The official company line from Toronto Blue Jays ownership is that Alex Anthopoulos David Legwand Jerseyrejected a five-year extension to remain as the team's general manager.
But given the context of the situation surrounding his soon to expire contract, that's like saying Anthopoulos could keep his car but would have to give back the keys. Or at least, ask for the keys any time he want to go for a spin.
Anthopoulos was classy and diplomatic as ever in a conference call with reporters Thursday, stressing repeatedly that Shapiro and ownership – Canadian communication giant Rogers – gave him every opportunity to continue in the role he'd held since 2009 and that money wasn't an issue.
His title hadn't changed, but the terms he'd be working under sure had. Anthopoulos would have to cede power to Shapiro on baseball decisions. That was the part of the deal ownership had to offer Shapiro to get him to leave his post with the Cleveland Indians. You have to figure the same struggle would have played out if Toronto had been able to land offseason targets Kenny Williams and Dan Duquette. Shapiro was an attractive get because of his well-regarded baseball acumen combined with his business background.
It appears a marriage between Anthopoulos and Shapiro just wasn't going to be effective, Christian Fischer Jerseythough, as they differed philosophically on their vision for the Blue Jays' future. Rick Westhead of TSN reports that Shapiro believed Anthopoulos was reckless with his trading of top prospects at the deadline in deals that netted the team Troy Tulowitzki and David Price.
So after filling up the tank with stars – Price was a rental but Tulowitzki, likely AL MVP Josh Donaldson, Jose Bautista, Russell Martin and Edwin Encarnacion are under contract for 2016 – and building a team good enough to reach the ALCS, Anthopoulous decided the Blue Jays could drive on without him. And just like that the mastermind behind Toronto's this past year makeover won't be around to see it through.
The odds are good that plenty more changes are to come in Toronto. Manager John Gibbons might be out of work before long. So too could the top members of Anthopoulos' front office staff. That's not to mention countless jobs on the business side of the organization that will undoubtedly be reviewed.
Earlier this week Anthopoulos said that he was just finding his stride as a GM. He said he'd learned from past mistakes – there's not one GM out there with a perfect resume – and reevaluated his process and values. While Anthopoulos reevaluated his own process, the man who stood to be his new boss did the same. Shapiro came to a different conclusion, and it's a sign a shakeup is on the way with the Blue Jays.