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Running the "Corporation" Blue Jays

Alex Anthopolous Thinks Like a CEO

Now that the Jays have tied up Adam Lind for the next 7 years, the Jays have effectively determined the future face of this franchise and the key components to build around. What is often left unsaid is the reason behind the team’s willingness to give such a long term deal. Beyond the structure of the contract with it’s multiple options all belonging to the Jays, it is the makeup of the player which dictated desire to make such a long term commitment in light of past bad contracts given to Vernon Wells and Alex Rios.

With the expectation already in place that the Jays won’t contend again for at least 2-3 years, their focus is on filling the farm with players high on potential knowing that in baseball most never reach the ceiling attached to them by the scouts who pushed for their acquisition.

While Alex Anthopolous is sticking to the long term plan, the team has to sell tickets to create the financial resources to support an expanded scouting staff and the ability to sign the free agent talent such as Adeiny Hechavarria. This means being smarter, more open minded, and looking between the lines of a player’s past. Questions such as “can Randy Ruiz become the next David Ortiz” or “what is in the delivery and makeup of Dana Eveland and Merkin Valdez that other teams have missed and we can harness” will be the norm at the Blue Jays executive table. It is this edge and resulting success in developing such players that will build the reputation of AA and help the big team stay competitive while he stays the course.

In his interview with
Richard Griffin, it is comments like “the hope of the franchise lies in rebuilding the roster, in believing someone will place the good of the franchise ahead of his own ego, respect the club's skeptical, loyal fans and tell them the truth” which are the most telling. With ego pushed aside, it is his consistency in applying such truth and honesty that has allowed AA to gain the respect of players, management, fans, and ownership.

Anthopolous runs the Blue Jays like the major corporation we forget they are, using principles like establishing a business plan, setting goals, and drawing up tactical plans to achieve those goals. Thinking like the CEO has caused Rogers Communications also believing in his vision for this team, thereby establishing ownership support for the financial side of the dollars that will need to be spent both today and on future contracts to exisiting players and free agents to create a champion. His is considerate and polite with the media even when he refuses to stray from the plan to answer one of their questions. The interviewer has learned to accept it because Alex has set the expectation, treats them all the same, and is consistent in his application of his own policy.

Respect, openness, honesty, planning, “outside the box” thinking. These are all qualities that were in short supply during Riccardi’s term guiding the team and the contrast is startling to all who are impacted by it daily. A door has been opened and the fresh air is blowing through this team and organization. By the time this team contends again, Alex Anthopolous will have re-established the “Blue Jay way” of running a baseball operation.