Dannon Ross Atkins
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 6' 2", Weight 195 lb.
- School Wake Forest University
A former minor league pitcher, Ross Atkins was the Director of Player Development for the Cleveland Indians farm system for a number of years before being hired as General Manager of the Toronto Blue Jays in the fall of 2015. In Toronto, he replaced interim GM Tony LaCava and rejoined former Indians President Mark Shapiro, who had moved to the Blue Jays a few weeks earlier. The decision to hire him was quite controversial in Toronto, as he was replacing a local boy (or at least a Canadian) in Alex Anthopoulos, who had just been named Executive of the Year and built the team that had made its first postseason appearance in two decades. Atkins was clearly Shapiro's man, however, and the main question was how much of what Anthopoulos had built he would change. In his first season, he decided not to rock the boat, keeping manager John Gibbons on board, for example, and the Jays returned to the postseason, once again making it to the ALCS stage before bowing out, ironically, to the Indians
2017 was a more complicated season however, as the Jays got off to a slow start and could never right things, never making it to .500 and finishing in fourth place in the AL East. The season exposed the team's lack of depth, as injuries to the double play combination of Troy Tulowitzki and Devon Travis, to C Russell Martin and to SPs J.A. Happ and Aaron Sanchez proved devastating, their replacements being well below par. Facing the question of whether to try to win again in 2018 or re-build, Atkins decided to steer a uninspiring middle course, adding some players to plug the holes, but not bidding on any top-tier talent on the free agent market or trying to engineer a trade for a big name. There was some question about how much room to manoeuver Atkins had, as it was rumored that the current management at Rogers Communications was content to let the profits roll in from the team's two postseason appearances in 2015 and 2016 (attendance was the highest in the American League in 2017 in spite of the team's on-field struggles) and did not wish to make any risky - and potentially costly - moves for the time being.
|Toronto Blue Jays General Manager