Thursday, November 26, 2015 | by Ian Hunter
Another day, another flurry of rampant reports and rumours linking David Price to the Toronto Blue Jays. It doesn't seem like this David Price talk is going to die down any time soon. So why not add more fuel to the fire with a little bit more speculation?
The one thing that keeps coming up time and time again is David Price's expressed desire to play with the Blue Jays and his affinity to stay in Toronto. For the Blue Jays, that's the heavy lifting of any potential contract negotiations.
And if David Price is even remotely interested in re-signing with the Blue Jays, that's one very positive sign.
Hammering out the contract details in term and dollars is where this thing could really come together or completely fall apart. Six, seven, eight years at $200 or $250 million dollars total? The term and total dollars are wide open ... but a traditionally structured long-term contract might not be the way to go.
If David Price loves playing in Toronto as much as the media says he does, might he consider taking a different kind of deal - one that still gives him some options, but also allows him to stay with the Blue Jays for as long as he likes?
What if the Blue Jays offered David Price an opt-out clause?
In the history of 1 Blue Jays Way, opt-out clauses haven't been handed out very often. In fact, there have only been a pair delved out by the Blue Jays since 1997: one to Roger Clemens and his rumoured "secret" opt-out clause, and one to A.J. Burnett.
A contract with a player-activated opt-out clause would be beneficial for both parties. Not only does it allow David Price to pull the chute if he chooses and hit free agency down the road, but it also keeps the Jays off the hook for any potential long-term financial commitment.
However, David Price would be doing the Blue Jays favour by agreeing to a contract with an opt-out clause. At age 30, he has much more to lose than gain in this scenario, so the Jays would need to offset that by front-loading the contract.
For a deal like that to be beneficial for David Price, he would need to be among one of the highest paid pitchers in the game in the short term. As big of a hit as it would be, I'm thinking something in the neighbourhood of $30 million annually for at least three years.
Again, this allows David Price to fetch a well-paying salary, while at the same time, it gives him the opportunity to go for another free agent contract some three, four or maybe even five years down the road.
A $30 million dollar salary hit is invariably going to be a tough sell to the front office. The Blue Jays are already on track to easily surpass $100 million dollars in salary in 2016. Adding David Price would only elevate that even further and puts them in Boston Red Sox territory.
I guess it really depends on where David Price's priorities lie at this very moment. If his sole goal is to get as much money as possible, he'll take as many guaranteed years for as much money this offseason.
There's a chance (albeit an incredibly remote one) that he might sacrifice a little money down the road for a chance to win now with the Blue Jays, and return to a place where he feels like he might have some unfinished business.
Image via Stephen Dunn/Getty Images Sport
Wednesday, November 25, 2015 | by Ian Hunter
The image of Jose Bautista's bat flip is one that will remain etched into Blue Jays history forever. And now that very same image has been immortalized in Christmas sweater form.
Yes, via Fresh Brewed Tees, you can now get your very own Jose Bautista bat flip ugly Christmas sweater. They're branded as "ugly" Christmas sweaters, but this thing is gorgeous.
The sweater also has "Joey to the World" footnote at the very bottom of the sweater, and of course there's Bautista's Marucci bat just floating there like a heavenly angel.
I'm having trouble deciding which one's better though; the Jose Bautista Christmas sweater or the Hotline Bling sweater.
Since there's a Jose Bautista holiday sweater now, the next logical step would be to have Bautista himself don the sweater and read Christmas stories as he hosts the Joey Bats Christmas Special.
"Gather 'round children, and let me tell you the story of how I emasculated Sam Dyson and Darren O'Day in the same season."
Hat tip to @BVHJays for the link
Tuesday, November 24, 2015 | by Ian Hunter
There's almost no chance David Price is going to re-sign with the Blue Jays. Or is there?
It was essentially a foregone conclusion that David Price would not be re-signing with the Toronto Blue Jays. And yet, here we have dual reports from David Kaplan of ESPN and Baseball Essential which indicate Toronto is the number one destination for David Price (in his mind).
The reason why most have been quick to dismiss these reports is because everything else reported has run contrary in the David Price sweepstakes. If anything, it's Chicago that's been tabbed as the ideal landing spot for Price.
Is there any truth to these rumours or is this simply (as Stoeten mentioned at last night's Pitch Talks in Waterloo) David Price's agent posturing and driving up the asking prices from other teams?
Like most, I've basically written off any and all chances of David Price re-signing with the Blue Jays. Not that Price doesn't want to come back to Toronto, it's just that the Jays wouldn't be able to match offers made by other teams who were in desperate need of an "ace".
Here's why I think things have changed; were Alex Anthopoulos still at the helm of the Toronto Blue Jays, they might still have a shot at re-signing David Price. Not because of Anthopoulos per se, because we've seen the cost-cutting measures employed by Mark Shapiro, we've seen his attitude towards prospect capital and building the farm system.
To me, Shapiro's style runs counter to signing David Price to a long-term contract extension. Plus. In no way has ownership really tipped their hand as to whether they've even met with David Price or even tabled an offer to him.
I don't doubt that David Price would love to come back to Toronto. The Blue Jays put forth one hell of a recruitment campaign, and that came in the form of August, September and October in Toronto. The Jays could not have shown David Price more potential than they did.
He was revered as a true superstar during that brief period with the Blue Jays. Even though Price has been the best player in the league, he really wasn't treated as such until he came over to the Blue Jays at the 2015 trade deadline.
The fact remains that the Blue Jays need at least one more starting pitcher. Who better to sign than David Price? If they're going to break the bank, spend a tonne of money and commit five or more years to a pitcher, why not do it for the best pitcher on the market?
Why get the BMW of free agent starting pitchers when you can go out and get the Ferrari? Say the Blue Jays are going to commit that kind of a term and that much money, why wouldn't they get a better quality pitcher in David Price?
If I'm the Blue Jays, I'm either putting all my eggs in the David Price basket or I'm not signing another free agent pitcher at all. Why even bother going four years on Jeff Samardzija or five years on Jordan Zimmerman or three years on Hisashi Iwakuma?
Why wouldn't the Blue Jays go for the best player they could; one who already wants to play in Toronto and has made it abundantly clear that he loves the city and loves the environment.
The Blue Jays have already convinced David Price to play in Toronto which is arguably the hardest part; swaying a free agent to come to the Blue Jays in the first place.
With David Price, those barriers have already been broken down and that comfort factor is already there. That kind of comfort level is something that's very valuable and can be priceless. So if David Price has experienced that after spending only three months in Toronto, maybe he feels like Toronto is the long-term home for him.
The Blue Jays already check two of the three most important boxes for David Price; the Jays are poised to be a competitive team in the short term and by all accounts, Price loved playing with in Toronto.
So if the Blue Jays can check the third box (albeit, likely the most important one) which is dollars and term, then Toronto suddenly becomes an ideal destination for David Price to play out the next six or seven years of his career.
Nobody would fault David Price for signing elsewhere and going for the most money possible. But as tempting as places like Boston, New York or Chicago would be, some of those organizations would be tough sells.
Think about the Boston Red Sox; they've got a really tough sell to David Price after the debacle of a year they had. But the Blue Jays' sell job seems fairly simple and it's one that's fresh in the mind of David Price. He has three months of great memories within this organization; something he doesn't have with the Red Sox, Cubs or Yankees.
Dollar for dollar, if the Blue Jays were to match any other potential offers out there, I think David Price might actually be willing to accept a deal in Toronto.
Image via AP Photo/Paul Sancya