Blue Jays GM Ross Atkins receives 5-year contract extension

Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
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TORONTO — Toronto general manager Ross Atkins has agreed to a five-year contract extension through the 2026 season.

Ross’ deal was announced Wednesday. The Blue Jays hired him in December 2015 after 15 seasons in the front office with the Cleveland Indians.

“Simply put, Ross makes the Blue Jays better,” team president and CEO Mark Shapiro said. “I am extremely pleased that he will continue leading our baseball operations group during this exciting era for our players, staff, and most importantly, our fans, as we move closer to building a sustainable championship contender for years to come.”

Shapiro got a five-year contract extension from Toronto in January. He worked for the Indians before becoming Blue Jays president on Oct. 31, 2015.

The Blue Jays were 32-28 last season and made the expanded playoffs. They also made the postseason in 2016, the first season for Shapiro and Atkins. That was Toronto’s second consecutive AL Championship Series appearance after a postseason drought that dated to back-to-back World Series titles in 1992 and 1993.

Royals fire manager Mike Matheny after 65-97 end to season

Minnesota Twis v Kansas City Royals
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Manager Mike Matheny and pitching coach Cal Eldred were fired by the Kansas Cty Royals on Wednesday night, shortly after the struggling franchise finished the season 65-97 with a listless 9-2 loss to the Cleveland Guardians.

The Royals had exercised their option on Matheny’s contract for 2023 during spring training, when the club hoped it was turning the corner from also-ran to contender again. But plagued by poor pitching, struggles from young position players and failed experiments with veterans, the Royals were largely out of playoff contention by the middle of summer.

The disappointing product led owner John Sherman last month to fire longtime front office executive Dayton Moore, the architect of back-to-back American League champions and the 2015 World Series title team. Moore was replaced by one of his longtime understudies, J.J. Picollo, who made the decision to fire Matheny hours after the season ended.

Matheny became the fifth big league manager to be fired this year.

Philadelphia’s Joe Girardi was replaced on June 3 by Rob Thomson, who engineered a miraculous turnaround to get the Phillies into the playoffs as a wild-card team. The Angels replaced Joe Maddon with Phil Nevin four days later, Toronto’s Charlie Montoyo was succeeded by John Schneider on July 13 and the Rangers’ Chris Woodward by Tony Beasley on Aug. 15.

In addition, Miami’s Don Mattingly said late last month that he will not return next season.