Rogers says it needs to control costs

Updated: July 28, 2009, 8:47 PM ET
Associated Press

TORONTO -- The company that owns the Toronto Blue Jays says it needs to control costs.

Rogers Communications remains committed to the Blue Jays, CEO Nadir Mohamed said Tuesday on a conference call discussing the company's quarterly earnings.

The team has put ace Roy Halladay on the trading block.

Rogers bought the Blue Jays in 2000. The company also owns the team's stadium and its flagship radio and television stations, the FAN 590 and Rogers Sportsnet.

"We believe that the financial performance of the Blue Jays can improve," said Tony Viner, president of Rogers Media, the corporate arm responsible for the team, stadium and broadcasting. "In fact, it's the one division of the media company this year, year over year performance is better than it was. We think that we can bring costs reasonably under control and more in line with revenues.

"Our revenues are actually increasing in certain parts of the business so, as you know, the Jays form an important part of our programming schedule on Rogers Sportsnet, which is another division of the company which has done recently well and especially during the recession."

The Blue Jays' 2009 payroll is approximately $80 million.

A call to Blue Jays interim CEO Paul Beeston was not immediately returned.

Blue Jays general manager J.P. Ricciardi acknowledged earlier this month he was fielding trade offers for Halladay, the 2003 AL Cy Young winner and AL starting pitcher at this year's All-Star Game. Baseball's non-waiver trade deadline is July 31.

Halladay, 11-3 with a 2.62 ERA, is scheduled to start for Toronto on Wednesday night at Seattle.

A 12-year veteran who has never pitched in the postseason, Halladay has a full no-trade clause and is signed through 2010. He will earn $15.75 million dollars next season and has indicated a desire to test the free agent market.

Manager Cito Gaston believes the Blue Jays could be contenders in the difficult AL East next year if Halladay isn't traded and the team avoids injuries.

Gaston, talking before the Blue Jays played the Mariners in Seattle on Tuesdy night, didn't appear concerned that the company's stance might prevent the team from fielding a competitive squad or making moves if the 2010 Blue Jays are in the postseason race.

"If it looks like we have a chance to win I think they might do something," Gaston said. "But I don't know. I really don't know."


Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press