TORONTO – The Blue Jays are in the market for a new hitting coach with Kevin Seitzer leaving for the Atlanta Braves after failing to reach a deal for a second season in Toronto.
The news, first reported by Mark Bowman of MLB.com, was confirmed by two sources as the hiring Monday morning was yet to be announced by the National League East squad.
“We couldn’t come to terms on my contract, and I loved my time this year with the Jays,” Seitzer told Sportsnet via text. “I’m going to miss everyone there but am very excited about going to Atlanta.”
Seitzer was slated to return to the Blue Jays after a 2014 season in which they ranked fourth among American League teams in runs at 723 and second in OPS at .736.
But when the two sides struggled to settle on a new contract, Seitzer asked for permission to make some calls and his history with John Hart, recently named president of baseball operations in Atlanta, and Braves president John Schuerholz made it an easy move.
"Kevin is a well-respected, experienced hitting coach," Hart said. "He was a great player and as a coach he has a skill set that will benefit our club. Jose brings a tremendous resume in the hitting discipline. He has been a co-ordinator and hitting coach for many years and he has a long-standing relationship with Fredi."
The Blue Jays now have vacancies to fill at hitting and bullpen coach, after Bob Stanley was told recently that he’d be reassigned within the organization. The remainder of the coaching staff – bench coach DeMarlo Hale, pitching coach Pete Walker, first base coach Tim Leiper and third base coach Luis Rivera – are all under contract for 2015.
So too is manager John Gibbons, and Joe Maddon’s opt out from his deal with the Tampa Bay Rays on Friday hasn’t changed that.