The Toronto Blue Jays have reportedly named Ross Atkins their new general manager, according to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle. Atkins was serving as the Cleveland Indians vice president of player personnel under Mark Shapiro up until his recent departure. The general manager search had been rumored to be nearing an end for several days now, with Atkins and the now-former interim GM Tony LaCava as the finalists.
Prior to being appointed to his most recent position with the Indians, Atkins headed up the Cleveland farm system from 2007 until 2014. In total, Atkins worked for 15 seasons with Shapiro, and the link between the two has remained strong.
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This does not mean the end of Tony LaCava, however, as the longtime Jays front office man has repeated he’s on board regardless of which role he is asked to play. LaCava also signed a contract extension when being named to the interim job, so this allows for Mark Shapiro to keep both of his primary options in a sense.
In the modern landscape of the MLB, the role of general manager is undergoing an identity change and moving away from the all-powerful personnel men of old. It appears this will be the case in Toronto, as well, with LaCava, the analytics department and a long list of Anthopoulos holdovers assisting Atkins. Shapiro’s role surely stays unchanged in this, as the final green light on any potential transactions with an unknown level of influence on the baseball operations themselves.
The timing here is in the interest of having a general manager named ahead of the MLB Winter Meetings which run next week in Nashville. Expect a formal announcement of the move with a press conference to be held in the near future.