"This second half we're trying to do some things strategically that we think will help (the Chicago Cubs organization) and we're trying to move our rovers into a place where they can be more beneficial and helpful to our players," Said Chicago Cubs Director of Player Development Oneri Fleita.
"We're really lucky and fortunate to have a guy like Don Buford who's done a lot of things. He has a lot of knowledge and we're going to have him work with our young kids at Mesa and Boise."
Welby Sheldon "Buddy" Bailey, 49, joins the Daytona Cubs after spending the first half of this season as the roving catching instructor for the Chicago Cubs. Bailey has managed at several minor league positions and has also received Major League coaching experience with the Boston Red Sox.
While in Boston for the 2000 season, Bailey was the bench coach and catching coordinator for manager Jimy Williams. Bailey was the manager for the Pawtucket Red Sox (Triple-A) on two separate occasions with his team competing for the 2003 Governors' Cup, the championship of the International League.
Bailey also managed the Lynchburg Red Sox for two seasons in the early 90s when he led the team to the playoffs in both years. Bailey won Manager of the Year awards in both 1996 and 2003 in the International League, one of only four managers to do so in IL history.
Bailey also managed in the Atlanta Braves organization from 1983-1990, winning the Southern League (Double-A) pennant in 1988.
"When Buddy signed with us he initially signed to be the manager at Peoria (Midwest League Class-A Affiliate) and then here in Daytona, and then with all the changes that took place in the organization he went on to be our catching instructor," Fleita said.
Bailey hosts an above .500 record at 1,168-1,083 as a manager and has 18 years of managerial experience in professional baseball with the last coming in Pawtucket in 2004. Bailey also played professionally as a catcher in the Atlanta Braves organization. He is a graduate of Lynchburg (Va.) College.
In addition to a new manager, Daytona will also get a new strength and conditioning coach. Current coach Anderson Tavarez will move to the Dominican Rookie League and Antonio Grissom (brother of former Major Leaguer Marquis Grissom) will be the new coach.
Grissom, a graduate of South Georgia College also scouts for the Chicago organization and has coached in Mesa each of the past two years.
"Initially that was the plan, but we needed an extra arm to throw batting practice. This is how you start guys' careers, you take great young men like Anderson Tavarez and expose them to a staff like the one here in the first half of the season where he gained valuable knowledge from an experienced staff," Fleita said.
"One day I believe you'll see Anderson Tavarez working his way to the Major Leagues as a coach. There has yet to be a Dominican pitching coach make it to the Majors, so maybe he's the guy."
Cubs first-half manager Don Buford had some kind words to say about his three months in Daytona.
"I've had a tremendous amount of fun working with the young players here at Daytona, I'm excited with the progress they're making and I'm excited to see the 2,500 fans out here every night," Buford said.
"I've met a lot of nice people here in Daytona and if it all works out, I'd even love to come back here next season. Richie Zisk, Tom Pratt and Anderson Tavarez have been excellent and of course Steve Melendez and the front office have been great. Hopefully I've left a little bit of an impression and helped the players improve their abilities, that's what it's all about."
Daytona general manager Bill Papierniak said the team is happy for Buford, but also sad to see him go.
"We hate to see Don Buford leave, he is a gentleman in every sense of the word," Papierniak said. "We understand that this allows Don to be closer to home with his family while helping the Chicago Cubs strengthen their overall Minor League System. We will miss Don and wish him the best."
The Cubs are currently 31-33 this season, fourth in the Florida State League East. Buford and Tavarez will manage and coach the team for the two-game series in Brevard County. Bailey and Grissom will begin their new positions on Monday when the Cubs take on the Palm Beach Cardinals.