The coaching changes continue for the Toronto Blue Jays, as they have let go one of their longest-tenured coaches.
According to Shi Davidi of Sportsnet, the Blue Jays are firing longtime bullpen coach Dane Johnson and are hiring 34-year-old Matt Buschmann as a replacement. Johnson, Davidi notes, has been a coach in the organization since 2000.
Buschmann, on the other hand, brings an element of youth to the coaching staff, having been a minor league pitcher from 2006 to 2016. He briefly appeared in the bigs for the Arizona Diamondbacks, tossing 4.1 innings in 2016 to an ERA of 2.08. Interestingly enough, the native of St. Louis, Missouri signed a minor-league deal with the Blue Jays in 2017 but never ended up appearing in a game for the organization.
Now, the coaching picture becomes a little clearer, as Johnson, one of the last remnants of the old regime, has been let go. While there’s no official confirmation of this move — the Blue Jays’ official coaching page on MLB.com doesn’t indicate switch yet — it certainly looks like that this report is legitimate.
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Prior to this, Buschmann was the “assistant director of run prevention” with the San Francisco Giants, a position that Davidi notes was created by current Cincinnati Reds manager David Bell, who, prior to joining the Reds, was a finalist for the Blue Jays’ managerial job.
The Jays must now figure out what to do with bench coach DeMarlo Hale, whose future with the club is still uncertain. On top of that, they must find a replacement first base coach, as Tim Leiper is reportedly set to be let go this winter. While Hale could conceivably step into that role, there’s been no official confirmation from the team yet.
Regardless, the coaching picture should become clearer within the next few weeks, as individual roles begin to iron themselves out as things progress.