Blue Jays: Charlie Montoyo is closer to an extension than a dismissal
While he may have frustrated Blue Jays fans at many times throughout the 2021 campaign, Charlie Montoyo is likely closer to a contract extension than a dismissal.
I know, some of you need to take a minute to yell at the screen, and in a lot of ways I understand.
For what it’s worth, it doesn’t matter what you or I think of the situation, or what opinion we have of Montoyo’s work after the last three seasons. What matters is how the Blue Jays’ front office and clubhouse view the 56 year old, and it would appear that he’s seen in a pretty positive light.
In a lot of ways that makes sense, as the Blue Jays have transformed from a rebuilding team into a contender during his three years at the helm. I’m not sure that I’d give him the lion’s share of the credit for that given the timing of the arrival of some young superstars, and also the front office bringing in some elite veterans as well, but there’s no denying what’s happened under Montoyo’s watch.
He ended up finishing third in AL Manager of the year voting during the shortened season in 2020, and there’s a very good chance that he’ll be back on the ballot again later this year. Personally, my money would be on Boston’s Alex Cora at this stage (I didn’t say I liked it), but it also wouldn’t shock me if Montoyo was seriously considered for the award again.
The Puerto Rican is still working under the original contract that he signed with the Blue Jays, which was for three years and included a club option. We learned before the 2021 season began that Montoyo’s club option for 2022 would be exercised, and that makes me wonder if Ross Atkins and company won’t address the situation again before a new season begins. It’s not very common for MLB skippers to begin a new season as a “lame duck”, and that’s the spot that Montoyo will find him in once March rolls around, unless there’s an extension worked out ahead of time.
From all of the public comments we’ve heard from Ross Atkins and Mark Shapiro, it would appear that Montoyo is in a pretty safe spot with his employment status. The Blue Jays front office was very quick to announce that this season’s coaching staff will be back again next year, and they’ve been very supportive with any comments to the media.
All of that said, I can’t help but wonder how the front office was feeling before the Blue Jays turned things around in August and got back in the postseason race. There was a stretch when things weren’t pretty at all, and the season looked completely lost. Without an extension ahead of next season, it’s fairly easy to argue that things might have been different, and the late-season run may have made a big impact on the thinking around the coaching staff.
For what it’s worth, I’d like to see Montoyo and the Blue Jays take another step forward in 2022 before the bench boss gets a new contract. While he probably doesn’t deserve the level of criticism he gets at times, I absolutely believe that he still has a lot to prove when it comes to managing a potential championship contender. I think he’s done a solid job overall in guiding that transition progress, but it remains to be seen if he can take them to the next level as true contenders.
That brings me back to my earlier point, that it doesn’t matter what you or I think. It doesn’t look like he’s going anywhere any time soon, and my guess is Montoyo will receive a new contract before a new season gets underway.