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Alex Anthopoulos Hints at the Reasons For His Exit as Blue Jays GM

Why did he walk away from his “dream job”? That’s the great mystery surrounding the sudden exit by Alex Anthopoulos.

By all accounts, Anthopoulos and the Blue Jays have already moved on, although Buster Olney suggested they should reconsider. There’s almost no chance of that happening, but we’re beginning to learn what motivated Alex to step down.

AA has always made it quite clear it’s never been about term or money (with several reports of there being a significant contract on the table for Alex). So if it wasn’t about the tangible aspects of the job, it had to be about the intangibles.



Alex Anthopoulos spoke to MLB Network Radio over the weekend about what he’s looking for in his next job in baseball. In doing so, Anthopoulos may have shed some light into the reasons why he left his post as General Manager of the Toronto Blue Jays.

“For myself, my next expedition in baseball, my number one priority will be who can I learn from. Where could I go and just be exposed to some things that I haven’t and just improve and come out a lot better whether it’s two years or three years from now.

Two, key people you want to work with that you respect that you get along with certainly would be important.

The third part, role and things like that, I wouldn’t really concern myself with that. Dollars, role; that would really be last on the list.

It would just be where can I get better, where can I learn, where can I have some fun … and the rest will just take care of itself.”

Does that mean Alex didn’t think he could get better, learn and have fun in Toronto? Because that’s the impression I got from this interview.

Throughout this entire process, Alex Anthopoulos has been adamant this decision was all his own and he hasn’t thrown anybody under the bus (Mark Shapiro, ownership, Rogers), but I honestly feel like it came down to a clash with Mark Shapiro.

Judging by the comments he made in his interview with MLB Network, it indicated Alex felt he couldn’t really improve or learn anything under the guidance of the new president, Mark Shapiro.

If that’s the case, Alex kind of has a point; Mark Shapiro didn’t exactly instill a winning philosophy during his days with the Cleveland Indians. Sure, they fielded some competitive teams, but the Indians have lacked a crowning achievement in recent years.

Shapiro was certainly much more focused and placed a great deal of energy and resources on the business side of the Cleveland Indians; a philosophy that seems counterintuitive to what the Blue Jays should be focusing on right now.

That’s also the second time during an interview in which Alex Anthopoulos has stressed the importance of working with people you respect and care about.

There’s one final explanation as to why Alex Anthopoulos walked away, and it’s actually pretty simple and easy to overlook; but maybe he was simply burnt out and wanted to take a break from baseball.

With all that happened to the Toronto Blue Jays dating back to last offseason, Alex Anthopoulos was relentless in improving this team and ensuring they could go as far as they possibly could in 2015.



There must’ve been a lot of added stress which came with building a contending team; could that have been enough to make Anthopoulos reevaluate whether the stress was all worth it?

Thanks to @robducey for tipping me off to this interview Alex Anthopoulos did with TSN Montreal 960 in which he mentioned family as being a motivator for his decision.

“It’s really important to me to be a good dad. I have a five-year old and a three-year old and I think about not being around as much and how’s that going to impact them when they’re 18 and 20. That’s going to weigh into my decision a little bit on what I do next.

I’m kind of excited to take a step back, maybe live a bit more of a normal life.”

In one of the interviews Tony LaCava did last week, I remember LaCava saying he “knew Alex was happy with his decision”. For Tony LaCava to be so certain about the reason for Alex Anthopoulos’ exit, it make me wonder if this was something the two of them knew about for a long time.

I myself waver back and forth about the Alex Anthopoulos exit on a weekly basis. It’s something that will be continually theorized about until he lands another job in an MLB front office or finally reveals all in a tell-all book with Stephen Brunt.

Until then, we’ll continue to wonder why the Boy Wonder walked away from his dream job.

Ian has been writing about the Toronto Blue Jays since 2007. He enjoyed the tail-end of the Roy Halladay era and vividly remembers the Alex Rodriguez “mine” incident. He’ll also retell the story of Game 5 of the ALDS to his kids for the next 20 years.

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11 Comments

  1. Anonymous

    November 9, 2015 - 2:26 pm

    Whether he says it or not – I think AA was disappointed how Rogers handled the Beeston affair last off-season. He knows that Rogers would have not offered him an extension if the Jays didnt make the post-season. His decision to leave was already made long ago and felt that he would go for broke with all those trades. He knew he wasn't coming back regardless of the outcome.

  2. James

    November 9, 2015 - 2:33 pm

    As with most things in life, I believe the truth is a confluence of many complex factors. AA could very well have been burned out, but he was also likely riding a tide of inflated ego following the near-deity status he reached in August/September. I was at the game in Baltimore when the Jays clinched, and it was something that would cause any person to feel pretty good about themselves. Then enters Shapiro who matter of factly dresses AA down a bit (reasonably IMO – i.e. Shapiro is what I call an MBA douche type). The Shapiro's of the world are management driven and fancy themselves as entrepreneurs and innovators, when in reality they are just bureaucrats. AA was more of a creative/innovative type who would be miserable/stifled working for an MBA douche. He needs to work with an "visionary" type like Billy Beane, IMO.

  3. Anonymous

    November 9, 2015 - 2:45 pm

    That's bang on James. Well Said. Shapiro looks like a prick to work for. Doubt he listens to anybody's ideas.

    1. James

      November 9, 2015 - 4:31 pm

      I am not necessarily harpooning Shapiro – more so a matter of styles clashing. AA has ascended, and perhaps most importantly in his own mind, to a point where he should be the "decider" and accepting less requires the opportunity to learn from a visionary – not work for a management guy. His comments about Warren Buffet this year speak to this mindset – look at how Buffet has managed his company…effectively giving his company CEO's complete autonomy in managing their businesses. Not surprisingly, the profile of the companies that sell to Berkshire is that of those built by entrepreneurs that value autonomy over selling to the highest bidder. Shapiro strikes me as a GE or some other conglomerate CEO, which can be insanely stifling for some people to work for and I think AA is precisely that sort.

    2. Ian Hunter

      November 10, 2015 - 3:24 am

      Echoing a lot of the same sentiments here … I think AA felt like he finally had a system down this year, and the front office finally had a formula for the type of player the organization was going to covet going forward.

      But with Shapiro coming in, that was all going to change. The entire dynamic was going to be completely different, and it sounds like Alex was not going to get the same autonomy under Shapiro as he did Beeston.

      Ultimately, Alex has been with the Jays organization for like 13 years, so maybe he felt like he accomplished everything he could with the Jays and wanted to win elsewhere (a la Theo Epstein)?

  4. Robert Lee

    November 9, 2015 - 11:15 pm

    Rogers has an opportunity to prove to the entire country that they are not a completely out-of-touch, rotten corporate culture based on zero respect for their clientele. The next six months should be informative.

  5. roy bear

    November 10, 2015 - 7:30 am

    It wuz evident dat Shapiro changed da whole dynamic of AA's system…he wuz/is a prick to work for…office bureaucrat. AA wuz not having none of it…if, Jayz don't make it next season den we all knew dis all along…I'm sure der will b an uproar for Shapiro's EXIT!!!
    ROY B.

  6. roy bear

    November 10, 2015 - 7:33 am

    It wuz evident dat Shapiro changed da whole dynamic of AA's system…he wuz/is a prick to work for…office bureaucrat. AA wuz not having none of it…if, Jayz don't make it next season den we all knew dis all along…I'm sure der will b an uproar for Shapiro's EXIT!!!
    ROY B.

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