SCOTTSDALE, Arizona – At the opening of the Annual General Meetings of Baseball, 29 of the 30 teams had a general manager. The only exception? The Pittsburgh Pirates, now seeking the next head of their baseball operations department.
In a subtle way, the search for Pirates has already had an impact on the Toronto Blue Jays. Depending on the circumstances, these repercussions could be felt more intensely in the coming weeks.
Ben Cherington, the former chief executive of the Boston Red Sox, now an integral part of the Blue Jays' decision-making team, is a candidate for piracy. In fact, some outside executives see him as the main candidate for Neal Huntington's succession to Pittsburgh.
But Cherington was nowhere else. His peers arrived at Omni Scottsdale Resort & Spa as the Blue Jays attended the meetings without their vice-president of baseball operations. When questioned specifically about Cherington on Monday night, Blue Jays general manager Ross Atkins refused to say where he was and whether he was interviewing "out of respect for the Pirates and out of respect for Ben".
Atkins explained in broad terms how the Blue Jays seek to manage the outside interests of club leaders.
"Total transparency, even with lateral movements, and we had a lot of them," he said. "Many employees have chosen to stay with us in the last few years (instead of) promotions, so we are extremely transparent and work with the individual to potentially improve the fulfillment here." There is a way to do this while balancing what is best for them, their careers, and their families, and trying to help them make the best decisions, and we will certainly not take them for them. . "
Clearly, if Cherington is not present at Mechanism meetings, he is not as intimately involved as usual in daily discussions. Other members of the front office could simply replace him in trade negotiations and discussions with free agents. But the Blue Jays do not believe in the complete frost of frames, even when proprietary information is at stake.
"Every situation is a little different," said Atkins. "We are working with the individual on this front.I think, in today 's information game, a potential employee who is leaving us and going elsewhere, has information on a particular strategy that we could have on an acquisition as a free agent or trade and ultimately, to be: open and honest and not close databases and information to our potential strategies is the approach that we adopted. "
Cherington has worked as a league leader for 21 seasons, including as General Manager of the Red Sox. Aged 45, he formed the 2013 team that won the World Series and developed much of the Boston core that would win everything in 2018. He joined the Blue Jays in September 2016, a little more from one year after to be separated from the Red Sox.
Since then, he has been an integral part of the Toronto front office while maintaining a low profile. If he prefers to stay out of the spotlight, a small market like Pittsburgh could be attractive. Moreover, in Boston, he has proven to be a deliberate GM that keeps in mind long-term prospects – attributes necessary for any GM working with a limited payroll.
Now that the summer season is completely over, the Pirates may feel pressured to make a decision as soon as possible. If it's Cherington, the Blue Jays will also feel the effects of this hiring.