order to keep him in a Blue Jays uniform, they’re going to have to spend. That is what it will come down to. The good news, for Blue Jays fans, is that they are not in a position to try and save money. They’re too close to glory for that.

    Next: Is John Gibbons an AL Manager of the Year Candidate?

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