Blue Jays: Winter Meetings must be short-term GM deadline


If the Blue Jays are near a decision on LaCava and Atkins, the MLB Winter Meetings need to be their first deadline

Word around the Blue Jays continues to be that their search for a full-time general manager is nearing an end, if not already completed. Cleveland Indians vice president of player personnel Ross Atkins remains the external frontrunner alongside longtime Blue Jays front office member and interim GM Tony LaCava, and next week’s Winter Meetings will be the first deadline for action.

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This isn’t to say that these meetings are Toronto’s only deadline to fill the position by, just the most logical. If the search does not reach a conclusion by next week, however, and LaCava enters the Winter Meetings as the face of the Blue Jays, one would think he would stay in place to ride out the December flurry, at the very least. Jon Morosi suggested as much earlier this week on The Fan 590, saying Toronto could circle back in mid-January if a decision is not made soon.

The most difficult variable to peg down is whether or not the length of this search hurts or benefits the case of LaCava. On one hand, it seems as though all of the necessary interviews have been conducted and Mark Shapiro has gotten a month-long look at LaCava in the leading role. A hands-on experience that has given some reality to the situation. The longer LaCava is left in the GM’s chair, and the deeper he becomes involved in free agent and trade discussions this offseason, does that tighten his grip on the job?

Looking at it from across the table, however, you can also be quite skeptical without stretching the imagination too far. Atkins’ contract in Cleveland along with a laundry list of other factors could delay an announcement by several days or more after an actual decision has been made, but if LaCava were the choice, there’s no reason to delay an announcement. By that thinking, doesn’t LaCava’s grip on the job loosen by the day?

While the number of unknowns make this a difficult race to handicap, the opportunity to have both men atop the front office could be working heavily in Atkins favor. Because, with two quality baseball minds, why not have both? LaCava has said on several occasions that he is a Blue Jay first and foremost, and that he would be “on the bus” regardless of the position that Shapiro found best suited for him.

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Could making a run at Atkins and retaining LaCava as his right-hand man represent the best of both worlds? Or, perhaps with Shapiro also desiring some level of involvement in baseball operations, would that resemble a top-heavy management structure, a la the Toronto Maple Leafs teams of not-so-distant memory.

In the end, the most important factor to consider is that this isn’t simply Atkins versus LaCava. It’s Atkins and LaCava versus just LaCava. That won’t trump the conversation entirely, but it’s got to tilt the tables.