Tribe Front Office Shuffles Its Deck

As I mentioned yesterday, Cleveland kinda, sorta, did a front office shakeup (but not really). Indians GM Mark Shapiro will be promoted to team president after the 2010 season, while assistant GM Chris Antonetti will then slide into the helm as GM. Paul Dolan will assume a newly-created role of CEO.

Snap judgment when I heard the news: “This is much ado about nothing.”

This had been rumored for awhile, really since Antonetti turned down the St. Louis GM’s gig after the 2007 season. Antonetti is also Shapiro’s boy, and most likely shares much of the same philosophies and vision for the team. I’m not saying Antonetti is going to make the exact same decisions Shapiro would. But in all likelihood he’s not going to make any dramatically different decisions than Shapiro. And while I’ve heard that P.Dolan’s position is a temporary one as the team is transferred from Larry Dolan, and Shapiro will have full control of the team as long as he stays within the financial limits set by the Dolans. In other words, not much will change. So what?

And now that I’ve had time to think about it, I still feel the same way. I’m not saying this is a good thing. I’m a Shapiro fan. But I’m not saying this is a bad thing. Antonetti has a bright future as a GM. I’m just saying things aren’t really gonna change too much, for all of the haters calling out for Shapiro’s job after the failures of recent clubs and the resulting personnel moves .

I was simply surprised by the timing of the announcement and promotions. Shapiro’s deal ran through 2012.  Anthony Castrovince provides the Indians’ explanation for the timing here.

Dolan said the primary reason the Indians announced these moves roughly 10 months before they’ll actually take place was so that Shapiro could work alongside Dennis Lehman, the team’s executive vice president in charge of business, over the course of the season to get a feel for that side of the operation.

For now, Shapiro has little to say about his plans for the Indians’ business operation. He’ll have his say in how the club is marketed externally and structured internally, but he admits he has a lot to learn. And while he has some ideas about how things should be run, he said he’s learned from his time as a GM that second-guessers aren’t always correct and things aren’t always as they seem from the outside.

One other possible reason, and this is pure speculation on my part, is they wanted to let Antonetti build the club for the next “contention window” or whatever the Tribe brass wants to call it. Shapiro said he would defer to Antonetti on all decisions that would affect beyond this year, meaning that it seems that Antonetti has the final say on all player transactions this year.

So again, while yes, this is news and there will be changes, it’s nothing to get too hyped up over. Yet.

Tags: Chris Antonetti Larry Dolan Mark Shapiro Paul Dolan

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