The MSBST3000!


Over the weekend, Tyler Kepner of the New York Times penned an interesting piece on the state of the Toronto Blue Jays and the strange transition the club has had to make from the Paul Beeston era to the one that now sees Mark Shapiro in charge.

Much of it isn’t particularly new for those of us who follow the team closely, but there’s enough meat in there to make it worth a read, and it provides us with a perfect quote to dust off a relic of the old Drunk Jays Fans era and update it for this wild new future we now live in.

Yes, the JP Ricciardi Bullshit Translator 3000 has now become the Mark Shapiro Bullshit Translator 3000.

The MSBST3000!

So let’s feed the old girl Shapiro’s take on whether his club’s payroll can be increased to accommodate fresh contracts for stars like Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion and see what truths she spits out, shall we??

[whirring noises] [various bleeps and blorps]

“If you were going off the premise that this market has the capability to drive revenues at extreme rates…

If you absolutely insist on not allowing us to paint ourselves as one of the league’s downtrodden clubs, here in our giant wealthy metropolis with our astronomical national TV ratings…

“If this team wins for a second year, then where potentially we could be from a resource perspective is unknown — and very high.”

What I’m going to tell you is that we can definitely be a big market club! How big? Ohhhh… welll… couldn’t say for sure, exactly. But big!

“The bigger question is what happens if the team fails to meet expectations, or something derails performance?…

Thing is, if the team doesn’t do well, ownership is proooooobably going want to do that pretend-we’re-poor thing.

“That creates more uncertainty on how to answer that question.”

We probably don’t even know what they’re going to allow us to spend!

“So I think there’s going to be some fluidity in how we answer that.”

So… let’s just say, we have no goddamned idea.

“But if it we knew already it was going to be huge, do you think we’d have so many impending free agents still unsigned?” he didn’t add, but could have.

I’m pretty sure the machine totally nailed it here. Which… doesn’t make the quote all that revealing, as much as it’s just a new spin on the well worn concept that Rogers basically just makes up a number for the Jays’ payroll to be at as it goes along. Which could work out in their favour! (If “in their favour” means could still give them the chance to retain Bautista and Encarnacion).

It’s just… y’know… I guess that until we know how the year goes there’s going to be some fluidity in how they answer that. *COUGH*

  • Barry

    Some out-loud musings for your trashing pleasure …

    I’m having trouble imagining that Shapiro and Atkins even want to keep both Bautista and Edwin around. That’s not a knock on management; in fact, it might be an acknowledgement that it’s a good thing these guys run the team and I don’t. I would love for them to extend both players, but that’s largely because of the players’ histories with the team.

    From the Shapiro/Atkins point of view, would it even make sense? Let’s say the payroll gets increased. Do they put a huge chunk of the payroll increase into two players who are at an age where they are likely to decline? Bautista will be 36 when the 2017 season starts. Edwin will be 34. Bautista is likely to be a DH/1B in the future. Edwin is primarily a DH now. While we can argue that “Bautista will age well,” we don’t know that. He’s up against historical precedent, in fact. And few would feel comfortable saying Edwin will age well, given that he has some sort of injury every year. (And at 34, how long can a guy who isn’t “aging well” be expected to be productive? Even guys with relatively clean injury histories are on the downside by the time they reach their mid-30s.)

    So … do Shapiro and Atkins take the higher payroll and say, “We like the job Alex did so we’re going to put all our money into keeping his team together as it ages”? Because isn’t that really what they’d be doing? I have a hard time imagining two new guys would come in to run the team and make their first big money decision about maintaining a former GM’s work while investing gobs of money in two aging players.

    I want to keep both players. But if I imagine things from management’s point of view, I can’t see it happening.

    Perhaps that’s a big reason why Shapiro keeps talking circles around payroll questions. Perhaps he wants to let one player walk. (Note that I say this not to bash Shapiro; I have a generally positive impression of him so far, and there’s some logic to keeping only one player.)

    • Psmithy

      I guess it’s the question of how they are doing mid-season, and before someone bangs the 9-5 rights (it just means they cannot be traded without first approving the trade) it’s part of the reason I wonder if they trade them mid season to get prospect capital. Although teams love draft picks, doesn’t a low first round -second who has shown that they may be big league ready in AA equal more value than a draft pick that is 4-6 years away?

      • Barry

        I’ll boldly say that I think it’s very unlikely the Jays are in sell-mode at the deadline. I think the most likely scenarios are, in order: 1) They’ll be in a playoff spot; 2) They’ll be close to a playoff spot. So, even if the Jays are a couple of games out and decide to follow the 2015 Tigers’ example, a 10-and-5 Jose Bautista will veto a deal. Not sure what Edwin would do.

        But in the unlikely event that we’re out of contention and looking at next year, I think the lack of high-minors prospects will get Shapiro/Atkins to at least shop one or both for elite level prospects in AA or AAA and will weigh those offers against the draft pick they’d get with a qualifying offer. But I have no sense of what other teams would offer (particularly since we don’t know who those teams will be).

    • OakvilleJays

      Interesting post. Let’s say the Jays get to the World Series & win it, would Shapiro dare not bring back Bautista & EE?. I assume one or both of them would be key contributors to winning a World Series.

      The corporate doublespeak by Shapiro continues to amaze me. Why do fans put up with this nonsense?

  • mktoronto

    Happy to see the return of the machine! Really think you nailed it too.

    There is definite merit in waiting until the end of the year. Rogers has more revenue data which will give Shapiro more leverage in raising payroll. I can’t see salaries being substantially higher than what happened last off-season so there really isn’t a need to lock people down now.

  • fastball

    Sounds like every other bit of corporate-speak I’ve heard before. Never use 10 words when 40 will do – and make sure that NONE of those words are actually Yes or No when answering a question.
    Face it – it’s going to be more of “let’s make sure 2015 wasn’t a one-off year before we commit to opening the vault”.
    Basically – be good boys for this year and we’ll see what Santa brings later.