When it was announced that Mark Shapiro was going to replace Paul Beeston as president of the Toronto Blue Jays, I wasn’t happy about it.
Cleveland was having some success but hadn’t made it to the playoffs yet. And my only knowledge of him was a) the scene in Moneyball where they portray him as a complete asshole and b) that he’d blown the Cleveland team up – and I didn’t feel our team needed that.
Because Ross Atkins came from Cleveland, he seems to have been bunched in with Mark Shapiro in everyone’s minds. In fact, they’ve been given one of those cute celebrity couple mashup names. Shatkins. I admit, it’s kind of funny, but just because they worked together previously doesn’t mean that they share a brain and heart and are in fact a single unit. I don’t know anything more about either of them personally, I only know what’s been reported in the media. I will say that I found the interview Barry and Matt did with Ross Atkins fascinating. I loved learning about his time in the minor leagues. Also – like him, I’m a big fan of Joe Biagini.
I admit the Edwin Encarnacion departure was extremely disappointing. This alone made me certain that they were going to ruin our beloved team. He was beloved in Toronto and the city was upset that he was gone, and of course we blamed the guys who seemed to be at fault. To be honest about this, Edwin and his agent were as much to blame for this result as Ross Atkins and Mark Shapiro were.
There are also some who are upset with them for letting Jose Bautista go. While it would have been so great for Jose to finish his career in Toronto, his performance really didn’t warrant signing him again. Don’t get me wrong, I cried my eyes out during his last game. When he left the field in the 9th inning, I was a sobbing mess. My brother (who was with me) thought I was a crazy person… But letting him go was the right decision, I can’t argue with it.
Photo:Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports
Since then, they’ve done some great things. I think he still has a lot of work to do defensively, but to flip Francisco Liriano for Teoscar Hernandez? That was pretty genius. Jason Grilli was a good get, he did great things for the young guys in the bullpen from a mentorship perspective, he pitched well for a while, and they traded him away at basically the right time too.
Let’s face it, the team they took over was old and full of injuries. They didn’t go out and break the bank to get free agents to add to the team, but lets not forget that they have to pay Tulo and Martin $20 million per year each. I know as well as you do that Rogers can afford that and more, but I also understand that payroll is your single largest controllable cost as far as businesses go. This is the one major expense that you can control, and a responsible business owner will control it.
The Roberto Osuna situation that has just come and gone was in my opinion handled well too. A lot of people are saying that when Ross Atkins flat out lied when he came out and said that Osuna would be the closer and would pitch when his suspension was over. I would like to suggest that perhaps he felt that way when the statement was made. Perhaps the feedback from fans they received after making that statement changed their minds? Yes, you can say they had no choice but to say it so that the asset of Roberto Osuna held value. But, I’d like to give them the benefit of the doubt. Maybe they thought they could bring him back, they saw the reaction, and realized they couldn’t. So they shopped him and they got back what they could. I’m not going to analyze the players we got back for him, I don’t know enough about any of them to speak intelligently on this subject. Plus this has been analyzed to death by many others.
Baseball is far more about feeling for me than it is a business. So! What I’ve been saying has been kind of difficult for me. But it became obvious that this team was plagued by injury and that there was no way they were going to get back to the post-season. Therefore Ross Atkins and Mark Shapiro really had no choice but to ‘blow up’ the team.
They’ve drafted good players. They’ve traded for good young players with many years of control. The minor league system is pretty strong now, and getting stronger.
We’re going to be ok.
Mark Shapiro and Ross Atkins did that.