Ken Rosenthal appeared on Tim and Sid (which was actually not Tim and Side but Arash Madani and Stephen Brunt) on Friday with some, uh, less than encouraging words about the Blue Jays and their pursuit of a game-changing free agent.
To paraphrase, Rosenthal was asked by Madani who he figured the Blue Jays would add in free agency, to which Rosenthal replied that he had no idea, though they’ve been in on pretty much everyone out there. Rosenthal then went on to say that he believes that top free agents will be more inclined to sign with American teams, putting the Blue Jays at a bit of a disadvantage…
My feel with them, not that they’re going to get used, but that unless they pay a premium, that guys are going to go and stick with the American teams.
Let’s look at [George] Springer, for example. Here’s a guy that seems to have sincere interest in the Jays and they seem to have sincere interest in him. But he’s from Connecticuit and if the Mets come at him and the money is roughly the same, will he want to stay as close to home as possible? My guess is yes.
Remember, this is Rosenthal simply expressing an opinion. George Springer or whoever else hasn’t explicitly told him that they would rather stick close to home. He’s just speculating.
And, to be honest, what he’s suggesting isn’t exactly unreasonable. In normal years it’s difficult for the Blue Jays to lure free agents when going up against 29 other American-based clubs, many of which are located in states that have significantly lower taxes than Canada and Ontario do. Adding on the uncertainty around the Canadian border and the challenges that might create surely does give the Blue Jays another obstacle to navigate.
But still, money talks. If the Jays offer a player more cash than anybody else, there’s a very, very good chance that the player will sign. I mean, they just signed Hyun Jin Ryu last off-season. He was the second-best pitcher on the open market and playing in Canada clearly wasn’t an issue. The team offered him a fair contract and he took it.
When it comes to overpaying… Who the fuck cares? Welcome to free agency. Pretty much every good player out there is going to be overpaid. These guys are underpaid for six years so that, eventually, they can get overpaid in free agency.
The Blue Jays have a young and cheap roster that ultimately gives them the flexibility to overpay on certain players to fill areas of need.
So, in sum, Rosenthal probably isn’t wrong about the inherent challenge of being MLB’s only Canadian team, but this really shouldn’t be that much of a challenge. If Rogers is willing to spend, the players will come.