It’s a sad day in Blue Jays-land when the biggest news coming out of the club’s media department is the resignation of Buffalo Bisons manager Marty Brown.
While it seems sudden — most news organizations, writers and even GM of the Bisons Mike Buczkowski seemed somewhat surprised (you can head over to Sportsnet.ca to hear interview yourself) — Brown has been managing in the minors for 12 years (and even spent five years managing in Japan) including three years as the Jays’ Triple-A manager.
Shi Davidi reports that one possible reason for Brown’s departure could be that he felt overlooked when the Blue Jays named Tim Lieper their new first base coach. A revealing quote from Davidi’s article has Brown saying “Toronto has a lot of friends and people they feel obligated to, and I’m not one of them. I thought it would be good that I move away and find out if I can do something else to help out me and my family.”
While some bloggers have said that the Blue Jays will be “scrambling” to fill the vacated position, I’m not convinced that it’s going to be all that difficult or all that necessary to rush to find a replacement. Most minor league managers and personnel are on one-year contracts meaning that the Jays can easily move someone around from one of their other minor league affiliates or even go outside the organization.
I also don’t think that there’s a dearth of a qualified candidates and that the Blue Jays are going to be stuck with someone who “isn’t as good” as Brown when they find their replacement. By all accounts, Brown is a classy, knowledgeable and experienced baseball man but those types of people aren’t exactly going extinct. It’s obvious that to be able to fill the position of a Triple-A manager isn’t exactly a job that anyone can do but there are a lot of good baseball people out there who will jump at the chance.
I never talked to Marty myself (although I did overhear a nearby conversation between him and a Buffalo reporter when I was covering the Bisons) but I definitely think that the minor league manager’s job is much more all-encompassing than the major league skipper’s. In the minors, the field manager will also coach third base and is responsible for a much smaller staff than in the majors. There’s a lot more on-field organization to be done, more participation in drills and BP and, from what I understand, a lot more managing of the players, especially in Triple-A, where you have a much more diverse mix of players at different points in their careers.
For the Blue Jays, the search is on to find a new manager in Buffalo but don’t worry about this getting in the way of Alex Anthopoulos’s offseason activity: he’s not the one who’s going to be conducting the search. Likely, Charlie Wilson and Doug Davis will be finding the skipper for the Bisons and I’m sure they have a list of qualified candidates already.