Jays continue to shake up front office
New GM makes changes in player development, scouting
TORONTO -- Alex Anthopoulos does not feel he has any time to waste. Shortly after being named the Blue Jays general manager on Saturday, the young decision-maker went to work on his vision for the organization, establishing weekly goals to tackle throughout this month.
On Friday, Anthopoulos revealed his top priority is a wave of changes to the player development and scouting departments, retooling the staff in an effort to strengthen the Blue Jays' infrastructure. In Anthopoulos' view, those are the areas in need of repair if Toronto is going to gain competitive ground in the American League East.
"I feel as though we need to focus on trying to have an advantage with our employees instead of trying to go toe-to-toe and dollar-for-dollar in terms of player acquisitions," Anthopoulos said during a conference call on Friday. "I think some day, we may be able to do that."
On the player development side, Anthopoulos dismissed Dick Scott, who served as the Blue Jays' director of player development since 2001. Scott was one of the first additions made when former general manager J.P. Ricciardi took the reins eight years ago. Triple-A Las Vegas manager Mike Basso was also relieved of his duties.
"Long term, my mandate is to try to improve the club," said Anthopoulos, who indicated that team ownership has approved more funding for scouting. "I felt like from the outset, we needed to start with the foundation of the club, and the foundation of this organization is going to be scouting and player development. We have time to address all the other issues."
Anthopoulos, 32, noted that assistant general manager Tony LaCava will oversee the player development department, while Charlie Wilson and Doug Davis have been promoted to more prominent roles on that side. Wilson has been named the director of Minor League operations and Davis has been appointed Minor League coordinator.
Wilson -- a native of Toronto -- has been part of the Blue Jays organization in some capacity since 1993. In 2003, he was named the manager of Minor League operations -- a position he held for the past six years. Davis has been with the Jays since 2005, most recently serving as a Minor League catching coordinator.
"The combination of Doug Davis' and Charlie Wilson's skills to run the day-to-day operations of player development will help serve us well," Anthopoulos said. "Going forward, we think player development is going to be in very good shape."
On the scouting side, the Blue Jays named Andrew Tinnish the new director of amateur scouting, while Perry Minasian has been handed the role of director of professional scouting and Jon Lalonde has been named professional scout. Rob Ducey has been relieved of his scouting duties.
Tinnish has been with the Jays since 2001 and ran the professional scouting department this past season. Minasian joined the organization last year as a Major League scout after working seven seasons within the Rangers organization. Lalonde had served as Toronto's director of scouting since 2003, overseeing the First-Year Player Draft for the club.
"Jon's a guy with a tremendous amount of ability who can do a lot of things," Anthopoulos said. "He's been running the draft for six years and has done a very good job. I think we've all seen the results out on the field -- the young players that we've produced. That's a credit to J.P. Ricciardi and it's also a credit to Jon Lalonde and all of his scouts.
"I think that's very important to say that off the bat, but Jon has so much ability. He's got ability from a professional scouting standpoint, an amateur scouting standpoint, and I think he's ready for a new challenge."
Ducey served as a scout in the Pacific Rim for the Blue Jays, but Anthopoulos said finding someone new to fill that role is not going to be a top priority at this time. Before the Blue Jays look into heavily scouting Europe and Asia, Anthopoulos wants to improve Latin American scouting, as well as the scouting department as a whole.
"Right now," Anthopoulos said, "we're probably going to take a little bit of a step back and re-allocate our resources and our time to solidifying and strengthening the areas of the Draft, the area of professional scouting and strengthening Latin America. Once we have those areas strengthened to the level that I'm pleased with, I think then it's time to take the next step."
Anthopoulos did not rule out more changes taking place in the coming weeks.
All of the Blue Jays' coaches are under contract through 2010, but Anthopoulos has not said definitively whether the entire staff will return next year. Toronto also has free agents in catcher Rod Barajas and shortstops Marco Scutato and John McDonald, and the Jays have exclusive negotiating rights with the players this month.
"We're going to continue to try to upgrade the baseball personnel we have here," Anthopoulos said. "Bringing in evaluators is really one of the main priorities. Bringing in good baseball people is one of the main priorities. That's really going to be a focus of mine.
"I hope each week to have something new to announce -- potential changes to be made, potential improvements and so on. To comment from a public standpoint right now on that, probably wouldn't be fair to the employees that are here or the players."
Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.