I just got to work at 7:20 a.m. Thursday morning and got the notification on my phone around five minutes later. Alex was gone. I was like, “No way, this couldn’t be! Davidi must be wrong. How could this be possible?” Then more tweets stated the same. I was numb; totally in shock. I honestly didn’t know how I was to get through work that day. Somehow I managed with a rain cloud clinging over my head.
Turns out, the Toronto Star’s Richard Griffin was right when he wrote just the previous Monday how the thought something like this could be brewing. It was fear mongering, I thought. It couldn’t possibly be true because Alex just took this team to the playoffs! Then Michael Grange of Sportsnet wrote a similar yet more logical sentiment about when Rogers might have began talks with Mark Shapiro. In the end, Grange wondered how Rogers can tell Shapiro, “Sorry, Alex keeps control of baseball decisions.” If only that was an option. I know, wishful thinking on my part.
Here’s some more links on this story that I thought added to it:
Bruce Arthur of the Toronto Star says Rogers shouldn’t have even hired a baseball man to be its President. Doing so almost assuredly put the writing on the wall for Alex. And by losing Alex, Shapiro inherits a furious fan base.
Steve Simmons writes from the Toronto Sun saying Shapiro insulted Anthopoulos with a one year contract offer plus an option.
Bob Elliott also of the Sun gives Rogers and Shapiro a good mouthful! Good for Bob!
John Lott of the National Post writes how Alex took the high road refusing to reveal what led him out.
In Anthopoulos’ Monday end of season press conference, he said he’s gone about his usual business ranking lists of players he would target this offseason. It wouldn’t surprise me if David Price was number one on that list and Shapiro’s choice was different. This would speak to a difference in philosophy in how to run the future of this club.
In one of his numerous on-air interviews with Sportsnet590 (I think it was with Bob McCowan), Alex said that, “I’m a big chain of command guy.” That seemed like an oxymoron. If he’s fine with a chain of command, then stay. But to me, clearly he’s not okay with it. I can’t blame him though for not returning if he wouldn’t have full control on baseball decisions. He deserves that after what he’s done.
Cathal Kelly of The Globe and Mail shares perhaps the most enlightening tidbit. He had a private conversation with Alex back in mid-September where Alex revealed that he wasn’t sure if he’d be coming back. While he places a lot of misplaced blame on Shapiro, he’s correct in saying that Mark has to win or else this fan base will forever feel disappointed with him leading the ship.
Furthermore, Jon Heyman writes at CBS how Shapiro might have rubbed Alex the wrong way with some criticisms. I didn’t buy previous reports of a ‘scolding’ but perhaps there’s something to this. Maybe Shapiro deserves some blame after all.
Now yesterday, Edward Rogers told Shi Davidi regarding Alex, “His job had not changed at all. His direct manager will change, but his breadth of scope and responsibility had not changed. We had full confidence in him.” Rogers added later, “…in his tenure as GM, every time he had made a request that went upstairs, it got approval. Every deal he brought forward the company has endorsed and supported him, and obviously with the season we just came off, he’d have stronger credibility with everyone.”
Except Ed, you didn’t give the money to Alex to sign Ervin Santana, did you? Players had to offer up money and take contract deferrals so they could sign him, which didn’t even end up happening. This above statement is also very telling in that it sounds like they didn’t trust Alex or believe in him enough to extend him much earlier. To Rogers, only now with a playoff appearance does he have credibility. Maybe if they didn’t leave him to finish off his last season under contract as a lame-duck GM, things might have been different. Where’s the vote of confidence? Who knows, maybe Alex still gets fired after 2015 if the team didn’t perform. At least then, he’d still presumably collect on any remaining length of contract signed giving him a blanket of security.
And Ed, don’t kid me on his role not changing. It’s clear now that Shapiro wouldn’t have taken this job if it wasn’t a promotion for him; that is, he needed to have final say on player personnel. You essentially offered Alex a demotion.
Again from Sportsnet, Shi Davidi also reported that one executive said, “The process in Cleveland was probably more collaborative than what Alex is used to.” I don’t really buy that one either. In Toronto, Alex was known as one to get opinions from everybody and draw a consensus from the whole group on staff. Ultimately, he would make the final call, as it seems he did with the Tulowitzki trade where, reportedly, the majority of staff opted not to proceed with it. Alex did it anyway because it improved the offense and defense at shortstop. The guy knew what he had to do to improve the team, fixed the mistake he made with Reyes, and had the balls to actually do it. And somehow, this guy is not our GM any more?!
So what happens now? I think it’s safe and sadly to assume that the Jays won’t be players for David Price, or Marco Estrada. Price will be too expensive if the Jays hold to their current budget, and Shapiro will probably want to collect a draft pick on Marco. How then is this new President going to win over fans?
Another factor to think about is payroll. According to reports and after making some presumptuous assertions (like non-tendering Ben Revere), Bluebird Banter thinks the Jays will have about $31.6 million to spend this offseason out of a budget near $140 million. This obviously begs the question: why is Rogers keeping payroll the same after record TV numbers and pulling in an estimated $82 million (estimate via Jays Journal) from their August to October run?
In the end, Shapiro and Rogers have some explaining to do! I, like so many others, are understandably extremely angry and upset. What goodwill the team had is gone just like that.
Photo via @JHagholm1.