Free agents in Canada (was Re: Williams...Giants...etc.)

Free agents in Canada (was Re: Williams...Giants...etc.)

Post by Evan Leibovit » Mon, 26 Feb 1990 09:39:08


Geez, there seem to be so many people here using Toronto and
Montreal as prime examples of undesirable places to play ball...

Remember that ballplayers, even Canadian ones, for the Expos and Blue
Jays get paid in U.S. dollars. Fluctuations in the exchange rate can
either save (or cost) these teams a bundle, as they get their gate and
TV receipts in Canadian bucks. I also believe there are certain
arrangements by which players who reside in the U.S. but play on a
Canadian teams can be subject to filing with the IRS rather than
Revenue Canada.

Except for our winters (which aren't much better or worse than most
cities in the northeast or Minnesota), the quality of life ain't that
bad here. Many players (like Mookie) who were originally sent here
kicking and screaming, have admitted they were pleasently surprised and
that they like it here. Unfortunately, since the Canadian minor
ball system is just gaining maturity, few current players would come
here in order to be close to home...

As for the Canadian teams being small markets, I would beg to differ.
Both cities have populations well over 2 million, and presently Toronto
is capable of drawing MLB fans from Buffalo as well. Toronto is in the
position of possibly being sold out for every game this season. I can't
speak for Montreal as well, but in my experience it's a city that
doesn't suffer losing teams very well.

Then there are the TV and radio contracts. Two Canadian networks
show both Jay and Expo games coast-to-coast, to compensate for the fact
that none of the US nets want to cover them unless they're in a pennant
race. Players who are popular on these teams have the opportunity to
make money from country-wide endor***ts (like Tom Henke's Aqua Velva
ads you probably never see in the States).


Quote:

>>Perhaps California has an advantage because it has five teams,
>>which is three more than any other state. Over time, more free
>>agents will sign with California teams than Illinois teams, just
>>as Illinois teams will sign more free agents than Maryland teams.
>>So what? Does this make it unfair?
>Yes.  I said "disproportionate".  By your reasoning, the Canadian
>teams should sign just as many marquee free agents (and should lose
>just as few) as the Los Angeles teams.  I don't think this is
>currently happening, and I don't see it happening in the future.
>California is currently signing more than its share of marquee free
>agents (even allowing for the high number of teams here).
>I claim that
>free agents will never (at least not in the forseeable future) run to
>Montreal or Toronto, no matter how well-run the teams are.

Why do you assume every team WANTS them?

The Blue Jays built a team through smart trades, a good farm system and
the odd draft pick (like Olerud). Outside Mookie and Flanigan, how many
current Jay players made themselves famous on other teams first?

Playing agressively in the free agent market, to me, is like trying to
buy a pennant rather than shape a winning team. It's hurt those who have
engaged in it as often as it has helped. The Jays appear to (by policy)
be treading very carefully here, and rarely get into bidding wars.
I think they got burned on a few "name" players (Dennis Lamp comes
to mind), and have been cautious since then.

No, Toronto hasn't signed many free agents in recent memory. They
don't need to, if they have faith in their ability to trade for, draft,
or develop quality players. The team's recent performance certainly
indicates that this faith has been well placed.

Why does that unwillingness to sign free agents, the main reason why
it hasn't signed many, make the team "undesirable"?
--
Evan Leibovitch, Sound Software, located in beautiful Brampton, Ontario

        If they call it WordPerfect, why is it on revision five?

 
 
 

Free agents in Canada (was Re: Williams...Giants...etc.)

Post by Ronald F Gru » Wed, 28 Feb 1990 08:36:58

In article 23824 in rec.sport.baseball, Evan Leibovitch

Quote:

>The Blue Jays built a team through smart trades, a good farm system and
>the odd draft pick (like Olerud). Outside Mookie and Flanigan, how many
>current Jay players made themselves famous on other teams first?
>Playing agressively in the free agent market, to me, is like trying to
>buy a pennant rather than shape a winning team. It's hurt those who
>have engaged in it as often as it has helped. The Jays appear to (by
>policy) be treading very carefully here, and rarely get into bidding
>wars.

I agree completely... Just check Toronto's lineup last season:
 C- Whitt (one of the original '76 Jays)
1B- Mc Griff (a steal from the Yankees minor league system)
2B- Liriano/M.Lee (both came from the farm, after being drafted)
SS- T.Fernandez (recruited from the Domenican Rep.- Blue Jays have a
                 great operation there, headed by Epy Guerrero)
3B- Gruber (another minor leaguer - gained lots of experience in
            Syracuse, playing for the Chiefs)
RF- Felix  (yet another drafted player)
CF- Moseby (came up from the AA Knoxville Jays in '80 & surprised
            everyone)
    M.Wilson (trade w/ the Mets - for Jeff Musselman (p))
LF- Bell   (plucked from the Phillies, who left him unprotected)
DH- Mulliniks, Mazzilli (signed as a free agent), and kids like Borders,
Glenallen Hill, John Olerud (all drafted) complemented the team.

The pitching staff had:
SP- Stieb (I think he came up with the Jays also)
SP- Key (drafted by the Jays; came up as a reliever)

SP- Stottlemyre (Mel's son: Jays have high expectations for the kid)
SP- Flanagan (the veteran, experienced 5th pitcher that teaches the
              younger ones and can still throw reasonably well; signed
              as a free agent in 1987)

On the farm, the Jays have some great prospects: Steve Cummings, Mauro
Gozzo (plucked from the Royals), Alex Sanchez, and let's not forget
about Al (Cigarette) Leiter - (beware Yankee fans- he could always come
back and haunt you; remember who you gave us for Dale Murray? - that
pretty well sums up who got the better end of the deals between both
teams; I know Barfield looked like a bargain last yr. when Al didn't
pitch. But should he ever come back... just watch him!

RP- Henke (any Texas Rangers fans out there know where he came from)
RP- D.Ward (trade with the Braves for Doyle Alexander- oh, yes, Doyle is
another pitcher who busted in New York, but was a 17 game winner in
Toronto and was the winning pitcher when Toronto clinched the AL in 1985
by beating who else but the Yankees!)
RP- D.Wells (had his "residence" in Syracuse as well)
RP- Jim Acker (came up with the Jays, was traded to the Braves and then
re-acquired last season )

As you can all see, sometimes it is not necessary to go after free
agents in order to build a strong contender.  Of course, it would always
be nice to have one or two... but it is not essential.  In fact, it
seems that the Jays have always gotten hurt when they tried to go for
the big "status" players (either by signing or trading).  Oakland fans
will always remember that Bill Caudill deal... (who was it? Dave
Collins and Alfredo Griffin for Caudill- and the Jays thought that Bill
would be their closer! - what a bust!).  As bad as that deal looked
then, it was still a smart risk for the Jays, since they gave up an
aging outfielder (Collins), who at that point had possibly the highest
market value - he had stolen something like 33 bases in 84- and a great
fielding SS who hit around .250-.260 (but they had a kid in the minors
who went by the name of Tony Fernandez).  I guess those were the good
old days, when the Jays had NOBODY in their bullpen (anyone remember
guys like Randy Moffitt, Roy Lee Jackson - well, at least he could sing
both anthems)...

So much for that topic... As far as calling Toronto a "small market", I
ask those people the question: Relative to whom? If you're talking about
New York (Yankees and Mets), Chicago (White Sox and Cubs), Los Angeles
(Dodgers & Angels-well, they're in Anaheim, but that's close), San Fran
(Giants and A's- Oakland), talking stictly in terms of population, then
I must agree.  But that makes up only 8 out of the 26 MLB teams... How
does Toronto compare with the rest?

Check this out:

- Radius of coverage: Blue Jays games are shown nationwide (in Canada,
games are on CTV). In fact the Jays have also signed a lucrative deal
with TSN (Canada's version of ESPN).  Jays games could be heard on the
radio in the provinces of Ontario, Quebec and Manitoba...

- Audience: Jays broke the AL single season attendance record.  They
draw fans from the Lakes regions (Detroit, Cleveland, etc.) as well as
Northwestern NY State (Buffalo, Syracuse, etc.).  That's not including
Canadian fans, of course!

- City size: With 2.9 million people, Toronto is one of the fastest
growing metropolis in North America... That figure does not include, of
course, the populations of cities close by (such as Brampton,
Scarborough, Mississauga, Richmond Hill, etc.).  By close by, I mean
within a 1/2 hr. driving distance from the Dome (the only one of its
kind in the world!)

I hope this ends that discussion as well... For questions/comments/etc.
either post or send me e-mail!

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Free agents in Canada (was Re: Williams...Giants...etc.)

Post by Russell S. Fi » Fri, 02 Mar 1990 09:12:12



Quote:
> SP- Flanagan (the veteran, experienced 5th pitcher that teaches the
>               younger ones and can still throw reasonably well; signed
>               as a free agent in 1987)

Actually, Mike Flanagan was acquired from the Orioles just before the
trading deadline in 1987 for minor-league pitchers Ozwald Peraza and
Jose Mesa (neither of whom, I might add, have panned out for the Orioles
-- I believe Peraza was released recently; Mesa's had arm trouble).

-- Russ
whose Hunt Valley Stallions meet the San Diego Sharks in the PFBA Championship
Series for 1989 soon (yes, we're running a bit behind...)