Less than a week after the Blue Jays' loss in the American League Championship Series, the club has also lost their general manager, according to Sportsnet's Shi Davidi in a report that would shock many Jays fans this morning. Alex Anthopoulos, according to Davidi, has rejected a contract extension with Toronto due to reasons that "aren't thought to be financial."
The 2015 American League Eastern Division Champions Blue Jays now head into the offseason without the general manager that has led them since 2009, whose contract ends on Saturday. Clubs' exclusive window to negotiate with free agents ends five days following the end of the World Series.
Since money is apparently not the matter, the Blue Jays' failure to retain the 38-year-old Canadian is likely due to their hiring of Mark Shapiro as the club's next president after ownership's decision to oust Anthopoulos ally Paul Beeston. Shapiro was the Cleveland Indians' general manager from 2001 to 2010 before his promotion to president. There are thoughts that his installation into the Blue Jays' top job would reduce Anthopoulos's autonomy with regards to player personnel compared to the relative freedom enjoyed during Beeston's reign.
According to TSN's Rick Westhead, the incoming Shapiro and the departing Anthopoulos had one (and only one) meeting, Shapiro reportedly "scolded" the front office for the number of prospects (that they had brought into the system) traded this season. Westhead is not topically a source for Blue Jays insider news, so take this with a grain of salt.
Source: In their 1st & only meeting, new Jays prez Mark Shapiro scolded Alex Anthopolous & staff for trading so many top prospects this yr— Rick Westhead (@rwesthead) October 29, 2015
The domino effect would probably mean that Anthopoulos top aides like Tony LaCava, Andrew Tinnish, and Dana Brown would also be looking for an exit strategy. John Gibbons, who was re-hired by Anthopoulos for the 2013 season, may also be replaced by the incoming administration.
Now that the news is out, please allow a little editorializing from me: this is 80-grade bullcrap.
Losing Anthopoulos, and his assistants, is a great loss for the organization and it all leads back to ownership. Rogers bumbled their way through the process to replace Beeston and probably decided to hire Shapiro during the Blue Jays' mid-summer swoon, promising Shapiro final say in baseball decisions because they had already decided to let Anthopoulos go. The Blue Jays' late season run and their first entry into the postseason since 1993--and entering as as the league's best frigging team and World Series favourites--were an inconvenience for Rogers.
The run that made fans so happy was a wrinkle in Rogers's plans. Ownership was probably happy with the revenue increase, but a deal is a deal. Shapiro was to replace the front office and Shapiro will replace the front office.
Fair or not (probably not), Mark Shapiro will come into office as the most hated man in Toronto, now that both Stephen Harper and Rob Ford are out, but fingers should probably be pointed directly at the officials running Rogers.
Anthopoulos made tonnes of mistakes as a general manager for the Blue Jays: he traded away Travis d'Arnaud and Noah Syndergaard, he traded away Mike Napoli, he signed and stubbornly held on to Henry Blanco. But I believe that he does learn from past mistakes and he's a type who would take those lessons to change his strategies. The biggest loss for the Blue Jays is not Anthopoulos the man, but it's all the lessons he has picked up along the way. He made those mistakes here and yet another franchise will get to reap the rewards of his education. It's like seeing a prospect that has come up with the system leave unceremoniously as a free agent.
Troy Tulowitzki is a Toronto Blue Jay. Russell Martin is a Blue Jay. Josh Donaldson is a Toronto Blue Jay. Jose Bautista is a Blue Jay. Edwin Encarnacion is a Blue Jay. Roberto Osuna is still a Blue Jay. Marcus Stroman is still a Blue Jay.
Alex Anthopoulos is no longer a Blue Jay.