Ross Atkins Had A Pointless Press Conference, Part One: On Jose Bautista

Andrew Stoeten
February 23 2016 08:43AM

Jose Bautista
Photo Credit: Peter Llewellyn-USA TODAY Sports

I get that Ross Atkins probably didn't want to look like he was ducking the issue of Jose Bautista's contractual shot across the bow yesterday, and that he'd like to put as much of a lid on the Jay Bruce trade talk as he possibly can, but wow, did the Blue Jays' GM ever just have the most pointless media conference I can remember.

HEY EVERYBODY, ROSS HAS SOMETHING TO SAY! The floor is yours, Ross...

[Adjusts glasses] [Takes sip of water] [Clears throat] ...

"No comment."

Not that anyone should have expected anything different. He's certainly not going to get himself fined by talking about other team's players and there really isn't a whole lot to say about Bautista's demands -- frankly, I'd wager he probably agrees with them to a large extent. Bautista deserves a fair market contract, and what's going to ultimately going to hold back any sort of agreement between him and the Jays isn't the desire of Atkins and Mark Shapiro to have him on the roster, but their ability to make his deal fit within their budget going forward.

On TSN Radio this morning, Buster Olney said that the Jays' ownership "won't allocate 20-25% of their payroll to a player that will be 36 in the fall," to which the only natural response is: so up the payroll.

Olney writes about Bautista's demands at ESPN.com, suggesting that he's done the club a huge favour by being so direct and so presumably outlandish in his ask. Not that he won't get the kind of money he's seeking, but for a club with a payroll level that the Jays have, by Olney's thinking, as with David Price, there's just no way it's going to make sense.

More accurately, Bautista has made his contract a question for ownership, not management.

That's absolutely fucking perfect if you ask me. Other than its making the potential of him leaving all the more real, the whole thing is quite delicious, frankly.

Bautista wouldn't be Bautista if he was willing to settle for anything less than the most he can possibly get. That's kind of his whole thing. And you have to believe it's a big part of why we've seen via social media so many of the club's pre-arb guys following him to Super Bowl pajama parties and workouts well before training camp actually begins. Getting paid resonates with these guys a whole lot more than any kind of false loyalty to organizations that so often get applauded for treating players as ruthlessly as possible, and if that means they take care of themselves and don't show up looking like Pablo Sandoval, all the better. It's just sometimes it means a situation like the one the Jays are facing here.

Or, as I say, a situation that Rogers is facing, and almost certainly will be facing for several more months to come -- which is why Atkins' disinclination to comment is completely reasonable.

Oh, but that doesn't mean the GM wouldn't have had anything to answer for today, were he actually, y'know, willing to comment. But we'll get to the Jay Bruce mess in part two...

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Andrew Stoeten, co-creator of Drunk Jays Fans, has written about, podcasted, tweeted, lived and breathed Toronto Blue Jays baseball full time since 2006. He sometimes responds to emails to stoeten@gmail.com. Follow him: @AndrewStoeten.
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#51 Steve-O
February 23 2016, 11:12AM
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Jays2010 wrote:

It depends on whether or not payroll stays at $140 million or gets slashed to $100 - $120 million.

If the Jays do not contend in 2016, I'm not sure why anyone expects payroll to be maintained.

This is already the upper level of Rogers' comfort zone.

Do you honestly think payroll would have been $140 million in 2016 without last season's revenues?

You and Oakville should start a support group.

What could possibly make you think they would slash payroll to $100M?

And if they do contend - like everyone expects them to - and attendance and ratings are high, wouldn't the opposite be much more likely (payroll goes up)?

Which makes keeping one of Bautista or EE more likely, and extends their window even longer.

I'm not sure what you're trying to say here. You want them to anticipate a losing season in 2016 and preemptively trade guys like Bautista and Donaldson now? That makes no sense.

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#52 Steve-O
February 23 2016, 11:16AM
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RickBosettisUrine wrote:

Check his OBP and get back to us.

But look at all those RBIs!

:p

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#53 Rollies Fingers
February 23 2016, 11:19AM
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Why not go for Fowler? By the sounds of it, he can be had for about the same as Bruce...maybe an extra year...I get the loss of a draft pick thing, but it just seems to make more sense (.363 career OBP, with top of the lineup speed...) What am I missing?

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#54 Thomas Drance
February 23 2016, 11:20AM
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agony_buffalo wrote:

If anyone is interested the reddit handle of a guy claiming to be the managing editor of Nation Network is /u/Artemchubarov.

I haven't been harassing him or anything, and I'm not encouraging anyone to. But maybe he'll listen to our gripes regarding the flaws this comments section has, and what the implications will be for live games.

Feel free to get at me on Twitter also at @thomasdrance or by e-mail at thom.drance@gmail.com

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#55 AJ, Breakfast Army Fan
February 23 2016, 11:21AM
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@Steve-O

It's his shtick. Maybe not a troll but a full-blown Negative Nancy. Loves confrontation and will fight until you give up.

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#56 AJ, Breakfast Army Fan
February 23 2016, 11:23AM
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Rollies Fingers wrote:

Why not go for Fowler? By the sounds of it, he can be had for about the same as Bruce...maybe an extra year...I get the loss of a draft pick thing, but it just seems to make more sense (.363 career OBP, with top of the lineup speed...) What am I missing?

It's the draft pick.

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#57 Barry
February 23 2016, 11:26AM
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Davidi asked Bautista. Bautista calls the 5/150 report "False."

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#58 Rollies Fingers
February 23 2016, 11:30AM
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AJ, Breakfast Army Fan wrote:

It's the draft pick.

I get that, but I think it is a philosophical mistake to value a mid 20's draft pick over a 29 year old proven commodity that it seems can be grabbed at a very reasonable price and can be part of the answer if JB leaves. He's exactly what this team needs NOW! Maybe there is something about him we don't know that team execs do?!

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#59 Jays2010
February 23 2016, 11:32AM
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Philbert wrote:

It was $130+ million in 2015 without last season's revenues. It was $120+ million in 2014 without last season's revenues.

So... yes.

Because Rogers has only owned the team for 3 years and we don't have a documented history of their payroll cycles...

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#60 noopi
February 23 2016, 11:32AM
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Rollies Fingers wrote:

Why not go for Fowler? By the sounds of it, he can be had for about the same as Bruce...maybe an extra year...I get the loss of a draft pick thing, but it just seems to make more sense (.363 career OBP, with top of the lineup speed...) What am I missing?

That does actually make a lot of sense. His speed would be wasted hitting in front of Donaldson, but he'd be pretty good defensively, and he can definitely get on base.

Then, Saunders can be dealt for pitching depth or some prospect capital to offset losing the pick. Obviously it wouldn't be anywhere near the value of that first-rounder, but I'd at least consider doing that.

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#61 The Drunken Wolf
February 23 2016, 11:35AM
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Gallardo deal might be falling through due to his physical?

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#62 JustinTet
February 23 2016, 11:37AM
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Barry wrote:

Davidi asked Bautista. Bautista calls the 5/150 report "False."

It's really 6/180

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#63 AJ, Breakfast Army Fan
February 23 2016, 11:39AM
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Rollies Fingers wrote:

I get that, but I think it is a philosophical mistake to value a mid 20's draft pick over a 29 year old proven commodity that it seems can be grabbed at a very reasonable price and can be part of the answer if JB leaves. He's exactly what this team needs NOW! Maybe there is something about him we don't know that team execs do?!

I shouldn't sound like it's so black and white. The draft pick may be a large part just thinking what Shatkins' comments/philosophy have been. There could be something else to it. Maybe money was coming back in the Bruce deal for a better prospect. Who knows...

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#64 Steve-O
February 23 2016, 11:41AM
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AJ, Breakfast Army Fan wrote:

It's his shtick. Maybe not a troll but a full-blown Negative Nancy. Loves confrontation and will fight until you give up.

I will never give up!

(Though I might wander off due to indifference or the fact that it's next to impossible to track replies on this site...)

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#65 The Drunken Wolf
February 23 2016, 11:44AM
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Steve-O wrote:

I will never give up!

(Though I might wander off due to indifference or the fact that it's next to impossible to track replies on this site...)

Tell me about it. Love the content, not loving the commenting.

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#66 noopi
February 23 2016, 11:46AM
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The Drunken Wolf wrote:

Tell me about it. Love the content, not loving the commenting.

This is kind of what AS.com looked like in its early days, back in November and December 2014 (comments, that is). I expect it'll get much better in fairly short order.

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#67 The Drunken Wolf
February 23 2016, 11:49AM
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noopi wrote:

This is kind of what AS.com looked like in its early days, back in November and December 2014 (comments, that is). I expect it'll get much better in fairly short order.

That would make this Wolf very happy. Here's hoping.

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#68 FowlofCanada
February 23 2016, 12:06PM
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http://deadspin.com/d-backs-pitcher-josh-collmenter-teaches-physics-to-team-1760815145

Josh Collmenter teaching physics to teammates.

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#69 mktoronto
February 23 2016, 02:04PM
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Dabbles wrote:

I have 2 ads on my page.

Chineseladydate.com and MuslimMingle.com

And I'm getting alarms and diet ads. Which is why I usually block ads in the first place.

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#70 mktoronto
February 23 2016, 02:16PM
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Louie wrote:

Quick comment about the site.

As much as I like Jays' blue, the new background colour makes reading this page a lot more conspicuous on my work computer screen.

This will force me to be on the page less times for less time. That means less ad revenue.

All white is boring, but it's helpful for cubicle stealth viewing.

I miss white space. It's easier on the eyes than this.

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#71 WallyG
February 23 2016, 08:34PM
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What would you expect Atkins to say? If I was in his position I'd say the same thing too. Business deals are handled like proprietary information.

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