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Braves hire hitting coach Kevin Seitzer away from Blue Jays

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Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Hitting coach Kevin Seitzer is leaving the Blue Jays for the Braves for the same role, according to Braves beat reporter Mark Bowman.

Seitzer, 52, was named hitting coach for the Blue Jays less than a year ago to replace Chad Mottola, who had also only served in that role for one season. Seitzer had previously been a batting coach for the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Kansas City Royals, where he was a colleague of manager John Gibbons. He also has a connection with current Braves president Jon Schuerholz, who drafted and watched Seitzer play when he served as the Royals' general manager.

The Blue Jays have recently adopted a policy of only signing their coaches to one-year deals that expire at the end of each season. Indeed, Shi Davidi confirmed that Seitzer has departed from the club and was on a one-year contract. Essentially, unless extended, coaches are free to leave the club in a horizontal move if they please. Manager John Gibbons, however, is signed to a "permanent" two-year contract where if he is not fired by January 1 of one year, another guaranteed year is added to the deal.

We heard a lot about Kevin Seitzer's coaching influence on the TV broadcasts, especially at the beginning of the season. Indeed, he did stress making gap-to-gap contact at the plate and worked with his batters to hit the ball the other way to beat shifts. Coaches, especially at the major league level, probably do not make that much of a difference on wins and losses overall, but they can have tremendous effects on individual players. Seitzer seemed to have worked wonders for the pull hitter Jose Bautista in 2014, but his hitting philosophy did not go over well with Colby Rasmus. Although not popular with Rasmus, Seitzer was popular around here, with 87% of readers voting that the Blue Jays should retain him for the 2015 season.

The man who will replace Kevin Seitzer will become the Blue Jays' fourth hitting coach since 2012. I wonder what effect the recent high turnovers in the coaching ranks will have on the organization and whether that is just normal turnover or if it reflects something deeper about the way the club works.

UPDATE

Shi Davidi writes that the rest of the coaching staff will return to the fold in 2015 save Bob Stanley, who will be re-assigned within the organization, probably as a pitching coach somewhere in the minors. Mike Wilner was told that Seitzer and the Blue Jays had trouble coming to terms on his contract renewal. There isn't a lot of detail, but I have a feeling that it has more to do with term than dollars.

In other news, the Mets have hired long-time Yankees batting coach Kevin Long to a three-year deal, which is a significant amount of job security for a coach.

The Blue Jays Managers & Coaches Timeline will have to be updated.