Toronto Blue Jays: What We Learned from Mark Shapiro’s Press Conference


Toronto Blue Jays president and CEO Mark Shapiro was introduced on Monday afternoon, and while he didn’t say too much about what happened with AA, he did open up about a few other things.

After several days without hearing from the Toronto Blue Jays from office following Alex Anthopoulos’ unexpected departure, Jays’ fans were left to wonder what’s next. Some clarity was provided on Monday when Mark Shapiro officially introduced himself as the new president and CEO of the Toronto Blue Jays.

While he spent most of his time answering questions about Alex Anthopoulos, although he didn’t necessary reveal much, he also provided insight into his philosophies and possible direction the team will be heading in under his leadership.

Here are four takeaways from Shapiro’s presser:

John Gibbons Will Be Back

The Toronto Blue Jays will not have a new manager next season, according to Shapiro. Even though Gibbons and AA were closely connected, barring any sudden change, Gibby will be back next season.

So, for now, fans can put an end to the Terry Francona to Toronto thought process. Yes, Francona does have an opt-out clause, but it sounds like Shapiro wants to give Gibby a chance to manage the Blue Jays.

The “Five-Year Policy” is Done

A long-standing rule instilled by Paul Beeston was the Blue Jays infamous “five-year policy”. Well, with Shapiro now running the organization, it sounds like the “five-year policy” has been abolished.

Of course, this doesn’t mean Shapiro is going to sign David Price to a seven-year contract, but it does show that the organization is willing to evolve and potentially sign players like David Price, or possibly Josh Donaldson, to long-term deals.

The Farm System Will be a Point of Emphasis

Shapiro was very candid when speaking about the Blue Jays farm system. While he did call it a “good farm system”, he did also say that it could use more “upper level talent”.

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It sounds like Shapiro wants to add more depth to the farm system, which is understandable, but not at the expense of trading away major league level players.

To his credit, Shapiro has done very well when trading for minor league depth, as he has acquired players such as Corey Kluber, Michael Brantley, Carlos Santana, Carlos Carrasco, Brandon Phillips, Grady Sizemore and Cliff Lee, through depth trades.

Given Shapiro’s eye for talent, the Blue Jays should be in good hands when it comes to adding depth to their farm system.

Shapiro Wants to Win-Now, But Also Wants Stability Long-Term

With a roster riddled with talent, it’s no surprise that Shapiro said he wants to win now. He does sound like a long-term guy, however, which likely means taking an “all-in approach” like we saw this past season probably won’t happen again.

Nov 2, 2015; Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Toronto Blue Jays new president Mark Shapiro speaks to the media during an introductory conference at Rogers Centre. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

For me, Shapiro sounds like he wants three things: continuity, prospect depth and a competitive roster.

Right now he has the competitive roster, but not the continuity and prospect depth. Both continuity and prospect depth take time to build up, so I understand why Shapiro mentioned a long-term strategy on Monday.

Let’s face it, whether we want to admit it or not, winning a World Series not only takes a talented roster, it takes some luck and good fortune. There’s no question this roster can compete for a World Series, but like it did for the Royals, it will take more than just talent to win it all.

While fans can criticize Shapiro for his long-term outlook, it does make sense. Besides, having assets such as continuity and prospect depth allows a team to aggressively improve their roster at anytime, which is exactly what the Royals did this season.

With a roster loaded with talent, hopefully the Blue Jays can build upon last season and not only return to the playoffs, but bring a World Series to Toronto.