Toronto – The Toronto Blue Jays continue to lock in their top leadership, announcing on Wednesday a five-year extension for CEO Ross Atkins.
The move was hinted at by Mark Shapiro in an interview with Sportscent last month, putting Atkins on the contract until the 2026 season, a year beyond the term of the club’s president and CEO.
Following in the footsteps of manager Charlie Montevio who was also selected in his club option for 2022, three of the organization’s key leadership roles have emerged in recent months. Shapiro signed a five-year extension until 2025 back in January.
“I obviously feel very happy and proud of the work he has done in building infrastructure and especially probably in acquiring and developing talent and leading the baseball organization,” Shapiro said of Atkins last month. “I see Ross as part of a long-term future here and want him to be here, and that’s common at the ownership level.”
The extension positions 47-year-old Atkins to be the second regular general manager in Blue Jay history. Hall of Fame Pat Gillick led the team during an 18-year run that included a pair of World Series titles, JP Richardi led the team for eight seasons (2002-09), Fire Fire Seven (1995-2001) and Alex Antopoulos Six (2010 -2015).
Atkins joined the Blue Jays in December 2015 on a four-year contract when he was employed by Tony Lacka, an assistant general named a temporary recruitment general when Anthopoulos refused an extension. In 2019 he received a two-year contract extension that lasts this year.
If Shapira terminates his current contract, he will become the second president on the team after Paul Biston, and at the age of 10 he will go the longest track in a row. He believes that such continuity of senior leadership is really important.
“If you look at the most successful sports franchises, there are some that respond from year to year, season after season in fast cycles and are a kind of constant rotation,” Shapiro said. “Those who have the strength and resilience to stay with a certain stability and continuity, even in the low times, give these people the ability to make adjustments because things rarely go the way you think they go. Continuity gives you the ability to adjust the course and adjust a program that will almost certainly be Need to adjust and adjust plan.
“When you make it, it just takes so long to deal with a new style, a new set of values and new leadership expectations, and builds trust again,” he continued. “If you look at the Pittsburgh Steelers, if you look at the San Antonio Spurs, New England Patriots, there is usually a lot of stability at the top. It’s a very difficult model to maintain in professional sports, where emotion and momentum make so many decisions. But if you have the power to make That, it’s usually a benefit. “