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?
“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.