The uncertainty over Paul Beeston’s future in Toronto has ended, giving way to questions about next steps for the Blue Jays as they look to reach the playoffs for the first time since 1993.
Beeston, who recently signed a one-year extension to remain in his role as Blue Jays president and CEO through 2015, said Tuesday that there’s little to be gained by dwelling on the rumours and speculation that surrounded him and the Blue Jays in recent weeks.
“What happened happened and what didn’t happen didn’t happen,” he told Jeff Blair on Sportsnet 590 The FAN. “The result is that I’m here, and I’m happy to be here.”
While Beeston didn’t enjoy seeing his future discussed so publicly, he was gratified by a “really heartwarming” show of support from fans as Blue Jays ownership pursued Dan Duquette and other potential replacements. With Beeston’s future now settled, the Blue Jays are better positioned to move forward.
“I don’t think we are dysfunctional at the present time,” said Beeston, who was hired as the Blue Jays’ first employee in 1976.
Now that Rogers Communications Inc. has eliminated that distraction by expressing support for Beeston, the focus returns to the field, where the Blue Jays could pursue pitching to address a vulnerable-looking bullpen. Under the right circumstances, GM Alex Anthopoulos can take on salary.
“Quite honestly, yes we do have the support of ownership,” Beeston said. “Does that mean we have an unlimited payroll? Absolutely not. Can it go up from here, can we get someone? The answer is yes, if it fits within what we want to do.”
At the beginning of the off-season, Beeston said payroll would be rising from the $137 million range. The Blue Jays now have approximately $117 million committed to the 2015 payroll, not counting minimum salary players and pending the results of arbitration cases for Josh Donaldson and Danny Valencia. Beeston said he’s confident he can go to ownership and ask for additional cash during his final year on the job.
“I have no concern whatsoever that if we went to make our case, we would get the same kind of consideration we did in the past,” he said.
Even if the Blue Jays don’t make significant upgrades between now and opening day, Beeston likes the look of the team now that newcomers Russell Martin, Josh Donaldson and Michael Saunders are in place.
“Alex has done a terrific job in retooling the team,” Beeston said. “We’ve still got some things to do and he’s working hard on it right now.”
But if the Blue Jays struggle and the organization decides to consider dismissing manager John Gibbons or Anthopoulos, an uncomfortable situation could arise. Beeston — a loyal supporter of Anthopoulos — could be asked to make a determination on the future of his manager and GM with months remaining on his own contract. Yet Beeston says will be prepared to act.
“No one feels comfortable firing anybody and if they are they’ve got to be a little bit sadistic,” Beeston said. “But the answer to that is ‘yes.’ If you have to make the decision, you have to make the decision.”
The Blue Jays are hoping that’s not a decision that has to be made.