Yesterday I said it wouldn’t be long until we saw the Jays make announcements on their vacant coaching positions. Sportsnet is reporting the Jays have made five moves to bolster its staff.
DeMario Hale we knew about. So who are the other four joining the squad?
The 2013 hitting coach will no longer be Dwayne Murphy. This position now goes to Chad Mottola, who becomes a big-leauge coach for the first time after spending the past three seasons as the hitting coach for the Jays triple-A Las Vegas affiliate. Murphy, however, still retains a seat at the coaching table. He will slide into the first base/outfield coach role recently vacated by Torey Lovullo who left to take a similar role with Farrell and the Red Sox.
Luis Rivera has been promoted from a coaching assistant to third base coach while Pete Walker moves from bullpen coach into the pitching coach role.
Both Don Wakamatsu (former bench coach) and Bruce Walton (former pitching coach) are out. Neither are being offered another position within the organization. The shuffle creates a vacancy at the bullpen coach position.
While none of these moves are big surprises, the hitting coach role is interesting. Mottola was rumoured to be going to the Indians as their new hitting coach and from everything you hear from baseball people, he is more than ready for a major league job. I find it curious, though, that the Jays kept Murphy. While the club has shown definite power under Murphy, the obp has been lacking (13 of 14 AL teams). You have to wonder if Murphy and Bautista are so close that the Jays didn’t want to cut Murphy loose. Murphy has received high praise from Bautista for re-engineering his swing. However, what else can you give Murphy? It took Edwin too long under Murphy to get going, so you really can’t give Murphy credit for it (but you can give it to Robbie Cano’s personal hitting instructor in the Dominican Republic – Edwin trained with them last offseason). With the line up we have, with the balance of speed and power, I’m glad that Murphy isn’t the hitting coach this season. He seems to live for the “all or nothing” philosophy. Homeruns are fun to watch, but it’s also nice to have lengthy offensive innings because you have guys who get on base. This forces the opposing starter to throw more pitches, gets you into the bullpen sooner and can be the difference in the final game of a series if the bullpens are battling it out.
I’m happy Pete Walker is getting a shot as pitching coach. However, I wouldn’t have complained to see someone with a bit more experience take that role.
Let’s see who slides into the bullpen coach role in the near future…