In a rough first season as the manager of the Blue Jays, I have appreciated Charlie Montoyo’s honesty when asked about the struggles of his young team.
We knew that the Blue Jays were likely going to struggle in the first real season of their rebuilding process, but I don’t think many of us expected things to get this ugly.
At 23-42, the Blue Jays are one of the worst teams in baseball right now, and if not for their fellow AL East cellar-dwellers in the Baltimore Orioles then things would probably feel even worse than they do. In fact, only the Orioles and Kansas City Royals own worse records than Canada’s only baseball team.
Caught in the middle of all of this is first-year manager, Charlie Montoyo. The 53-year-old accepted the job knowing full well that there would be some rough patches in the early days, but hopefully the process would pay off in his first opportunity as a big league skipper. We’re a long way from knowing whether or not that will be the case when all is said and done, but so far I’ve liked a lot of what I’ve seen from the new skipper, even if the team has struggled to win many games for him.
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One of the things that I appreciate the most about the Puerto Rican is his candidacy about how things are going. He hasn’t been afraid to admit when the team has been struggling, calling a spade a spade when speaking to the media. That doesn’t mean he’s been throwing players under the bus, not at all, but he hasn’t been making excuses about the lack of production from his roster.
Montoyo had an another opportunity for honesty on Sunday, and he wasn’t shy when asked about whether or not Edwin Jackson would make his next scheduled start against the Orioles.
He could have talked about Jackson’s veteran experience, or about how the weak-hitting Orioles may allow him an opportunity to get back on track as a big league contributor, but he didn’t do any of that.
Instead, Montoyo once again admitted the reality of the situation, casually noting that there simply aren’t any better options for the Blue Jays at this time.
He’s pretty much hitting the nail on the head with this comment, it’s just not that often that you hear that type of refreshing honesty. I’m not suggesting that John Gibbons was the type to beat around the bush when he was in the same seat, but it seems like Montoyo operates without a filter sometimes, and yet manages to do so in a professional and even charming way.
He’s not directly criticizing the front office by saying this, but in a way the blame is certainly being shifted to his bosses. That shouldn’t be a secret given the way the Blue Jays’ depth has failed them in the rotation so far this year though, so I don’t think that Ross Atkins and Mark Shapiro are going to be upset with him for stating the obvious for the time being.
Right now the rotation features Marcus Stroman, Trent Thornton, Aaron Sanchez, Clayton Richard, and Jackson, and there’s a lot of uncertainty within that group as well. Richard hasn’t performed very well since coming back off the IL, and Sanchez is about as big of a wild card as there is when it comes to health. Meanwhile, the Blue Jays are popping up in trade rumours connected to Stroman all the time.
They’ll hopefully get Ryan Borucki back sometime around a month from now, and maybe Sean Reid-Foley can keep up his recent performance and provide some depth in the big leagues as well. For the immediate term though, Montoyo is correct the Blue Jays really don’t have any better options to take Jackson’s next turn, even if his ERA is 11.90 through his first five starts.
Montoyo’s statement is certainly not the most encouraging, but I’m glad that he’s not trying to re-shape the reality that is pretty blatantly obvious. This is not a very good Blue Jays team right now, and the rotation is in really, really rough shape. At least he’s willing to admit it, something I’m not sure we’ll ever hear that directly from his bosses.