TORONTO -- Jesse Barfield remains an alumni ambassador for the Toronto Blue Jays after his status came into question through a series of since-deleted Twitter posts over the weekend in which he apologized for a protocol break.
General manager Ross Atkins said the former all-star outfielder, the first home run champion in franchise history, is “valued and secure” in his current role and that the club isn’t currently hiring for a special assistant, a position the 61-year-old wrote he was interested in.
The two spoke Saturday, and Atkins declined further comment. Attempts to reach Barfield weren’t immediately successful.
A Twitter post early Friday evening triggered questions about his status after Barfield wrote that he “broke protocol” by offering help to Teoscar Hernandez, Vladimir Guerrero Jr., and Lourdes Gurriel Jr., the past two seasons.
“If it costs me my job” as an alumni ambassador, “I’m OK with that,” he added.
On Thursday, Barfield posted a video he sent Gurriel this season, and on the weekend, he posted both a video and a text message he sent to Hernandez, both since deleted.
When Lourdes was struggling early this season, me reaching out to him wasn’t awkward at all because the relationship was already established. It was my pleasure dropping this nugget of wisdom on him this season. He and Guillermo Martinez took care of the rest, I love our coaches! pic.twitter.com/7pu8kY0a19
— Jesse Barfield (@JesseBarfield29) October 20, 2021
While it’s not uncommon for former players and coaches to send tips to current players they have a relationship with, informational lines can get blurred when it’s coming from someone within the organization.
Too much information can, in certain cases, overload players, blur lines of communication and disrupt adjustments or tweaks that are being worked upon.
Guillermo Martinez is the Blue Jays’ hitting coach and was supported by Dave Hudgens, who was listed as the club’s bench coach last season but primarily worked with the club’s hitters. Dante Bichette, an extra coach in 2020, served as a special assistant this past season, working with the offence on regular visits.
In his Friday post, Barfield acknowledged that reaching out to players is “not normal procedure” but that he felt compelled to help. He said he had spoken to Mark Shapiro two months ago, and when asked what he wanted to do, he told the president and CEO that while he no longer wanted to coach, he wanted to be a special assistant to help the team any way possible.
He added that he was still waiting for a call from Atkins, but Saturday tweeted that the two “had a great talk” and “we’re trying to figure things out now.”
Barfield teamed with George Bell and Lloyd Moseby to form the dynamic mid-1980s outfield that helped carry the Blue Jays to their first American League East title in 1985. He led the American League with 40 home runs in 1986 and has remained engaged with the franchise since retiring, most recently as a popular and beloved ambassador.