Toronto Blue Jays: Rogers Must Spend to Bring in Pitching and Keep Talent

Max SullivanContributor IIINovember 11, 2012

September 9, 2012; Anaheim, CA, USA; Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Zack Greinke (23) pitches in the fifth inning against the Detroit Tigers at Angel Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-US PRESSWIRE
Gary A. Vasquez-US PRESSWIRE

There is something maddening for Toronto Blue Jays fans about watching Rogers Communications pull pennies and dimes out of their multi-billion dollar piggy bank when putting together a Major League Baseball roster.

In 2011, Rogers pulled in a net income of $1.74 billion.

They spent $75 million on the Blue Jays roster in 2012, $100 million less than the Boston Red Sox.

Take a look at these numbers:

- $197 million

- $174 million

- $173 million

- $117 million

- $110 million

These are the payrolls for the New York Yankees, Philadelphia Phillies, Red Sox, San Francisco Giants and St. Louis Cardinals—the winners of the past six World Series.

It's faulty logic to think that a team needs a $200 million payroll to win a World Series.

That doesn't mean Rogers shouldn't make it a little easier on the Jays. They can do just a little bit better than the $75 million they spent on the team in 2012.

The Blue Jays currently own the makeup of a 75 percent postseason-ready team. Their main weapons on offense—Jose Bautista, Edwin Encarnacion and Brett Lawrie—bring the star power. When healthy, their starting pitching is at least above average. Their farm system has plenty of talent, and that offers future pieces for the Blue Jays as well as bargaining chips for the offseason.

If the Blue Jays want to make it clear that they are serious about winning their division, there are two things they will need to think about investing in.

First, they need to seriously consider laying down a big-money offer to a star pitcher on the market this offseason, whether it's Zack Greinke, Anibal Sanchez, Edwin Jackson or any other big free-agent arm. They will make a huge statement to the league and to their dwindling fanbase if they do this.

The thing with this big-money offer, unfortunately, is that it must be particularly huge. Signing with Toronto is nothing like donning pinstripes, wearing the Cardinal red or standing with your back to the Green Monster. There can't be too many red-blooded ball players growing up with hopes of becoming a Blue Jay. No one, including Greinke, is going to take a pay cut to play for Toronto. Even with the "The Trop," that dismal cave that Joe Maddon and his Rays wallow in down in Tampa, Toronto has got to be the least appealing place to play in the American League East.

The lack of prestige in Toronto should not be a deal breaker, though, as long as Rogers are willing to call Greinke's or Sanchez's agent and say, "We're going to pay bigger than anyone else this offseason."

The other thing that Jays fans ought to be concerned about is whether or not the Blue Jays ownership team is willing to stamp their long-term seal on the talent budding in minor league system.

If Anthony Gose and D'Arnaud even meet a portion of the expectations heaped on them, they might end up on a plane to New York, Boston, Philadelphia or any other city with a team that is serious about getting their players the money they deserve. Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos shouldn't be worried about having the talent on the field in 2013. He should be worried about his superiors cheaping out on him and making him another Billy Beane.

The shameful difference with Anthopoulos, though, would be that, while it is common knowledge that the Oakland Athletics have never had the funds for Beane to keep his stars in town, Rogers do.

It is nice that Toronto has announced that they are going to be chasing some big-name free agents this offseason. If they aren't prepared to drop a big number, however, then it's very likely that Greinke and Sanchez will be signing elsewhere.