The Toronto Blue Jays are set to name Tony LaCava as the club’s general manager on an interim basis, according to reports from Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi and Jeff Blair on Monday.
LaCava previously served as the vice president of baseball operations and assistant GM of the Blue Jays after joining the club back in October of 2002 where he assisted to GM J.P. Ricciardi, after having spent the 2002 season with the Cleveland Indians as a national crosschecker.
Mark Shapiro was the GM of the Indians at the time of which LaCava took on that very role to help find those talents that could one day be contributors to the team.
The news comes less than a week after the club parted ways with Alex Anthopoulos, who rejected a five-year contract extension offer with just days left until his current contract was set to expire.
The Blue Jays named LaCava as the assistant GM in 2007, two years before Anthopoulos was brought in to take over for Ricciardi in the role of GM. Anthopoulos left the Blue Jays by choice last Thursday as he felt the fit did not feel right.
As mentioned by Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet, Anthopoulos, 38, had been named the Sporting News Executive of the Year on the same day of which he decided to step away. It is said that among the first orders of business for LaCava will be deciding whether to exercise R.A. Dickey's 2016 option and whether to make Marco Estrada a qualifying offer.
A press conference was held in Toronto earlier this afternoon to officially announce the hiring of Mark Shapiro as new president of the club, who took the time to release the news regarding LaCava’s new position. Shapiro was introduced to the local media for the first time as he is set to succeed Paul Beeston, who was appointed to the club on October 27th, 2009, almost immediately following Anthopoulos’ arrival to the city.
As for the presence of the coaching staff, Shapiro said all staff members have been invited back. This said, John Gibbons will return as the team’s manager in 2016 after Shapiro had a conversation with him recently. Shapiro also said that they will start reaching out to players and picking up options within the next couple of days.
As the Anthopoulos talk goes on, it is said that there is no truth to the report that Anthopoulos was scolded over the trade that brought David Price to the Blue Jays. Prior to the transaction, he spoke with the team about potential risks and rewards of doing so.
As of now, Shapiro has had no contact with David Price or other free agents regarding contracts bringing them over for the upcoming 2016 season.
As the hunt for a permanent GM begins with the offseason just beginning, Shapiro said he wants a GM who is a leader, decision-maker, communicator, empowering and hires the right people. Shapiro is not going to be involved in the smaller decisions being made, however, he hopes that he can be used as a resource.
As for the position in which the club holds at this moment in time, Shapiro said he feels comfortable in LaCava guiding the team’s baseball operations staff to help construct a stable off-season plan, though he's unsure whether LaCava is a candidate for the full-time job.