Alex Anthopoulos is Leaving Toronto Blue Jays. What’s Next?


Alex Anthopoulos is leaving the Toronto Blue Jays.

Does that line give you the chills? I double checked the calendar and it is not April Fools. After winning the AL East Division title and losing in a hard-fought American League Championship Series, Toronto Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos rejected a contract extension to stay in Toronto, according to Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi.

This news is shocking for Jays fans. Worse yet, the decision was reportedly not based on money or term and was not in favour of working for another organization.

If this tweet byRickWestheadisaccurate, I would brace myself if I were Mark Shapiro.

The 2015 season was the most successful year for the Blue Jays in 22 years. Alex Anthopoulos built a team that sold out the Rogers Centre for 20 of the last 21 home games. Attendance was at its highest since 1995. He built an offence that scored 127 more runs than the next closest team.

Oct 14, 2015; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Blue Jays right fielder

Jose Bautista

(19) celebrates with third baseman

Josh Donaldson

(20) after hitting a home run during the seventh inning against the Texas Rangers in game five of the ALDS at Rogers Centre. Mandatory Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

The pitching staff that he put together was one of the most consistent and productive among the entire MLB during the second half. He pulled together a bullpen that could compete and that was no longer a glaring weakness that the opposition could pick apart. Anthopoulos traded for the (projected) American League MVP in a move that shocked the baseball world. In arguably the wildest four days for one team in trade deadline history, he somehow added a lead off man, two some bullpen depth, a marquee player at shortstop, and one of the best pitchers in the world.  That is why it is a big deal that Mark Shapiro was unable to get Alex Anthopoulos to sign on the dotted line.

Sep 21, 2015; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher

David Price

(14) gets ready to throw a pitch seventh inning in a game against the New York Yankees at Rogers Centre. The Toronto Blue Jays won 4-2. Mandatory Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

I am curious to see how the Blue Jays players react to this news. I doubt it will impact the way David Price determines his future. But the guys who have been around for a while and have gone through the ups and downs with Alex are likely not thrilled with how things went down here.

Dioner Navarro, who is now a free agent, warmed up to Anthopoulos after being unhappy with the signing of Russell Martin in the offseason. Double A believed in Marco Estrada and gave him a chance. Will he still re-sign with the Jays? Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion are going to be free agents after the 2016 season and if anyone could convince them to stay, one would think that Anthopoulos would have been the guy. He has been on this journey with them for a long time.

May 14, 2015; Houston, TX, USA; Toronto Blue Jays designated hitter Jose Bautista (19) celebrates with first baseman

Edwin Encarnacion

(10) after hitting a home run during the first inning against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

I have a ton of respect for Anthopoulos as a guy who is not afraid to pull the trigger and take risks on a big move. His eye for young pitching is spectacular. He wears his heart on his sleeve and based on his interviews and reaction throughout the playoffs seems like the ultimate players GM and team guy.

It will be interesting to see if Mark Shapiro takes over the GM duties, or maybe he had his eye on someone else the entire time. Many questions remain, including the future of manager John Gibbons. The bottom line is, Mark Shapiro was unable to hang on to the potential Executive of the Year, who is being thanked by an entire country for turning this franchise into a legitimate World Series contender.

Maybe we will let it go if he can figure out a way to lure in David Price. But for now, this is just some added salt to the wounds of Blue Jays’ fans who are still picking up the pieces of their broken hearts from the unfortunately result of the ALCS. What kind of team cleans house after making the playoffs for the first time in more than two decades?

 If you were in an elevator with Mark Shapiro, what would you say to him? Let us know in the comments section below.  

Next: Why the Blue Jays Should Bring Back R.A. Dickey

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