Not surprisingly, the Blue Jays let their coaching staff know that they will not be guaranteed a job next year, and that the new manager will have a great deal of say in who is on his staff.
We already knew that John Gibbons would not return next year, but the Blue Jays took it another step further on with their coaching staff.
On Friday the front office let their coaching staff know that they will not be guaranteed a job next year, and that the yet-to-be-hired next skipper will be making the majority of those decisions. This sort of practice is common in the MLB, as most of the time managers want to build their own staff around them, which helps reinforce solidarity in their message.
That coaching staff includes several veteran names like Pete Walker as the pitching coach, Brook Jacoby as the hitting coach, DeMarlo Hale as the bench coach, Tim Leiper at first base, Luis Rivera at third, and more (the complete list can be found here).
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To be clear, the coaches were not told that they definitely will not be brought back next year, just that there is no guarantee that they will still be employed. In fact, the way that it was phrased was that they were told they could look for employment with another team if they choose, according to Shi Davidhi of Sportsnet. This allows them to look for the job security they likely no longer have in Toronto for next year and beyond.
The key to the opportunity of being retained likely depends on who the next manager is. If it’s someone with little experience in the role (like an Aaron Boone hiring in New York last winter), it’s possible the new skipper could want to keep someone like Hale around for some continuity for the remaining players, and to have someone reliable to learn the ropes of working in Toronto from.
On the other hand, the Blue Jays are at a rebuilding junction, so a complete tear down of the staff would make sense right now. There will likely be some returning players like Russell Martin, Marcus Stroman, Kendrys Morales, and more, but those individuals understand the transition the franchise is going through right now.
The Blue Jays will want to move quickly in naming their next manager, especially because there’s a good chance that whomever is selected will need to build their own staff as well. While the Blue Jays aren’t expected to be contenders for at least a season or two as they rebuild, picking the right manager, and the rest of the coaches around him, will be crucial to the development of a young team.
The next manager will be chosen with several factors in mind, with possibly one of them being an ability to communicate directly with the Latin Americans on the roster. If they do go with an English speaking only choice like a Stubby Clapp, or a John McDonald, the importance of having that voice in the dugout will be that much more important. In that case someone like Luis Rivera could be retained to help the transition to a new bench boss, but he’s also not the only one in baseball with that skill set.
It sounds like the front office is open to the idea, again depending on who they name as their next manager. However, showing the respect of letting their current coach staff know that there is no guarantee is crucial. It shows respect for the work that’s been done, and also shows other prospective coaches that things are done in a classy manner in Toronto, or at least as well as they can be when coaches are losing their jobs with a year left on their contracts.
With two games remaining in the 2018 season, we may be seeing the last of a few faces that have grown familiar to Blue Jays fans. Unfortunately that’s just what happens after two consecutive losing seasons.