Toronto Blue Jays Name Ross Atkins New General Manager, But Mark Shapiro is the Real GM


The Toronto Blue Jays have named Ross Atkins as their new general manager, but let’s face it, Mark Shapiro is the real GM of this team.

Another former Cleveland Indians executive is joining the Toronto Blue Jays. According to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle, the Blue Jays will name former Indians vice president of personnel Ross Atkins as their new general manager.

For most of this week, the general manager search was rumoured to be down to Atkins and now former interim GM Tony Lacava.

Well, it looks like Shapiro decided to hire a familiar face in Atkins instead of removing the interim tag from LaCava. The Blue Jays will keep Lacava in the organization, however, promoting the well-liked and well-respected baseball man to the position of assistant general manager and senior vice president.

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Even if we all know who is actually calling the shots in Toronto, *cough*Shapiro*cough*, this GM search was an opportunity for the Blue Jays to add talent to the organization. Executives don’t usually leave their respective clubs to make a lateral move, which made the Jays vacant GM position a great opportunity for Shapiro to add another piece to his front office.

The decision to bring on Atkins shouldn’t be too much of a surprise, though. Bob Elliott mentioned the possibility in the Toronto Sun back on November 15, and also discussed it on our podcast when we interviewed him.

So who is Ross Atkins then?

Well, for starters, he pitched in the Indians minor league system from 1995 to 1999, then worked with the team’s pitching prospects in the Florida Instructional League. After that he moved to assistant farm director in 2001, then to Director of Latin American Operations from 2004 to 2006. His final job in Cleveland would be running the team’s farm system, which he did from 2007 to 2014.

Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith also provided some background details about Atkins, tweeting a picture of his bio straight from Cleveland’s media guide:

With Ismael Cruz’s departure last month, perhaps Atkins time as Director of Latin American Operations will help the Blue Jays. Of course, LaCava will continue to play an integral role in that aspect of the organization, but Atkins experience in latin America certainly doesn’t hurt.

Ultimately, though, Atkins is just another hand-picked GM who will likely have an input on baseball operations, but still cede most of his power to the Blue Jays true GM, Mark Shapiro.

Yes, Shapiro is the president and not GM, but let’s be real here. Do you really think the Blue Jays would have made a trade and handed out over $60 million in contracts this offseason if they needed a GM to set a vision for them?

Not a chance.

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But that notion needs little thought because it’s apparent who is running the show in Toronto. It wasn’t Tony LaCava, and nor will it be Ross Atkins. No, it will continue to be Mark Shapiro.