I know I'm late to the game when it comes to writing up on the comments Edwin made about the Blue Jays being "too hasty" in their decision to both needing him to respond to their initial offer (4 years/$80MM) and their decision to move on from him once said offer was rejected. I know I touched on this in the latest SOT6 podcast (which, hey, subscribe! No really! I'm on iTunes! Just search "South of the 6ix" and BOOM! Yeah.... Just... there ya go! OK!), but I wanted to expand on this a bit more for those that haven't gotten a chance to listen to it yet (....yeah, that's it).
In an interview with Jorge L. Ortiz of USA Today, Edwin said the following -
"Toronto was always my first option, but I had never been a free agent, and anybody who gets to free agency wants to find out what's out there... I think they got too hasty in making their decision, but now I'm with Cleveland and I'm happy to be here."
Let's back track here for a second and get full optics on this. In early November of last year, the Blue Jays had extended the aforementioned offer to Edwin that also included an option for a fifth year valued at $20MM. Thus, the deal that Edwin could've had with the Jays would have potentially been worth $100MM over five years. This deal, even at the time, was more than fair and one could argue that it may have even been an over-pay (hindsight is 20/20, so... yeah, it was). Edwin decided that he wanted to experience free agency and, much to the advice of his agent - Paul Kinzer - turned down the Jays offer in hopes to attain a more lucrative contract; more specifically, a (guaranteed) nine-figure deal.
The perception here by many pissed off Jays fans over this matter is the equivalence to what Edwin is claiming: The Jays were far too hasty in their decision to not resign him. Now, of course, missing from this narrative is the fact that even though the Blue Jays initially told Edwin that there was a deadline for the 4-year offer, they decided to extend it several more days to give both Edwin and Kinzer more time to think about it. For me, this is pretty important and something that Jays fans that put the entirety of the blame on the Front Office seem to, quite willingly, ignore.
What I want to explore here is whether or not Edwin thinks that the Front Office was too hasty in a) their decision to limit Edwin's window to decide, or b) their decision to essentially move on from him and sign Kendrys Morales. Either way, the same line of reasoning applies to both.
I suppose the best way to look at all of this is - what else were Atkins and Shapiro supposed to do? The fanbase cannot say that the brass didn't try to sign Edwin. They quite literally extended the most lucrative offer that Edwin and his camp received all off-season. It's pretty unreasonable to excuse Edwin and Kinzer of all accountability for rejecting this offer and misreading the market. Let's not forget that both Edwin and Kinzer had the benefit of hindsight when the market wasn't too favorable to a comparable free agent back in the 2016 off-season - Chris Davis. I'm not suggesting that they are the same player, but I am saying that they are comparable. Given this comparison, expecting a guaranteed nine-figure deal is a bit outrageous. Sure, Edwin may be worth that to you, because it's not your money. But when one is supposed to operate a business (after all, that is what this is), simply opening up the checkbook tends to be very ugly in the long-run, in terms of hindering the ability to consistently fielding a competitive team capable of reaching the post-season. We know this.
But let's give Edwin the benefit of the doubt in his decision to want to experience free agency and not accept the Jays offer. I can totally understand why an athlete would want to see what the market has in store for him, and would want to maximize a deal. I take absolutely nothing away from Edwin and the incredible reputation he has built for himself as a baseball player. He deserved to know what was out there. He's earned that right. But to expect the Front Office to play "wait-and-see" when it comes to his decision is both unreasonable and illogical.
Suppose the Jays did wait. Let's say they said something along the lines of, "well, here's our offer and we intend to stand by it. Go test free agency and if you don't find anything to your liking, we'll be here." During this time it's reasonable to suspect that Morales would have signed elsewhere. On top of this, let's suppose that Edwin found an offer that he liked better and signed elsewhere, too. Now what? If you guys are pissed off that the Jays didn't sign Edwin with Morales on the team, I'd hate to see your reactions if they didn't sign him without Morales on the team. But in the collective minds of the Front Office, they needed to act quickly in putting the best team that they could definitely put together, and one that could contend. Not one that they maybe could put together; as to say, maybe Edwin will sign here.
Moreover, the Front Office gave Edwin even more time than they were initially comfortable with to make his decision on the extended offer. Call me crazy, but can you be "too hasty" and give someone more time to make a decision, at the same time? Seems kind of like ass-backwards reasoning to me.
Now, don't get this twisted. I don't take any responsibility away from the Front Office for also misplaying the marketplace (read that again, please). Again, hindsight is 20/20 and they were operating under the "bird-in-hand" philosophy. Sure, they probably could have waited to see if Edwin would sign. But look, if "ifs" and "buts" were candy and nuts, it'd be Christmas everyday. To operate under "wait-and-see" optics, the players besides Edwin may have slipped by them, leaving the barrel dry, and thus forcing the Front Office to do one of two things: 1) put together a team that probably wouldn't be contenders (even for a Wild Card), or 2) start the rebuild process earlier than they otherwise would like to. And goddamnit, I'd hate to hear those Jays fans if the latter materialized.
Thus, I wouldn't call what the Front Office did "too hasty" at all. At the end of the day, it's just business. The offer that was extended to Edwin was more than fair and, if we're being honest here, was still a misread of the market; a misread in Edwin's favor, though. I get that fans have an attachment to players that shaped their favorite franchise, specifically fans in Toronto. But what actually is too hasty is the line of reasoning that the Front Office is entirely to blame, while Edwin and Kinzer are free from it.