The Blue Jays’ new front office leadership — president Mark Shapiro and interim GM Tony LaCava — held a press conference today in which they addressed a variety of important topics. Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca reported on all the key aspects of the discussion. Among the most notable bits:
- Toronto will bring back manager John Gibbons. He was under contract for another year already, as his deal includes a clause that guarantees an added season if he’s not let go within the prior calendar year. It’s designed to prevent him from ever entering a season as a lame duck manager, and the Jays will apparently allow that provision to go into effect this season.
- While LaCava will take the reins of the baseball operations department for the time being, Shapiro said that he intends to conduct a full search for a new general manager. It’s not yet clear whether LaCava will be a candidate and what kind of timeline the club expects. Looking ahead, Shapiro indicated that he will operate at a high-level in collaboration with his general manager, but gave Nicholson-Smith the impression that he is and will continue to be well-versed in all of the organization’s baseball assets and decisions.
- Shapiro clearly rejected idea that he’d criticized Alex Anthopoulos for his deadline dealing in an internal meeting, as had been reported. He told the press that the summer moves were “great trades,” even if they required the organization to part with good young talent.
- The Jays payroll will give the team what it needs to continue in contention, Shapiro said, though he did not give details on the club’s actual spending appetite for the coming year. He did note that he’s not unaware that he’ll be working with more flexibility than he had with the Indians. As he put it, “if you have a larger payroll you have a greater tolerance for risk.” In that regard, Toronto will no longer abide by any strict rules against issuing contracts of more than five years in duration. “I don’t believe in absolutes,” Shapiro explained.