Pirates announce changes to baseball operations staff
January 27, 2016 3:35 PM
“The bench coach [title], I don’t think that will impact any change in my duties. I expect things to change because I expect to grow,” said Dave Jauss.
A batting helmet sits in the dugout before the Pirates' 2015 home opener against the Detroit Tigers.
By Bill Brink / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
After spending one season without a true bench coach, the Pirates on Wednesday promoted major league coach Dave Jauss to the role.
The Pirates also promoted three members of their front office, a series of moves that included the elevation of former director of baseball operations Kevan Graves to assistant general manager.
Manager Clint Hurdle did not have a bench coach in 2015 after former bench coach Jeff Banister took the Texas Rangers’ manager job. The coach added to the major league staff before the 2015 season to fill Banister’s place, Brad Fischer, will remain a major league coach.
“Clint had addressed that some of my roles were right along the lines of bench coach, and most of the responsibilities I took care of,” Jauss said. “He just thought that it would be good for the industry to ask me to do that.”
Jauss joined the Pirates in 2012 as a special assistant to the GM. He has served as a bench coach for four other organizations — the New York Mets in 2010, the Baltimore Orioles in 2008-09, the Los Angeles Dodgers from 2006-07 and the Boston Red Sox in 2001.
“Duties always change from year to year as the dynamics of your team, players, coaches evolve,” Jauss said. “The bench coach [title], I don’t think that will impact any change in my duties. I expect things to change because I expect to grow.”
Jauss said he will continue to ‘self-scout,’ or watch the Pirates the way an opposing advance scout would, and look for tendencies or patterns. Jauss has been doing this since he coached in the minor leagues for the Montreal Expos organization in the late 1980s and early 1990s, when Class A West Palm Beach Expos manager Felipe Alou told him to.
“Kind of a fine system, where it was a dollar when you did things right, took a dollar when you did things wrong,” Jauss said.
The 1990 West Palm Beach Expos went 92-40.
Graves, who joins Kyle Stark and Greg Smith as assistant GMs, came to the Pirates before the 2009 season, following stints with the Arizona Fall League, the San Francisco Giants’ legal department and the executive development program in the commissioner’s office.
“Incredibly humbled,” Graves said of the promotion. “I don’t say it enough. I just feel fortunate every day to be a part of the group, to be exposed to the degree that I am to the leadership group here.”
Graves said the front-office moves were not aimed at addressing the departure of Tyrone Brooks, the former director of player personnel who took a job in the MLB commissioner’s office overseeing the diversity pipeline program for field and front-office staff.
“Ty is going to leave a huge void,” Graves said. “I think everyone who has been around him knows how talented he is and how impactful he’s been. I’m confident that we are going to address that position and those responsibilities.”
The Pirates also promoted Will Lawton, formerly a baseball operations assistant, to assistant director of baseball operations. Sean Kelly, who was previously a fellow — a part-time, intern-like position — became a baseball operations assistant. Lawton started as a baseball operations intern with the Pirates in 2010 after graduating from Amherst College — the alma mater of Jauss and GM Neal Huntington — before becoming a baseball operations assistant in 2011.
Graves said the Pirates made the moves to better streamline the front-office operation and responsibilities. His promotion adds a new dynamic to the assistant GM position: Stark’s background is in player development, while Smith’s is in amateur scouting and the draft.
“There will be a significant amount of overlap to what I’m already doing,” Graves said. “My focus will continue to be the major league operations side.”
Bill Brink: email@example.com and Twitter @BrinkPG.
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