Blue Jays rumored to be discussing 2016 payroll cuts
Every logical arrow surrounding the Toronto Blue Jays points towards an increase in the MLB payroll. The first playoff run in over two decades brought lengthy strings of sellout crowds to the Rogers Centre, and with the current roster dynamics, the window for victory is now. Reports earlier in the week indicated a payroll roughly on par with the 2015 number, but according to Bob McCown of The Fan 590, there’s talk that cuts could be on the way.
Speaking on Prime Time Sports Friday night, McCown revealed that one Blue Jays source has told him that ownership plans on reducing payroll for the 2016 season. Another source discounted the story by telling McCown it was not true, but the presence of the rumor should be given a greater weight that the retort when matched 1-to-1 here.
You don’t need me to tell you how bizarre a payroll cut would be. We all know. Somewhere in the clouded and mysterious mess that was the departure of Alex Anthopoulos’ departure, perhaps 2016 payroll projections and ownership commitment were contributing to his decision.
This also does nothing to help the hot-burning opinion among Blue Jays fans that Shapiro is a suit. Someone brought in that is closer to ownership than the players, which was never the case with the always relatable Anthopoulos. He preaches order and organization, and fans have not laid out the welcome mat to a man that seems determined to color inside the lines. Understandably so.
We won’t see through the fluff until action is taken on the transactional side, but if there is any level of truth to the rumor, it could put some of Toronto’s high-salary players on thinner ice. Both Edwin Encarnacion and Jose Bautista are in the final year of very affordable deals, and it seems very unlikely that both will be re-signed long term. Shortstop Troy Tulowitzki has a lot of dollar signs left on his deal, although he also holds a no-trade clause, while R.A. Dickey‘s $12 million option could be shipped out for low-grade prospects and payroll relief.
After the season that was, it’s difficult for a fan base to even accept an equal budget to last season’s. The all-in mentality ahead of the July 31st non-waiver trade deadline was contagious, so curling back into a shell will be seen as organizational failure, not to mention a disservice to fans. It’s still a nice, expensive shell to curl back in to, but it’s not a logical one.
Rogers is a business, and from their perspective, the Blue Jays are a branch of that. Upgrades to the ‘Dome and spring training facilities shouldn’t be greatly impacting the on-field budget, but at this point, they just might be. We’ll gain some much needed clarity on the direction of this franchise in the coming weeks, but Rogers and the Blue Jays certainly have some fires to put out.