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Over the last few days the Jays have parted ways with several members of our scouting and development staff. Gone are Scouting Director Brian Parker, National Crosschecker Blake Davis, and Minor League Field Co-ordinator Doug Davis.

We at Da Box want to thank Mr. Parker and Messrs. Davis for their contributions to the organization. The loss of Doug Davis, in particular, will be a tough pill to swallow for Bauxites. The Doug Davis interviews were always one of the more popular and informative instalments. In fact, I think the first Batter's Box article I read was an interview between Gerry and Doug Davis. I was hooked. From all of us, thank you and best of luck!
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Gerry - Friday, August 19 2016 @ 01:55 PM EDT (#329298) #
Baseball, like many businesses, is a business of "your guys". The new GM always brings in some of his guys. We see it most often in the managers chair but it happens all over the front office too. I don't know if any of the "dearly departed" were surprised, sometimes you can read the tea leaves and have your resume "out there" and sometimes you are shocked.

The need to bring in your own guys is accepted in baseball but I often feel it displays a lack of confidence. A good manager should be able to work with anyone. Some employees may need to be replaced due to lack of performance and we on the outside cannot judge that. If the dismissals are for poor performance I would look to see if the Jays promote from within. AA did quite a bit of that. However if replacements are brought in from outside, then it smacks of cronyism and my starting comment about poor self confidence stands.
ISLAND BOY - Friday, August 19 2016 @ 02:09 PM EDT (#329299) #
Well said, Gerry.
rpriske - Friday, August 19 2016 @ 02:13 PM EDT (#329300) #
I disagree. If a GM is working with someone, in any position, and he has worked with someone before who he thought did a better job and that other person is available, it is his job to bring in the better person.

Is that cronyism? Only if he brings that person in for reasons other than 'he is better at the job'.

It sucks for the person replaced and it is perfectly fair game to say that the GM is wrong in his evaluation of the people involved but there is nothing inherently wrong or unethical about it.

Kasi - Friday, August 19 2016 @ 02:57 PM EDT (#329301) #
Indeed. I can be both sad that we lost a valuable piece of insight we had into the Jays org but at the same time happy we're going in a different direction. Player development for the Jays has long been a thing that's been below average, especially in position players. Once you go past Pillar the last guy we had graduate from the minors into a big league player was either Lind or Hill. That's not a good track record of success. Who knows if he'll even bring in someone he worked with before, although odds are they do.
Kasi - Friday, August 19 2016 @ 03:02 PM EDT (#329303) #
As for promoting from within or bringing in from the outside, I just want the best people in the position. If that person is in the org that's great since all things being equal you want to reward your people, but if there is a clearly superior candidate from outside the org I want that person in there. Bringing fresh blood into an organization is important, in both management and players.
Vulg - Friday, August 19 2016 @ 03:04 PM EDT (#329304) #
The need to bring in your own guys is accepted in baseball but I often feel it displays a lack of confidence. A good manager should be able to work with anyone. Some employees may need to be replaced due to lack of performance and we on the outside cannot judge that. If the dismissals are for poor performance I would look to see if the Jays promote from within. AA did quite a bit of that. However if replacements are brought in from outside, then it smacks of cronyism and my starting comment about poor self confidence stands.

The thing that doesn't sit quite right with me is the copious praise the FO heaped on the department not too long ago.

I'm more accustomed to this kind of double speak from senior management in corporations. I'm probably even guilty of it to some degree at times (though I try hard to maintain transparency). Just seems disingenuous in retrospect.

PeterG - Friday, August 19 2016 @ 03:05 PM EDT (#329305) #
There is more to come. Shapiro wanted to change things up last January but was asked to hold of till present contracts were nearer expiration.
hypobole - Friday, August 19 2016 @ 04:16 PM EDT (#329311) #
"The thing that doesn't sit quite right with me is the copious praise the FO heaped on the department not too long ago."

Because a department is praiseworthy, does that mean every single member of that department is the best person available to work in that department?

I'm not making judgments here, just asking, since I've worked in successful departments where there were extremely high achievers, but also a few competent but replaceable members. (Please don't ask which category I fell into)
PeterG - Friday, August 19 2016 @ 04:26 PM EDT (#329313) #
There are many people working in these departments including scouting. So, if 7/8 are dismissed, it is not a condemnation of the whole department.

As another bauxite correctly posted, the BJ development system was not well regarded under AA admin but is now highly respected in baseball circles due to things that have been changed the past few months. Just see the comments of recent draftees Bo Bichette and Josh Winckowski for verification.
CeeBee - Friday, August 19 2016 @ 04:32 PM EDT (#329314) #
Would rookie ballers who just signed 2 months ago and have never been in another pro org be the best singers of praise?
just asking.
PeterG - Friday, August 19 2016 @ 04:39 PM EDT (#329317) #
Yes, they would as they would have been advised by their peers that the Jays were a good (if not the best) org to sign with. Jays are now doing things in development that no other teams are doing yet......things such as better nutrition, better care for players in general including injury prevention. I believe that Jays presently have fewer pitching injuries than any other org at the present time.

One can debate drafting or trading whatever but in the area of player development the new admin has been a significant improvement.
Kasi - Friday, August 19 2016 @ 04:40 PM EDT (#329318) #
Well Pompey himself was pretty damning towards AA.

http://jaysfromthecouch.com/2016/08/14/toronto-blue-jays-dalton-pompey-the-interview-mlb-milb-news/

JFtC: Is there a difference now that the regime has changed? Do you feel your development is being handled differently?

DP: Yeah, I think itís a lot different than when Alex was here. When Alex was here I felt like it was more about Ė not that it isnít a business overall Ė but he kind of treated everybody like a business piece. It was a lot different. I never really talked to him at all, but these new guys, I talk to Ross Atkins a lot and heís really in tune with my routine and what Iím doing to prepare myself for the game and let the results take care of itself. Thereís kind of a different mindset to what they do and I think thatís just because they came from the Indians, where they are really big on development. Itís definitely helped me out a lot.
85bluejay - Friday, August 19 2016 @ 04:52 PM EDT (#329320) #
I have no problems with what Shapiro is doing - I'm sure the people fired are competent but you need everybody singing from the same songbook & in whom you have confidence.
jerjapan - Friday, August 19 2016 @ 05:27 PM EDT (#329323) #
Sad as well to read about Doug Davis - your interviews with him were a yearly highlight for me Gerry!

Kasi, we definitely have struggled to develop position players, but don't forget we've been drafting a LOT of pitching - the 2013 draft for example we picked our first position player in the 10th round. Dwight Smith, Dj Davis and Mitch Nay have been busts but (injuries aside) Pentacost and Alford have been good ... was it the development team?  I do agree though that overall the results haven't been great. 

And that Pompey quote is very interesting, nice to hear Atkins taking a personal approach, although I could understand why Pompey specifically might not have been AA's biggest fan. 
PeterG - Friday, August 19 2016 @ 05:32 PM EDT (#329324) #
We may not like John Farrell, in fact I find him somewhat obnoxious. But he was correct 3 years back when he said the Jays were a scouting organization, not a development one. That is being changed.
lexomatic - Friday, August 19 2016 @ 06:49 PM EDT (#329327) #
I thought Nay was an injury case.
ComebyDeanChance - Friday, August 19 2016 @ 07:53 PM EDT (#329328) #
I think of 'cronyism' as bringing someone in only because he's your buddy.

That's a different matter from bringing in someone in whom you have more confidence. A good example was the replacement of Stephen Brooks with Andrew Miller. One could cynically say this was 'cronyism' because Miller was previously with the Indians. More realistically, he's a guy with an MBA from probably the best public university in the world, who brought in the kind of changes that the President thought best for the organization - for example bringing the org into the 21st century in ticket pricing, revamping season ticket sales etc - and the President knew he was a person who could handle the portfolio from his previous dealings with him.

The organization is changing more rapidly than in the past. It wasn't that long ago (to me at least) that the president was a hockey guy, and the GM an ex-groundskeeper. Then the president was a newspaper guy and the GM a cross-checker in over his head. We now have an experienced baseball president who is revamping the development system, the health and fitness departments, and who I anticipate will want to make sure that the people who he thinks are the best people to do it are in charge. And reading the Pompey interview makes me think he's made a strong hire in the GM office.

I don't think there is any reason to suspect that the present changes are anything other than those that are considered to be best for the organization. I have no problem with that at all.
John Northey - Friday, August 19 2016 @ 08:22 PM EDT (#329330) #
What I hope is that the scouts on the ground who found people like Graveman who are diamonds in the rough are still around but higher ups who had issues developing any hitting are the ones being replaced. I like the idea of digging into doing much better nutrition as I've felt that was an area ML teams were screwing up on in the minors - feed the kid well and proper with proper training and you will get better prospects automatically.

One way to look at it is - Act like your minor leaguers are Olympic athletes between Olympics and when they get to the majors you are in the Olympic year with that player. Get Olympic level training in place from rookie to AAA and not just in the majors. Have nutrition experts at each team sit down with players and explain why McDonalds is not a good choice (for example). Then provide the healthy food to the players from top to bottom. Any coaches/development people in the system who resist are let go.
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