TORONTO – The Toronto Blue Jays rounded out manager Charlie Montoyo’s coaching staff by promoting John Schneider, the double-A Eastern League’s manager of the year, to the position of major-league coach with an emphasis on developing the club’s catchers.
Schneider’s addition, part of an announcement of the entire staff late Tuesday, caps a substantial turnover of the group that worked under the departed John Gibbons, with pitching coach Pete Walker and third base coach Luis Rivera the only returnees from that staff.
Hitting coach Brook Jacoby, first base coach Tim Leiper and bullpen coach Dane Johnson, a member of the organization since 2000, were all fired. Highly respected bench coach DeMarlo Hale continues to explore other opportunities but will have a job with the Blue Jays if he chooses to return, while quality control coach Mike Mordecai is likely to be reassigned within the organization.
Schneider, who led single-A Dunedin to a Florida State League title in 2017 and double-A New Hampshire to a championship this past season, joins new hitting coach Guillermo Martinez as the club’s two internal promotions.
The rest of the coaching staff pulls from teams the Blue Jays management admires from afar, with Montoyo coming over from the Tampa Bay Rays, bench coach Dave Hudgens from the Houston Astros, first base coach Mike Budzinski from the Cleveland Indians, bullpen coach Matt Buschmann from the San Francisco Giants and major-league field co-ordinator Shelley Duncan from the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Schneider, 38, has been a coach in the Blue Jays system for 11 years after six years with the club as a catcher, topping out at triple-A Syracuse.
Having managed many of the club’s top young players and prospects to great success over the past three years, including lefty Ryan Borucki, righty Sean-Reid Foley, catcher Danny Jansen, third baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr., shortstop Bo Bichette and second baseman Cavan Biggio, he offers a familiar bridge for those transitioning to the big-leagues.
To a lesser degree so does the 34-year-old Martinez, who began his coaching career in the Blue Jays system in 2012-13, left to spend four years in the Chicago Cubs system, and returned this year as a hitting co-ordinator.
Buffering some of Martinez’s relative inexperience is Hudgens, 61, who comes over after four years as hitting coach for the powerhouse Astros.
Walker and Rivera, each back for a seventh season on the Blue Jays staff, provide important continuity for the team’s returning players along with well-regarded expertise in their respective roles.
Duncan’s role as major-league field co-ordinator is a new one for the Blue Jays, replacing the quality control position its had over the past two seasons. The exact nature of the position wasn’t explained by the club in its’ release, but the quality control position centred around liaising between the clubhouse and front office, advanced planning and filling in other coaching gaps as needed.