Charlie Montoyo was the right manager to lead the rebuild in Toronto, and beyond during the pandemic, but now that the Blue Jays are World Series contenders on paper, the team needs new leadership to be successful.
JULIA KREUZ: The Charlie Montoyo era in Toronto is over and it was quite a ride. So what went wrong in 2022? And why couldn't the Blue Jays make it work with Montoyo? The news came as a shock to some, long overdue to others, but the fact of the matter is that Charlie Montoyo is no longer the manager of the Toronto Blue Jays.
Ross Atkins, the team's GM, shared the responsibility. He said that this was a collective failure, the way that the Blue Jay's season has shaped up so far. But at the end of the day, Charlie is the one that's gone.
And John Schneider is at the helm as the interim manager. And it seems like the Blue Jays really were just looking for a change in leadership.
This is a very different team from the one that Charlie Montoyo took over at the 2019 season. For starters, that team was a 95-loss club that was just welcoming guys like Vladimir Guerrero, Jr, and Bo Bichette to the major leagues and sort of paving the way for this new era of Blue Jays baseball and for these new stars to find their own, or come into their own, at the major league level.
Montoyo then took that 95-loss club and turned it into a postseason team in 2020. Pandemic shortened season, the Blue Jays made the wild-card game, lost to the Tampa Bay Rays. But it was very much a glimpse, or a peek into what the future held for this team with the signing of Hyun Jin Ryu.
And then going out in free agency and getting guys like George Springer and Robbie Ray, to a lesser extent at the time. The 2021 season then came around. And, obviously, that was a big heart breaker for Blue Jays fans and the club. Blue Jays missed the playoffs by just one game. And it was decided in the very last game of the season.
But, again, it was a step in the right direction in what this club wanted to achieve. And let's not forget that the 2020 and the '21 season, that the Blue Jays were sort of all over the place, with Canada's vaccination restrictions or pandemic restrictions. Blue Jays were forced to play a lot of their home games in places like Dunedin or Buffalo before finally making their way back into Toronto.
And through all of that, Montoyo was at the helm. And he was keeping things pretty light in that clubhouse. Everyone had their chins up because he was a motivator. He was a guy who knew how to tap into, maybe, the soft side of the game of baseball.
Cut to 2022. The Blue Jays are back at Rogers Centre full time. Expectations are sky high. Everyone in that club is talking about World Series aspirations. They start the year pretty strong. In April they went 14 and 8. And then the Blue Jays sort of just saw their production dwindle month by month. That culminated in a 3 and 9 July before Montoyo's firing, including a road trip in which they managed to win just one in eight games and were swept by the Mariners. It really wasn't pretty.
And that was maybe the final straw in what led to Montoya's dismissal by the Blue Jays.
So when you're talking about a change in leadership, a change in perspective, maybe that's what Ross Atkins had in mind when he made the move. While Montoyo seems to be the perfect guy to lead a team through a rebuild, a 95-loss season in which people really need that support and that encouragement.
And even through the pandemic, with moving around, living out of suitcases, living in hotels, that's not fun for players. And you really need someone to sort of tap into the more-- I don't know, the gentler, the brighter aspects of the game, even through all of that grind.
But right now, the Blue Jays are in a win-now sort of mentality. This is a team that has postseason aspirations and beyond. And maybe Charlie Montoyo wasn't enough of a strong presence in that clubhouse. Maybe the Blue Jays outgrew Charlie Montoyo in many ways.
So Schneider comes in under this-- maybe this platform of accountability, trying new things. We've already seen him shake up the lineup a few times. That's maybe the next stage for this team.
It's the-- the Blue Jays are a very good team. Obviously, they're not going to be fixed just because John Schneider is now manager. There are many areas that need addressing. And the trade deadline is upon us-- Stay tuned for another video. --in which the Blue Jays will try to address areas such as the bullpen and the starting rotation, to name just a couple.
And it's not like the Blue Jays didn't trust Montoyo to carry the team or lead the team to this next stage. They did sign him to an extension that would take him through the 2023 season ahead of opening day this season. It just didn't work. And the organization thought it was better to bring in new leadership. Will that pay off? Time will tell. But, all things considered, it's an understandable move.