Is Paul Beeston's Departure Imminent?
The legacy of Paul Beeston is one that will have two very distinct eras.
On one hand, there’s the early tenure which saw the Blue Jays win two consecutive World Series Championships under his reign as team president. But on the other hand, there’s the second tenure which has failed to produce a team that’s been even close to contention.
How much of that is Paul Beeston’s responsibility, though? As the man at the top of the food chain in the Blue Jays’ front office, one is inclined to lay just as much blame on him as anybody else.
And with his contract reportedly expiring this season, reports have surfaced that the Blue Jays are already seeking a replacement for Paul Beeston. This itself is not new, but what is new is the circumstances in which may have precipitated the search for a new president.
Early on Sunday morning, Buster Olney first reported that the Blue Jays were in fact escalating their search, and then escalated things by capping off his article with this interesting quote:
“Sources say that the Blue Jays’ ownership was not pleased with some of Beeston’s actions during the search for a replacement for commissioner Bud Selig.”
So what were the actions exactly? One has to assume it’s related to Paul Beeston’s supposed opposition of new MLB commissioner, Rob Manfred.
Admittedly, I didn’t put much stock into the reports at the time during the proceedings, but reportedly Beeston and others were in favour of appointing Boston Red Sox Chairman Tom Werman as the successor to Bud Selig instead.
The New York Daily News has a fascinating read about the entire power struggle between Bud Selig, Paul Beeston, Rob Manfred and others. Although it was a unanimous vote to elect Manfred as new commissioner, the motion was not met without resistance.
“Perhaps this is why, sources are saying, the anti-Manfred forces have been trying to convince owners that voting for Werner is voting for one of their own.
And that if elected, it would actually be a ticket, with Werner retaining Brosnan (for business) and bringing in Beeston (for labor relations) as his top two deputies.”
So essentially the old boys’ club of Paul Beeston and others allegedly backed Tom Werner because they were hoping it would lead to cushy jobs in MLB’s front office.
Precisely why would Blue Jays’ ownership be concerned with this? If Paul Beeston had a strong desire to work in MLB’s commissioner’s office once again, they might be concerned that motivation could hinder Beeston’s ability to oversee the Blue Jays as club president.
As far as Paul Beeston goes, when he came back to take over as president of the Blue Jays in 2008, it was initially on an interim basis. But six years later, he’s still club president, and with Beeston seemingly wanting out, now might be an opportune time to part ways.
When most think of Beeston’s legacy, they’ll think back to the two World Championships, but arguably the most memorable aspect of his second tenure was the genesis of the universally-loathed “five year policy”, which was some sort of attempt to make the team seem fiscally responsible.
It’s never been confirmed whether the five year policy was the brainchild of Beeston or Anthopoulos, but many have strongly suggested it is in fact Paul Beeston’s baby. I don’t know about you, but that kind of limitation screams “chartered accountant” to me.
Admittedly, the circumstances in which Paul Beeston returned to the president’s chair were much different the second time around. Under Labatt’s, there were seemingly no limitations, as the Blue Jays were consistently among the top spending teams in baseball.
But under a publicly traded company, the reigns may have been pulled back quite a bit and there’s much more transparency from a spending standpoint; a noticeable departure from the frivolous spending days at 1 Blue Jays Way in the 80’s and early 90’s under ownership of Labatt’s.
The exact details of Paul Beeston’s contract with the Toronto Blue Jays are quite secretive (as are Alex Anthopoulos’, go figure), but it’s believed that his deal as president and CEO ends this upcoming season.
Behind the scenes this year, the Blue Jays were likely quietly auditioning for a successor to Paul Beeston, it’s just very curious as to why this entire process has suddenly been expedited.
Tack on the fact that ownership may have been perturbed with
Beeston’s actions earlier this year in finding a new commissioner, and
there’s that extra bit of motivation to perhaps make a change at the top.
And now that the potential candidates to replace Paul Beeston have been named (Dan Duquette, Kenny Williams), his departure may be more imminent than ever.