Here we are only a week and a half into the offseason, and already the team has generated 3 news items – and we haven’t even gotten to trade season or tendering contracts yet. Today, the Tigers announced their minor league staff assignments and things are all shook up.
So things at Toledo are pretty stable. Larry Parrish is back at the helm. Jeff Jones is pitching coach, and Leon Durham remains as hitting coach. With the departure of Don Slaught, Toledo could still lose a member of their staff.
Erie’s entire staff from last year was let go. Matt Walbeck was promoted from West Michigan to lead the Seawolves. He brings along pitching coach A.J. Sager who filled the same role with the Whitecaps last year. Hitting coach Glenn Adams spent the last 6 years as the Mariners minor league hitting coordinator before being let go in August.
Larry Herndon returns as hitting coach, and Britt Burns is pack as pitching coach. But Mike Rojas, the manager for the last 2 years, is now the organizational catching coordinator. Kevin Bradshaw, who was the GCL Tiger manager last year, assumes the same role for the L-Tigers.
Another former Tiger earns a promotion as Tom Brookens jumps from Oneonta to the Whitecaps. Ray Burris was a first year pitching coach for Oneonta last year, and will move with Brookens. Benny Distefano was promoted for the GCL Tigers to become the hitting coach.
The Tigers also announced new staffs at Oneonta (Man-Andy Barkett, Pit-Mark Johnson), the GCL Tigers (Man-Benny Castillo, Pit-Greg Sabat, Hit-Basilio Cabrera) and the VSL (Man-Josman Robles, Pit-JorgeCordova,Hit-Jesus Laya) and DSL (Man-Andres Thomas, Pit-Marcos Aquasvivas, Hit-Francisco Cabrera) teams.
Given some of the desire to change the Tigers approach at the plate, it was little surprise that on the top 5 teams, only 2 hitting coaches returned (Durham and Herndon). Toby Harrah will return as hitting coordinator, and he certainly had a track record of patience as a player. (for more on Harrah’s philosophies check out this article)
The Tigers also announced that they hired Murray Cook as East Coast Crosschecker. Cook is a former colleague of David Chadd and spent the last 5 years with the Red Sox scouting department. Prior to that he was a colleague of Dave Dombrowski spending 10 years with the Marlins scouting department.