8:06am: Dolan will indeed absorb the business duties left behind by Shapiro, tweets MLB.com’s Anthony Castrovince. Most importantly, the Indians have now announced the move, with both Shapiro and Dolan offering statements on the transition. Shapiro will become the new Blue Jays CEO upon conclusion of the 2015 season, he said in his statement.
AUG. 31, 7:15am: The Indians will not receive compensation for Shapiro’s departure, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (Twitter links). The Indians, Rosenthal continues, “follow a different philosophy,” and ownership didn’t wish to stand in the way of Shapiro receiving the role if he indeed wanted to leave.
AUG. 30: The Blue Jays will hire Mark Shapiro as the club’s new president, CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reports. The official announcement could come this week, possibly as early as Monday. Shapiro plans to retain Alex Anthopoulos as the Jays’ general manager, sources tell Heyman.
Shapiro’s name surfaced in connection to the Toronto job last week (via FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal) and the hiring was seen as increasingly likely to happen as the days passed. Since current Jays president Paul Beeston announced he was going to retire after the 2015 season, the Jays have been linked to many experienced baseball names, including Dave Dombrowski, Kenny Williams, Terry Ryan and (in somewhat controversial fashion) Dan Duquette.
It isn’t yet known exactly when Shapiro will take over for Beeston, Heyman notes, as the long-time Blue Jays president may remain in the position until the season is over. It also isn’t clear if Toronto will owe some sort of compensation to the Indians for hiring away their team president, as the details of Shapiro’s contract with the Tribe aren’t known.
Shapiro, 48, has been a member of the Indians front office since 1991, serving as GM for the 2002-2010 seasons and then being promoted to president prior to the 2011 campaign. While Cleveland’s front office dynamic will undoubtedly be changed by losing such a long-time figure, it’s possible Shapiro’s departure may not cause too many ripples within the organization. MLB.com’s Anthony Castrovince guessed that chairman/CEO Paul Dolan may simply become president as well, and manager Terry Francona said he won’t opt out of his contract. Rosenthal speculated that the Tribe could also promote from within, shifting GM Chris Antonetti to president and making well-regarded assistant GM Mike Chernoff the new general manager.
There’s little Shapiro hasn’t seen in his tenure with Cleveland, as the Indians have gone from doormat to contender a few different times and also had similarly large swings in terms of revenue. The Tribe have only had a top-20 payroll once since 2003, so Shapiro will have much more money to work with in his new position, particularly given the Jays’ recent boom in attendance and TV ratings. Shapiro’s role in the recent renovations to Progressive Field has been cited as a key factor in his hiring in Toronto, as ownership has been planning to make significant upgrades (including natural grass) to make Rogers Centre a more baseball-friendly stadium.
It had long been suspected that Anthopoulos was facing a make-or-break season given the incoming president change, though his job security has been solidified thanks to his aggressive moves in the offseason and at the trade deadline, culminating in the Blue Jays’ dominant 21-5 record in August. As Heyman notes, Anthopoulos’ contract is up after the season but was expected to remain with the team if they wanted to keep him.