Photo Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Wait, another rumour linking Mark Shapiro to the Mets?

In the aftermath of the Josh Donaldson trade and in the midst of a lost season, being a member of the Blue Jays front office can’t be an uplifting exercise right now. Sure, things look promising for the future with players like Vlad Jr. and Bo Bichette in the farm system.

In the interim, the Blue Jays’ big league roster looks rough.

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Mark Shapiro and Ross Atkins have a difficult task ahead of them; contend with the juggernauts of the AL East, don’t screw up Vlad Jr., modernize a nearly 30-year-old stadium and find ways to increase revenue streams for a rebuilding franchise.

Sometimes, the grass isn’t greener on the other side after all. Given the way things have gone with the Blue Jays this year, it’s not hard to fault Shapiro if he wondered what things might be like elsewhere.

Last week, Nick Cafardo of The Boston Globe mused about whether Shapiro might be a good fit for the vacant GM job with the New York Mets. Blue Jays Nation’s own Ryan De Francesco covered this in a piece last week.

This was the first report of the Mets being any sort of landing spot for Shapiro. Now, there’s a second report.

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Where there’s smoke, maybe there’s fire? Joel Sherman of the New York Post ran through the list of potential candidiates to be the next Mets executive. Among them? Shapiro himself.

Blue Jays president and CEO Mark Shapiro was mentioned by multiple executives as a potential candidate, coming as president of baseball operations and in one scenario bringing fellow Toronto executive and former Red Sox GM Ben Cherington to be the GM.

The Ben Cherington stuff isn’t all that surprising. Ever since he was hired as VP of Baseball Operations, it seems like he’s been working his way back to an eventual spot in the GM’s chair with another club.

Shapiro’s status is a little more complicated. Sherman maps out the details of his deal and adds some fuel to the rumoured rift between Shapiro and Rogers.

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Shapiro has two years remaining on a contract that pays him about $4 million annually, and multiple executives said they believe enough tension exists between Shapiro and his bosses that he could want to find the exit.

If, and that’s a big if, there’s any credence to this, the only precedent for a president quitting and moving to another team is Theo Epstein leaving the Red Sox and jumping ship to the Chicago Cubs. It’s unclear the term and dollars remaining on Epstein’s original contract with the Red Sox, but they netted a pair of pitching prospects as compensation.

As awkward and weird as it would be to have a team president resign and then re-sign with another club, it’s been done in the past. But in order for that to happen with Shapiro and the Mets, things must be really bad with Blue Jays ownership.

A few weeks ago, Bob McCown hinted at this rift on Prime Time Sports:

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Shapiro at least, because he’s in a more senior position, has not exactly endeared himself to the uppety-ups here at the company that owns this baseball team. The relationship between Shapiro and the upper-suits at Rogers isn’t exactly a-okay. It wouldn’t surprise me if the guy who gets gunned down at the end of this season ain’t the president and not the manager.

If we’re trying to surmise why Shapiro has reason to have tension with ownership, this is just a guess, but it could be in relation to the much-needed renovations to the Rogers Centre. Earlier this year, the Blue Jays’ president mapped out three renovation plan tiers. As of today, the long-awaited Rogers Centre renovation timeline has yet to be made public.

During his days with the Indians, Shapiro spearheaded a $25 million renovation and modernization of Progressive Field. Any iteration of a Rogers Centre renovation – whether it’s at the top tier or lowest tier – would cost hundreds of millions of dollars.

One of the reasons why Shapiro jumped ship from Cleveland from Toronto was because he was hamstrung by one of the lowest payrolls in baseball. Despite a reputation as a frugal team, the Blue Jays have a healthy payroll and operate close to a Top 10 payroll in baseball.

Oddly enough, which team has nearly the same payroll in 2018 as the Blue Jays? The Mets, of course. It’s not like the Mets organization has vastly more resources and a higher ceiling for payroll; the Mets and Jays seem on par in those regards.

After spending the last three years building the farm system back up to a Top 5 prospect pool, it’s hard to believe Shapiro would leave it all to sign up with the Mets. Again, unless there’s so much tension between Shapiro and ownership that Shapiro feels it’s untenable, it’s too messy have him walk away from the Blue Jays.

Then again, not many foresaw John Farrell’s trade to the Red Sox. It’s messy and awkward, but transactions like these have taken place in the past. And if there’s any truth whatsoever to these reports, Shapiro’s “dream job” may lie in the big apple, not in the “big smoke”.

  • Hitmen OF

    It’s odd how he’s been nowhere to be seen, not just during the Donaldson fiasco, but for quite a while now.

    It also wouldn’t surprise me if, as he has gotten into this, he has clashed with Rogers over why the club does not get more resources, given how they stood in recent seasons with respect to attendance and TV ratings in comparison to other teams where market rates dictate what they receive for such rights. Not to mention the renovations which I’m sure they are being tightwads on.

    • Nice Guy Eddie

      Are you kidding? Clashing with Rogers? Are people here that delusional?? Mark Shapiro is a sought after baseball executive. He moved his family here, put his kids in school here, and then gets to read the bone stupid idiocy on the internet about ‘Cleveland’ on a daily basis. I think Mark has said ‘fuck this shithole city and fuck its joke ‘fanbase’. Shapiro can move on easily from Toronto and never think of it again. Meanwhile, Toronto has shown itself to be one stupid hick franchise. I can see Cherington, Atkins, Murov, Kim, Sanders all saying ‘fuck this shithole’. When that happens, I think Rogers will put the team up for sale, and give a local buyer one year to emerge. When no one wants to buy the team locally, look for a move to Charlotte NC.

      • Manny b

        You are correct. A breath of fresh air. Toronto is the worst place to work in. The Mets are a class organization and any established executive would crave that position.

        And the Toronto media are horrible. NY media, on the other hand, are upstanding and would never say anything negative about the Mets.

        Of course Shapiro has never seen negative media before. In Cleveland they raved about him as he was selling off the expensive players when they went into a rebuild.

        It’s so sad that Toronto is such a hell hole. Thanks for the reminder.

        • Paul Beestons Grass Surface

          Although Im the worst one for it, lets all vow not to feed the troll the attention he craves. I am going to ignore ass head eddie / Ad from now on.

  • Paul Beestons Grass Surface

    Here’s hoping that the cost of renovations propels Rogers into selling the Jays to MLSE. Share the costs and let the winning culture of MLSE drive payroll and expenses, instead of accounting and shareholders.

    • Nice Guy Eddie

      HA HA HA HA!! You think MLSE or anyone else is going to buy the Blue Jays?? LOL!! The Blue Jays were up for sale for years, with no local buyer until Ted Rogers bought the team to keep it from being contracted or moved. The next stop for this team is no local buyer and a move to the US. And some of the thanks can go to internet morons like Sparky.

      • Jroc

        The Blue Jays are an incredible asset likely in a depressed state due to the stadiums shortcomings. If a publicly traded company is willing to run a top 10 payroll (while taking in a Canadian $ and spending American $) than they are doing ok on the P&L, there is money to be made, it’s just a Roger’s cash flow issue which is causing all of these issues.

        • Paul Beestons Grass Surface

          Is it? The money spent on the Jays is a rounding error for Rogers. I don’t know if it’s more that they don’t care about anything other than the bottom line than a cash flow issue. Unless you mean a cash flow issuee because they don’t care.

          • Jroc

            It’s a capital expenditure, try explaining the ROI for a $200M Reno, it would take what 10-20 years to recoup that maybe longer because without the cash up front they are paying interest. My point is that you can’t call a team that spends $150M+ on payroll cheap. If they REALLY didn’t care they would run this team like the Ray’s, A’s or Marlins.

  • Nice Guy Eddie

    FARRELL: Fuck this dump!
    SHAPIRO: Fuck this dump!
    CHERINGTON: Fuck this dump!
    ATKINS: Fuck this dump!
    KIM: Fuck this dump!
    SANDERS: Fuck this dump!
    MUROV: Fuck this dump!
    DUMPSTER MORONS: Oh! Oh! Don’t trade Josh! Oh! Oh! Cleveland!! Oh! Oh! 2015 Oh! Oh! Rogers!!

    • The Humungus

      So, the guy responsible for Cleveland having one of the best ballparks in baseball to watch a game at, who’s priority 1 job in Toronto is to make Rogers Centre a better experience, you want him to leave because it’ll be “great for jays fans !”?

      Explain how the dome in it’s current state is a great fan experience.

  • Oz Rob

    Clearly the obvious solution is to merge Toronto and Tampa and move to Montreal to form the Montreal Jay Rays and play in the Big O. Man there is some serious nonsense in some of these comments. Let’s just be excited about the future and get over the blame game. It’s baseball and it’s fun.