Paul Beeston believes the Blue Jays still have a shot at re-signing pitcher A.J. Burnett.
With the economy sinking, however, the team's interim CEO acknowledged Thursday that Toronto might choose to save the $24 million Burnett passed up this offseason rather than spend it on other free agents.
"It's a possibility," Beeston said. "We can spend $100 million, but if it doesn't make sense, why do it?"
Now, while it is just vague enough to not pin Beeston down to any specific course of action, it seems to me the proper interpretation is this:
The Jays HAVE - and CAN spend - $100 million on the 2009 payroll
If there is not a way to spend it that makes sense, they will not spend on filler just to avoid the perception that they are cutting payroll. Depending on how you count it there is no less than $15 million and possibly as much as $22 million between what it would cost to pay the players we already have, if we added no one else to the 25-man roster and what the Jays spent in 2008.
That's money the Jays can either spend, or bank, depending on the circumstances which are available to them.
That, in my opinion, is an entirely sensible course and one all of us should have been able to figure out without being told. Of course, that would require us assuming the team will act sensibly and admittedly, baseball teams do not always do so.
My guess is that the off-season will be frustrating for fans hooked on big deals and big signings, but will ultimately be rewarding. I expect JP to sit back and wait until he sees an opportunity to address a need at a price (in cash or players) which makes sense. I approve.