“As we looked at our history and kind of opened the wounds here, we began to ask what have we done wrong and why have we not been able to make sense of this here,” MLSE president and CEO Tim Leiweke explained. “One of the things that was very clear is that we’re always struggling with the cap here. We’re getting out-traded, we were always in trouble with our cap, we were always trying to get rid of bad contracts from day one….this has always been an issue here. We’ve never done a great job of analyzation, we were always about flash and not about work.”
In order to address this issue, the Reds hired Bezbatchenko, a 31-year-old attorney who has spent the last three years working in the league office overseeing contracts, arranging signings and various other player personnel duties for six MLS teams, one of which was Toronto FC. While Bezbatchenko has impressive credentials and was highly regarded by MLS Commissioner Don Garber, he’s also a neophyte not just as a GM, but in any sort of team front office environment.
It’s a risky move for Leiweke to begin his stewardship of TFC with a rookie general manager, yet he sees Bezbatchenko’s hiring as a forward-thinking move. As if expectations weren’t high enough, Leiweke even described the move as “a Theo Epstein kind of hire,” drawing comparisons to the former Boston Red Sox GM who was hired at age 28 and eventually delivered two World Series titles to the long-suffering baseball team.
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