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Monday, November 2, 2015

An Open Letter to David Price

Dear David,
Can I call you David? I think we've reached a point in our relationship where we're on a first-name basis. I'm definitely okay with you calling me Andrew, or a nickname of your choosing. Or Bob, or Tony, or Bridget. In short: call me whatever you like.

Now that you're officially a free agent, I feel it's time to address the elephant in the room: are you re-signing with Blue Jays? Are you? Are you? Are you? Are you?

(And FYI, the second elephant in the room - the Alex Anthopolous-shaped one - will be addressed at a later date)

Like much of baseball-loving Canada, I'm still trying to come to terms with the end of the Blue Jays' season - as I'm sure you are too - but the business of sports never rests, so onto the business at hand. I'm going to take this opportunity to implore you to re-sign with the Blue Jays.

As you're surely well aware, there's untold teams currently on their way to court and woo and throw absolutely obscene amounts of money at you. You're also going to be on the receiving end of promises and sales pitches the likes of which I can't even fathom. But hear me out, the info below may help clarify things for you a little.
  • Remember your trade to the Blue Jays and how the entire city fell in love with you.
  • Remember how, the moment you joined the team, virtually every game was sold out with rabid fans dying for a championship.
  • Remember the Blue Jays' march into the playoffs.
  • Remember the unfinished business of said playoff run.
  • Remember how the city - and the country - rallied around you.
  • Remember the fun you had with Marcus Stroman and Munenori Kawasaki and the rest of your teammates in blue.
  • Remember looking up into the stands as you walked off the mound after a start and being utterly awed by the fans' deafening reactions.
  • Remember Joey Bats' home run against Texas and how SkyDome/Rogers Centre lost their collective minds when he hit it.
  • Remember EE and Donaldson and Tulo and Colabello and Russell Martin and Devon Travis and Superman Pillar and Ben Revere and the rest of that - still intact - lineup that scored more than Wilt Chamberlain (both on the hardcourt and between the sheets).
The money offered by your suitors will, in all likelihood, be about the same wherever you sign (*puts on prognosticator hat* says here it'll be 7-years, $225-million). So, once that's removed from the equation, what else do you have to consider? Much of the criteria is surely personal, but the considerations will have to include money (covered above), the team makeup, and the city.

So, sure, there's going to be plenty of teams trying to seduce you with promises of wins, all-you-can-eat popcorn, and assurances you won't be used out of the bullpen, such as the Boston Red Sox, L.A. Dodgers and maybe the L.A. Angels or a darkhorse team like the San Francisco Giants. However, I'm going to address who I feel are the three biggest threats standing in the way of your rightful return atop the Blue Jays rotation (or right behind Stroman, but we'll see how next year goes before making that call):

The New York Yankees
The Yanks are players for just about every high-profile free agent, but c'mon David. The Yankees' strategy of  just throwing mountains of money to lure free agents has to be wearing thin. How much mystique do the pinstripes have left? Mo's gone, Jeter's gone, A-Rod is a shell of his former self. The Yankees have some solid pieces, but they're aging quickly. Lord knows they want a dominant lefty to help negate any visiting lefty mashers looking to take advantage of Yankee Stadium's short  porch in right. But don't give in to their wily ways, you can't let that happen.

Really, there are tons of reasons to avoid the Bronx, but I'll just mention the most recent: remember Yankee fans booing their own players just as the AL Wild-Card game came to a close. Booing a team that fought and clawed through a ton of adversity - including watching a teammate head to rehab only a couple of days before the game - to make the playoffs and had the misfortune of matching up against this year's likely Cy Young Award winner, Dallas Keuchel (but we all know you deserve the award, right?). Is that who you want to ply your trade in front of for the next seven years?

St. Louis Cardinals
Maybe the Cards will come calling and tug on your heartstrings by being closest geographically to your beloved hometown of Nashville. But, remember how much you liked Toronto, the city, and how it occasionally reminded you of Nashville, especially in the summer. And yes, I will concede that St. Louis are perennial contenders, and they're pretty stacked, but ... they're the Cardinals. They're absolutely insufferable. Are you certain you want to play baseball THE CARDINAL WAY for the foreseeable future? How much fun will that be? I don't think I've ever seen a member of the Cardinals smile, which I think is impossible for you NOT to do. Plus, they're in St. Louis, what is there to do in St. Louis? I have no idea - I've never been. Maybe it's great, but it sure isn't Toronto. They'll also probably hack your computer.

Chicago Cubs
I think we all know where the true #1 contender for your services lies: under those delicious deep dish pizzas in Chicago, with the deep-pocketed, steeped in history, great young team that just happens to be skippered by your old manager, Joe Maddon. Yup, it's the Cubbies. However, the Cubs are still a relative unknown to you. Maybe it's AWFUL in the Windy City! (It's not).

Okay, I'm grasping at straws here, the Cubs are a great fit, but comfort is important, and you know what you're going to get in Toronto: millions upon millions of adoring fans, and you'll be pretty much the only game in town: the Leafs are awful beyond description; the Raptors play at a completely different time of year, and there's no NFL to worry about. In Chicago, there's another MLB team, an NFL franchise, and an NHL team on the cusp of a dynasty, so the Cubs - and their no-World-Series-Championships-since-1908 - could get lost in the shuffle. You strike me a front-page-of-the-newspaper kinda guy, and that you will be in Toronto.

So, the answer is clear: sign with Toronto, you'll continue to love it. And we'll continue to love you.

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