Word just came out, according to Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi, that the Blue Jays have fired three veteran members of their minor league staff.
Ken Huckaby, who drew praise for the job he did running the alternate site at Rochester, was among three popular staff who will not have their contracts renewed. Former Jays Pat Hentgen and Paul Quantrill were let go as well.
Huckaby – a former Jay himself, of course – had been promoted to manage AAA Buffalo last off season, after serving as the organization’s roving catcher instructor for the past several seasons. He’d been a member of the minor league staff since 2015.
Hentgen was a part of the 92-93 World Series winners, and won a Cy Young award in a breakout 1996 season when he became the club’s first 20-game winner. Hentgen had worked in the system since 2011, and was most recently a special assistant to the club. He had also served as a bullpen coach twice for the Blue Jays.
Port Hope, ON, Quantrill, father of Cleveland pitcher Cal, was an effective bullpen member for six seasons, winning an All Star nod in 2001. He had been in the minor league system as a consultant and special assistant since 2013. Much of his work had been done with pitchers at the team’s minor league complex in Dunedin. He had a loyal following among a number of rehabbing arms who he worked with.
The reason for the termination of the three has not been announced, nor is it likely to be. Philosophical differences, heading in a new direction, seeking to make changes – take your pick. With the Jays still hoping to put together an Instructional League for a number of their top prospects next month, if that change was going to be made, now was probably the time.
With the Jays on the verge of clinching a playoff spot, you have to feel for the trio, though.