Why Was Edward Rogers Calling Reinsdorf About Beeston Replacement?

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“The most successful Toronto sports executive since Punch Imlach will run the Blue Jays next season,” writes Bob Elliott in the first of pair of pieces in Wednesday morning’s Toronto Sun. “The most successful Toronto sports executive since Imlach will also take part in the search for his eventual successor.”

That sure is an interesting bit of news — albeit something we had heard already — but before we tackle it, and the other slices of intrigue within Elliott’s piece, permit me to whine about some stuff that I’ve probably already whined about enough already.

Because… I mean… really? We have to beat readers over the head with this Punch Imlach stuff? We really have to go out of our way to hoist up the executive who has done approximately dick all since Labatt was sold, Pat Gillick left, and all that payroll-driving money from the gift of a swingin’, and majorly publicly-funded, stadium dried up?

I know that his being the club’s first employee is significant and his achievements were indeed great, so I’m maybe harsher than I need to be. But that’s only because the hagiography can sometimes feel awful thick. And it’s not even Beeston I have a problem with, it’s just, can we maybe be adults about this?

Amazingly, the Imlach stuff isn’t anywhere close to the most ridiculous thing that Elliott brings to us in his piece.

That honour would go to this:

“The name of the Rogers employee who got the presidential ball rolling down hill and into the public relations gutter remains unknown,” Elliott writes. “However, Edward Rogers, son of the late Ted Rogers, did call White Sox president Jerry Reinsdorf to ask about hiring Williams during the World Series. He called Williams too.”

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Simmons: Beeston Found Out From Reinsdorf That Rogers Was Going Behind His Back

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“The clumsy backstabbing of Paul Beeston reeks of corporate awkwardness and baseball inexperience.”

Hahaha. Steve Simmons is mad.

I could very well mean that in both senses of the word, I suppose, but in this case I mean that he’s angry. Paul Beeston has been wronged! Some smelly fiend at Rogers has been going behind the back of the saintly baseball man like he was — oh, I don’t know — any other employee! (Especially one that, I don’t know, is maybe presiding over a the baseball team that’s currently in the midst of the longest playoff drought in the majors.)

Scandalous!

Though, I don’t know. Maybe he has a point and I’m just, once again, bristling at the whole thing where people have been told for 25 years how great Beeston is, making them so defensive when anything remotely negative dares penetrate his almighty aura that they lose all sense of rationality.

Whatever the case, he tells us that, contrary to what we were hearing yesterday — from, I probably ought to add, primarily folks who work for Rogers — Paul Beeston hasn’t been involved in the process of finding his successor. Simmons writes in this morning’s Toronto Sun that Beeston didn’t know what was going on until informed by Jerry Reinsdorf, his good friend, who had been contacted about it because permission was needed before the Jays/Rogers could speak with Ken Williams.

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Blair Discusses Beeston Situation

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With the first day of the Winter Meetings just beginning out San Diego, Jeff Blair opened his show on the Fan 590 this morning with a heavy dose of baseball. And, of course, the big story has to do with Paul Beeston and just how long he will continue in his job as president of the Toronto Blue Jays.

Lots of interesting stuff to be heard in the segment — which is ongoing as I type — most of which came at the start of the show, before the Beeston fanboys started calling into lay their cringeworthy delusion onto us poor listeners.

Some of Blair’s comments certainly echo some of the things I wrote yesterday, when the story first broke, though he’d take issue with the notion — originated by Buster Olney — that the development has anything to do with the Jays’ support of Tom Werner, and not Rob Manfred, as MLB owners searched for a new commissioner back in August.

“I wouldn’t look back as Beeston’s support of a losing candidate as having anything to do with this,” he says. “I don’t think that has, frankly, anything to do with this at all.”

What it might have to do with, Blair suggests, is Dan Duquette. “It would seem to be Dan Duquette who gets the biggest benefit of having this story leak,” he says, explaining that “he’s realized that, effectively, he’s not going anywhere” in the organization, with Peter Angelos and his sons above him, and Buck Showalter — who himself, it’s suggested, aspires to be the club’s G.M. — below.

That isn’t to say that he suggests it’s fabricated though. In addition to the sources speaking to Olney and Ken Rosenthal, Blair says that “I know from talking to a couple people yesterday, Dan wants this job.”

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Elliott: Beeston Staying Another Year

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“To paraphrase Mark Twain,” begins Bob Elliott’s latest for the Toronto Sun, “reports of the demise of Blue Jays’ Paul Beeston from the exalted office of president are greatly exaggerated.”

The venerable baseball reporter goes on to quash what has become one of the central stories of the early hours of baseball’s winter meetings, which open officially on Monday morning in San Diego, but leaves us with as many questions as we have answers, I think.

“Beeston is not going any where, we are told and will be the president for the 2015 season.”

Sure. OK. Maybe that’s the case. But I don’t think that’s quite enough to make this story go away, especially as Elliott himself admits that Rogers is “quite possibly” looking for a successor to Beeston. He even includes one of the quotes from White Sox executive Ken Williams, who very clearly was asked to interview for the job.

“Williams told the Chicago Tribune he was denied an opportunity to interview with the Jays, adding that the issue was ‘not new’ and ‘that ship has sailed’,” Elliott writes.

But… then… wouldn’t that seem to tell us that the idea that a replacement is being sought is more than just something that’s “quite possibly” happening?

I’d think so. But don’t tell that to the incredulous executives and GMs that Elliott has spoken to.

“Let me get this straight: Rogers gave Beeston approval to overpay on Russell Martin and then gave him the green light to trade Brett Lawrie while going around asking for permission to interview someone to take Beeston’s place? Does that even make sense?” said one. (Answer: I think it makes sense enough, yeah.)

““With all due respect to Kenny Williams and Dan Duquette for the great jobs they did as GMs with their respective teams, neither would be on my top 10 list to be a club president. What about quality guys Doug Melvin (Milwaukee Brewers GM), Ned Colletti (former L.A. Dodgers GM) or Gerry Hunsicker (ex-Houston Astros GM)? Their search committee needs some help,” another told him. (WE’VE GOT OLD WHITE GUYS FOR DAYS HERE!)

Maybe what Elliott hears is true and Sunday’s leaks simply make it look as though the process is farther along than it really is. But I don’t know if I buy that this is now a closed case — not with what Williams has said about the process, and not with all the credible talk of Duquette’s interest, and his Farrell-like non-denial denial, telling reporters at San Diego’s Manchester Grand Hyatt, “I’m here to represent the Orioles. I work for the Orioles. I have a contract and I have always honoured my contract.”

Beeston will be president until he isn’t. That much we at least know.

Image via PwC

Is Paul Beeston On His Way Out?

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Paul Beeston’s tenure as President of the Toronto Blue Jays is coming to a close. This we’ve known for a long time. Or, at least, we think we’ve known.

Beeston has been fairly open about his status. Back in October he spoke about it on Prime Time Sports, in an interview I posted highlights of at some other site (second post down — apologies for way I have to link it). We were told that, t the point when Rogers no longer wants him, or he no longer wants to be here, he expects they’ll work together on “some kind of organized phase out.”

There had been questions at the time about whether Beeston would continue in the position, and he admitted that he had yet to sign a new contract that his contract was up at the end of the coming year. But, he said, “I’m here for as long as Rogers wants me here.”

Such talk made sense enough, and didn’t cause much of a ripple, as it was largely overshadowed by another statement he made in the same segment — “It’s been escalating,” he said of payroll. “It went to 90, it went to 125, it went to 137. And you know it’s going higher next year.”

Another part of the interview that didn’t cause much of a stir were Beeston’s comments on his decision not to back incoming commissioner Rob Manfred during the process of hiring a successor to Bud Selig. He was conciliatory, calling Manfred an excellent choice, and pointing out that he was the one who initially hired him, back when he was working for the commissioner’s office. “The fact that he initially didn’t vote for Manfred at the recent papal conclave, he says, won’t carry any repercussions,” I wrote at the time, “as it was a ‘no win’ situation, and he had to vote for someone, but felt both were great candidates. Beeston’s son works for Tom Werner, the losing candidate who Beeston initially voted for, so maybe this passes the smell test.”

Or maybe it didn’t.

Buster Olney reported today that the Jays’ search for Beeston’s replacement is “active,” and advanced to the point where specific names of replacements are being discussed, such as Baltimore GM Dan Duquette and White Sox Executive Vice President Ken Williams. Ken Rosenthal adds that he’s being told that the White Sox are balking at the idea of giving Williams permission to speak to the Jays about the promotion, and that Williams is, in turn, considering resigning.

Rosenthal quotes Williams, when asked about whether he would resign, as saying “I’ve considered all options, as anyone would, given the set of circumstances.” Those circumstances, I think quite clearly, are what we can surmise is the very real possibility of Beeston being close to leaving and a new hire taking over as Jays president. Otherwise why would he answer like that?

Olney has a full post on the matter at ESPN.com (Insider Olney), and at the very end of it, gives us this nugget: “Sources say that the Blue Jays’ ownership was not pleased with some of Beeston’s actions during the search for a replacement for commissioner Bud Selig.”

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