Sanders’ departure creates questions for Blue Jays ahead of crucial draft

TORONTO – The Pirates’ front office overhaul has already cost the Blue Jays one of their top executives. Soon, it will cost them another.

As first reported by ESPN’s Jeff Passan and since confirmed by an industry source to Sportsnet, Blue Jays amateur scouting director Steve Sanders – considered by some a future GM – will be leaving the Blue Jays. His next job will be with Ben Cherington, the former Blue Jays executive who replaced Neal Huntington as Pittsburgh’s baseball ops leader last month.

While details of Sanders’ new role aren’t yet clear, it stands to reason that he’s joining the Pirates for a significant promotion such as assistant GM. According to a person close to the team, Cherington left the Blue Jays with an understanding that he wouldn’t deplete the Blue Jays’ front office unless a significant promotion was involved. That appears to be the case here.

Cherington, who’s perhaps best known for his time as Red Sox GM from 2011-15, became a key part of the Blue Jays’ decision making team following his September 2016 hire. His departure left the Blue Jays somewhat short-handed, but can’t be considered a complete surprise, either. With extensive experience and a track record of success, Cherington was bound to draw interest as a GM.

Some in the industry consider Sanders a future GM candidate, too. His baseball operations career began a decade ago when he interned for the Los Angeles Dodgers. He later worked for the Red Sox under Cherington before joining the Blue Jays in the fall of 2016.

His first draft, 2017, yielded Nate Pearson, now arguably the top pitching prospect in baseball. While 2017 first rounder Logan Warmoth has not lived up to expectations, third-round catcher Riley Adams has showed promise as a pro.

The 2018 draft yielded Jordan Groshans, who seemed poised …read more



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