Sports

Elliott

Blue Jays won't trade for GM Dan Duquette, but Rogers might

By Bob Elliott, Toronto Sun

Rumours are swirling that current Orioles GM Dan Duquette could be joining Blue Jays. (AFP

Rumours are swirling that current Orioles GM Dan Duquette could be joining Blue Jays. (AFP

The Toronto Blue Jays have zero interest in making a trade for Dan Duquette.

Not for one mini-nanosecond.

Now, Rogers Communications on the other hand ...

That’s completely different.

’Tis a true love affair.

Eddie Rogers, deputy chairman of Rogers Communications, with his sports consultant Roger Rai, have been head-over-heels, in full bloom with Duquette since early November. Rogers and Rai want to bring Duquette to town to replace president Paul Beeston.

ESPN broke the news on Dec. 7 about Rogers having interest in Duquette as the winter meetings began in San Diego.

And, now, 46 days later — one day after Bob McCown of the Rogers-owned The Fan 590, said Beeston was staying for the 2015 season — the facts on Thursday were:

- ESPN reported a Duquette deal to Toronto was near completion.

- That the Jays would give up right-hander Jeff Hoffman, selected ninth overall in June and given a $3,080,800 US signing bonus. He could not be traded until after this June’s draft.

- Duquette headed to Boston along with O’s manager Buck Showalter for the annual writers’ dinner.

- Reports indicate the steep price of Hoffman might be a lesser evil, since the O’s could charge Rogers of tampering. Most tampering complaints are $100,000 to $500,000 fines ... teams do not lose players.

- And Beeston boarded a flight to Vancouver to carry out his presidential duties at a Vancouver Canadians function on Friday.

Beeston had best hope he had a round-trip ticket from Rogers before boarding.

We’ve heard that the Jays were anywhere from dopes to wise men about moving on the deal. Yet the Jays have not set up a war room to discuss trade scenarios.

General manager Alex Anthopoulos is not putting together offers A, B and C to acquire someone to replace his boss.

And Beeston certainly is not.

So who is making the call?

Who is saying we’ll give you Hoffman for Duquette?

Or Aaron Sanchez, Marcus Stroman and Jose Bautista as a package?

Or batting practice pitcher Jesus Figueroa?

Is it Eddie Rogers, who has never been involved in the day-to-day involvement of the club?

Or Rai, a skybox regular when the Jays visit Yankee Stadium?

Or is it Keith Pelley, president of Rogers Media (the Jays fall under his umbrella)? For all of Pelley’s years in sports broadcasting, he once shocked a meeting by asking, “What’s a relief pitcher?”

Rogers, Pelley and Rai all remain under the double-secret cone of silence.

They aren’t returning calls — you unwashed fans stay over there in the corner ... we’ll tell you to come out when it is time to buy tickets.

Others were picking up the phone, though.

“It’s terrible,” said a National League general manager. “A terrible way for Rogers to run an organization. Do they want Beeston or not? Make a decision. I read Beeston’s contract expired at the end of October. He was in Phoenix last week at the owners meeting ... I’m no labour lawyer, but would that not be an implied contract from the club?”

Could Rogers trade for Duquette, as Eddie Rogers prepares to steer the Jays down a new path and keep Beeston?

“I don’t see a successful, coexistence between Beeston and Duquette,” said a veteran NL GM, who knows both men.

Could the stories out of Baltimore be a return volley to McCown’s pronouncement?

Is there anything to the possible tampering charges?

Probably. The inexperienced Rogers crew stepped in it when they called the Chicago White Sox.

Jerry Reinsdorf, owner of the Sox, confirmed on Dec. 9 that Eddie Rogers had phoned both him and his executive vice-president Kenny Williams on either Nov. 4 or Nov. 5 — without written permission to talk to Williams.

So if they messed up, either didn’t know or follow procedure once, well, they probably stepped in the same pile as they reached for the phone to dial Baltimore.

The Blue Jays’ annual state of the union is set for Feb. 5 at the Rogers Centre.

One comfy chair atop the third base dugout will be filled by broadcaster Buck Martinez, alongside the president — whether Beeston stays or Duquette is in charge.

When the Jays’ season-ticket holders gather to have their questions sanitized before answering, they should begin a chant for both Eddie Rogers and Pelley to get up there ...

It’s about time for them to emerge from behind the curtain.

Previous player-for-management compensation

1976: A’s trade Chuck Tanner to the Pirates. Oakland receives Manny Sanguillen (one year, 152 games, .275).

1994: Twins GM Andy MacPhail left to run the Cubs. Cubs sent Hector Trinidad (17-19 in the minors, peaking at double-A New Britain) to the Twins.

2002: Rays acquire manager Lou Piniella from the Mariners. Antonio Perez and Piniella went to Tampa Bay for Randy Winn (three years, 416 games, .287 average).

2011: Marlins acquire manager Ozzie Guillen from the White Sox. Guillen and Ricardo Andres went to the Marlins for Jhan Marinez (15.2 innings at rookie-class Bistol) and Osvaldo Martinez (17 hits for the Marlins)

2011: Cubs acquire Theo Epstein, Boston Red Sox GM, to be their new president. The Cubs send RP Chris Carpenter, 26, to Boston (6 innings).

2012: Jays trade manager John Farrell to the Red Sox. RP David Carpenter and Farrell went to the Red Sox for INF Mike Aviles. The Jays moved C Yan Gomes and Aviles to Cleveland for pitcher Esmil Rogers (60 games, 20 starts, 101 innings)​

 

 


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