Blue Jays announce changes to Latin American operations
The Toronto Blue Jays continued their front office restructuring on Wednesday with a series of promotions within their Latin American operations. Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet was first with the news late this morning.
These moves should continue to align with much of the philosophy that new general manager Ross Atkins has brought over from Cleveland, where he served as the director of Latin American operations from 2004 until 2006 as a young executive.
Given the departure of prominent international executives such as Ismael Cruz, the restructuring of these departments is also brought on by some level of necessity as well.
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Atkins, who is bilingual and worked as a Spanish-English translator for Danys Baez after transitioning out of his own playing career, has also spoken several times about his desire to provide an easier transition for the Blue Jays international signings. Especially those coming from the Latin American region, where the culture and language changes are further compounded by how young these players are at the time.
Maintaining their deep roots in Latin America, especially the Dominican Republic, will be important for the Blue Jays given their profile in the area over the past two decades. A profile that may be stronger than ever now with stars like Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion leading the league’s most dangerous offense.
Bautista, himself, has emerged as an advocate for Latin American baseball. As one of the game’s more intelligent minds, Bautista has used his platform to speak out on issues facing young players from his area of the world, including this excellent piece for the Player’s Tribune entitled “The Cycle“.
If done right, a properly handled international scouting department can provide a major league club with a steady stream of high-end talent at a price which, relative to the free agent or trade market, is extremely club-friendly.