With a new man at the top of the organization, his presence will inevitably filter down the ladder to those working under him. When Alex Anthopoulos took over the general manager’s reins from J.P. Ricciardi, he set about reversing course in many of the departments under him. Anthopoulos’s lead did things like bring the Vancouver Canadians into the Blue Jays’ system, bring the Triple-A team back to New York State from Las Vegas and focused on putting in place a minor league staff that has been mostly intact at the highest levels since 2009.
The big questions come now that Mark Shapiro, the former Cleveland Indians GM and President who got his start in player development, takes over for the Blue Jays. Does he want his own people running the farm? There are two sides to this story. The first is who does Shapiro want working for him. He entrusted Tony LaCava, AA’s assistant GM with the task of being the interim GM and keeping things together in the initial stages of the Shapiro administration. He confirmed that John Gibbons would be back running the big league club (at least to start the season) in 2016. With no other changes (yet) made by Shapiro, it’s possible that the front office might look similar in 2016 as it did in 2015. However, once Shapiro gets comfortable and makes decisions on who he wants as his right-hand men as the GM and in other player development roles, things may change very quickly.
The other side of the coin refers to the loyalties of the front office personnel who got their jobs thanks to Alex Anthopoulos. How long will these Anthopoulos holdovers remain with the Blue Jays? Do people want to stay? The first person to leave his position was announced today as the Los Angeles Dodgers lured away former staffer Ismael Cruz. Cruz’s title with the Blue Jays was Special Assistant to the General Manager and Director of Latin American Operations. Is Cruz the first of many to leave the organization?
The one thing that can be stated surely is that things are going to change. Mark Shapiro is going to want to remake the minor league and scouting departments in his image and whether he retains the some of the same people or looks to bring in others is going to be the big question that we’re going to await the answer for.
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