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Blue Jays fire Manin White

Epsom Derby Photo by Steve Eason/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

TORONTO, April 1st 2019 — On the heels of a slow start offensively in which the Blue Jays only scored 12 runs in their four game split with the Detroit Tigers while posting a .177/.246/.269 line, the front office is not waiting to shake things up. That sluggish start with just two home runs resulted Monday morning in the dismissal of long time hitting assistant Manin White.

White, age unknown, was a holdover from the previous front office regime, but is the latest long standing employee to find his services no longer required with many other departments having been shaken up over the past three years.

White was at his professional heights in the early part of the decade, when the Blue Jays ranked at or near the top of the league in home runs, culminating in an August 2011 profile in ESPN that brought the low key White great notoriety. In 2010, the Blue Jays led the American League with 257 home runs, 46 more than the runner-up Red Sox and with 150 of those coming at Rogers Centre. Across the league, White was seen as a pivotal contributor to that effort, with the Jays following that up by hitting 20 more home runs at home in 2011 than on the road.

A couple of down years in 2012 and 2013 led many to question whether White had lost it or was just a flash in a pan, but the Jays rebounded to hit 221 home runs at home in 2014-15 compared to just 188 on the road. In that year’s ALCS, Royals starter Johnny Cueto reported glimpsing the elusive White in centrefield.

But the magic faded in recent seasons, as the Jays’ leaguewide standing slipped. Over the past three seasons, the Jays have hit more home runs on the road than at home (333 to 327), undermining confidence in White’s abilities and his standing with the front office. The writing on the wall may have been signalled with the January hire of Richard Griffin as Director of Baseball Media, who was known to have a longstanding beef with White for his complete refusal to engage with the media.

Reached for comment, Blue Jays Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations and GM Ross Atkins said “I just don’t see him as a major league sign stealer”.

“Candidly, and I think he would agree with me, he will have to overachieve and that would be unlikely based on what has happened in the last two and a half years. That doesn’t mean he’s not going to do it, but candidly, I don’t think that’s likely.”

It does not appear that the Jays have an immediate successor in mind, with President & CEO Mark Shapiro indicating multiple options under review: “In the longer term, we are aware of and evaluating various technology options as some of our competitors have deployed. But for now, we’re probably more comfortable just bringing in someone we’re familiar with from Cleveland. This was just a move we felt couldn’t wait.”

League sources speculated that person could be Eric Wedge, with one source familiar with the situation indicating that would also serve the purpose of having him closer to the big league club in the event that rookie manager Charlie Montoyo did not prove up the task and a mid-season replacement was required.

For any poor souls who made it this far without clueing in, Happy April Fools Day!