John Gibbons Shuffles Toronto Blue Jays Coaching Staff; Bruce Walton Out

By Thom Tsang

Well, it looks like Bruce Walton will be joining Don Wakamatsu as major league coaches looking for a job next season.

The former Toronto Blue Jays pitching coach was left out in the cold today as team manager John Gibbons officially announced his coaching staff, with nary a new hire in sight outside of the well-regarded DeMarlo Hale.

Hale, as expected, is the new bench coach, replacing Wakamatsu. As for the rest of the coaches, it seems that Gibbons favours a re-arrangement of who the Blue Jays already have on staff: Chad Mottola will move up from his AAA position to become the new hitting coach, while Dwayne Murphy takes a demotion to become the outfield and first base coach. Luis Rivera is the new third base coach, while Pete Walker, formerly the bullpen coach, replaces Walton as the new pitching coach.

Got all that? Good.

The moves leaves an opening for a bullpen coach, with some in the media suggesting that the role may soon be filled by an ex-Blue Jays pitcher:

So what does all this mean?

Aside from the fact that fans can now stop (unfairly) blaming Murphy for ruining the team’s OBP, it’s hard to say. It’s probably a futile exercise to place expectations on coaches – it’s difficult enough to gauge the impact of a manager outside of the tactical decisions he makes on the field, and it’s even more difficult to start talking about the impact of a manager’s coaching staff (with a handful of notable exceptions in the league).

Yes, we could speculate that Walton had some impact on the Blue Jays staff literally falling apart in the ’12 season, but that’s not something quantifiable, is it? Besides, some of the guys who were injured started the year in the minors, so why not point the fingers there too?

It’s a slippery slope, and the lack of usable information on the matter suggests that coaching moves, like the ones made today, are probably not worth fretting about.

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