Could one playoff appearance followed by a pair disappointing seasons be the only chapters written in Mark Shapiro’s Blue Jays story?
It appears that could very well be the case, as amid escalating tensions between the team’s president and a growing number of fans—along with a rumoured riff between the former and Rogers Communications—it’s being reported that the 51-year-old could be a top candidate for an executive job with the New York Mets.
Shapiro, who took over as Toronto’s president at the end of the 2015 campaign, was apparently listed by several front office people around baseball as having a shot at landing the same position with the Mets as soon as next season.
From Joel Sherman of the New York Post on Tuesday:
What makes this juicy little report all the more succulent is that fellow non fan-favourite front office dude, general manager Ross Atkins, was not mentioned to be linked with a potentially departing Shapiro if he does head to the Big Apple. Blue Jays current vice president, Ben Cherington—who has an extensive MLB front-office background—was instead the one named to be joining Shapiro in at least one scenario.
Atkins, meanwhile, has worked under Shapiro since 2001 when he was hired by the then-Indians GM as an assistant director of player development. The 45-year old worked his way up Cleveland’s player development department before being one of Shapiro’s first hires when he was granted the Blue Jays general manager job in December of 2015.
As far as what appears to be, at least from the outside, a declining relationship between the owners of the team, Rogers Communications, and Shapiro, Blue Jays chairman Edward Rogers tweeted a predictably diplomatic response after Sportsnet radio host Bob McCown suggested last month that the speculated tension between the two parties does indeed exist in some form or another.
Very confident with the leadership and vision for the future of the Toronto Blue Jays under Mark Shapiro @MarkShapiro, President and CEO of the Blue Jays.
— Edward Rogers (@EdwardSRogers) August 10, 2018
Another potential sticking point is Shapiro’s contract, which has him set to make $8 million and remain under Blue Jays control for two more seasons. But, as Sherman added, “Shapiro has two years remaining on a contract that pays him about $4 million annually, and multiple executives said they believe enough tension exists between Shapiro and his bosses that he could want to find the exit.”
Therefore, some type of buyout or deal with Toronto would have to be worked out before Shapiro could consider taking a position with the Mets or any other franchise.
New York’s former GM, Sandy Alderson, took a leave of absence in June for health reasons after he learned the Cancer he was diagnosed with in 2015 returned. He himself admitted it may be a permanent departure, though, due to the poor performance of the team over the past couple seasons.
The Mets are hoping to name a permanent replacement and president sometime this fall, and said that as of Tuesday they have not asked for or been granted permission to speak with any of the the rumoured candidates, according to Sherman.