Blue Jays: Shapiro speaks on AA, LaCava, AA and future


Toronto Blue Jays president and CEO Mark Shapiro was introduced on Monday afternoon, meeting with local media for a press conference. After naming Tony LaCava the Blue Jays interim general manager, as was rumored earlier today, Shapiro gave a lengthy statement to begin. Frankly, as far as introductory statements go, it was impressive.

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Shapiro went into great detail in expressing his gratitude towards Alex Anthopoulos and outgoing president Paul Beeston. Despite the monotonous and endless questions regarding Anthopoulos, Shapiro continued to shift the focus back into the present. It was apparent, however, that at one time in this process Shapiro had expected to be working side-by-side with the departing GM.  “Let me obviously acknowledge. Not the introduction that I expected, not the opening press conference that I expected.”

The introduction also helped to humanize Shapiro a bit for an angered fan base viewing him as the faceless enemy in the wake of the past few days. Shapiro expressed how important it is to him to honor the work of Paul Beeston, and at several points circled back to highlight how attractive the opportunity to work for a national fan base in Canada was.

Above all else, the primary takeaway for fans is that Shapiro does seem dedicated to continuity. This begins with Tony LaCava at the top, and continues with the announcement that manager John Gibbons would be returning for the 2016 season. Shapiro complimented Gibbons for this strength, toughness and consistency throughout the recent playoff run. He also revealed that the entire coaching staff has been extended an invitation to return for the 2016 season. The leash may not be long, but it exists.

In terms of payroll, Shapiro did not enter any fine details, but did state that he is “100 percent confident the resources will be there.” Taking on an increased payroll from his time in Cleveland will allow Shapiro to have a larger tolerance for risks, he said, and he will do this by not viewing any situation in absolutes. This will apply to Beeston’s famed “5 Year Policy” on player contracts. While Shapiro admits that lengthy contracts are often a great risk, he could foresee a seven year deal for the right situation.

It seems as if Shapiro will keep hold on the final green light for any signings or trades. He explained that a quality GM “stewards” the right information and analysis to present the best possible recommendation, and if that’s done properly, his confirmation is easy. While he does seem confident in Tony LaCava, he explained that the search for a permanent general manager would be very thorough. LaCava could quickly make the search unnecessary, though.

At the end of the day, talk is still cheap. Shapiro certainly gave a strong first impression to Toronto media, but the reality of his personnel decisions will quickly determine the hard narrative on him. The best news from this press conference may be the lack of bad news, however, and now that Shapiro has moved into his office, the offseason can begin.