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How is this overpaying? The Yankees are paying Rivera more per year for an older player. Plus this comparison is only valid if both Ryan and Rivera were available at the same time. Since they are not, you have to compare Ryan's signing to the other free agent closers on the market this offseason (Wagner, etc). Compared to Wagner, Ryan's a much cheaper signing. Also for a player to consider playing in Toronto (AL East), you would have to pay more money to create an incentive for a player to come play for a team with a low probability of winning the division because of the Yankees and the Red Sox.
While yes, the market forces do play a role, he's still getting a lot of money. The comparison is valid. How much better is BJ Ryan than the replacement level closer and how much more will he be paid? "Much cheaper" is not a fair description for how much less BJ Ryan is than Wagner ($9.4M vs $10M) and Wagner has had a longer and more distinguished career.You don't have to pay more money to play in Toronto. You have no evidence for that and it's just not true. Nobody gives the Yankees a home town discount!!http://www.nytimes.com/2005/11/27/sports/baseball/27base.htmlThis article even agrees, this is the most money ever paid to a reliever."The Toronto Blue Jays have signed the free-agent closer B. J. Ryan to a five-year, $47 million contract, a deal that figures to elevate the value of the remaining closers available and have repercussions for plans by the Mets and the Yankees to improve their bullpens.Ryan, who saved 36 games for Baltimore in his only season as a closer, will receive the most money ever paid to a relief pitcher, and the deal is pending only a physical, according to a baseball official who was granted anonymity because he would not otherwise discuss a deal that had not been made official. "
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