Blue Jays: Shapiro cites risk tolerance on Bautista, Encarnacion


Blue Jays president Mark Shapiro recently discussed the organization’s appetite for risk regarding the contracts of Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion

Mark Shapiro’s welcome to the Toronto market is still very much a work in progress, and the organization’s coming decisions on Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion could cement a permanent public opinion. Fair or not.

Sportsnet’s Jeff Blair spoke with Shapiro regarding those contracts, and how his time with the Cleveland Indians shapes expectations of how his new organization will act.

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Specifically, Blair cites the work of Terry Pluto who wrote a book called “Dealing”, which examines the years where Mark Shapiro was at the helm in Cleveland. Shapiro had his hits and misses, much like Alex Anthopoulos did here in Toronto, but Cleveland’s decision to part with fan-favourite free agents like Jim Thome have some Blue Jays fans nervous that Bautista and Encarnacion are on the way out.

“I wouldn’t look to that area,” Shapiro told Blair. “Cleveland is a very different situation with a different level of risk that was tolerated. I’ve said this: I would be a different team president and Ross would be a different GM in New York than Toronto. And in Cleveland, Oakland or Tampa..”

The possibility that Shapiro and Atkins will adapt to their new market and budget hasn’t gotten much play since his arrival, but Shapiro does make a point of saying that Toronto’s payroll will allow him to take on a greater deal of risk than in a smaller market. Logically so.

“I’m not looking to hammer guys. The way I see it, 98 per cent of the time we’re working towards an identical goal. That’s winning ball games. It’s just two per cent of the time where business interests take over and the relationship is divergent.”

Encarnacion’s contract negotiations are likeliest to reach a boil first given that he is not open to negotiating in-season, though Jose Bautista’s status as the face of the franchise and offensive profile should have him remaining the club’s priority.

So while this counts for little more than talk until concrete action is taken, Shapiro and Atkins are saying something. And that something they’re saying is closer to right than it is to wrong.