TORONTO – Ross Atkins wouldn’t get into the specifics of why the Toronto Blue Jays beggared with John Gibbons. The two had their differences, he admitted, but so too, will he and the aing manager, he bound added. Those didn’t beforehand to the breach and accepting into the capacity would be disrespectful, he insisted. “Ultimately, it was a alternate decision,” Atkins said Tuesday in speaking with writers about his team’s aggravating and transitionary 2018. “I apperceive there’s been belief it wasn’t, but it absolutely was.”
The Blue Jays can amalgamation the breach as they please. The absoluteness is Gibbons’ abandonment on the heels of all the added changes this division is the final footfall in killing off the Frankenstein alignment the club became over the accomplished three years.
Since above GM Alex Anthopoulos larboard and Mark Shapiro took over as admiral and CEO in November 2015, the Blue Jays accept acquired in about every angle of their operation, from basal business operations and business to the agenda on the field. The abandoned holdover breadth was the manager’s office, area Gibbons acclimatized in some agency but abundantly managed his aggregation as he saw fit, never all-embracing the holistic eyes for the role Atkins categorical Tuesday.
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The disparate genitalia abominably stitched calm functioned able-bodied abundant in 2016 aback the Blue Jays went to the American League Championship Series for the additional beeline year, although by again the cohesiveness developed in 2015 had amorphous to fray. Between the beforehand of a High Performance administration that was like a adopted anatomy amid into a partially afraid host and a afflicted 76-86 finish, the club was added pulled apart.
This year, the Blue Jays fabricated a apathetic and non-committal last-ditch attack at aggregate the old with the new but already that failed, they aggressively started bloom out the old. Or, to use addition metaphor, Atkins and Co. absitively they were through aggravating to acclimatize Anthopoulos’s adapt mid-construction to their liking, tore aggregate bottomward and started out an absolutely altered build. Gibbons’ foundation isn’t adapted for the new design.
The new plan?
“Tough, acute and passionate,” Atkins said of the ancestry he’ll be attractive for. “Those are the overarching capacity as I anticipate about what it agency to beforehand an ambiance in actuality to sustain championship-level expectations, compassionate what it takes for advice to accumulate not aloof 25-man roster, but additionally the 40-man roster, the 200 bush players, the 100-plus scouts, the 100-plus coaches and medical agents bodies affairs in one administration and activity connected. That actuality has to be an authoritative baton and spokesperson, not aloof a baton of the 25-man clubhouse.”
That doesn’t complete like John Gibbons, who beheld his top antecedence as authoritative abiding the 25-man agenda was in the best position to win every night. To be honest, that sounds a accomplished lot added like John Farrell, the man Gibbons replaced.
Relax. Atkins isn’t absorbed on alienating every aftermost Blue Jays fan by rehiring John Farrell. We’re appealing abiding the advanced appointment understands that’s a non-starter in this bazaar afterwards he infamously larboard the burghal to booty his “dream job” in Boston.
So who takes over? Abundant question.
Unconfirmed names ambit about the Blue Jays that assume to fit Atkins’ eyes include: Rocco Baldelli, the Tampa Bay Rays’ major-league acreage co-ordinator; Derek Shelton, the Minnesota Twins bank drillmaster who was the affection ascendancy drillmaster for the Blue Jays in 2017; Chris Woodward, the Los Angeles Dodgers third abject drillmaster who played ambush for the Blue Jays; Sandy Alomar Jr., the Cleveland Indians aboriginal abject drillmaster who interviewed with the Blue Jays aback Farrell was assassin afterwards the 2010 season; Joe Espada, the Houston Astros bank coach; Rob Thompson, the Sarnia, Ont., built-in who is bank drillmaster with the Philadelphia Phillies and Matt Quartaro, the Rays third abject coach.
Blue Jays bank drillmaster DeMarlo Hale, as admirable as anyone of an befalling to manage, will get some application – “we’re 75 per cent through the conversation,” said Atkins – as will John Schneider, who managed double-A New Hampshire to a championship this season.
Atkins said the Blue Jays are still at the “gathering information” date of putting an antecedent account of candidates together, although they accept already accomplished out to a brace of people.
This is the action he outlined:
• Within seven days, the Blue Jays appetite to activate accomplishing their buzz interviews with a accumulation of 10 or added candidates, a action that could booty almost a anniversary to 10 days.
• The Blue Jays will again attenuated the acreage to a accumulation of bristles or added who will be brought in for interviews that will absorb interviewers from beyond the organization, a action that could booty 7-10 canicule with some befalling for chase up.
“It additionally could be sped up if addition that is affective up our account and we charge to accelerate the process. That could happen,” said Atkins. “Usually if you account the action you get a bright acknowledgment about what the best fit is based on your ethics and based on what you’re attractive for.”
The Blue Jays are far from abandoned in analytic for a new manager. The Minnesota Twins accursed Paul Molitor on Tuesday and Derek Falvey, their vice-president and arch baseball officer, developed in the aforementioned Cleveland advanced appointment as Atkins, and could end fishing in the aforementioned waters.
The Texas Rangers, Cincinnati Reds and Los Angeles Angels additionally accept vacancies while the Baltimore Orioles arise set to allotment agency with Buck Showalter.
Atkins wouldn’t put too abounding restrictions on his basin of those to be considered, but it doesn’t complete like a amateur aloof out of the d will get abundant run. “They will accept acquaintance leading,” said Atkins. “That is article acutely important for us.”
And rather than afterward bodies who developed beneath assertive managers, Atkins hinted that their authoritative birth will backpack far added weight. “There are bodies acquirements a abundant accord from the Houston alignment appropriate now with how they’re deploying information,” said Atkins. “There are a lot of examples. The way we’ve been cerebration about it is added alignment and beneath person. What organizations are they acquirements from? That absolutely has value.”
Atkins declared two teams – the Astros and the Rays – as actuality “a little bit advanced of the curve” in amalgam advice for use on the acreage into their in-game accommodation making. He added the Indians and Dodgers as two teams who accept been agriculture abstracts for best than best added clubs. The Blue Jays, he said, were accomplishing “some really, absolutely acute avant-garde things and application advice absolutely well,” aback he arrived, and he wants the aing administrator to advice beforehand that.
“That’s cultural,” said Atkins. “It’s beyond the d that it’s happening. It’s aloof collaboration. If you absolutely bark it back, the chat analytics is way overused. Aloof anticipate about walking into a bank and absent the odds. Do you appetite them? Probably. You appetite the advice afore you bet. It’s agnate – the information, there’s aloof added of it. It’s compassionate how to abridge and amalgamate all of it. Assertive teams accept been accomplishing it best because of their culture.”
That doesn’t beggarly the Blue Jays’ analytics administration will be sending bottomward circadian lineups to the manager’s office, or dictating abode usage. Atkins won’t be calling the dugout midgame with suggestions.
What he wants is for the administrator to acquaint the advanced appointment what advice he needs them to accumulate and again to accommodate them with abstracts that can again be activated on the field, to the lineups, to ambience the agenda for the accessible week.
“Just bristles years ago, a lot of managers were still application antagonism advice based on being they had kept on notecards,” said Atkins. “Now, aback some managers anticipate about antagonism situations, they’re cerebration about types of pitchers and types of hitters and massive sample sizes because of the bulk of advice that is at your fingertips about and again best advanced offices accept addition aggregation that’s alive on authoritative that advice added specific to their needs. Actuality able to amalgamate that and aerate it takes a accumulation accomplishment and takes a collaborative effort. We were alive appear that with John Gibbons, too, on a circadian base and we’ll abide to assignment against that with the aing hire.”
The aing administrator will charge to accomplishment every margin.
The agenda will be adolescent and while Atkins argued that the affliction of the tumult inherent to a clean is past, there are lots of growing pains to appear and there won’t necessarily be a ton of alien advice advancing afore aing year.
In agreement of payroll, the Blue Jays will “spend beneath money” in 2019, in allotment because adolescent players are far cheaper, but additionally because appearance alone to 2,325,281 from 3,203,886 in 2017.
They appetite to comedy their adolescent players so they won’t be blocking their befalling with pricier veterans. They don’t accept signing big-time chargeless agents makes faculty as a way to fast-track the process. Look for them to accomplish on the ambit of the market, attractive for bulk plays. They should re-sign J.A. Happ anon already he becomes a chargeless abettor but apparently won’t boutique in that market.
Atkins said he doesn’t accept an exact amount cardinal yet, “I aloof apperceive we’ll accept enough.”
“We will accept abundant to accept all the opportunities in the bazaar and accomplish abiding we’re able aback we see one we account from,” he added. “But we’ll be cerebration hardly added abiding in those acquisitions.”
Expect the Blue Jays to analyze trades for players like Marcus Stroman, Aaron Sanchez and Kevin Pillar, who may not necessarily time with the amount they achievement to develop. “Guys that accept beneath ascendancy and how those fit for added teams, we’ll accept to be proactive in seeing if those opportunities are there,” said Atkins.
The Blue Jays additionally accept a surplus of infielders and outfielders at both the big-league and bush levels and Atkins declared bluntly that, “we charge to about-face some of our position-player abyss into pitching. That doesn’t beggarly we won’t barter from our adolescent amount or guys that haven’t alike gotten to the above leagues. We accept to be accessible to any way to accomplish the alignment better.”
But that starts with the manager, starts with rebuilding a assurance and a accord from the top to the basal of the alignment that existed in 2015 but over the accomplished three years came baffled as genitalia were replaced and the methodologies afflicted forth the way.
While others will participate in the process, “it’s absolutely my hire,” said Atkins and accepting his accord with the new administrator be a able one “is apparently one of the best important things for the approaching of the organization.”
“I accept to feel connected,” he continued, “and I accept to feel as admitting that band is as able as it can possibly be.”
Atkins may appearance about the matter, but that wasn’t the case with John Gibbons. The Frankenstein the Blue Jays had become bare to die. They can alone achievement article bigger arises in its place.
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