McCown: “May Not Be A Real Limit” To Payroll, Rogers Intends To Use Jays To Burnish Image

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Very interesting stuff from Tuesday night’s edition of Prime Time Sports on the Fan 590 here in Toronto, as noted in the Presented Without Comment… below this post, in which Bob McCown offered his take on the conversations he says he’s been privy to within the halls at Bloor and Jarvis, and what his understanding is of how new CEO Guy Laurence intends to do business with respect to the Jays.

In short: if true it’s very, very, tremendously good news for Jays fans.

The key points: the club wants to spend — they’ve already budgeted for an increase — and ownership is willing to go over-budget if the right deal comes along. Better still, the club specifically wants Jon Lester, but is concerned about the seven-year term he’s asking for. That would almost seem to be more a Beeston concern, though — i.e. the policy — as Rogers, if we’re to believe it, sees tremendous value in repairing their reputation, and thinks that standing behind a well-funded, successful Blue Jays club could be a great way to help do so.

Don’t just take my word for it, though. Here is the full quote from near the beginning of the segment you can hear here, as McCown lays a bunch of inner-workings stuff on co-host Ken Reid before, just as quickly as our nugget of a tangent began, the conversation slips back into typical Toronto radio hockey talk nonsense.

McCOWN: The Blue Jays’ payroll will go up this year. How much is unclear. But there may not be a real limit to it. There’s a real sense that the new CEO of Rogers Communications — Rogers Rogers… whatever it is (it’s not “Rogers Communications”)… the big company — Guy Laurence, the big enchilada. I’m sort of… I’m making some assumptions here, so I don’t want to say this is a fact, but it seems as if he recognizes the potential importance to the corporation of the Blue Jays — perhaps more than the previous administrator. And also understands that the Blue Jays can be a conduit in improving the image of this company.

Some have suggested that — not I, but… — that Rogers is among the most disliked corporations in the country. And it’s understandable, because we get services from Rogers, and any time something goes wrong with those things, we feel like that’s who we have to blame. Now, if you’re with Bell, for example, and your phone doesn’t work or your cable goes down — well, they don’t have cable or whatever it is they have — or any of their other services — their internet services — you get mad at them. So, let’s face it, Rogers is a big, big company. So it’s understandable. But I think this CEO is trying to address that — understands that one of the ways that you curry favour with your clientele is with a product like the Toronto Blue Jays.

REID: So you produce a winning team and everybody loves the owner. Which we see in pretty much every team that wins. Is that what you’re getting at?

McCOWN: I’m alluding to that. And nobody’s told me that exactly, but the inference has been there that if there’s a deal on the table that would take the Blue Jays beyond the increase they’ve already budgeted for, there’s a confidence level that there’d be no issue whatsoever. Like the Jon Lester deal. And what I’m told about Lester is: money isn’t the issue. The Blue Jays are prepared to pay him market value — what he’s looking for. It’s years. He wants seven years.

REID: That would be going against the five year plan. But would this — I’ll call it a P.R. move — would that be enough to bend it?

McCOWN: I don’t know whether this is the deal you break the egg on.

REID: They’re going to have to break that egg at some point. I don’t know if it’s this year, but at some point you’re going to have to just realize that the price of doing business is as much term as it is money — because term is money. I’ll take $20-million a year, but I want it for eight years, not for five, so… that’s 60-million bucks.

McCCOWN: Yeah.


So… weird. It’s like I’m getting deja vu here, and not just because I’ve whined forever about how all the talk we hear about term in these free agent dealings is just a shorthand for more money — as in: Russell Martin didn’t choose the Jays because he really wanted a five year deal more than a four-year one, he did so because the five-year pact was worth $82-million, and the four-year one was topping out around $70-million.

No, I’m getting deja vu because it’s like so much of what’s being talked about here is lifted straight from Kelly Pullen’s October Toronto Life cover story on Edward Rogers III, as well as — if I do say so myself — my own thoughts pivoting off Pollen’s work (which you can see by way of last night’s Presented Without Comment…, in the bottom post at this link).

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