As per usual, the front office is grabbing the headlines in Blue Jays land. This time, it’s been a discussion around Mark Shapiro’s contract and a potential extension.
The fun all got started when Ken Rosenthal Tweeted this:
An extension is possible for Mark Shapiro, who is entering the final year of his contract as #BlueJays president/CEO. Both Shapiro and the Jays are open to a new deal, but nothing is close, sources tell The Athletic. Per @SNJeffBlair, GM Ross Atkins is under contract through ‘21.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) October 12, 2019
Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet followed that up with this Tweet, reiterating what Shapiro said at last week’s end-of-season media availability:
Earlier in the month when asked about his future with #BlueJays Shapiro said this:
“I’ve been clear and consistent about enjoying where I am and wanting to be here. From a competitive perspective, I want to finish the job. That’s incredibly important to me." https://t.co/BvH2nvpGfx
— Ben Nicholson-Smith (@bnicholsonsmith) October 12, 2019
Shapiro is entering the final season of the five-year deal he originally signed with the Blue Jays when he joined the team back in 2015. Given the fact Rogers allowed his general manager, Ross Atkins, and new manager Charlie Montoyo to be hired through 2021, you’d have to assume there’s an appetite from the organization’s side to keep Shapiro around. If not, those other two contracts likely would have lined up with his ending in 2020.
The question now likely comes down to whether or not Shapiro wants to finish his job in Toronto. Based on Nicholson-Smith’s quote above, it seems as though Shapiro has a desire to finish what he started here. Though many associate Shapiro’s work with tearing down the Blue Jays’ roster and starting from scratch, it spreads well beyond baseball operations. Shapiro’s big-picture plan for the Blue Jays involves stadium renovations in Toronto and Dunedin, changes and modernization to Toronto’s player development and scouting system, and many different endeavours on the business side of the operation.
But there’s some degree of skepticism when it comes to Shapiro’s future in Toronto. He’s frequently mentioned as a possible successor to Rob Manfred as Major League Baseball’s commissioner. Shapiro was also listed as a candidate for commissioner of the NCAA’s Big Ten. I’m not going to pretend I have any idea what Shapiro wants, but it’s pretty clear there are other options for him, and continuing to work with Rogers in Toronto might not be the one he takes.
Steve Simmons offered a quick take on the situation. I generally wouldn’t bother putting a Simmons take in here because most of what he says is simply crafted to get a rise out of people, but there’s something funny about it I need to point out.
The Blue Jays appear to be working backwards, which is not at all unexpected for a team that has been heading rapidly in that direction.
They have manager Charlie Montoyo signed until the end of 2021 season. During the recent season, the Jays didn’t announce they had extended general manager Ross Atkins contract but they had done so, matching him up with Montoyo’s deal — giving both two more seasons on the job.
And now comes word from famed baseball writer Ken Rosenthal that team president Mark Shapiro, with one year left on his original five-year deal, is heading for a contract extension as well with the Jays. This after he attempted to get the job as commissioner of the Big 10 in U.S. college sports and lost out as a finalist.
If Montoyo has two more years and Atkins, surprisingly, has two more years, then it would seem likely the gullible owners at Rogers, who don’t appear to care less what fans think of their fledgling baseball operation than they do about bottom line, will likely announce an extension for Shapiro in the coming weeks, if they bother to announce it at all.
Shapiro and Atkins, collectively known on social media at Shatkins, have had a flawed an unimpressive term while in charge of the Jays. And now, it seems, at least two more years to try and get this right.
Compare that to a post he did in 2014 regarding then-GM Alex Anthopolous’ contract status…
Alex Anthopoulos, the much-maligned general manager of the Blue Jays, will return for his sixth season running the club, a bevy of major-league sources have confirmed.
Apparently, there is no temperature at all to remove Anthopoulos from his job — in fact, quite the opposite sentiment exists — with an appreciation internally for the manner in which he has conducted his business.
Neither Anthopoulos nor club president Paul Beeston would comment on the general manager’s status.
Anthopoulos has taken tremendous heat from fans, and even from some of his players, for his inability to make a significant deal at the non-waiver trade deadline and, of late, the Jays’ playoff chances are fading.
It’s nearly the same fucking post! It starts with I GUESS ROGERS IS KEEPING THIS GUY AROUND EVEN THOUGH THEY WON’T ANNOUNCE IT and then goes into WELL THE FANS SURE ARE PISSED OFF with some passive-aggressive WELL I GUESS ROGERS IS HAPPY talk mixed in. You can change the names and the dates on both of these posts and it still works just fine. Amazing stuff.
Anyways, it’s difficult to gauge how things are going to pan out on the Shapiro front. This front office is heading into its fifth season. When AA was heading into his fifth season, the team was coming off of its wildly disappointing 2013 campaign. It was AA’s seventh season that resulted in the 2015 playoff run. Given that, it’s hard to imagine pulling the plug on this front office, especially considering how ownership knew how long a tear-down-and-build-up process would take. My uncertainty in this situation is less about what Rogers wants and more about what Shapiro wants.
Here’s some other quick and random stuff going on…
The Arizona Fall League hasn’t been very interesting to follow as the Blue Jays didn’t send any marquee prospects to the desert to continue their seasons. The Fall Stars game went down last weekend and Jackson Rees, an undrafted reliever in the system, was Toronto’s lone representative.
Jackson Rees, Toronto’s lone representative in the matchup, came on with two outs in the top of the eighth for the East Fall Stars, and the 25-year-old right-hander induced a groundout to end the frame.
John Lott did a one-on-one chat with John Gibbons last week, which was excellent as you’d expect. In it, Gibbons said that he’s sent resumes to three teams. Hopefully we see him managing again soon.
Toronto fans know John Gibbons well from his 16 years in the Blue Jays organization. But the baseball lifer has also forged strong ties with the Mets, Royals and Padres.
Which explains why he picked those three teams when he sent out his résumé last week. Now he’s hoping one of them will pick him to be their next manager.
Aaron Sanchez said he was disappointed that he wasn’t able to a part of Houston’s playoff run due to his season-ending injury…
“You bring me behind those guys [Cole, Verlander, Grienke] and you are talking about four aces that can do scary things. It’s just unfortunate that I’m where I’m at.”
Wait, what?! Uhhhh… Okay!