The Complications of Losing
Failing to win the right to negotiate a contract with Japanese pitching ace Yu Darvish has created a rather nasty three pronged problem for the Blue Jays and their owners, Rogers Communications.
1. The ballclub still needs a No. 2 or No. 3 starter, depending on how you slotted Darvish into the rotation. That could be a little more costly now that teams that own such players but might be willing to trade them now know the Jays are a little more desperate for an arm today.
2. To be transparent or not to be transparent? Let's say the Jays bid $51.6 million and were outbid by Texas by a relatively measly $100,000. They may want their fans to know that, to understand just how aggressive they were in the effort to land this player at a time when some (many?) wonder whether Rogers will pay for top-flight talent.
But let's say the Toronto bid was $20 million. Or even $30 million. Let's say the Jays were badly outbid and didn't really understand the market they were in. How to explain that to their fans if they choose to make their bid public?
Finally, there's a strategic component here, that Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos might not want to let other clubs know his team's bid so as to reveal too much about the way in which the club is doing business these days.
If anything, the rampant speculation of the past week and the expectations created by that speculation should make it abundantly clear to Rogers/The Jays that if they don't tell the world what their bid was, it will only lead to all kinds of rumours, some of which will not be flattering.
3. The failed bid for Darvish will certainly convince many Jays fans that the club has tens of millions of dollars to spend, and should now spend it on other talent rather than keep it for a rainy day. In fact, given that a lucrative contract would have been required to lock up the Japanese star, there was a lot more money made available here by Rogers than just the posting bid. Are we talking $70 million? $80 million? More?
Forget trying to tell those fans that spending that much on Darvish is a different kettle of fish entirely than spending $200 million or more on Prince Fielder. By being involved in the bidding, the Jays have opened their wallet, and fans won't want to see it closed again, particularly at a time when some will be wondering if the Jays will matter less to Rogers now that it and Bell co-own majority interest in the Leafs and Raptors.
All in all, what Anthopoulos had hoped would be a victory celebration has now turned into a complex public relations problem mixed with a vacant spot in the pitching rotation. All the goodwill built up by the GM and the team over the past two years is now at risk if he can't find a palatable way to explain this to the club's fan base while maintaining the sense this club is building a winner.