Toronto Blue Jays president Paul Beeston took to the airwaves Thursday to address a number of hot topics surrounding his team including Prince Fielder and talk of possible tension between the club and ownership.
Beeston was a guest on the Jeff Blair Show on Sportsnet Radio Fan 590. Here’s a roundup of just some of what he said.
On fans’ disappointment with the Jays off-season moves:
"Some are disappointed and some are not. I’ve heard from both sides. Obviously everyone wants to fast-forward it. I think what Alex (Anthopoulos) has done over two years in 2010 and 2011, one year at .500, one year over .500, rebuilding the farm system, rebuilding the development system. As you know, when he took this job on, he said he wanted to build something that was sustainable. It wasn’t going to be quick, it wasn’t going to be easy, but it was going to start with scouting and development, which is where we’ve been putting the focus.”
On fans expectations of a high payroll:
"I understand the $100 million, or the $115 million or $120 million. It’s not just a matter of spending, it’s a matter of spending it wisely. And when you start saying that by adding one player, you have to ask yourself: is that going to put you over the top? Does just that one piece do it for you? This is not signing Jack Morris and Dave Winfield. I don’t think we should lose our patience."
Why not spend money on Prince Fielder?
"We may regret that signing at a point in time if you sign him on for 10 years. Let’s get realistic about it. Prince Fielder we all love. Prince Fielder is a terrific ballplayer. But at this point and time does Prince Fielder put us over the top and at what expense going forward?”
Do you still think it’ll take 10 years on a contract to get Prince Fielder?
“That I do not know.”
At five or six years, don’t you make that commitment?
“It depends what the price is over five or six years?”
On the Jays’ policy of not commenting on interest in players:
“We do a lot of things and Alex (Anthopoulos) does a lot of things. He’s put together a terrific baseball organization. He’s got great counsel with the people that are there. They discuss it and they discuss a lot of things and one thing that he gets criticized for, but I think one thing that works in the favour of him and the ballclub and unfortunately it doesn’t when we consider the fans, is we don’t comment on those types of things.”
Is there tension between the Jays and Rogers?
“Absolutely not. They have not turned us down for anything we want to do. When we wanted to increase they payroll, they’ve done it. When we wanted to go after players, they’ve given us the money to do it. When we wanted to spend money on our minor league system and free agents, they’ve given us the money. I think they are equally as good to work with as (former owners) Labatt’s.
“Rogers has been terrific. There is no tension, in fact there is a very collegial relationship between the Blue Jays and the people up at Rogers.”
On concerns that Jays may now take a back seat to Leafs at Rogers:
“I think it’s a terrific question, I think it’s a fair question. A.) haven’t seen it. B.) don’t believe it and C.) if I do see it, you’ll be the first one to hear. I will be the first one to say (to Rogers), ‘whoa. That’s not the way it works.’
“What you need at the ownership level is the support and the guidance, the dollars and they’ve given us that.”
Could the Jays have done a better job managing expectations?
“I suppose we could have. I don’t know if we did anything incorrectly. We obviously didn’t do anything overtly because we don’t want to upset the fans. From the point of view of the expectations that were there, perhaps we should have been a little more forthright with what we were doing and what we were thinking, but I think the fans follow it and watch it and understand that it takes time to build a team, I think they understand.
“There’s some that want to fast-forward it and God bless them because I do too. I would love to fast-forward this. I think Alex would love to fast-forward, I think the city would love to fast-forward indeed the country would love to fast-forward it, but not at the expense of giving us something that we want for the long-term.”
Do you have a shot at a potential one-game playoff in 2012?
“I do. I like the team. Could it be stronger? It could always be stronger. From our point of view I think that we’re getting there and if everything comes together the way we think it can come together, yeah, I do.”