For those who are unaware of his addition in the managerial hierarchy, Sal Fasano has been put in charge of the manager’s role with the Lansing Lugnuts for the 2010 season. Sal had a low key MLB career, beginning with the KC Royals in 1996 (debut April 3rd) and ending with the Indians in 2008 (last game September 14th). The Jays were very impressed with the quality person that he is, loved his ability to tutor other players and the knowledge of the game that he holds – as most catchers tend to be able to do if they’re dedicated I may add – and his time with the Jays organization was pleasant enough to lure Sal to the Jays when he sought to begin his “official” coaching career. Defense was always Sal’s forte, proven by a .987 career fielding percentage during his 451 games played in MLB, and he caught 31% of runners attempting to steal against him.
Many may ask “so why is this significant?” or “what do I care who coaches a LoA team?”, to which I would counter “quality throughout an organization is critical to ensuring long-term success, and Sal fits that mold to a capital T.” When I sit back and consider the fact that we have some very young and potential super star caliber catchers that are about to play in LoA Lansing in 2010 or 2011, it makes me very happy to know that Sal will be there to guide them. Carlos Perez should be in Lansing at some point in 2010, and may be joined there by Yan Gomes or Sean Ochinko. Santiago Nessy is another future catcher that will make his way to Lansing in 2012 or 2013. Some of these guys will gain invaluable knowledge from Sal and will be able to climb the ladder more quickly and effectively than they otherwise could as a result. I know that teams in the minors have staffs to teach each aspect of the game, and that Sal won’t be there as a catcher’s coach and will be one busy guy, but the simple fact that they can approach him and ask him some question / get some pointers makes a big difference than if they had a ex-second baseman or outfielder as a coach, for example. Although Sal will improve the catching prospects and their development, he’ll also have a major influence on other players and pitchers by bringing with him a vast amount fo knowledge and the personality to get it across to them in the proper and effective manner.
Having said that, there is another reason that this hiring intrigues me: the new direction of the club and the eventual departure of Cito Gaston after the 2010 season (reportedly). Implying that they’ll watch Sal coach in LoA and ask him to make the jump to the majors is a little far-fetched, although it isn’t out of the realm of possibilities if the Jays like what they see in Lansing. But, a more likely scenario has Sal moving up the ladder if the Jays promote from within when they hire new staff to replace Cito and others. Sal is entering the Jays coaching ranks at a time when changes are being made to all levels of the organization, and his experience and effectiveness as a coach (to be determined) could go a long way to helping the Jays compete in the future. His influence on players by teaching them how the game is played and his experience in the minors can both go a long way to making the transition easier on our young players.
I like the hiring a lot. I’m a huge Sal Fasano fan, and love the ‘stache. I definitely intend on keeping an eye on, and asking players, what kind of influence he has on them as they flow through Lansing in 2010. The Jays have added another quality person to the organization here, and that’s always a great thing.