The General Managers meetings provide a great opportunity to check in with executives from across the game. A pair of hour-long media sessions are held, with the majority of the GMs, and/or Presidents of Baseball Operations, making appearances at both. I spoke to a large number of them, with the goal of addressing a cross section of subjects.
Here are snapshots from six of those conversations, with more to come in the ensuing days.
The Toronto Blue Jays are coming off a 67-95 season, but their fans have a lot of reasons to be excited. Some of those reasons have names. Vladimir Guerrero Jr, Bo Bichette, Cavan Biggio, and Nate Pearson are the sort of building-blocks that can one day deliver postseason glory. Heading into 2019, the Jays’ farm system ranked amongst the best in the game.
Of course, there is no guarantee that the cadre of young talent will meet its lofty expectations. And even if it does, contention in the AL East is likely a few years down the road. While 2020 should be a step in the right direction, it’s hard to envision Canada’s team leap-frogging New York, Tampa Bay, and Boston.
Tempered expectations are one thing, Rogers Centre attendance having fallen by an average of 7,063 fans per game in 2019 is another. Ross Atkins recognizes the conundrum.
“The hardest thing to do in this job is to be patient,” said the Blue Jays’ VP of Baseball Operations. “Our fans are extremely important to us, and it’s not as though [GMs] don’t feel the same things. It’s very tough on us, physically and emotionally, to not be winning.”
A Hall of Fame executive who helped lead Toronto to a pair of World Series titles is a role model for the 46-year-old former minor-league pitcher. Read the rest of this entry »