In Ross Atkins' year-end press conference, the Blue Jays GM promised that changes were going to be coming to the big league coaching staff. After all, the team's hitting and baserunning fell way short of expectations in 2023.
The very first domino to fall this year came in the form of Dave Hudgens, the club's hitting strategist, who was reassigned elsewhere in the organization. On Tuesday at the GM Meetings in Scottsdale, Arizona, Atkins spoke to reporters - including Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet - and confirmed that Hudgens' new role will be out of the player development complex in Florida. There, he will work "in a hybrid role identifying hitters to acquire" and "mentor the Jays' young hitting coaches."
Switching over to Don Mattingly, the Blue Jays' bench coach in 2023; the respected veteran is set to return to the role next year ... for now. With reports surfacing that he is going to interview for the open Milwaukee Brewers managerial gig, his status on the Jays could change at any moment.
According to Atkins, Mattingly will not only remain the bench coach, but he will also take on a larger role in the future. Starting in 2024, he is going to become the Blue Jays' "offensive coordinator", which is not a term typically used in baseball. As of right now, it's not perfectly clear what that position will entail.
Elsewhere on the coaching staff, the Blue Jays formally announced the hiring of new third base coach, Carlos Febles. The 47-year-old spent the last few seasons in the same role on the division rival Boston Red Sox.
In other news, the fate of hitting coach Gabriel Martinez has been decided (spoiler alert, he's not going anywhere). The 39-year-old has been the Blue Jays' hitting coach since 2018 and has been responsible for some of the team's most productive offensive units. When the Jays offense struggled this past year, many placed the blame solely on Martinez. However, those very same people were just fine with how he did his job when the club ranked fourth in the league in runs scored the year before.
For now, Martinez will continue in his role. With Luis Rivera and Hudgens either retiring or being placed elsewhere in the organization, perhaps it'll come up that Martinez was never the problem to begin with. However, he should be on thin ice and if the Jays offense doesn't kick it up a notch, an entirely different conversation will be had.
Lastly, major league coach Adam Yudelman and mental performance coach Jimmy Van Ostrand will not return to the big league dugout in 2024. Shi Davidi of Sportsnet noted that Yudelman will be returning to a front office role while Van Ostrand could also remain in the organization in a different position.