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Report: LaCava, Atkins Toronto's GM finalists

TORONTO -- Interim Blue Jays general manager Tony LaCava and Indians vice president of player development Ross Atkins are both finalists for Toronto's vacant GM position, according to

The Blue Jays have not confirmed the report, but president Mark Shapiro has been searching for a permanent general manager since Alex Anthopoulos declined to sign a contract extension at the end of the season.

The report added that it wasn't immediately clear whether there are additional finalists for the position. Toronto recently interviewed Royals assistant general manager Rene Francisco, while Dodgers senior vice president Josh Byrnes was another reported candidate.

LaCava and Atkins emerged as the perceived favorites during the early stages of the search, as both have impressive resumes and possess previous ties to Shapiro. When reached for comment by on Sunday night, Atkins respectfully declined to discuss the situation.

The 54-year-old LaCava has spent 13 years in the Blue Jays' organization, and he was the top assistant to Anthopoulos and former GM J.P. Ricciardi. LaCava has interviewed for multiple GM positions over the past several years and recently was a finalist for the Angels' job that went to Billy Eppler.

LaCava, who previously worked for Shapiro as a national crosschecker with Cleveland in 2002, has been in charge of Toronto's offseason. He signed left-hander J.A. Happ to a three-year contract worth $36 million on Friday night, and he recently re-signed Marco Estrada and traded for Jesse Chavez.

Video: Happ, LaCava on left-hander's return to Toronto

Atkins, meanwhile, has spent 15 seasons with the Indians and was promoted to VP of player development by Shapiro last offseason. Prior to that, Atkins was in charge of Cleveland's Minor League system from 2007-14, and he also ran the Indians' Latin American operations from 2004-06. One of Shapiro's stated goals has been improving the Blue Jays' Minor League system for sustained success.

Shapiro doesn't appear to be operating under a hard deadline to find a permanent GM. Major League Baseball's Winter Meetings are set to take place in Nashville from Dec. 7-10, but if a final announcement has not been made by then, the Blue Jays intend to operate business as normal with LaCava working under the interim tag.

Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for Read his blog, North of the Border, follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. AJ Cassavell is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell.
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