There are a couple of interesting Blue Jays links today.
Shi Davidi talked to Ed Rogers about Alex Anthopoulos' departure. Mr. Rogers really did need to talk. He won't change any minds, and, of course, most of what he says is self-serving, but he did have to come out with his side of things
The chairman of the Toronto Blue Jays says the changeover from Paul Beeston to Mark Shapiro would not have impacted Alex Anthopoulos's role as general manager. And that Anthopoulos was offered an opt-out clause after the first year of a five-year contract offer to ease concerns about the change.
If Rogers actually believes this, he doesn't understand the job. He has to know that Shapiro will have more input into player moves than Beeston ever did. Well, maybe he doesn't know, I shouldn't guess how much Rogers understands baseball.
I really admire Alex more for turning down the contract. Turning down money isn't easy. I can't imagine walking away from millions of dollars. I'd like to try it.
"When you speculate about the future and what will happen it's impossible, I think you've got to work with a person for somewhere between many weeks and many months, go through cycles and go through business events, trades, to see how people work and complement each other. Our notion was let's try it for a year and see if that would have worked."
Well, that might have been their notion, but, very clearly, Alex didn't want to waste a year of his life in, what he figured, was a doomed experiment. I've worked for people I didn't like before, if there is a choice, why do it. Making yourself miserable isn't worth it.
The delineation of roles was and remains clear, according to Rogers.
"You've got a guy running the team and a guy running the revenue and the stadium part and that's what we have today, and that's what Alex's breadth of control is," he said. "The difference is the president has been Paul Beeston and in the future will be Mark."
I get the feeling Ed is being knowingly disingenuous here. If he believes this, then he's kidding himself. Shapiro isn't coming here just to deal with stadium issues. I'd guess it would be totally impossible for Mark not insert himself into player issues. How could a former GM not have opinions on how to run baseball operations.
He also says, about Shapiro:
"He's very well respected around baseball, from the commissioner's office to the other teams, and he's got a very long tenure in baseball," Rogers said of Shapiro. "He was with Cleveland for a long time, and we want to attract people that stay with Rogers and stay with the Blue Jays and make it their home and make it their family."
I'm sure that's true. He's likely very well respected. I think Alex was very well respected too.
Jon Heyman gives a view on what happened. He suggested that it was a personality clash between Alex and Shapiro. I think this is likely right. Alex has made it clear that he likes to work with people that he can talk to. He hired John Gibbons on the value of Gibby being someone he enjoyed talking about baseball with.
The real news from Heyman's post is that Tony LaCava will 'likely' be named interim GM. That is good news.
Heyman figures Alex leaving comes down to this:
The pair is said to have had only a couple big meetings and a few more phone calls while Shapiro was finishing out his stay in Cleveland and giving Beeston his space. But word is, while Shapiro thought the confabs went well, Anthopoulos saw them negatively. While Shapiro thought he was being effusive in his praise, Anthopoulos heard only criticisms.
Shapiro apparently thought he was providing sufficient support. But after working 24-hour days for months, Anthopoulos, undoubtedly fried, probably needed some pats on the back. A friend of his outside the organization suggested he felt was being constantly told he's no good.
I doubt it was quite that simple, but I think Alex decided that this wasn't someone that he wanted to be forced to talk baseball with, every day, all the time, with Shapiro getting the final say. I get the feeling that Alex didn't feel he could talk Mark into things, into seeing issues his way. Anyway, read Heyman's post.
I don't think the difference between having Alex and not having Alex will change the Jays from a good team to a bad team. But, if I had my choice, I'd rather have Alex than Shapiro.