Cito maps out future

CitoBench.jpgAs you’ve probably heard by now, Cito Gaston has decided to retire from managing after the 2010 campaign with the Blue Jays. He has agreed to a four-year consulting agreement with the club beginning the following season.

For his final year on the bench, Cito’s staff will be as follows: Nick Leyva, bench coach; Bruce Walton, pitching coach; Dwayne Murphy, hitting coach; Brian Butterfield, third base coach; Omar Malave, first base coach; and Rick Langford, bullpen coach.

Former Jays pitching coach Brad Arnsberg — a Texas native — will be the new pitching coach of the Astros, who recently hired his good friend Brad Mills to be their new manager. Former Jays hitting coach Gene Tenace has elected to retire.

On Saturday morning, Gaston held a conference call with reporters to discuss his new role and the changes to his field staff. Here are some highlights of the discussion with Cito:

ON CONSULTING ROLE:

“It’s something that I certainly wanted to do. I always want to be a part of this organization, so it gives me the chance to do that. Also, I live in Florida and I have a place in Toronto, so it gives me a chance to not only be down here for Spring Training, but also be up that way during the season and look at the club and perhaps help evaluate it a little bit.”

“I just wanted to step back and take a look and see if I wanted to continue on managing and I just thought, ‘Well, I think maybe I can probably help the organization as far as being an advisor also, as well as managing, too. It’s something that I want to do in my life. Just step back and maybe do something different besides manage.”

ON WALTON REPLACING ARNSBERG:

“Bruce has done a good job down there and Bruce is a good guy. He’s a good baseball man and he’s very loyal to the organization and certainly to myself. I’m glad to have him aboard, so it’s good for him. I know he’s been waiting for the opportunity to get a chance to become a big league pitching coach.”

ON CHANGING BENCH COACHES:

“Nick and I have been around each other a long time. We’re just a little bit more on board with each other and I know Nick a little bit better than I know Butterfield. Butter does a good job there. … He works hard. I just thought it would be better for myself if Nick was my bench coach. He knows me a little bit bettter than Butterfield.”

ON POSSIBLY RETIRING THIS YEAR:

“No. I signed for two years. When you sign something, you should stick to it unless they don’t want you to stick to it, but it wasn’t that way. So, I felt like I signed for that year and I should live up to my contract and do what they asked me to do here. No, I never considered leaving for next year and taking the consulting role.”

ON YEAR-END CONTROVERSY PLAYING A ROLE IN CHANGES:

“I don’t think it had anything to do with that. I just believe Geno’s talked about leaving, as much as I have, to me. He talked about staying until next year and then decided not to. I don’t think that had anything to do with it, as far as him leaving or as far as Arnsberg not being here or myself not being here after 2010.”

“As I’ve said before, I still believe that — 50 percent of the players — that’s hard for me to believe, because you’re around people. If they dislike you that much, you’re going to feel it. I don’t feel like there’s 50 percent of the people in that clubhouse who feel that way about me, because I don’t treat them in that way. I try to treat people in the way that I want to be treated.”

ON TALKING TO GM ABOUT PLAYERS’ FEEDBACK:

“We will sit own and talk about those things. Hey, listen, I’m all for making things better. If there’s some way I need to lean to make it better then I will do that. If there’s something that I need to step up and say, ‘Well, I don’t think that’s a good idea,’ I’ll step up and do that, too.”

ON RELATIONSHIP WITH ARNSBERG:

“It was good, but a lot of times I didn’t have much [communication] with him as far as I had with the other pitching coaches. Brad was always, he’d pretty much sit down and talk with Doc most of the time. He did his job. He worked hard. He probably sees that he probably was going to be here one more year — he’s looking for more than that. He’s close to home and I’m pretty sure he’ll do a good job down there in Houston for those guys.”

ON CHANGES BEING NECESSARY:

“It could’ve stayed the same, but we’re always trying to improve the organization and do things better. That’s why the changes were made.”

ON COACHES COMING TO HIM WITH PLAYER ISSUES:

“As a coach myself, I never really felt like I wanted to be a coach to run back and tell the manager things that are going on out there are far as players. It’s almost like going back and telling on players. I don’t expect my coaches to do that, especially when my door is always open. You can come in and talk to me. I still feel that way. These guys can come in. If you’ve got a complaint, come in and sit down and talk to me about it and I’ll listen and we’ll try to work it out and make sure we get the right thing done.”

“I always felt like I was treating everybody properly. Sometimes, everybody’s not going to feel like you are, but if you sit down and you think about it and you can come up with anybody on that team that I didn’t treat properly, then I’ll listen. To me, I feel like guys got to play, I didn’t misuse anybody, especially my pitching staff. At the end of the season, a lot of guys didn’t pitch for a lot of days, but there’s reasons behind those things, too.”

ON EMPHASIZING OPEN-DOOR POLICY:

“I’m going to have that meeting — that’s for sure. I’m going to tell them, ‘Hey, come in and talk to me. Don’t be afraid to come in and talk to me.’ I’ve had guys come in and talk to me, but mostly it’s about personal things. No one’s come in complaining about their playing time or anything like that. I will encourage them to do that.”

ON HALLADAY:

“My gut is that I think Doc wants to be on a winning team — whether he comes back here next year or is going to be gone the next year. I’m pretty sure that’s what he’s probably going to do, because he’s probably sitting there looking at A.J. out there pitching, knowing that that’s where he’d like to be. It’s not about money with Doc. It’s about him being on a winning team. I can’t speak for Doc, but my gut feeling is if he’s here next year with us, then he’ll probably leave after next year. Hopefully, if that’s the case, then we can get something for him before he leaves.”

~JB

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