I’m not sure if there has been an exceptional amount of movement in other front offices this year, or if we are particularly sensitive due to the Cubs’ collection of potentially attractive targets (Jason McLeod, Shiraz Rehman, etc.). Either way, high profile spots keep opening up and high profile executives continue to be on the move. The most recent movement, however, may have actually shored up some vacancies, making it a bit more likely the Cubs’ top executive talent remains with the team (at least) a little while longer.
The movement I’m referring to, of course, is Cleveland Indians President Mark Shapiro leaving to become the new president of the Toronto Blue Jays, after current president, Paul Beeston, announced his plans to retire after this season.
Jon Heyman first reported that long time Indians executive Mark Shapiro (GM 2002-2010, President 2011-2015), will be the next Blue Jays’ president, likely taking over after the conclusion of the 2015 season. More importantly, the report indicated that current Blue Jays GM, Alex Anthopoulos, prefers (and is expected) to remain in his role. Despite the lateral move, the Indians are not expected to receive compensations for Shapiro’s departure – per Ken Rosental – because ownership did not want to stand in his way, if he wished to move on. (If you recall, the Cubs had to provide compensation to the Boston Red Sox for Theo Epstein, even though his hiring was actually a promotion from General Manager to President of Baseball Operations).
Normally, Shapiro’s exit would result in an extremely attractive, high profile vacancy in Cleveland (President of Baseball Operations is a significant step up from GM for teams that have that role/hierarchy), though that doesn’t seem to be the case, here. In a statement from Indians Owner Paul Dolan, the team does not plan on “seeking an external replacement for Mark,” as they will “continue to rely on the existing strong leadership group,” to lead them going forward. If there is indeed an internal promotion, I do not think that any of the downstream vacancies will be strong enough to lure any of the big names away from the Cubs.
Although it was unlikely that any of the Cubs’ executives were going to be headed to Toronto (or Cleveland, for that matter), this is your reminder that there are openings and the Cubs have the type of talent that will be targeted for these roles. So, it’s important to pay attention when this kind of movement occurs between teams, even when it’s the Cubs picking up more talent, because it may be a precursor to other moves down the line. And, not for nothing, I sincerely doubt this front office would stand in the way of any of their executives moving onwards/upwards, even if it would badly hurt to lose them. For now, it would appear that the band is staying together, hopefully long enough to accomplish what they came here to do.