Blue Jays: Don’t hope for Rogers to sell the team
News broke later on Tuesday evening that Rogers Communications are considering selling the Toronto Blue Jays and a stake in Cogeco, their media company.
Don’t be foolish and start hoping that Rogers will sell the Toronto Blue Jays. You might think it would be a good thing for the team, but I’m telling you that chances are it would set the franchise back as much as any single decision that could happen. And no, I don’t work for Rogers either.
After news broke on Tuesday evening that Rogers Communications is considering selling the Toronto Blue Jays (according to Bloomberg), among other assets, the familiar conversation started on Twitter from Blue Jays fans, talking about how cheap Rogers has been and how many can’t wait to see a more passionate owner come in and throw some money around.
I understand the logic from this section of the fan base, as the Blue Jays are owned by a massive company in a tremendously huge market. It’s never been easy to accept watching other superpowers around the game spending money recklessly, and knowing that the Blue Jays could theoretically do the same if ownership would sign off on it. That much is certainly true.
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However, as much as it’s easy to point the finger and say, “you could have done more”, we have to stop for a moment and take a look at the whole situation. For example, the Blue Jays started the season with the 10th highest payroll in the game in 2017, beginning the season with around 163 million spent on the roster. Sure, they could have added another key piece or two, but that’s not exactly chump change.
We won’t know what kind of immediate effect a sale would have on player payroll, but does anyone think it would actually improve in the short term? Look no further than the Miami Marlins for an example right now. Derek Jeter and his ownership group took over the team, and almost immediately the narrative started that they needed to slash payroll and get the franchise operating as a more profitable business under their model ideas. The group wants to do a bit of a tear down so they can build it back up their way, which is very common when acquiring a business of this type of value.
We’d be foolish to expect anything different, even if the possibility remains that a new ownership group flush with cash could acquire the team. However, even if that were to take place, that wouldn’t guarantee that the franchise wouldn’t go through a transition. The franchise was fortunate that Rogers actually increased spending after they purchased an 80% stake from Interbrew in 2000, but that’s not a common tale.
1999- 48.4 million (14th in the MLB)
2000- 54.5 million (17th)
2001- 75.8 (10th)
2002- 76.8 (10th)
If you want to hope for a group to come along like Magic Johnson’s that acquired the Dodgers a few years ago, then I wouldn’t blame you at all. That type of motivated ownership group (with seemingly endless pockets) doesn’t come along every day though, and as much as we’ve enjoyed pointing out that Rogers could do more than they have, the reality is they’ve spent a fair amount of money on the Blue Jays in recent years. Sure, it’s easier to do that when your team leads the American League in attendance, but they did set a franchise record for payroll last year.
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So while it’s very interesting that Rogers would consider selling the Blue Jays, I’m not so sure the fan base should be anything but worried about such a proposition.