Blue Jays Minor League Staffs to be Announced Next Week

 

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Corey Hart – TSN photo

The Blue Jays will release the names of their minor league coaching and instructional staffs next week, a sign that spring may not be just around the corner here in Southern Ontario, but it’s coming down the hall.

After last season, the Blue Jays let several minor league staffers go:  Rich Miller, who led Vancouver to a Northwest League title in his return to Managing; New Hampshire Manager Gary Allenson, and Willie Collazo, who served as Lansing’s Pitching Coach last year.  In addition, long time Toronto minor league instructor and newly-minted Hall of Famer Tim Raines left the organization to become a goodwill ambassador with the White Sox, who he both played and coached for.

In December, it was announced that Bobby Meacham would be returning to Manage Buffalo again this year.  Devon White, who served as the Bisons Hitting Coach last year, will stay with the team, but with a change in portfolio to Outfield and Base Running Coach.

Gazing into the crystal ball, in addition to the vacancies that will need to be filled, it would be reasonable to expect some changes may be made with the DSL Blue Jays in the wake of the PED suspensions that have occured since September.  That’s not to say that Manager John Tamargo Jr and his staff were responsible, but it’s likely that a change of scenery might be wise.

Ken Huckaby (Roving Catching Instructor) and Jeff Ware (Pitching Instructor) were new to their roles last year, and from many accounts did a fantastic job.   Corey Hart, who earned raves for his work with hitters in the Arizona Fall League after serving as Dunedin’s Hitting Coach last year,  and Cesar Martin, who Managed Lansing, would be deserving candidates for a move up the ladder.

Expect an announcement sometime by the middle of next week.

 

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Raines Leaves Jays for Sox

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si.com photo

Hall of Famer Tim Raines, who has served as a Blue Jays minor league instructor since 2012, has left the club to accept an ambassadorship with the Chicago White Sox.

Raines was introduced today by the Sox, along with A.J. Pierzynski and Jose Contreras.  Raines was a coach with the World Series winning 2005 team, while Pierzynski and Contreras were teammates. Raines was traded from the Expos to the Sox in 1991, and played five seasons for them.

Raines was an immensely popular instructor in the Blue Jays system, working with Outfielders and baserunners at all levels:

With rumours that Raines was hoping to land a major league coaching job next season already circling, it’s no surprise that the travelling life of a minor league instructor was taxing Raines, who has a young family.  Given his work with the Blue Jays minor leaguers, however, he may have been more valued by other organizatons in that role.

Raines told the Chicago Tribune that he was looking forward to working with players on the Sox roster:

“Being a part of an organization after being a player is sort of giving back … to the game, giving back to some of the players that are trying to reach their goal as far as being major-leaguers.”

Raines was a positive influence among a number of Blue Jays farmhands, including highly regarded prospect Anthony Alford:

I can’t speak much about him as a player, but I know he’s one of the best guys you will ever meet. He’s been awesome. Not only as an instructor, but also as a person. It’s always a good time working with him. He makes everything fun. When you’re having a bad day, he will find a way to make you smile. One of the most genuine guys I’ve ever been around. Everyone in the org loves him. I’m definitely a big fan of rock

There has been no word yet from the Blue Jays about Raines’ replacement.  They typically announce minor league staffs several weeks before spring training.