In October of last year, I wrote about a lot of the turmoil that was within the Braves’ player development program in addition to the operations of the minor leagues as a whole at that point in time. The prevailing wisdom was that while these changes, including the loss of Dave Trembley, Randy Ingle, and others, were drastic...the hope was that these were just the changes that were inevitable under a new front office with different goals and philosophies. For some even now, many of those changes were seen as mistakes and are still jarring for an organization that prided itself on personnel stability in addition to producing top flight talent.
Flash forward to today and there still seems to be a fair bit of turmoil within player development.
#Braves are making some significant changes in their player development staff, led by the reassignment of director of player development Dom Chiti, sources tell The Athletic. No replacement has been named. AJ Scola, assistant director of player development-personnel, was let go.— David O'Brien (@DOBrienATL) November 5, 2019
(Editor’s Note: Sources tell Talking Chop that AJ Scola and the Braves have agreed to part ways amicably and that he will officially be leaving the organization on December 31. )
On the face of it, these look like the norm that has been established by the Braves over the last couple of years. Reassign guys into different positions to find better fits, remove others where redundancy exists or where fits cannot be found. Chiti’s role had morphed in the last few years, so a change in his role wasn’t a crazy notion and Scola was a member of former general manager John Coppolella’s team. However, these moves seem to be net losses for the organization on the whole.
Sources tell Talking Chop that while the existing reporting is that Chiti has been reassigned, there are multiple rumors around that Chiti refused that reassignment and is no longer with the Braves at all. There is some speculation that he was offered the recently-fired Derrick Lewis’ spot as pitching coordinator, but there is no confirmation on that at this point in time.
Response from within the organization has ranged, so far, from apprehension to anger. Some are more just continuing to be shocked by the amount of turnover that has existed in the Braves’ player development program and others are actively upset about both the turmoil as well as the loss of Chiti in particular who seems to have been well-liked by players and coaches alike.
As DOB reported, there is no word yet as to who is replacing any of these guys as of this point in time and there seems to be a lot of moving parts. We will keep you updated as this story develops.