There is a lot of drama going on with Rogers Communications Inc. these days, and many fans are wondering if it will hamper the Blue Jays’ plans this winter.
I can certainly understand the concern, and while I’ll readily admit that I have zero inside information on the situation, I don’t think it’s time for baseball fans to panic.
For those that missed the story on Thursday, news broke that Edward Rogers had been voted out as the chair of the board for the company. Rogers is the only son of the late Ted Rogers, who founded the Canadian media giant that also happens to own the Blue Jays under one of their many umbrellas.
What made the story even more interesting were the events that led up to Rogers dismissal as the chair. From Pete Evans at CBC.ca:
"“The stunning development comes after a failed bid by Edward Rogers to oust the company’s chief executive officer Joe Natale from the job.Rogers attempted to replace Natale as CEO with the company’s Chief Financial Officer Tony Staffieri last month. Staffieri left the company abruptly when the attempt failed to gather enough support from other board members, including two of Edward’s sisters and his mother, Loretta.”"
Despite the fact that Rogers was voted out of his position as board chair, he’ll still remain with the company in a director’s role.
Without going further into the drama that played out on Thursday, I’ll go back to the question of if and how much this could affect the Blue Jays. In my mind, I don’t know that there will be a direct impact, or any immediate change of plans because of Rogers’ ouster. Clearly there are/were some internal disputes going on, but I sincerely doubt it had a lot to do with the Blue Jays.
More significantly, the company is in the midst trying to make a massive move to merger with Shaw, shrinking an already small Canadian media landscape even further. It’s no small business decision either, as we’re talking about a deal that’s worth somewhere in the neighbourhood of 26 billion dollars. It doesn’t help that the dispute with Rogers and the board of directors is happening right now either of course, but there’s no telling whether the drama could have a positive or negative effect, or perhaps none at all.
As far as reassurances go, I think we can look to last offseason and how the Blue Jays operated in free agency. They were one of the few teams that were truly aggressive on the open market, and it paid off by signing stars like George Springer, and Marcus Semien. That came at a time when the Jays hadn’t played a single home game in the Rogers Centre during the 2020 campaign, and they knew that there would be limited access in 2021 as well. Despite that, the payroll increase was approved and Ross Atkins and his team went to work.
I feel like if the Jays were able to secure an investment from ownership at a time like that, it would take something far more important than a change of role for Edward Rogers to drastically impact the organizational operations. If the merger falls apart and there are huge financial ramifications, perhaps we’re looking at a different situation altogether, but for now it’s far too early to lose any sleep over things. It’s a lot more fun to think about a busy offseason, and what this talented team will do with a fresh slate in 2022.