As a self-styled "intelligent" Blue Jays fan, we can completely understand the rationale and the motivation for the Jays letting Alex Rios and the $60 million or so left on his long term contract just walk away, without any sort of compensation.
What the Jays get from allowing Rios and the entirety of his contract to be claimed by the Chicago White Sox is a significant amount of payroll flexibility in both the short term and down the road. It will allow the team to be a bit more dexterous in the free agent market, should they choose to indulge, and it will allow them to keep some of the young talent that they have emerging through their system.
(Don't forget that, if they are fortunate, the Jays are going to have to cough up a big contract for Travis Snider before the end of deals to which Rios and Wells were signed.)
So we get it. It makes sense. It's rational. It was probably the right thing to do.
Then there is the "fan" in us, who is totally irrational and has spent roughly about a thousand hours over the past couple of years irrationally feeding into the hopes and dreams and misery and agony of Jays fans through this very blog. And that part of us is really finding it difficult to root, root, root for the home team's corporate ownership's bottom line.
Fiscal forbearance and fiduciary diligence are commendable. We're certain that those who hold a financial stake in Rogers will greatly appreciate the fact that one of the divisions has found ways to cut costs going forward. We're also pretty sure that at year's end, Tony Viner and Nadir Mohammed and Phil Lind will all be compensated handsomely through bonuesses for their willingness to hack away at this particular division's overhead.
But for those of us who hold an emotional stake in the team, sending away a two-time All-Star for absolutely no return, even if he is underperforming, is awfully tough to swallow.
And maybe the brain trust can scoff at such sissy-boy emotionality around a big money decision like this, but it is those same emotions that make us do irrational things, like spend inordinate amounts of money on Blue Jays tickets, merchandise and paraphenalia, or stupid amounts of our summer watching three hours worth of sponsored programming on their television services.
If the Jays are able to outsmart the market and pull in players on more economical short term contracts in the next few years, then fine. But if the guys in the corporate suite are about to take this money off the field and tuck it away in their own coffers, then they have to know that the fanbase isn't going to stand for it.
Above all, sports franchises try to sell hope. But if what they're going to sell us in the forseeable future us hope for a miracle, we're not sure that we can buy in to that.
As for the Gazelle
Alex Rios got a raw deal from the fans in Toronto, and got shoehorned into roles that didn't fit his skillset. Here's hoping that a fresh start with a team in contention brings out the best in him.
Vaya con dios, El Gacela.