The Canadian dollar closed the day on Monday at 85.8 cents US. “CIBC economists, in a new currency outlook,” according to a Globe and Mail piece last week, “forecast that the loonie will sink to about 85.5 cents by early next year, then edge lower in the second quarter and then close in on the 81-cent level by the third quarter.”
Meanwhile, the Toronto Blue Jays continued to sit on their hands as other MLB jump full-on into the free agent market.
Chase Headley signed with the Yankees for four years and $52-million. Jed Lowrie returned to Houston for three years and $23-million. Jason Motte went to the Chicago Cubs on a $4.5-million one-year deal with incentives. Brett Anderson signed an incentive-laden one-year deal with the Dodgers with a base salary of $10-million. Alex Rios has signed with the Royals for one year and $11-million.
And, of course, over the weekend, Melky Cabrera signed with the Chiago White Sox for three years and $42-million.
Taken individually, that the Jays passed on all of these players at these prices — or whatever extra we might think it would have taken to get them to Toronto — is pretty defensible. But taken in concert, all of the above facts, along with ownership’s history of dispassionately slashing or freezing payroll at the expense of their own product, and fans start to worry.
Add it to rumblings from someone like Bob McCown that “the team lost a fair bit of money last year, and Rogers wasn’t thrilled” — for whatever little those are worth, given that less than three weeks before he was saying there may not be a real limit to payroll, and that Rogers’ aim was to use their ownership of the club to help burnish their reviled brand — and machinations behind the possible ouster of Paul Beeston as team president, and you get where the fan vitriol that again seems to be strongly pushing through the surface of the conversation about the club is coming from.
What role any of this stuff has in the Jays quiet few weeks is hard to pinpoint. The idea that the team is losing money is, of course, preposterous, unless one isn’t factoring in the TV rights fees Rogers doesn’t have to pay to itself. Any time the dollar is mentioned someone will be quick to point out that a big company like Rogers will be hedged against currency fluctuations, but to what extent that will help spare them… nobody seems to have any idea. Alex Anthopoulos could very well be slow-playing the market, especially when it comes to pitching. He could also be be losing out on guys who’d rather be in other situations — Lowrie, if the Jays even wanted him, staying near his Houston home and taking advantage of Texas’s lack of a state income tax and Motte choosing the Cubs — or to teams with less margin for error, as in the Dodgers and Anderson (whose $10-million salary means a whole lot less on their books than it would tied to Alex’s neck).