The shroud of mystery surrounding the Toronto Blue Jays and general manager Alex Anthopoulos continues on. Speaking with Jeff Blair earlier today, outgoing team president Paul Beeston offered his full support of Anthopoulos, but was careful to frame it in a way that didn’t leak any plans.
“Is he irreplaceable? No. But is he someone you want to keep? Sure. Why wouldn’t you? It’s like wanting to keep any of your star players.”
That’s an odd way to frame things, isn’t it? And it won’t do much to quiet a fan base that is growing quietly nervous about their beloved general manager, now entering the final days of his contract with the organization. Since the Blue Jays have allowed it to reach this point, I’d expect any potential contract extension to come hand-in-hand with the introduction of incoming president Mark Shapiro.
Doing so would immediately appeal Shapiro to the Blue Jays market. Even though the move would be largely planned for optics, it would give the impression that Shapiro is committed to the current direction of the team with the man who constructed it. But still, it’s October 28th, and the situation is beginning to feel a little bizarre.
Beeston added that he’s spoken with Shapiro, and will work to aid a smooth transition at the top. “This isn’t going to be ‘Here’s the baton, run,’” Beeston told Blair. “(He is) in charge on Monday, and after Monday, we will work together to make sure that he understands where we’ve done things, why we’ve done things, where the challenges are, what needs to be completed and hopefully he will be informed and he will make the decisions at that point.”
The frustration here lies in how obvious the solution is. In the still-unlikely scenario that Anthopoulos does not return, what message does that send to a newly awakened base of support nationwide? What does it say to the MLB and potential free agents about the organization? Anthopoulos is, at all levels, the right person for this job.
“I’ve watched this man grow into the job,” Beeston added. “It’s very funny that after six years, he’s kind of like what a player would be – a free agent. He is in his best years right now. He has learned from his mistakes … he doesn’t make the same mistake twice.”
Anthopoulos has mentioned his comfort level over the past season, and it’s something I’d compare to a veteran player saying that the game is “slowing down” for them.
So the awkward dance continues between the Blue Jays and their architect. The likeliest scenario remains a sigh of relief within the next week, but the door remains cracked open for this thing going all wrong.