Two familiar faces and two new faces will make up the Vancouver Canadians coaching staff in 2020 as the Toronto Blue Jays have announced their minor league managing and coaching hires.
As first reported by C’s Plus Baseball in December, Brent Lavallee is the new manager of the Vancouver Canadians. The North Delta, BC native replaces Casey Candaele who moves to the Player Development department as field coordinator. Lavallee returns home after spending 15 years at Louisiana State University-Shreveport as a player and coach.
Andy Fermin—son of former major leaguer Felix Fermin and a member of 2013 Northwest League champion Canadians—is the new hitting coach. Andy batted .262 over seven years as an infielder in the Blue Jays system and retired in 2016, making it as far as Double-A. His predecessor Aaron Mathews will be in Bluefield as position coach after a two-year stay at the Nat.
Pitching coach Demetre Kokoris and position coach Danny Canellas are back in the fold for their second straight season in Vancouver. Kokoris worked with a talented starting staff that included Adam Kloffenstein, Alek Manoah and Luis Quinones after coming over from Point Loma Nazerene University. Canellas continues on as position coach after playing catching in the Los Angeles Dodgers farm system in 2014.
There are two new faces in the training department as Brandon Hammerstrom is the athletic trainer and Matt Hunter is the strength and training coach.
Other Vancouver Canadians connections in the Jays system for 2020 include Jeff Ware (2014) as the new pitching coach for Triple-A Buffalo. He’ll be alongside new manager Ken Huckaby, whose son Kyle Huckaby made his Northwest League pitching debut late in the 2019.
Jim Czajkowski (2011-2013, 2015 & 2018) moves up the ladder to Double-A New Hampshire to look after the Fisher Cats pitchers. He was New Hampshire’s pitching coach back in 2014. Former C’s catcher Chris Schaeffer (2011) will be the position coach.
There is no Dunedin-Vancouver connection as far as the coaching staff goes but 2019 C’s trainer Luke Greene will handle the same gig for the D-Jays this year.
Continuing at the full-season A-level, Luis Hurtado (2011) is the new manager of the Lansing Lugnuts as he takes over for Dallas McPherson who heads to the Player Development side as the skill development coordinator. Hurtado managed the Bluefield Blue Jays last season. The former catcher played three games for the C’s in 2011 and went 4-for-11 with four RBI. Dave Pano (2011-2017) will be back in Lansing again as the position coach for a third straight season.
The Bluefield Blue Jays will be managed by Jose Mayorga (2017-2018) after skippering the Dominican Summer League Blue Jays last season.
John Tamargo Jr. (2016) is now the short season coordinator under the Player Development umbrella.
Condolences go out to the family and friends of Ernie Dragan who recently passed away. The long-time beer vendor made sure fans were entertained and thirsts were quenched during his 14 year-run at the Nat.
The Vancouver Canadians held their annual Hot Stove Luncheon in support of the Vancouver Canadians Baseball Foundation. Blue Jays coach and former C’s skipper John Schneider (2011, 2014-2015), legendary outfielder Jesse Barfield, president emeritus Paul Beeston and director of minor league operations Charlie Wilson were among those in attendance at the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver.