Goodnight, John Boy

As per an official team release, the coaching staff for your Toronto Fightin’ Gibbers is all but in place, with Demarlo Hale taking a spot as the bench coach as expected, Pete Walker moving up from bullpen coach to the full-on grown up pitching coach, Chad Mottola fulfilling his internet-determined destiny by becoming the Blue Jays new hitting coach. Luis Rivera gets a promotion to third base coach while Dwayne Murphy slips down a few runs to outfield instructor and first base coach. The bullpen coach position remains open – with Pat Hentgen possibly slipping into that role, suggests Mark Zwolinski.

Which means former pitching coach and long-time staffer Bruce Walton joins Don Wakamatsu at Kinkos, printing off copies of his resume and rehearsing answers to “what are you greatest weaknesses?” interview questions. Walton’s tenure as pitching coach was a rocky one, as nearly every pitcher under his watch saw his arm explode or at least randomly catch fire for a few innings.

What’s a coach worth, anyway? Dwayne Murphy become a tidy scapegoat for Blue Jays fans, his outward distaste for on base percentage and perceived “go up there and smack a tater!” mentality rubs some people the wrong way. This is an entirely simplistic and probably unfair characterization of Murph’s approach but it stuck.

Chad Mottola comes in with a sterling reputation gained during his time as hitting coach from the Jays Triple-A affiliate in Las Vegas. Which, if we’re being frank, is akin to being named “Miss Fort McMurray” three years running. Much was made of his work remaking the swing of Travis Snider, who blistered the National League to the tune of a .293 wOBA after all his time with Mottola.

Judging coaches on results is a dangerous game. How much of last year’s injury trouble is linked to Walton’s tutelage? What about Farrell’s usage? Can we credit Murph for Edwin Encarnacion’s breakout or does his success owe more to the time spent with a private hitting instructor at the urging of Robinson Cano and his father last winter? (Ed note: fixed.)

Rivera’s promotion seems nice on a warm and fuzzy level but, again, what do we really know about his contributions? It isn’t to say any or all of these coaches haven’t formed important bonds within the clubhouse and each other, it is just difficult to put a finger on.

Congrats to all new hires and promotions and thoughts go with fancy-writing Wak and guy who lives in Canada Bruce Walton. Shrugged shoulders all around…

Comments (184)

  1. this doesn’t make you feel a little nervous?

    • I feel about as nervous as I did before this was announced…

    • Why would this make anyone nervous?

      • walton, replaced by bullpen coach. mottola – most of his hitters can’t hit in the majors, while Bautista gives Murphy major credit . . .

    • I am not dead

      • I’ll shoot you again, you jackass!

        • It was just a dream…

        • Isn’t it frustrating when you lose the name of a plant? I have muilplte ways I try to keep track, but they’re all subject to human error. I use those aluminum tags that get etched when you write on them with a ball-point pen–they’re the best, because weather and wet won’t fade or destroy them–but they do get buried. I keep my sales receipts from plants–but where they are I know not. And sometimes I make maps of what I plant–but sometimes I don’t. And sometimes I move stuff without mapping it…I’d say this rose is sort of creamy peach, but who knows why variations? Weather? Soil? Sun? Heat (or lack of it)? or there’s always mistaken identity…

    • If you actually feel nervous about this you need to exercise more and get more sleep.

  2. That characterization probably stuck with Murph because he was not shy of saying that’s what he told players to do.

    • Incorrect.

      He told players to go up with a plan, which was to not specifically go up with the intention of taking a walk but wait for their pitch, and when they get it, hit it as hard as they can. The implication being that if they don’t get their pitch, don’t swing (which is where the walks come from, thereby increasing OBP).

      • Incorrect.

        “I think on-base percentage is an overrated stat,” Murphy said flatly. “Those guys getting on base, most of them aren’t getting them in. Give me somebody who drives them in after that. I need guys who can drive the ball.”


        • It’s so bewildering why Murphy and Joe Morgan became so anti-OBP considering it was such a big part of what made them successful players in their own careers. Murphy in his 12 seasons posted a
          .246/.356/.402 career average.

          • It’s probably because OBP was invented by Billy Beane’s computer.

          • I’ve never been able to figure that out either. Gregg Zaun is the same way – his best offensive skill was his obp, and yet he disparages it.

          • they just have self esteem issues, and are unwilling to accept the value of their contributions

          • I’ve read an anecdote before about someone pointing that out to Morgan, that the reason he was an inner-circle HOFer was OBP… Which then led to Joe Morgan the old fool arguing that Joe Morgan the ballplayer wasn’t historically great.

        • I do not see where what I said is in conflict with that quote. He is saying it is overrated, and based on all the other interviews, the basis for that being that the intention of the hitter should not be to take a walk. It should be to drive the ball hard when they get the pitch they are looking for. Again, implying patience for the pitch they are looking for, resulting in walks. Just because someone thinks something is over rated doesn’t mean they think it is a bad thing.

          • If a coach thinks OBP is over-rated, it’s very unlikely he’s going to stress its importance to his players.

            The Jays have been in the bottom half of the AL in terms of OBP for the last three years. I know it’s the players, not the coach, who takes the at bats, but I’d sure like to see someone encourage them to maybe have a little more patience, wouldn’t you?

            And, as someone else noted, it’s not like Murph’s gone. He’ll still be around to help the grip-it-and-rip-it guys who really dig his approach.

          • “I’ve never been able to figure that out either. Gregg Zaun is the same way – his best offensive skill was his obp, and yet he disparages it.”

            because Gregg Zaun was such a great player, right? so, you want to show that OBP means something by saying that is was Zaun’s (shitty baseball player’s) best stat?

            you are very stupid.

          • No, he’s saying OBP means something because OBP means something. Moron.

  3. Very interesting move.

    I am sure Murphy can still help out Bautista & Edwin & Mottola can work with the other players.

    Grip & rip doesn’t work with everyone.

    I am surprised about Walton leaving.

  4. None of this really surprises me, except that Murphy would agree to take on the new role. I expected to see Sal as the 1b coach…

  5. At least we don’t have to see Walton waltzing around with his muumuuu anymore right? Yet I seem to remember that Gibby wears one though right? bah. Only thing I’ll miss about Farrell is that he wore a proper jacket when managing. #fashion


  7. lets hope Rivara can wave them home with the same enthusiasm as Butterfield

    • - Only my husband Robert would write this. You must know him. Hey, you are him! =)@REBECCA – I agree – one or two gifts. Robert and I opted for one gift each this year. I’m very happy with what I’m gntiteg. =) Now, the kids, they’re another story. @TERRITORY MOM – You don’t have to ask me if it’s OK! You have something to contribute about this movie. I can’t wait to read it. Write away! I’ll link back. You are sooooo perfect to commentate about this movie. It’s a great fit for your blog and I wouldn’t at all be offended. I did love Patricia Neal in the role of Ma!

  8. Hey come on, Ms. Fort McMurray was hot.

  9. Wonder if the calligraphy instructor was offered a coaching spot and turned it down.

  10. A little surprised Murph would stick around having been demoted…. money I guess?
    I thought Brad Arnsberg would join him, because he knew him and was pretty good here…. If you truly believe Coachs and not players are responsible. Yes maybe Walton or Arnsberg taught them a few things……but even after learning things from coaches the pitcher still has to go out there and face the AL Beast.

  11. Ahem. It’s Miss Wood Buffalo, not Miss Fort McMurray. And Miss Lana Bibeau is a gorgeous and wonderful woman.

  12. Luis Mercedes is the guy that helped EE.

    He was sent to Mercedes by Cano Sr, but it wasn’t the Canos who did the work with EE.

    It’s a little piddly thing, but I like to pick at you, Drew.

  13. Well, it didn;t surprise me for I said on the week-end that results count, rightly or wrongly, and Walton had to go. Yes i got chastised by a few weak kneed libs saying waa waa “it;s not his fault and so on.
    Some truth to it , of course, how much..who knows.
    Look when you stink out the yard the way the Jays did, heads will roll-it;s the way it is in most businesses except the Ontario gov.
    So Walton had to go, and rather than lose Mottola to another org they decided to give him full throtlle and demote Murphy for the same reason elicited above.
    \I won’t be a hypocrite as I called for the removal of both and we shall see.
    I liken it to RIM . You know great product but for years now has had poor execution and many a management member there has been terminated. Not all were to blame, of course, but Results,baby, Results , or people get axed. Simple.

  14. Which, if we’re being frank, is akin to winning being named “Miss Fort McMurray” three years running.

    many levels of awesome right there

  15. Is Walton being blamed for the pithcers arms falling off. He may actually be responsible for Kyle Drabek second tommy john he changed alot of things with Kyle and Kyles delivery didn’t look comfortable….. but I’m not a coach, just didn’t looked pretty strainful on the arm and pitching already is.

  16. To be honest, the new hittign coach is only really going to be working with Lind, JP if they struggle and Lawrie and Rasmsu in spring training all the other hitters on this team have been around long enough and have pretty good stats that show they know how to hit consistently…. in other words Reyes to Mottola. “I know how to hit mother fucker”

    • hitting

      • You don’t seriously believe that MLB coaches only work with a handful of new and borderline players do you? That would be laughable and surely not what you intended to say. Veterans work closely with coaches too, whether they are running smoothly or having problems.

  17. At least they got his name right, remember when he was listed as Matt Stairs on the website and roster haha.

  18. Bruce Walton’s biggest weakness was that when jogging out to the mound for a visit he looked like an 80 year old / like his gut was going to make him overbalance and fall on his face at any moment

  19. Still hope the Jays maintain their infield shifting in 2013 with the new coaches.

    • Jeff Blair said this morning that he remembers Butterfield praising the job the Orioles did of positioning their fielders during ABs – apparently Hale’s job with the O’s

  20. the only thing i know we definitely lost is Wakamatsu’s beautiful penmanship

  21. I like that they now have Mottola as hitting coach, yet keep Murphy around as well, so he can still have input. It’s a bit like the co-hitting coaches idea that was floated around earlier.

  22. Can we credit Murph for Edwin Encarnacion’s breakout

    You answered your own question with this:

    his [Murphy] outward distaste for on base percentage

    His walk % was 13.5% last season. Murphy did fuck all to Edwin, or at least that’s what it looks like.

  23. We’ve all seen how poorly the team has performed under walton and murph, so why are people automatically dismissing their replacements?

  24. This is good. There’s a whole bunch of new guys to blame when players underperform.

  25. Harold should of made the staff

  26. Struggling to care about the coaching positions. Let’s have a post about Wilner’s absurd political views instead!

  27. Looks like management figured heavily in coaching staff selection,
    How much does Gibbons know about them to select them?
    No doubt Gibbons would be consulted and would talk to them before the announcement but does anybody think Gibbons knew anything about Mottola two months ago?
    Not that I have a problem with it, it just shows who’s in charge of the selection process.

    • Gibby and Mottorola overlapped two years in Triple A IL – 1999/2000; Gibby managed Norfolk for the Mets and Chad (such a boy band name) was his Quad A self playing for Charlotte (WSux) and your Syracuse Chiefs (Toronto).

      No idea if there was any connection in 2002 when Gibby was First Base coach for the Jays, but Mottorola was again with Syracuse that year (after 2001 in Calgary) or again with Gibby as coach and then manager and Chad with Syracuse from 2005 to 2007.

      Fuck, Chadster also spent a year in Ottawa (2004) – this guy has seen more of the country than 1/2 of the populace probably.

      • Thx for the info dm.
        I still think AA had a huge say in the decisions and Gibby rubberstamped it.

        Note to Stoeten.
        No I don’t know, just speculating.
        Fucking disclaimers.

        • I do find it strange that there isn’t an obvious “Gibbons guy” on this new staff. Managers usually get at least one of their old buddies, like Lovullo for Farrell.

          But at least, Gibbons knows Walker and Mottola, and we’re told that he likes continuity. Not too bad I guess, as if bullpen coach is an outsider, then that will be three fresh voices on the staff and three returnees.

          • Unfortunately, the Gibby guy got away. Butterfield and he are extremely good friends, on and off the field. If Gibby could work magic he would Bring Butter Back

  28. HEY YOU! Bautista! Hit a homerun!

  29. And I guess that Baltimore will be annoucing Wak as bench coach witin a week?
    Sho is rumoured to want him.

  30. As a follow up, now that I see e’one associated with Farrell has been expunged in one way or another, I kinda think they were debating about Firing Farrell as he ws informing them he wanted to leave again. I really think mgmt held him and waku, his assistant, to a certain extent responsible for the BS behavior of the club late in the year in particular the see no evil no nothing approach to the Escobar on field incident. The manager is ultimately responsible for the on field antics of the club and I really believe people who bleed BJ blue like Besston were thoroughly pissed at him by year end

  31. No one is talking about what Bruce Walton is going to do to feed his growing family.

  32. I think Sal Fasano will have a greater impact on the future of the Jays by managing in the minors and helping young players than if he had been named to the big league staff.

    That said, I would have loved to see his mustache more frequently.

    I’m a bit sad at the loss of Walton, but I have no real reason to like him or want him to stay based on performance. I guess he just always seemed nice, or something like that.

    • One wonders if Fasano is pondering managing for another year at AA versus taking a big-league job coaching the bullpen. Not sure what I’d take… are you?

  33. Puppets. This coaching staff is the weakest in the division and on purpose. Management wants the power to call down and say things like “keeping running John Buck out there 3 times a week so we can maximize his trade value”. Until the manager has the power to make out the lineup as he wants, this team will not maximize wins.

  34. What I think is important to know:

    Will Rivera/Hale encourage David Cooper to “Just Tag Him”?

  35. The missing components still seem to be:

    1. extra coach in the stands (Rivera’s role last year (or was it 2 years?)
    2. who is advanced pro scout (Kevin Cash’s role from last year)

    or are they doing away with those 2 ideas?

    I thought that was a good organizational move to have the “eyes in the stands” coach – is that Sally-Boy Fasano?

    seems like they need that extra coach to perhaps continue the “catcher coaching” that Wak was doing with JPA and hopefully soon with TDA.

  36. To be honest, I was the most interested in seeing if they brought Walton back. It’s my believe (based on nothing other than a wild-ass guess and questionable logic) that pitching coaches and hitting coaches have the most impact on the younger players coming into the league. Walton had some young pitchers to work with this season and their arms exploded. Was he to blame? Not sure. Perhaps he was not retained as he didn’t see eye to eye with Gibby, he is taking some of the blame for the injuries, or because he wasn’t able to sort out Romero’s mechanical issues this season.

  37. Hey, it’s all about the fuckin Mack baby!

    Some highly uninteresting facts about the Mack:

    Average price of a house in the Mack is $760, 000

    A hard working stripper is said to make $250-300 thousand per year.

    I looked out my downtown hotel window in the Mack last month, and within the slightest turn of my head I could see a 24 video porn shop, I repeat, 24 hours, and a trusty, good ol’ strip joint.

    And while I was minding my own business walking across the street during the walk sign, an F-350 came to a screeching halt in front of me and told me to fuck off. I said that I had a walk sign! He said go wipe your c@#t!

    And oh yeah, if you drive a car in that town you might as well dress in rainbow colors too.

    It’s all about the Mack baby.

  38. “Toronto Fightin’ Gibbers” Best evs

  39. I personally like Ernie Whitt as Manager, only because I grew up to respect Whitt as a person and a player and everything he’s done for Baseball Canada, and the fact that Timmy from South Park could manage this team with success lol. Other then that who gives a fuck who the other coaches are? You know your baseball nerds with no life when after everything that’s happened this off season you still can’t stop talking about who the next fucking 3rd base coach is… Fuck who cares? Go Jays Go

  40. What the fuck does an “outfield instructor” do? “Ok, you stand here, you stand in the center, and you stand over here”

  41. Kinda surprised that Bruce didn’t get to keep his gig. What he did with Morrow alone is good enough.

    Thinking that the bullpen coach is going to be handling the ‘big boys’ doens’t make me feel better; however, Hentgen coming back to a job that he quit previously is a even shittier idea.

    Forgive me, got a case of the ‘Mondays’ go F yourself……..but:

    GO JAYS!!!

  42. Good riddance to Walton. Not to be insensitive, but George W Bush mighta been looking for him, because he was one huge weapon of mass destruction of the arms race in Toronto.

  43. I do not care for the Fort McMurray analogy, as it s inapt. It needed to be something of the “shooting fish in a barrel” variety, and if that is what was intended, it’s not really what was conveyed.

    • More “tallest midget” than fish in a barrel, you know?

      • “Tallest midget” implies that he only looks like a good coach when compared to inferior competition; “shooting fish in a barrel” implies that he looks like a good coach because what he’s doing is so easy (presumably due to LV’s altitude). I thought you meant to suggest the latter.

        However, I am only breaking your balls. Love you on the pod casts. Please do them more frequently!

  44. after reading the comments, all I can say is… this Andrew Stoeten fuck and Drew Fairservice (read: gay handjob service) fuck really know nothing about baseball. and they both suck shit. go watch hockey u dumb fucks.

  45. In the last 2 weeks, AA has shown the ability to multitask between making a blockbuster trade, getting financial approval for the aforementioned blockbuster from a previously tight-fisted ownership group, conduct a manager search, sign a LF, hire a manager and have an entire coaching staff in place a few days later.

    Geez, imagine what he’s going to do at the winter meetings when he will have the ability to focus on one or two things at a time.

    • @Jays 2010

      AA needs a holiday after the winter meetings.

      Did you listen to his last interview on PTS?

      He seemed shocked & relieved that Rogers approved the extra payroll $$$$ that Rogers would assume if the deal was accomplished.

      I have to give credit to beeston as well. He was able to convince the beancounters at Rogers that it was excellent value to pay last year’s free agent prices for the 2013 team.

  46. Bye bye to Bruce “TJ” Walton. Maybe they’ll rename the surgery after him? Like – I blew out my elbow an need to go for a Bruce Walton

  47. On another note, whatever happened to Garth Iorg being groomed to be the Jays’ manager one day? He was my favourite player as a little kid (best batting stance of all-time by far) until George Bell arrived. I kind of lost track of what happened with him in the coaching/managing hierarchy.

  48. It’s like there’s a party in my mouth, and everyone’s invited!

    • You’re Darryl Strawberry!
      You play Right Field
      I play right field too!
      Are you better than me
      Well, I’ve never met you, but, yes…

      • Oh Mina she’s gorgeous,love the soft cloours and the little pearls in the center of the flowers!Sorry to hear that your not feeling better yet!Please tace care!XXX Heidy

  49. Capt. Andrew Stoeten aka Capt Buzzkill

  50. Otherwise I have other thoughts.

    I liked the Gibbons hire, I think having a proper coaching staff and a proper team this time around will give Gibby the chance to win. If Gibby cant get this team to win games, there’s a problem.

    Moving Murphy to base coaching and outfield instruction is great because for starters the six gold gloves out there gives him a lot of credibility for the job plus the players like him and he will be around for another pair of eyes as far as the hitting instruction goes.

    I was one of the many asking for Mottola to take over and I did that because I wanted a hitting coach for this team that preached CONTACT to ALL FIELDS not just the above mentioned “go smack a tater” mentality. Murphy has ruined several hitters and this team cannot afford to have that happen anymore. Lawrie needs a FUCKLOAD of coaching if he is going to ever really live up to his potential. Pitchers are eating that goofy pump/hitch in his swing for breakfast, it has to go and he needs a calmer and more Mauer/Morneau like stance / swing, he and a lot of the jays are powerful and strong enough to hit homeruns whenever they want but the OBP needs to go up. I believe Lind and others will greatly benefit from a more contact oriented approach. I like this hire, lets see what this guy can do in the big leagues.

    Bruce Walton’s time was done. Sure the players reportedly liked him a lot but it was time for some new blood in that department this season. With such a great looking staff, they needed a new look at things. I dont know if Pete Walker is the guy I would have chosen for the job but here’s hoping he does a great job. Walton cant be blamed for last years disgusting pitching numbers by any means but a new pitching coach was needed.

    All in all this off season has been one us Jays fans will never forget as long as we live because this is the time we will remember that it all started to go very very right or very very wrong. I am hoping for right, everything feels right and I have a feeling that it will go right. However one thing is forsure, this years Jays team will be a fuck load more fun to watch than last years dogshit.

    • @Buck

      Excellent post.

      It can’t hurt having Mottola & Murphy around.

      Walton has to be held accountable for not showing improvement with Ricky & the poor performance of the pitching staf.

      Did Walton cause the injuries to DrabeK & Hutch? I don’t know but someone has to figure out what happened last year.

      • He didnt cause the injury to Drabek but all that stuff with the towels and ropes didnt make a damn bit of difference. Drabek was still Drabek when he went down and he’ll get a different pitching coach when he gets back. Hope it works.

      • Fuck I’m stupid. Sometimes I’m so stupid I even scare my stupid self.

        • This isn’t me. I thought Stoeten was going to deal with all the impostors now calling themselves oakville69 and damaging my reputation on this board. Pretty soon everyone is going to be oakvile69 and that wouldn’t be right.

    • Is that you Joseph? Your horrible writing style transcends pseudonyms.

  51. How dare you belittle my reign as Miss Fort McMurry. I wore that crown with pride and distinction! Also, I know your type. First you won’t buy a lady a beer, but then at closing time hour you’re very anxious to warm up my truck for me. In fact I have a vague reminisce of you pawing at me in the parking lot of the Mackenzie Hotel on a cold February night in 2007. Go to hell!

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