There are trade-offs and bargains whenever a manager puts together his major-league coaching staff - a little give and take; a little 'I'll give you this guy if you give me this guy.'
But do not think that just because there was no Latino presence Monday on John Farrell's Toronto Blue Jays staff the team is not sensitive to the fact that part of re-establishing itself as a player in the drafting and developing of prospects is making sure there is a Latin-American presence around the team. It is, in the words of general manager Alex Anthopoulos "definitely not lost on us."
In addition to the staff that was revealed by Farrell - pitching coach Bruce Walton, third-base coach Brian Butterfield and hitting coach Dwayne Murphy will return, joining first-base coach Torey Lovullo, bench coach Don Wakamatsu and bullpen coach Pat Hentgen - the Blue Jays are considering adding another coach who would be in uniform before games but not during games.
'Quality assurance coaches,' 'major-league field co-ordinators,' or just plain old 'roving coaches' - call them what you will. Tim Bogar and Todd Greene have filled the role for the Tampa Bay Rays in recent seasons, and Sarnia's Rob Thomson, a coach with the New York Yankees, filled a similar role before joining Joe Girardi's staff as a coach. Rob Leary was called 'staff assistant' with the Boston Red Sox, and Anthopoulos noted that Claude Raymond served in a similar capacity for the Montreal Expos during their final season.
A likely candidate for the job is Luis Rivera, the former major-league infielder who earned plaudits for his work with the Blue Jays' Double-A New Hampshire affiliate this past season. Rivera would be a boon for the team with Yunel Escobar destined to play an important role and the job also leaves Rivera available to parachute in if need be to help continue the development of Cuban defector Adeiny Hechavarria, who has become something of a protégé.
There are few surprises on Farrell's staff, other than perhaps the absence of bullpen coach Rick Langford, who has been a loyal organizational foot-soldier and worked so well with Walton in developing the organization's arm management. But Hentgen earned his keep as a roving minor-league pitching coach, and is held in high regard by the organization's young prospects. Former bench coach Nick Leyva and first-base coach Omar Malave, like Langford, have been offered jobs within the organization.
Lovullo will be Farrell's sergeant-at-arms. They were teammates with the-then California Angels and also worked together in the Cleveland Indians organization and Lovullo was the manager of the Boston Red Sox' Triple-A Pawtucket affiliate in 2010 when Farrell was the Red Sox pitching coach. "If there is that one person I could confide in or vent to about the daily frustrations that might emerge, he is the guy," Farrell said.
Wakamatsu was fired as Seattle Mariners manager and had been widely considered a candidate for Buck Showalter's Baltimore Orioles staff. He and Lovullo possess in-game managerial experience, something that Farrell lacks. Wakamatsu has also earned recognition for his abilities as a catching instructor, so take note, J.P. Arencibia.
"Our goal is to make [Arencibia]an everyday catcher," Farrell said.
Wakamatsu has been linked to the New York Mets' managerial vacancy and he will be allowed to interview for any potential opening. Wakamatsu is also going to be in charge of the organization and running of spring training, something that has been part of Butterfield's job description in recent seasons.
Farrell wants the Blue Jays to be more active offensively than they were under his predecessor Cito Gaston, and says Murphy's on board even though Murphy was a Gaston guy. Farrell said that in his conversations with Blue Jays players - he estimates he's worked his way through 90 per cent of the 40-man roster - several players "pounded the table," for Murphy. So we now know that in addition to everything else, Farrell is a listener; nothing wrong with that.
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