“He had even talked about it a little bit last year — that 2010 might be his last year with us,” Anthopoulos said during a conference call. “He didn’t know that he wanted to continue. Really, at this time, reviewing everything, this was the right move for the organization going forward. This was carefully thought out. Everyone had a chance to state their opinions.”
Gaston is in for a change but so is the entire coaching staff of the Jays. Pitching coach Brad Arnsberg accepted the role of pitching coach with the Houston Astros, while hitting coach Gene Tenace decide to retire.
For the remaining Jays staff, a revision of previous duties is on the horizon. Brian Butterfield will resume his third base coach duties, a role he served in from 2002-2007. Nick Leyva, who was named third base coach when Gaston returned to the Jays, will now become Gaston’s second in command. Finally, Omar Malava who has been in the Jays minor-league system since 1990 is now the full-time first base coach.
“With the layout that we have,” Anthopoulos said, “it’s really in every sense of the word, ‘What is the strongest staff for us?’ There’s no question — chemistry, relationships — that’s absolutely part of it. I think any time you build a team, whether it’s in an office or on the field, you look at how all these pieces are going to fit together. Who’s going to work well together? How’s the communication going to be? That’s certainly part of it.”
Alex Anthopoulos, who took over the reigns after the firing of J.P. Ricciardi, says the recent coaching changes all serve a bigger purpose.
“When I was able to sit down and talk with everybody and get their feedback,” Anthopoulos said, “it was made clear to me that, in my opinion, a lot of this was slightly overblown and these things could be addressed and could be rectified in a certain way. This was certainly part of it.”
One can hope that these changes help the Jays in the end, but they are still in the American League East with the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, and the newly charged Tampa Bay Rays.
Re-tooling has to begin at the top, and work its way down, just as in every business model. I hope that these changes with experienced staff members can reinvigorate a young Blue Jays team that showed promise but tailed off during the second half of the ’09 season when faced with the more experienced front-runners of the division.
Devon Teeple is an author for the Business of Sports Network, which includes the Biz of Baseball, the Biz of Football, the Biz of Basketball and the Biz of Hockey. He is a former professional baseball player with the River City Rascals & Gateway Grizzlies.
Devon is a former student within Sports Management Worldwide’s Baseball General Manager Class. Devon is the founder of The GM’s Perspective and is a intern with The Football Outsiders and contributor with the Plymouth River Eels.