The Toronto Blue Jays have never been big-time spenders in free agency like the AL East rivals in the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees.
Before free agency even began, team president Mark Shapiro and GM Ross Atkins indicated they wouldn't be major players in free agency. That has already earned criticism from well-known MLB player agent Scott Boras.
As the free agent market begins to heat up, Boras spoke to reporters on Wednesday - criticizing the Blue Jays organization for not spending the necessary money to land top-tier free agents.
"Toronto is a wonderful city, it’s been a great franchise, they’ve drawn three million fans," Boras said, via Sportsnet's Shi Davidi. "They’ve lost near a third of their fan-base due to the ‘Blue Flu’ of not bringing attractive players that their fans find interesting to their market."
The Blue Jays may have opened up with a payroll of $164.12 million for the 2018 season (per Statisa.com), but a big chunk of that salary is carried by oft-injured shortstop Troy Tulowitzki - whom they acquired in a trade from the Colorado Rockies three years ago.
Boston has four World Series championships since 2004, thanks in large part to their long series of free agent signings. The signings of superstars such as David Ortiz, Manny Ramirez, David Price, J.D. Martinez, Johnny Damon and John Lackey have propelled Boston to the top of the baseball world.
Despite being owned by the media giant Rogers Communication - as well as playing in a major market - the Blue Jays have stayed away from handing out $100-million plus contracts to star players. They've bid farewell to franchise stars like Jose Bautista, Edwin Encarnacion, David Price and Josh Donaldson, refusing to give those players the major dollars they asked for.
Many Blue Jays fans have been critical of the organization's refusal to hand out the big dollars in order to land the top free agents. Boras' words will only be music to the ears of those fans who continue to sit back and wait for the front office to start spending more money.