This season I have decided to start a subseries of the fivehundreds that will be known as The Departed. I will profile former Blue Jays around the time they face off against the current Jays squad. This will be a selective list of former players and far from inclusive, but there is no better place to start than with David Price, who will be making his return to Toronto this coming weekend.
Price left the Jays this offseason to join the hated Boston Redsox who were not deterred by Price’s playoff woes and chose to pay him $1.2 billion dollars over the next 7 years (give or take….). The departure of Price hot on the heels of Anthopolous led to a feeding frenzy on talk radio and among fans across the country. Jays fans were left feeling like the team was falling apart, and making big mistakes. While I disagree with the AA situation, no GM in the history of the Toronto Blue Jays was going to be able to justify paying a pitcher past the age of 30 with one playoff win to his name (in relief work…) over $31 million a year for 7 years. And Price was never going to go to any team but the highest bidder.
We all wanted to buy into the story that he was having such a great time with our team last year that he would be willing to pass up somewhere in the range of $5 million dollars a year over 6 years and an additional $31 in the 7th year. We are talking about a potential difference in earnings of around $60 million over 7 years. Do you understand the things you can do in your lifetime with $60 million dollars? Do you know how many water jet packsI would own if I had an extra $60 million lying around? I might even be able to afford a one bedroom condo in Toronto with type of money.
Think about your own career. Assume you could do the exact same job with two different companies, and one was going to pay you an extra 25% annually for a guaranteed 7-year period. It would take some very powerful narcotics or a beyond incredible working environment to turn down that amount of money. If I were to poll the readers of the fivehundreds (hi Mom and Dad!) and present them with these two options, none of us would be suiting up for the Blue Jays next season.
So I am clearly fine with letting Price walk away to another club (enjoy the 2022 season Boston…) but I also want to make it clear I still think trading for him was the right move last July. Those assets were traded away knowing almost with 100% certainty that Price wouldn’t be in a Jays uniform this year. We took a swing at it and just missed. It was also a lot of fun.
The one thing that I didn’t like in the entire transaction was the comments of Price’s agent Bo McKinnis after the new deal with Boston was signed. Knowing that the Blue Jays fan base was upset it wouldn’t get to wear their $259 Price Jerseys to games he is pitching anymore, Bo came out and publically stated “Price would have absolutely gone back there. I’m surprised we didn’t get an offer.”
McKinnis just helped his player receive a ridiculous amount of money over the next 7 years. Just because the Blue Jays chose not to play the part of leverage bait to make the market for Price seem even higher does not mean McKinnis should be dragging out these comments publically. Agents bullying a front office to try and take unrealistic meetings to create a false demand for a player is an age old tactic, and skill set only the best agents have crafted. However, publically going after a team after the fact for not partaking in the hopes of creating that market with other clients going forward is distasteful. McKinnis has the responsibility to look out for his clients, and the Jays have the responsibility of fielding the best baseball team they can within their spending limits. Those two circles were never going to intersect. I wonder if the Jays handling of the Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion contract discussions (or lack there of) in the public have occurred partially as a pre-eminent strike to get out in front of agents who cut back at the club in this fashion when a player leaves.
I will be in the ballpark on Sunday when Price is likely to be scheduled to pitch against the Blue Jays. Given the strength of the Jays lineup and the ability to pound left handed pitching I am very excited to see how the game plays out. I will cheer Price when he first comes out, and then I will loudly cheer against him, and boo him with the vitriol I reserve for only the Red Sox…. The biggest spending team in baseball who’s fan base is still lying to themselves and pretending to be a small market upstart teaming winning games based on fried chicken, clubhouse drinking and small timey charm.
Sweet Caroline sucks. Didn't mean to get you down Neil.