Blog Entry

Blue Jays' Tony LaCava turns down Orioles GM job

Posted on: November 1, 2011 6:04 pm
Edited on: November 1, 2011 7:27 pm

By Evan Brunell

The Orioles' search for a general manager will continue after Blue Jays assistant GM Tony LaCava declined an offer to take over the Orioles.

“I'm working in a great place, a job that I love. It’s just as simple as that," LaCava told the Baltimore Sun by way of explanation."I really, really treasure my relationship with [Toronto] general manager, Alex Anthopoulos, and I really want to see this through with him."

This is a surprise, as Toronto was readying for LaCava's departure. The 50-year-old was meeting Orioles owner Peter Angelos for the first time on Monday, likely discussing the terms of his employment, the Baltimore Sun wrote. The Orioles were not doing a second round of interviews, so the fact LaCava was back in town and meeting with Angelos spoke volumes. He must not have liked what he heard.

Baltimore's GM job is not exactly seen as a plum job in baseball. The O's play in a very difficult division and arguably are the worst team in the division as far as resources are concerned, whether financial, organizationally, or major- and minor-league talent. In addition, Angelos is a meddling owner who still hasn't learned that the O's have struggled since the mid-1990s because of his over-involvement.

LaCava, for his part, tried to deflect that aspect of turning down the job by telling the Sun, “This was about the Toronto Blue Jays more than it is anything about the Orioles. ... They were classy in everything they did."

But this is a man that has waited about a decade for a GM job. There are only 30 GM jobs in the league and the fact LaCava turned down what would be his first GM job speaks volumes.

The O's have only interviewed three other candidates. One was Jerry DiPoto, who was hired as the Angels GM last week. The other two are Baltimore director of player development John Stockstill and Dodgers assistant GM De Jon Watson. The Orioles may re-open the field to interview candidates, especially now that the World Series is over. Stockstill isn't a well-known name and while Watson's name has surfaced in recent seasons as a potential GM candidate, he hasn't been a popular name. LaCava, of the three remaining candidates, was the clear top dog. MASN says Baltimore could interview Rangers' senior director of player personnel, A.J. Preller. Hometown candidate Thad Levine, who is Texas' assistant GM, could also receive consideration.

Unfortunately, it appears things are only backsliding in Baltimore. Ex-GM Andy MacPhail was able to wrest more control from Angelos than any other GM had, and for a while there, it looked like it was paying off. However, the last two years saw the organization stall, if not regress, in its progress and MacPhail chose to leave the organization despite Angelos' attempts for him to stay. The way the process has gone to interview a new GM, it appears as if what power MacPhail had was a one-time thing only and Baltimore is back to looking for someone to do Angelos' bidding.

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Since: Dec 29, 2007
Posted on: November 4, 2011 11:19 am

Blue Jays' Tony LaCava turns down Orioles GM job

My dad knows Tony and we went to Toronto a few years ago and Tony left us free tickets.  I met him in spring training the next year.  Great guy.  I would have Loved if he became the GM of the Pirates.  Hopefully he'll get a great job somewhere down the road.  Yes, Baltimore is not it.

Since: Jan 6, 2007
Posted on: November 2, 2011 12:32 am

Blue Jays' Tony LaCava turns down Orioles GM job

I dont blame him for turning down an opportunity like that, because the one he has in Toronto could be even better. Toronto is heading towards something special, the team has progressively gotten better since the arrival of AA , and all the right moves are being made. This team could turn into a dynasty like the early 90's and every player or coach that has been on or left the team seems to realize it. Look at the players that deparded, Vernon Wells, Shaun Marcum, Aaron Hill, all players were very sad to leave because they wanted to be a part of the things to come.

Well, sometimes the players dont get the choice, but LaCava did have the choice and I would have chosen the same. He has a significantly larger shot at getting a WS ring as a Jay over the next few years, and if he can take that, he could probably get an even better GM job down the line. Things are going good in Toronto so I totally understand wanting to see things through. Good on him!

Its kinda like women. You could be dating a nice girl with tons of potential but also uncertainty about the future. Another girl could come out, and she might not be the best of the bunch but shes willing to marry you. Sure you could settle for the new girl but if things are going good right now, why not stay the course. It could be a whole lot worse after all!

Since: May 17, 2007
Posted on: November 2, 2011 12:14 am

Blue Jays' Tony LaCava turns down Orioles GM job

This isn't that surprising!  Like he said Toronto looks to be a team on the rise and Baltimore is anyones guess.  If one guy takes a job in Baltimore and is better at his job than a guy who takes a job in New York he will be labelled a failure and get second rate chances for the rest of his career.  The guy in New York can be bad at his job win a bunch of games and get a bunch of offers years afterwards based on opinion and faulty logic.  All you have to do is look at Theo Epstein and JP Riccardi.  Both were younger GM's who were the new stats breed of baseball mind.  Epstein made a bunch of bad decisions (plus inherited most of the core of his team) but was able to buy out his mistakes.  Riccardi also made a bunch of bad decisions with a ton less money.   Riccardi can't get a job outside of the media and as we have seen after signing a horrible contract for Crawford Epstein got a new job before his contract was even done. (will more than likely get two or three more after this before all because of the luck in getting that Boston Job to start)

Toronto has been putting a bunch of money into their front office the past couple of years so I would be surprised if he isn't getting paid fairly well.  He is in charge of the minor league teams and the international picks which is how Toronto is improving itself.  If as many believe this team starts to move up based on picks and signings that he was involved in his stock will only rise and he might actually get an opportunity that is worth taking.

Since: Feb 7, 2010
Posted on: November 1, 2011 9:32 pm

Peter Angelos: The Worst Owner in Sports?

Following the Orioles on and off for about 30 years and have heard many times about Peter Angelos' spot near the bottom of the heap in terms of sports owners, he is usually associated with comments like "over involved", "meddler", etc.  I believe where there is smoke there i fire but I never hear about any particulars about what he specifically did to bring about the downfall of the O's.  Are there any interesting data points other than "get's too involved?"  Just looking for some insight and dirt.  O's fans help me understand!

Since: Dec 6, 2006
Posted on: November 1, 2011 9:06 pm

Blue Jays' Tony LaCava turns down Orioles GM job

I hope the media and the Baltimore media in particular make this as embarrassing as possible for Angelos.  He is clearly one of the worst owners in professional sports, and has single handedly ruined what was once a fantastic baseball town, much like St. Louis.

Why doesn't he just sell the franchise to someone who actually cares about baltimore?

Since: Mar 1, 2009
Posted on: November 1, 2011 8:53 pm

Blue Jays' Tony LaCava turns down Orioles GM job

“I'm working in a great place, a job that I love. It’s just as simple as that,"
!!! SO AWESOME!!!  The Jays have great things on the go, can't wait to see how it works out!!!

Since: Mar 26, 2009
Posted on: November 1, 2011 7:24 pm

Blue Jays' Tony LaCava turns down Orioles GM job

Well, I also know that other franchises such as Boston & Cleveland wanted him to live (and move his family to those cities) whereas Toronto allows him the freedom to keep his family in Pittsburgh.  As long as he is in Toronto for each home stand..things are cool.  He travels over 230 dates per year as it is

I don't doubt that he isn't on good terms with Showalter either...good possibility and that goes back several years when Buck was with the Yankees.

Since: Nov 14, 2008
Posted on: November 1, 2011 7:20 pm

Blue Jays' Tony LaCava turns down Orioles GM job

Actually, the Orioles ARE that awful. Don't kid yourself. Yes, they are in the toughest division in baseball, but they'd still be bottom-feeders in the AL West or the AL Central.

Plus, in Toronto, the fans are generally satisfied with being mediocre for the 17th year in a row and easily accept the idea that AA and the crew have a 4 or 5-year plan in mind. Talk about no pressure as a GM or assistant GM. I'd stay there too.

Since: May 8, 2007
Posted on: November 1, 2011 7:05 pm

Blue Jays' Tony LaCava turns down Orioles GM job

This is a great thing for the Toronto Blue Jays, and while I believe LaCava does really love his job in Toronto, one quote from this article says it best, "There are only 30 GM jobs in the league and the fact LaCava turned down what would be his first GM job speaks volumes."

The only reason I can honestly see LaCava turning this job down is because he didn't like what ownership was asking from him in terms of a relationship with Buck Showalter. There have been plenty of reports that he would have some sort of control, and I'm sure that can't be appealing to anyone who is looking to take over one of the most doomed franchises in the MLB. It's not that the Orioles are that awful, in fact they were quite good down the stretch last season. It's that they play in the AL East with the Yankees, Rays, Red Sox, and a Blue Jays franchise on the rise. It can't get much tougher than that, so Lacava and anyone else taking this job knows they are being offered a heat that is pre-warmed.

I know that both parties want Buck on the bench next season, but if this was truly a factor, why don't they just consider him for GM? If not, then don't allow him that kind of clout if it's chasing away potential quality replacements for GM.  

Since: Mar 26, 2009
Posted on: November 1, 2011 6:58 pm

Blue Jays' Tony LaCava turns down Orioles GM job

I can tell you this...

I know Tony LaCava personally.  He's a great guy...and a solid family man.  When he says it was about the Blue Jays and not the Orioles, he was being 100% honest.  If there are other opportunities (and there likely will be) it will have to be the ideal situation for both he and his family for him to take it.

I thought the Pirates job when it opened up several years ago would be the one for him...only because he's a Pittsburgh guy, he wants to keep his family grounded here and he would have wanted the challenge of righting the ship in Pittsburgh.

Best of luck Tony!

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