On the Toronto Blue Jays: Paul Beeston

I’ve been trying to put together a big blogpost on the Toronto Blue Jays for quite a while now, but I’ve been having a hard time finding the handle. I’ve got too many thoughts about them to write one single thing about. So maybe what I’ll do is, I’ll write about them separately and keep the whole thing manageable. And maybe I’ll be able to keep that up for a while.

There are rumours floating around that the Blue Jays are looking for a new president to replace their current president, Paul Beeston. Apparently Ed Rogers, who is part of the Jays ownership group, has been talking to the Baltimore Orioles about hiring away the Orioles’ general manager, Dan Duquette, who has a very plausible resume for a job like this. This is, to me, a sideshow, a detail that I’m only writing about so that I can clear it away and make room for the stuff that really matters.

I mean, what does the team president do anyway? I imagine he or she must do something, but is it anything I can see from where I am? Should I understand what he or she does? I don’t know that I should.

Beeston has a long history with the Jays. He was the team president, or co-general-manager with Pat Gillick, throughout the team’s early years, up until the late 1990s. Then he was president of Major League Baseball for a few years. Then, a while ago, the Jays were looking for a team president and hired Beeston to find someone who’d be good. Beeston did a thorough search of his own glove compartment and ended up hiring himself for the job, which he has held since 2008. But he’s getting up there in age and it’s probably time to bring someone else in anyway.

There has been criticism of how the Jays organization has been handling this. Apparently they haven’t been going through the proper channels to try to recruit Duquette or whoever. Plus, they haven’t shown Beeston enough respect. The line is, after everything Beeston has done for the team, he deserves to depart with more dignity than this.

I don’t think a lot of that argument. This is baseball. Who gets to go out on their own terms? Not a lot of people. George Bell, Jim Clancy, Ernie Whitt, Willie Upshaw, Lloyd Moseby, John Olerud… their exits were quick and unceremonious. I don’t see what Beeston has that they don’t. Anyway, he’ll be fine; he doesn’t need anybody’s tears.

The Jays don’t need him anyway. Sure, he was there for the team’s glory years from ’83-’93, and he can have his share of credit for that, but he was also there from ’94-’97, when they were kind of a garbage dump, and they haven’t been much better from ’08 to ’14.

Not that I expect Duquette or anybody else to make a difference in that respect. First, as stated above, I don’t know whether any president makes that kind of difference to a baseball team. And, second, the Jays organization isn’t good at hiring people; so much so that the mere fact that they want Duquette makes me suspect that he’s not the man for the job.

See, when it comes to hiring people for important jobs, the Jays are kind of shy. They don’t like to make new friends. They’d rather give the job to people who’ve already done that kind of work for them, and if they can’t do that, they’ll give it to whoever happens to be hanging around the office. And when they get tired of that and reach outside the organization to do a proper interviewing process on some external candidates, they tend to pick the wrong guy anyway. Look at who’s there now:

President: Paul Beeston. Former employee who hired himself for the job.
General Manager: Alex Anthopoulos. Was the assistant to the previous general manager, J.P. Ricciardi, when he got fired.
Manager: John Gibbons. Was the Jays manager before; they brought him back because they needed someone and he was available.

Now, Duquette has never worked for the Jays before, so that’s a little unusual for someone they’re pursuing. If they do end up making him their president, he’ll be an external hire in much the same way that J.P. Ricciardi was for the general manager’s role, or that Tim Johnson or Jim Fregosi was for the manager’s job.

Then there’s the issue of what kind of compensation the Jays will have to send to the Orioles in return for prying Duquette away from them. Apparently the Orioles are asking for the moon. Most people who have two brain cells firing know that you don’t send anybody really good to the other team in return for hiring away a non-player. But nobody’s quite sure if Ed Rogers knows it, and that’s a scary thought. Imagine the Orioles asking for Jose Bautista or Daniel Norris or someone in return for Duquette. I’m just making that up, of course, but the point is that Ed Rogers is coming across like quite the loose cannon and who knows what’s going on.

To sum up:
– Paul Beeston being shown the door: not an issue.
– Who specifically replaces Beeston: probably doesn’t matter.
– Paul Beeston’s dignity: not an issue.
– Compensation to the Orioles: better not be an issue.
– Jays’ ownership: unpredictable and not in the good way.

Next time: trades and free agent signings.

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