* Eddie Rogers, deputy chairman of Rogers Communications, and Rogers sports consultant Roger Rai, have been making overtures to acquire GM Dan Duquette from the Baltimore Orioles. ....
By Bob Ellliott
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 win Duquette, since early November. Rogers and Rai want to bring Duquette to town to replace president Paul Beeston.
ESPN broke the news 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 Thursday were:
_ ESPN reported a Duquette deal to Toronto was near competition.
_ That the Jays would give up right-hander Jeff Hoffman, selected ninth over-all 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 off 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 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, is making the call?
Who is saying we’ll give you Hoffman for Duquette?
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 Pelley’s years in sports broadcasting he once shocked a meeting by asking “what’s a relief pitcher?”
Eddie Rogers, Pelley and Rai all remain under the double-secret cone of silence.
They aren’t returning calls ... you unwashed fans stay other there in the corner ... we’ll tell you to come out when it is time to buy tickets.
“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 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? Would that be the wisdom of former Los Angeles Dodgers reliever Eddie Solomon?
“I don’t see a successful, coexistence between Beeston and Duquette,” said a veteran NL GM, who knows both.
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 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.