Anthopoulos' future with Blue Jays uncertain
GM's contract set to expire, but he says 'those are private conversations'
TORONTO -- The Blue Jays are coming off their first postseason appearance in 22 years, but the man who put it all together is not yet prepared to discuss whether he'll be back for an encore performance.
Toronto general manager Alex Anthopoulos met with the media on Monday morning like he does at the end of every season. It's usually a time for the Blue Jays to address goals and priorities for the offseason, but this year all anybody wanted to talk about was Anthopoulos' pending free agency.
Anthopoulos' contract is set to expire at the end of the month. Before players can be added, before the pitching staff can be upgraded, Anthopoulos' situation needs to be resolved. He understands that, but he felt Monday's availability at Rogers Centre was neither the time nor the place to talk about it.
"I know this is going to come up today," Anthopoulos said in his opening remarks. "We're here to talk about the year we just had. We're here to talk about 2016 going forward. I know I'm going to get asked about my status. One thing I need to make clear at the top: This isn't the day to discuss that.
"I can say that it has been my decision to not have any discussions with respect to that because of the postseason and out of respect of what we were trying to do. I can't speak highly enough of Mark Shapiro, Rogers Communications. They've given me that respect, and they've given me that time. That will be addressed at the appropriate time."
Anthopoulos' situation is at least somewhat clouded because of what's happening above him. President Paul Beeston, the man who took a chance on Anthopoulos back in 2009, is set to officially retire on Oct. 31. His replacement, former Indians executive Mark Shapiro, will take over the following day.
Shapiro was hired in August, but to date he has remained behind the scenes. His mysterious presence was by design because neither the club nor Shapiro wanted any outside distractions while the Blue Jays were in the midst of a run to the postseason. That run ended Friday night with a loss to Kansas City in Game 6 of the American League Championship Series, and now uncertainty about the future begins.
Anthopoulos admitted that he's talked to Shapiro but declined to get into specifics about what those conversations entailed. Even though his contract expires in less than a week, Anthopoulos claimed it was business as normal. He's talking to agents, GMs from other teams and holding his regular year-end meetings.
"We continue to do the job the way I always have," Anthopoulos said. "We continue to plan the way I always have. I've had meetings, I've started to go through free agency, trades, that continues at all times. I certainly have some ideas about 2016."
Shapiro and Anthopoulos do not have a pre-existing relationship, but the logical assumption for the past couple of months is that they would try to find a way to make this partnership work. There hasn't been a lot of time to talk specifics, but those negotiations will take place in the coming days.
Anthopoulos appears to be the one with all of the leverage. He was responsible for putting together a team that took the league by storm and brought meaningful baseball games back to Toronto for the first time in more than two decades.
Last winter he acquired Josh Donaldson, Russell Martin and Marco Estrada. During the summer, he pulled off one of the most remarkable Trade Deadlines in league history as David Price, Troy Tulowitzki, Mark Lowe and Ben Revere all went north of the border.
The final results can't be criticized, but whether Anthopoulos sticks around for another chance remains to be seen.
"I just wouldn't want to get into any of that stuff," Anthopoulos said when asked what he was looking for in a new contract. "I think those are private conversations. I can say this: I love being here, I love Toronto, I've always maintained that. That's probably as far as I would go with that."