Internal reorganization behind Blue Jays’ front office shakeup

Ross Atkins talks to Barry Davis about everything from the Blue Jays starting rotation to the traveling fans in Cleveland as the team sits first in the AL East.

CLEVELAND – The continuing internal reorganization of the Toronto Blue Jays led to the firing of three scouting and player development employees this week, says general manager Ross Atkins.

Amateur scouting director Brian Parker, who oversaw the club’s last four drafts, and national crosschecker Blake Davis were dismissed Wednesday, while minor-league field co-ordinator Doug Davis, who joined the team in 2006, was let go Thursday.

“Anytime there’s leadership change/shift, you’re going to experience in some way, subtraction or someone’s role or responsibility is going to be shifted. Sometimes that means they’re relieved of their responsibilities altogether,” says Atkins. “In this case, with each of these guys, it’s not about fault, it wasn’t about something they didn’t do, it wasn’t about anything other than a different vision, structural change and alignment being different from what was in place before. They’re all very good people, they’re all people that I would like to help in any way I can, but unfortunately, in these cases, it meant change.”

The Blue Jays plan to hire a new scouting director, ideally within the next month although they won’t put an artificial timeline on the process, as well as “someone in a similar capacity to Blake,” according to Atkins. Additionally, “there will be a structural shift in what the reporting structure is, and how we’re aligned from a leadership standpoint will be different than what it was,” he says.

The changes, Atkins says, had nothing to do with the club’s 2016 draft.

“Before we made changes we wanted to understand the strengths, we wanted to understand the experience, the vision and the philosophy of each of the individuals that was here,” says Atkins. “It’s definitely not about having a relationship or a person in mind. We will open this up to the entire industry, and this is more about a different vision for the role, our alignment altogether as baseball operations exists entirely, not scouting specific.”

According to multiple industry sources, some possibilities include Oakland Athletics assistant scouting director Michael Holmes, a college teammate of Atkins at Wake Forest; New York Mets assistant scouting director Marc Tramuta, a former Blue Jays national crosschecker; Pittsburgh Pirates assistant scouting director Mike Mangan, another former Blue Jays crosschecker; MLB Scouting Bureau crosschecker Tom Burns, a former Blue Jays scout; and Cleveland Indians assistant scouting director Scott Barnsby.

Assistant general manager Andrew Tinnish will continue to oversee the Blue Jays’ international scouting.

As for Doug Davis, Atkins says the decision there was “more about the alignment and vision of leadership.”

In January, the Blue Jays added Gil Kim as the club’s director, player development, a position atop Davis and Charlie Wilson, the team’s director, minor league operations. Since 2009, Davis and Wilson had run the farm system together under assistant GM Tony LaCava.

“When we came into the fold, our goal was to work with all the pieces that were here. We only added initially in the baseball operations side … and then high performance,” says Atkins. “At some point, we had to make adjustments to properly align and fill our vision for those roles the best way that we can.”

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