Indians VP of player personnel Ross Atkins and Blue Jays interim general manager Tony LaCava are finalists for Toronto’s GM vacancy, sources familiar with the situation tell Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. There could potentially be one or more unknown candidates also in the finalist stage of the Jays’ search, though Heyman’s sources would “be surprised if anyone besides Atkins or LaCava” gets the job. Team president/CEO Mark Shapiro reportedly hopes to have someone hired prior to next week’s Winter Meetings.
Both Atkins and LaCava have ties to Shapiro from his long stint in Cleveland. Atkins has spent the last 15 years working for the Tribe’s front office while LaCava briefly worked as a cross-checker for the Indians in 2002 before moving on to the Blue Jays. As Heyman notes, it has been assumed that Shapiro will have the final say on baseball operations matters.
LaCava’s long tenure with Toronto (including a role as assistant GM since 2007) made him the logical choice to slide into the interim role after Alex Anthopoulos surprisingly declined to re-sign with the team. He’s already been busy in his short stint, as the Jays have re-signed Marco Estrada, signed J.A. Happ and traded for Jesse Chavez in an effort to bolster their starting rotation. Whether LaCava gets the full-time job or not, he’ll be remaining with the team in some capacity as he signed a long-term extension a few weeks ago.
Both LaCava and Atkins would be first-time general managers, though each has been linked to GM openings in the past — in fact, both interviewed for the Angels job this winter before Billy Eppler was hired for the job. Atkins also interviewed with the Phillies about their GM position in mid-October. LaCava interviewed with the Pirates and Orioles prior to those club’s respective hirings of Neal Huntington and Dan Duquette, and LaCava reportedly turned down Baltimore’s offer to remain in Toronto.
MLBTR’s Mark Polishuk also contributed to this post