Following a close game in New York, the Blue Jays are apparently switching up the pro scouting department, per sources.
According to Shi Davidi of Sportsnet (who in turn confirmed the report of the Athletic’s Robert Murray), the Blue Jays are letting go scouts Jon Bunnell, Kimball Crossley, Dan Evans, and Bryan Lambe. In addition, Jim Beattie and Brad Matthews are retiring, with Davidi noting that those “positions will be replaced”.
Evans, a Chicago native, was, at one point, the Executive Vice President and General Manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers from 2001 to 2004. Most notably, Evans was at the helm when Blue Jays catcher Russell Martin was drafted by the Dodgers. Following that, he served as the commissioner of the independent Northern League of Professional Baseball.
Crossley, who has been with the organization for 14 years, reported to Assistant General Manager Tony Lacava for much of his tenure with the club. He is also a children’s author and has published a picture book in 2016.
Bunnell had previously scouted for the Angels, Mets and Astros organizations before joining the Blue Jays. According to Baseball Reference, he was responsible for the signings of Shane Opitz and Sergio Perez.
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Lambe, another former member of the New York Mets organization, was a well regarded scout within the organization. He was a professional scout who would travel to examine players on opposing major league squads.
Of the notable retirees, Jim Beattie, who joined the team in 2010, was a player for the Yankees and Mariners from 1978 to 1986. Pitching a total of 1148.2 major league innings, he had a career ERA of 4.17 while punching out 660 and walking 461 after being drafted in 1975. As an executive, he served as the GM of the Montreal Expos from 1989 to 1995 and was the Executive Vice-President of the Orioles from 2002 to 2005.
Matthews, a former Tampa Bay Rays scout, joined the Blue Jays in 2012. With the Rays, he was well-known for signing David Price and Taylor Motter, while also signing current Blue Jays reliever Taylor Guerrieri.
While it’s difficult for fans to see the importance of moves such as these, it’s important to know that scouts, while discrete and often uncredited, are a huge part of the player development of a given organization.