Jays wishing they signed for Canadian coin?

Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista (left) could be earning $348,00 more this year had his $8...

Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista (left) could be earning $348,00 more this year had his $8 million contract specified he wanted to be paid in Canadian dollars, rather than U.S. greenbacks. Corey Patterson (right) would have earned more coin as well. (MIKE CASSESE/Reuters)

BOB ELLIOTT, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:24 PM ET

TORONTO - Is there advantage to playing for the Blue Jays over the Boston Red Sox or New York Yankees?

The numbers say yes.

And we don’t mean the won-loss column, OPS or hitting with men in scoring position on Wednesday nights when facing a right-hander, seventh inning or later.

The exchange numbers say it’s better to play for the Jays — as long as you are paid in Canadian funds.

Take Jose Bautista who will earn $8 million US this season.

If he was paid in Canadian funds, using the Bank of Canada rate as of noon Wednesday ($1 Cdn = $1.0436 US), he would be paid $8,348,800 Cdn, a difference of $348,800.

Of course, that’s going under the assumption that the dollar would stay at the exact same rate, which it will not.

On this day, however, it was an indicator of how better off players would be to be paid in Canadian.

A traded player having a choice goes back to when right-hander Bill Stoneman pitched for the Montreal Expos. He earned a career-high $50,000 Cdn when in 1974 when he was dealt to the Anaheim Angels who paid him in U.S. dollars.

At the time, the Canadian dollar was worth 1.0447 US, so he took a hit.

Marvin Miller, like so many other fights he had won before, with help from agent Dick Moss, filed a grievance over the fact Stoneman was paid a lower amount because of a trade from one country to another.

Current Jays players willingly signed contracts with U.S. dollar amounts. Yet, at the time of the signing each player could ask to be paid in Yankee, Canuck dollars or Euros, if he wanted to do so. All part of the negotiations.

When the Jays began in 1977, management suggested Canadian funds and the players declined.

“If you changed it from U.S. to Canadian your financial guy would probably take most of it,” said Adam Lind, “Are you sure that’s right?”

Lind earns $5 million US this season, but could potentially have made $5.218 million US had he signed to be paid in Canadian funds.

John McDonald, who earns $1.5 million but could have made $1,565,400, had a different take.

“We’re all paid fair market value for our services,” said McDonald. “What if you talk to Alex (Anthopoulos, Jays general manager) at the start of the year and say you want to be paid in Canadian funds. What happens if the dollar flip flops? Can you go back in and ask him to change it to the other currency?

“I remember a couple of years ago on opening day, the U.S. dollar was stronger, by the summer the Canadian dollar was the stronger of the two and in September, the U.S. dollar was worth more. Who knows?”

McDonald recalls coming to Toronto in 1999 as a member of the Cleveland Indians.

“Guys couldn’t wait to get here to shop, our money was worth so much more, it was quite a difference if you went into a store from the same chain in say Cleveland and here,” he said. “I not sure if they have adjusted the prices yet to go with the stronger dollar.”

If a player was traded and decided to change the currency of his payment he would have Stoneman to thank, as well as Miller and Moss for setting the precedent.

At the time of the arbitration hearing Stoneman had retired from pitching and was working for Royal Trust in Montreal. Moss phoned asking him to attend a hearing in New York. Stoneman didn’t want to attend but was convinced that the precedent was important even though the dollar value was not a significant factor.

And it all began because Stoneman had purchased a $39,000 house in Senne Ville, near Ste. Anne de Bellevue, and was worried about mortgage payments in Canadian dollars.


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