5:20pm: The Blue Jays have officially announced the hiring via press release, adding that LaCava will remain with the organization and be promoted to senior vice president of baseball operations. Atkins will be introduced at a press conference tomorrow at 11am ET.
3:20pm: The Blue Jays will hire Indians vice president of player personnel Ross Atkins as their new general manager, reports Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle (via Twitter), citing a “well-placed source.” The connection between Atkins and the Blue Jays has been made in the past and is a logical one, as Toronto president/CEO Mark Shapiro was recently hired away from the Indians, where he served as GM from 2001-10 and president from 2010-15. Bob Elliott of the Toronto Sun reported recently that Atkins was curiously absent from the Indians’ organizational meetings, leading him to speculate that it could be due to the likelihood of him leaving to become the next Jays GM.
The hire means that longtime Blue Jays assistant GM Tony LaCava, who has been operating as the club’s interim general manager, will relinquish his GM duties and, presumably, return to his old role. The Blue Jays recently inked LaCava to a contract extension that would keep him in the organization regardless of whether or not he was named the club’s permanent general manager.
Atkins, 42, has spent the past 15 years with the Indians occupying a variety of roles in the organization, including vice president of player development, director of player development, director of Latin American operations and assistant director of player development. The Wake Forest grad played college ball for four years before being selected by Cleveland in the 38th round of the 1995 draft and embarking on a five-year minor league career.
Per Cleveland’s media guide, Atkins’ most recent responsibilities with the Indians included overseeing the entirety of the team’s player development operations, facilitating collaboration between the player development and scouting departments and advising president of baseball operations Chris Antonetti in player evaluation and staffing decisions.