Blue Jays shake up minor league coaching staffs
The Toronto Blue Jays confirmed their minor league coaching shake-up confirming the firing of the Fisher Cats manager Gary Allenson, Canadians manager Rich Miller and the Lugnuts pitching coach Willie Collazo.
Blue Jays player development director Gil Kim spoke to Shi Davidi of Sportsnet confirming the firings and reiterated there would be no further coaching moves made and that new key hires would be forthcoming.
"“It’s always difficult when you have to make changes at the end of a season. At this point, we’re comfortable with what we’re lined up for. There are some key hires coming up this off-season and we’ll move forward and hire the best people that we can.”"
News broke of the Rich Miller termination shortly after his Vancouver Canadians claimed the
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Northwest League title with Miller at the helm. Miller who was a career minor leaguer in the New York Mets farm system had been with the Jays since 2009 working in a variety of capacities.
Gary Allenson had been with the Jays since 2013 where he managed the New Hampshire Fisher Cats for one season before being promoted to manage the Buffalo Bisons, a position he held for three seasons. In 2017, Allenson was replaced in Buffalo and reassigned to once again manage in New Hampshire. The former major league catcher played 416 games in the show including his final 14 games with the Blue Jays in 1985.
Allenson will always be remembered for this over the top ejection tirade while managing the Norfolk Tides.
The third and final coach to get his walking papers was the pitching coach for the Lansing Lugnuts. Willie Collazo. The former pitcher was in his first season as pitching coach in Lansing after holding the same position for the Vancouver Canadians in 2016. The 37-year old native of Puerto Rico made 6 relief appearances at the major league level with the Mets in 2007. Collazo also pitched parts of three seasons in the Jays farm system before hanging up the spikes to coach.
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The club has not provided any insight or reason for the firings, however, the Miller axing definitely came at a peculiar time with Vancouver being crowned champions.