Blue Jays: How did Charlie Montoyo end up as a MYO finalist?
On Monday we learned that Blue Jays skipper Charlie Montoyo is a finalist for the Manager of the Year award. Is he a worthy candidate?
Despite the fact that the Blue Jays had a successful 2020 campaign and took a significant step forward in their rebuild, there were times that it felt like a bit of a rollercoaster.
For that reason and a few more, I’ll admit that I was fairly surprised to see Charlie Montoyo‘s name on the list of nominees for AL Manager of the Year. The second year skipper received the nod along with Kevin Cash of the Rays, and Rick Renteria of the Chicago White Sox, and those two don’t really come as big surprises. The Rays were the top team in the American League despite a smaller payroll than most, and the White Sox were another team that took a big leap in their own rebuild.
There are a lot of reasons that Montoyo could and should be considered for the award (I wrote about that subject just last month), but I’ll admit that my initial reaction to the news was of surprise. However, when I take a closer look at the rest of the AL, it actually makes a lot of sense. Allow me to break it down by division:
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1- Rays (40-20)- Cash nominated*
2- Yankees (33-27)– Didn’t reach expectations
3- Blue Jays (32-28)- Montoyo nominated*
4- Orioles (25-35)– It was good for a while?
5- Red Sox (24-36)– Ouch
1- Twins (36-24)– Met expectations
2- White Sox (35-25)- Renteria nominated*
3- Cleveland (35-25)- Met expectations
4- Royals (26-34)– Rough season
5- Tigers (25-35)– Rougher season
1- A’s (36-24)– Met expectations
2- Astros (29-31)– Disappointed, lucky to make the playoffs
3- Mariners (27-33)– I mean, not terrible based on expectations
4- Angels (26-34)– Major disappointment
5- Rangers (22-38)– What the heck happened?
With a closer look, I’m really only seeing three other teams with skippers that could have received consideration, and that would be in Oakland, Minnesota, and Cleveland. However, in all three of those cases the teams were expected to contend, and that generally works against a manager for an award like this. The voters typically favour a bench boss who took a team that wasn’t expected to do much and led them to a bit of an overachievement. To that end, Montoyo certainly fits the bill. The only other team with a winning record that I haven’t mentioned is the Yankees, and I think most fans of the team would consider 2020 to be a disappointment.
If the Blue Jays were in the National League then Montoyo may have had a tougher time finishing in the top three for award consideration. However, with a closer look at how things went in the American League in 2020, I’ll admit that it makes sense how the Blue Jays skipper ended up getting recognized.