Blue Jays: John Schneider has earned the right to keep his gig
The Blue Jays made the tough decision to fire Charlie Montoyo mid-season, but the team has turned things around under John Schneider’s guidance.
Since making that change in the skipper’s seat the Blue Jays are now 40-25, and have went from a team that was on the verge of falling out of the playoff race to one that currently holds the top Wild Card spot. A lot could happen with nine games left in the regular season, but with a magic number of just four the Blue Jays should be in a position to make the playoffs one way or another. At this point it’s more about seeding, and most importantly, the opportunity to host a home playoff series in Toronto for the first round.
At the time that the Blue Jays promoted Schneider to the managerial role, I wondered if he wasn’t being put in a pretty unfair position as a long-time employee in the organization. As Montoyo departed the Jays were just 46-42, and what promised to be the real breakout season for a talented young team had been a major disappointment. With that, I expected that unless they could turn things around in the second half that there would be some sweeping changes with the coaching staff in addition to the roster.
Instead, the Jays have played most of their best baseball of the year under their rookie manager, and I have to think that the front office is pleased with what they’re seeing. Naturally a deep run in the postseason could cement the positive report card for Schneider’s work even further, but at this point I’m not sure the playoff results will matter in his first-year evaluation. You could make an argument that without the manager swap that the Blue Jays might not have been in the playoff picture at all.
Without knowing all of the dynamics of the clubhouse and the relationships between the players and the coaching staff, I get the sense that at least some of the Blue Jays are pleased with the current situation. That makes sense from a comfort standpoint, as core players like Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Bo Bichette, Cavan Biggio and more have plenty of experience playing for Schneider from their minor league days, and it’s obvious there are some strong relationships there.
That’s another important factor as the Blue Jays look to next season and beyond, and why I think Schneider will be around for at least the 2023, and likely much longer. We’ve recently heard Guerrero Jr. express interest in signing long-term in Toronto, and Bichette has played his best baseball of the season down the stretch, looking like a different player since Schneider took over. Those two young stars are an important part of the immediately and long-term future of this organization, and their endorsement of Schneider will be important.
It might seem like an obvious decision to remove the “interim” tag from Schneider’s job for next year, but I’m not sure it was set in stone even a month ago. The fact that the Blue Jays have come much closer to living up to their potential under Schneider’s watch has to be noticed, and I’m sure it’ll be rewarded. At the end of the day, the front office needs someone who can get the most of his players, and Schneider has done a great job of just that in his first go-around as a big league skipper.
With nine games left and a playoff berth on the horizon, Schneider’s Blue Jays have a chance to not only cement his place as their bench boss for the foreseeable future, but if things go just right, he could earn quite the early legacy around here. For now, Blue Jays fans have to be pleased with the 42 year old’s work, and feel pretty lucky to have him.