TORONTO – The latest changes to the Toronto Blue Jays front office struck the scouting department Wednesday night, as amateur scouting director Brian Parker, who’d been with the organization seven years, and national crosschecker Blake Davis were both fired.
Their dismissals, confirmed by the team in a one sentence note after Baseball America first reported the firings, come roughly two months after a draft new general manager Ross Atkins had praised. With the minor-league season nearing its end, changes on the player-development side are possible, as well.
No replacements were announced, but one name circulating among industry sources is Michael Holmes, the assistant scouting director for the Oakland Athletics who was Atkins’ college teammate at Wake Forest.
Parker joined the Blue Jays in 2009 from the Washington Nationals, where he had served as director of baseball operations after starting out in minor-league operations with the Montreal Expos. It was there he met Alex Anthopoulos, whom eventually brought him over to Toronto.
In July 2012, Parker took over as amateur scouting director after Andrew Tinnish was promoted to assistant general manager.
Over the course of four drafts, his selections included most of the club’s current top prospects, highlighted by Conner Greene, Rowdy Tellez, Max Pentecost, Sean Reid-Foley, Jon Harris and Justin Maese. Draft picks made under his watch and included in trades to augment the big-league club were: Jeff Hoffman (Troy Tulowitzki), Kendall Graveman (Josh Donaldson), Matt Boyd (David Price), Nick Wells and Jake Brentz (both for Mark Lowe), and Sean Ratcliffe (Jason Grilli).
Chad Girodo, who pitched in 14 games for the Blue Jays this season, was a ninth-rounder in 2013.
Swings and misses included not signing 2013 first-rounder Phil Bickford, and 2015 second-rounder Brady Singer, although the Blue Jays received compensatory picks in both cases.
Right-hander T.J. Zeuch was the club’s first-round pick this year in the first draft under Atkins and president and CEO Mark Shapiro. In a May interview with Sportsnet, Atkins praised Parker, saying: “Brian is really diligent, he is a great teammate and is passionate about players, he’s passionate about his scouts and he’s very open-minded.”
In an interview with Sportsnet on June 12, Atkins said the draft “went about as smooth as we could have expected. A lot of that has to do with Brian Parker and Joe Sheehan, those guys worked exceptionally well together. Mark and I were really the new pieces to the puzzle, Mike Murov was a great addition, Gil Kim was a great addition, but it was more about us combining the collective experiences of different organizations, different philosophies and deciding together what we felt would be best to give us the best process and we’ll see about the results. At first glance, we feel really good about it.”
Davis joined the Blue Jays after scouting for Oakland and Kansas City.