News and Notes: Eric Wedge, Chad Jenkins
By Jay Blue
Blue Jays from Away
The Toronto Blue Jays have been adding depth in their organization this offseason, whether it’s on the mound, in the outfield or in the front office. The first piece of news is regarding the addition of another member of the front office while the second piece of news focuses on the fallout of the Gavin Floyd signing.
Eric Wedge was finally announced as a player development advisor. The former Indians manager has long been rumoured to be getting a job somewhere in the front office in Toronto and Jon Heyman thinks that Wedge is a “manager-in-waiting” if Shapiro wants to install his own guy in the position.
Wedge, 48, began managing in the majors at the age of 35 in 2003 and has a 774-846 record as a manager with one first place finish (with a 96-66 Indians club in 2007), going 6-5 in the postseason. A manager since his 30s, we’ve never really seen him in a player development role and this could be one reason why people like Heyman think that the hiring is to get Wedge into the organization so that he can eventually take over from John Gibbons.
It makes a lot of sense. I’ve already written that I think some of these hirings including Ross Atkins as GM (rather than just promoting Tony LaCava for the job) and Gil Kim as Director of Player Development seem to be preparatory hirings to put people in place when Shapiro decides that he wants his own personnel to take over the heavy lifting in the organization. The fact that all of the Blue Jays staff had their contracts renewed for 2016 shows me how savvy Shapiro is, maintaining the status quo for at least a year, keeping Gibbons around (thereby avoiding a fan revolt) and letting his new hires get the lay of the land before he makes decisions on possibly trimming back the front office.
Lost in the shuffle of pitchers was Chad Jenkins, whom the Blue Jays designated for assignment yesterday. Jenkins, a first round pick in 2009 (a.k.a., the end of the Ricciardi era), had had very little opportunity to succeed at the major league level, getting shuffled back and forth between Toronto and their Triple-A affiliate over the course of 2013, 2014 and 2015. Jenkins is now out of options and with Gavin Floyd getting a major league contract, he became the odd man out.
Jenkins has a 3.31 ERA and 1.25 WHIP over the course of 100 2/3 innings for the Blue Jays. He threw around 30 innings in each of his first three seasons around the big leagues but only 3 2/3 innings last year as he seemed to fall out of favour with management, spending most of the season in Buffalo with a 2.98 ERA and 1.32 WHIP. Good luck, Chad.
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The 2016 Toronto Blue Jays Minor League Handbook is coming this spring! Stay tuned for more information coming!