Photo Credit: MLB.com

Blue Jays Let Go Of Multiple Staffers, Including Assistant Trainer, Strength Coach, Longtime PR Employees

As I write this it’s still unclear who all has been let go by the Blue Jays in some staffing changes that have made their way into the media here on Wednesday afternoon. Based on what we know at this point, apart from a couple notable ones, it seems that most of the firings are going to be less about baseball operations and more about administrative staff, PR staff, etc. That maybe makes it less of a story for those who care about the day to day running of the team, of the farm system, player development, etc. But it makes it no less shitty that a bunch of people just lost their jobs.

We first learned of the moves via Bob Elliott:

He was far from the only media member to chime in about these folks in particular:

I don’t deal with the Jays’ PR staff nearly as much as the reporters above, because I’m not particularly interested in media access, nor do I think the Jays would be particularly interested in giving too much of it to me anyway, but whenever I have it’s been through Mal, and I can echo that he’s always been great to deal with. He was the person I approached when trying to get Cam and Stacey accredited for games in Dunedin this spring, making time to help me through the league’s weird online system to do so, and I can’t tell you how appreciative I am that someone at the club was willing to help me, a scumbag, come off as downright professional-ish in being able to secure those. And in previous years, though my attempts at leaning on the Jays for things have been few and far between, it was great to have Mal’s email in my back pocket and know that I could actually get an answer out of the club if I ever really needed to. (I’m sure I could have hit up Erik, too, and my very limited number of interactions with him were pleasant as well, so I’m not not singling him out, nor Susan, I just barely dealt with them, if ever, unlike Mal.)

So… that sucks.

What also maybe sucks is that, unlike previous rounds of house cleaning, where there is little else to do but trust the judgment of the organization and scoff at the flag-waving tools trying to make an issue of the dirty Americans firing upstanding Canadians purely out of malice, I think we can more comfortably say that this is a bit fucked up. And not a good look. (Like, I dunno, maybe ditch the PR wizards who didn’t warn you that letting go people who are going to cause you a tweetstorm of grief after the reporters they worked so closely with start letting on how much they like the longtime staffers you just kicked to the curb, eh?)

But that, of course, is probably just because it’s a little bit personal. And the thing is, dopes rushing to find fault with this front office no matter what they do are going to see whatever dumb shit they want to see, whether be it through maple shaped glasses or otherwise. And the leaders of the Jays’ organization are well within their rights to pick who they want to work with, and who they think are the best people for the jobs they have available. I have a hard time seeing how Mal shouldn’t still be there or wasn’t an asset, because from where I sit he definitely was — and evidently he was to a whole lot of other folks I know and whose opinions I trust as well — but I have to acknowledge here that I don’t know what anyone’s bosses wanted or nearly enough else about anyone’s situation beyond my fairly narrow experience to say anything one way or the other. (And neither does anybody else, for that matter.)

So it goes.

* * *

As I was writing the above section of this post, we’ve learned a few more names of the folks let go by the club today. To wit:

April’s cool — some of you may also remember her as a regular member of Jays Twitter as @Alleycat17 — so that one sucks to hear, too.

And then there’s this:

In the report Shi ties the firing of assistant athletic trainer Mike Frostad (the Jason Sudeikis-looking dude often in the dugout next to George Poulis) and strength coach Chris Joyner (often seen pre-game getting up close and personal with some of the Jays players) to the comments Ross Atkins made at his post-season press conference about communications problems relating to injured players.

Atkins said last week he felt like he let down Aaron Sanchez and Devon Travis and noted that, “there were times in the season that I was frustrated, our players were frustrated because of some of the inefficiency of our communication.”

“That happens in transitions, so that’s on me, that’s where I’ve got to ensure that doesn’t occur,” Atkins continued “… and when we are touching players with information and potential options and potential decisions to be made, that we’re much more streamlined, cohesive and leading that process.”

Seems a reasonable enough conclusion to draw.

And… yeah. Probably some changes that were going to come regardless — maybe some that were avoided a year ago so it didn’t look like the big bad Clevelanders were turfing everybody hired by the previous regime, or some that the organization has decided make more sense now that they have a better sense of the talent pool they’re drawing from — or maybe, if you want to look to the more nefarious corporate direction, it’s people they thought they could replace more cheaply getting fired in the name of “streamlining” (they’d hardly be the first company to ever do that) — but nonetheless some good people and good professionals losing their jobs. And the Blue Jays’ front office, though they maybe felt they had no other choice, stumbling a bit in their long-running and seemingly futile effort to win the trust of their fan base.

Nope, not really a great day.

I’ll add more names to this post as they become known. (Thought I could just compare the current front office directory to a cached version, but so far there have been no changes there — maybe they sacked whoever updates the front office directory, too!)

  • Jayme

    Hey anytime you can fire a bunch of non-baseball Joes to save a bit of coin for those sweet FA value-play contracts, you gotta do it. I hope they go after the cleaning staff next; minimum wage ain’t cheap anymore!

  • jays17

    Sure is nice getting an article on this that isn’t clouded by emotional and irrational dumping on Shapiro like most of the mainstream media (Steve Simmons anyone). I don’t always agree with Andrew but he gives us his opinion (and facts) straight. He should apply for these openings 😉

  • Barry

    It seems to me, based on Griffin’s article today, that the Jays are prioritizing direct engagement with fans over working with the media. And maybe that’s preferable to them in an era where it’s far easier to connect directly to fans … and thereby control the message, rather than filtering the message through media. Whether that works remains to be seen, since the new setup is, apparently, a first in MLB.

    The media department (one person — Jay Stenhouse) is now merged with the fan engagement department, who, presumably, were the knuckleheads who came up with the failed and grammatically incorrect “LetsRise” hashtag.