With free agency opening and Blue Jays already making two transactions today, trading for reliever Jeremy Jeffress from Kansas city and signing Macier Izturis to a 3 year deal, it got me thinking: from a free agent point of view, what are the draws and drawbacks of signing with the Toronto Blue Jays.
- Guaranteed to play every home game because you play in a dome
- Play in the toughest division in baseball
- Have a whole country rooting for you
- Enjoy great poutine
- Play in a diverse clubhouse
- Play with Jose Bautista and Mike McCoy
- Sign with a team with no manager
- Play for a team who realistically is on the rise and with some starting pitching could be a playoff team for the near future, perhaps as soon as this season
- Pay higher taxes
- Go through customs on a consistent basis
- Have to play Baltimore, Tampa, Boston, and new York 19 times per season
- Have to wait until the Stanley Cup is over before people start caring
- Go to a team who hasn’t made the playoffs in 20 years
- Go to a team that has been waiting for “next year” for the past several seasons
- Live not only in the shadow of your opponents in the division, but live in the shadow of the Toronto Maple Leafs, Toronto Raptors, and perhaps even the TFC
- Play for an owner who has lots of money but chooses not to spend it
In all seriousness, depending on the depth the Jays have at the position, Toronto is a great place to play when things are going well. Since things haven’t gone to plan since 1993, the fans, who gave into the hype last year and for circumstances beyond the teams control, the team failed, due to injuries, clubhouse animosity, and a manager who didn’t want to be there. With a nucleus of Bautista, Encarnacion, Lawrie, Rasmus, Morrow, and Romero, the Jays definitely have the talent to take it to the next level. One can only hope the free agents who have been contacted by the Jays recognize this, and see that the Yankees are getting older, the Red Sox are a mess, and Tampa and Baltimore are on the same talent level.
Like the Orioles proved last year, any team can surprise and hopefully in 2013 the Jays can surprise and be the Orioles of 2012.
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From the couch…