For those of you who don't know, Tony LaCava is the director of player personnel. He's one of the assistant GM's on the Blue Jays.
I bring him up because he's one of the candidates left in the Mariner's search for a new General Manager.
So what if he goes? It's probably no big deal, right?
Well, as I'm sure you've all noticed, the Jays farm system has improved by leaps and bounds over the last couple of years. In 2006 we grabbed Snider, and the Jays got into the habit of signing players who had 1st round potential but had slipped for various reasons. In 07 the Jays got some more quality players, nabbing Arencibia and Cecil to name a few. This continued in 08, when Cooper was drafted - and so far it looks like a successful pick. JP has been criticized early on for some of his poorer drafts, and rightly so. But something has changed over the last couple of years.
Some of that credit has to go to Jon LaLonde (scouting director) as well as the other scouts employed by the Jays. They've done a phenomenal job over the last couple of years. But I honestly believe that LaCava has been instrumental in the Jays' recent success at drafting.
Will Carroll of BP has even suggested that LaCava would make a tremendous GM, and has this to say about him:
5. Tony LaCava (Assistant GM, Blue Jays)
When you meet Tony La Cava, you learn two things. First, he knows everyone. Second, everyone loves him. La Cava might rightly be known as the nicest guy in baseball, and his extensive connections will be among his biggest asset when a team finally decides to give him his shot. With a scouting background, La Cava is known as one of the most savvy talent evaluators in the game, making him a perfect candidate for a team that needs to build through development. Most of the questions with LaCava focus on his team. Teams tend to hire from success, picking off the underlings of winning teams rather than the best of a mediocre bunch. At 46, LaCava is both young enough to have the energy to take on a rebuilding project and the experience to handle any situation. He'd be perfect for a team coming off a disappointment, says one insider. "He's a guy that can find a bright side in any thing," one journalist noted. "He could probably get more leeway on a cold start than any guy this side of Omar Minaya." It's a different style of charisma, but LaCava has "it."
I really don't think we can afford to lose "one of the most savvy talent evaluators in the game". I think keeping him should be made priority #1. This could be done through the promotion of LaCava to GM (with JP sliding over to president), or even a contract extension for LaCava.
If the Jays want to be a successful team by building from within, then they'll need to keep LaCava to get it done.