Butera named Rays' senior director of player development

Move is part of several front-office promotions, title changes

October 13th, 2023

ST. PETERSBURG -- The Rays named Blake Butera their senior director of player development, putting him in charge of the organization’s entire player development process, as part of a series of promotions and title changes in their front office announced on Friday.

Selected by the Rays in the 35th round of the 2015 Draft out of Boston College, Butera played parts of two seasons in Tampa Bay’s Minor League system then spent one year as a Minor League coach and four seasons as a manager. Now, after one year as an assistant field coordinator, the 31-year-old Butera will assume the Rays’ lead player development role.

Jeff McLerran, who had led the farm system’s day-to-day work as the Rays’ director of Minor League operations since September 2019, was promoted to a new role: senior director of baseball development. McLerran joined the Rays’ Minor League operations department in 2011 and was promoted to assistant director in 2015.

In his new position, according to the club, McLerran will support the baseball operations department leadership with an emphasis on improving all facets of the operation.

"We are fortunate to have a lot of talented people with wide-ranging abilities and interests,” Rays president of baseball operations Erik Neander said in a statement. “These changes are about putting great people in the best position to strengthen our long-term competitiveness. We’re excited to see each of them excel in their new roles.”

George Pappas was promoted from assistant director to director of Minor League operations, and Simon Rosenbaum (formerly assistant director of Minor League operations and baseball development) was promoted to director of player programs and integration. Both will handle player development-focused roles in support of Butera, according to the club’s announcement.

The Rays announced a few more promotions and changes, while also noting that additional baseball operations department moves will be announced later in the offseason.

Winston Doom was promoted to director of pitching, making him responsible for the Rays’ organization-wide pitching development plan and supporting their pitching acquisitions. Doom spent this season in the role of pitching strategist after serving the previous year as the assistant director of pitching development.

Ryan Pennell, formerly the assistant director of performance science and player development, was named the club’s assistant director of pitching. The Rays also named Alejandro Freire, who spent last season as their field coordinator, the assistant director of coaching and player development.