Breaking: Blue Jays and Anthopoulos to part ways
It’s a nightmare. According to a report from Shi Davidi of Sportenet, the Toronto Blue Jays and general manager Alex Anthopoulos will not be renewing their vows as the architect of the first playoff team in 22 years has declined a contract extension.
This is, quite frankly, an embarrassment for the organization. Negotiations were expected to be fairly straightforward, even to the point where some had quietly expected a deal was already in place, but the Blue Jays were just awaiting the November 1st introduction of president Mark Shapiro to make the grand announcement.
Instead, just a week after pushing a sixth game in the ALCS, the Toronto Blue Jays now take a step back towards to being the Toronto Blue Jays that fans around the MLB have taken half-seriously for two decades.
Shapiro’s arrival is clearly the leading factor here, as he and Anthopoulos come from different schools of thought and it’s believed that Shapiro was seeking some level of control in baseball operations. When negotiations began with Shapiro, the Blue Jays were still hovering around .500 and had yet to make their massive deadline acquisitions. I suspect that his role was determined at that time, and that it included a level of power that Anthopoulos was not comfortable with.
This could also spell worry for manager John Gibbons and many of Anthopoulos’ longtime front office colleagues. If Shapiro’s arrival can push the King out of town, everyone from Tony LaCava to the custodian should be on red alert.
Shapiro shouldn’t be made out as a villain here, though, and I fear he’s starting his time in Toronto on the worst possible foot. He took this job with an understanding of certain parameters, and at the end of the day, for whatever reason, those didn’t work with Anthopoulos.
Even speaking strictly in terms of optics, this result is an absolute disaster. Anthopoulos had done the unthinkable on Toronto, becoming somewhat of a rock star among the Blue Jays fan base. In the last 12 months alone he had brought in Marco Estrada, Josh Donaldson, Russell Martin, David Price, Troy Tulowitzki and Ben Revere. Heard of any of them?
So not only does this leave the Blue Jays without one of the best young executives in all of baseball, it leaves them without a general manager while free agency approaches. Not to mention critical decisions regarding contract options and offer sheets.
It’s a time of change in Toronto, and the first step has gone directly backwards.
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