Hand out the badges to the new coaches in town. Riding in on the proverbial horse but not through the lobby of the Royal York Hotel (a la the Calgary Stampeders….ARGOS!) will be pitching coach and former Blue Jay Pete Walker. Hitting coach will briefly a former Blue Jay in Chad Mottola. Bruce Walton is gone and Dwayne Murphy has moved to First Base and Ourfield Coach. Replacing Butter is the new Margarine Man Luis Rivera (a gawdsend of a coach with our heavy latin influence). Don Wakamatsu was cast aside for the almost manager of the Blue Jays and former third base coack of the Orioles DeMarlo Hale who will become our new bench coach. Bullpen Coach TBA.
What does this collection of rootin’ tootin’ new bloods bring to the table? How about being just that: new blood. Mottola has worked and helped countless current and soon to be current Blue Jays. He is partially credited with helping Edwin Encarnacion become the hitter he has become. Walker has always defied the odds and had a decent career in the majors due to his pitching knowledge even moreso than his talent level. With Gibbons back and the staff he is forging forward with, it is truly a culture change.
You got the feeling with the Farrell regime that they were a bunch of nice, solid baseball people. The whole staff seemed very chill and I think this carried over to the players. It was just the pacing of things. The way the games played out at times. It seemed like there was no sense of urgency…that they were playing off of talent alone. Talent alone sends you home at the end of the day.
These gentlemen are all fairly new to the coaching game. Worked for Kirk Gibson and his staff. Same with Bud Black and his staff. I am hoping the hunger to win still drives these guys. The need to succeed and to win and to do it to the best of your ability is what made our coaches great players and even better people.
If Pete Walker can translate the relationships he made last season as a bullpen coach to the current roster I think we may have a perfect fit for this collection of power arms. Strong-hearted and respected (having spent so much time in the minors and with the Jays organization) he has worked with a few of these guys already and even has the blessing of Bruce Walton who was a pretty good pitching coach for us in his own right. Our team is full of the men that Gibby worked well with his last tenure here.
I see young and hungry coaches and players and even front office staff coming together. This franchise has truly taken an evolutionary step towards relevance and here is hoping some of these rookie coaches bring what is needed to the 21st century ballplayers littering our roster. Very intriguing Mr. Anthopoulos…