Your Toronto Blue Jays are out of contention. Of course it’s baseball and anything can happen, but the Toronto Blue Jays are 7 games back of the second wild card at the end of July. It’s time to think about the future. Technically, a month ago was the optimal time to think about the future, back when there were more buyers and those buyers had more holes to fill, but we’ll just attribute the delay to Atkins’ optimism and call it a day.
Unfortunately, most of expendable pieces the Blue Jays control aren’t all that great and carry substantial salaries. Given that trading the obvious candidates probably won’t net more than a couple low-level guys, it makes sense to ask if a penny saved is a penny gained. If Atkins is able to cut ten million dollars this year, will that savings carry over to 2018?
With Rogers Media owning the club, who the hell knows. It’s an important question though because Francisco Liriano(14M), and Jose Bautista(18M) both make a decent chunk of cash-money. If their salaries are pro-rated, you’re looking at saving about five million on Liriano and seven million on Bautista over the rest of the year if you can find a suitor to pick up the entire tab.
If you’re optimistic, Liriano and Bautista both should produce around a single win-above-replacement over the remainder of the season, not counting the playoffs. With a win worth around eight-ish million, you should be able to find a team to pick up the tab without too much bickering. Once the tab is picked up though, there’s no surplus value that’d net the Blue Jays any talent beyond a non-prospect.
So that’s the dilemma: Is it better for the Blue Jays to pay the salary of Liriano and Bautista and get a couple fringe prospects or is it better for the Blue Jays to save 12M this year to put to the roster next year?
We’re dealing with Rogers though, so there’s no guarantee that saving 12M this year would result in having extra change to play with next year. Throwing a wrench into things, Rogers also owns everything related to the Toronto Blue Jays, including but not limited to the colour blue and the letter J.
Bautista is most definitely a fan favourite, so if Atkins ships him out to save 8M, it’ll cause ripples across the Rogers Media Empire. How many fewer people show up at the game; more importantly, how many fewer people tune into Sportsnet to watch the Blue Jays? How much lost revenue will Rogers incur across its beisbol empire?
Trading Bautista could very well end up costing Rogers more than it saves in salary which is one of the many reasons that corporations shouldn’t own every damn facet of a sporting team.
If this were just a baseball decision, you’d expect to see both Bautista (I vote Cleveland) and Liriano (I vote LA) shipped out this afternoon for cost-savings or low-level prospects but do you really think this is just a baseball decision?