General manager reappointed without firing Ryu Hyun-jin free agent…Toronto won’t close wallet, will they get him too?
Toronto Blue Jays general manager Ross Atkins, 50, has been reappointed. Despite a disappointing finish to the season, the team’s payroll will remain at over $250 million next year, allowing Atkins to be more aggressive. It will be interesting to see if Atkins, who acquired Ryu Hyun-jin, 36, in free agency four years ago, will pursue him again.
Toronto president Mark Shapiro confirmed at his season-ending press conference on Nov. 13 that Atkins will remain in place. Atkins signed a five-year extension with Toronto in April 2021, which is guaranteed through 2026.
A pitcher during his playing days, Atkins turned to front office work after retiring after five seasons in the minor leagues with the Cleveland Indians (now the Guardians). He started as Cleveland’s assistant director of player development in 2001 and became vice president of player personnel in 2014.
Atkins was named Toronto’s general manager in December 2015 and led the team for eight seasons until this year. He reached the postseason four times during his tenure. During the 2017-2019 rebuild, he established Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Beau Bisset as pillars of the team, and starting in 2020, the Jays have made fall ball three times in the last four years.
The team has been aggressive with free agency, signing pitcher Hyun-jin Ryu (four years, $80 million) in 2020, outfielder George Springer (six years, $150 million) in 2021, pitcher Kevin Gausman (five years, $110 million) in 2022, and Chris Bassett (three years, $63 million) this year, as well as extending pitcher Jose Berrios (seven years, $131 million), who was acquired in a trade during the 2021 season.
This year, they built the most expensive team in franchise history ($258 million in total payroll) and paid the luxury tax for the first time, 먹튀검증 only to come up short in fall ball with a second straight wild-card berth. The last three fall games have all been first-inning losses, prompting Atkins to take the blame and Shapiro to announce his intention to reappoint him.
According to local media, including Canada’s Sportsnet, Shapiro said, “There is no denying Mr. Atkins’ accomplishments. “He’s built a team with great leadership, with the sixth-best record in the American League over the last four years and three postseason appearances, and he’s put us in a position to be even better next year,” Shapiro said.
“We knew the game plan, but we didn’t know when we were going to do it,” he said of pulling starter Jose Berrios for 47 pitches after giving up a walk to the first batter of the fourth inning in Game 2 of the Wild Card Series. “I knew the game plan, but I didn’t know when I was going to do it.” “We need to have a little bit more transparency and communication with the players in the process of creating the game plan,” he said.
When asked about the tension between Schneider and Atkins over the decision, Shapiro said, “There’s no tension between them. The responsibility lies with me at the top. I’m not saying that Coach Schneider or Mr. Atkins made a mistake. We all made mistakes, and we have to learn from them and get better. I have confidence in Coach Schneider,” he said, expressing confidence in both the general manager and the head coach.
As for the team’s salary for next year, Shapiro said, “I’m talking to the owners’ group, and I don’t think there will be a big change in philosophy. It will remain at a similar level. It’s clear that we’re not going to rebuild next year,” he said, hinting that the team will continue to strengthen this winter.
In addition to Hyun-jin Ryu, Toronto will have Matt Chapman, Kevin Kiermaier, Brandon Belt, Whit Merrifield, and Jordan Hicks as free agents. The salaries of Guerrero and Jordan Romano, who are eligible for salary adjustments, will likely increase significantly, but the payroll will have some wiggle room. They need bat help, but they don’t have a lot of options on the market. They could use the extra money to re-sign Hyun-Jin Ryu to a short-term deal. Ryu has expressed interest in staying in the majors, and Atkins left the door open by saying “Ryu could be an option”.