If the Blue Jays' offense continues to struggle, who is the first to be fired?

Jays Manager John Schneider speaking with GM Ross Atkins and CEO Mark Shapiro
Jays Manager John Schneider speaking with GM Ross Atkins and CEO Mark Shapiro / Mark Blinch/GettyImages

The Blue Jays are now a week into the season, sitting at a 3-4 record. While that's not reason to hit the panic button, there's been some early concerns about the team, building on the same issues of last year. The Jays' offense is slumping, after having difficulty scoring runs for all of 2023. Was this to be expected, or is it too early to give it any real notice? Either way, it's clear that the offense needs to correct itself for the Jays to have any chance to compete this season. If the offense doesn't recover for the second year in a row, heads may start to turn. The bigger question is who is considered the most accountable, or even most likely scapegoat.

Guillermo Martinez is the Jays primary hitting coach, and he's been with the team since 2018. Since the Jays have undergone a team wide skid with the offense, Martinez has been under a lot of criticism, with fans believing that he had the team stray away from the process that made them so successful years before. There were changes made to the active roster, as Buffalo Bisons hitting coach Matt Hague was hired as the assistant hitting coach for the Blue Jays. In addition, Hitting Strategist Dave Hudgens had been reassigned somewhere else in the organization last November.

Despite these changes, it may not be enough to to make significant changes for the current Jays lineup. It's possible that the Jays decide to do a full rehaul of the hitting staff, to encourage a new voice putting this team on a new path. If that happens, Martinez will be one of the first to go.

There has also been talk of John Schneider's accountability. So far since taking over as the Jays manager, Schneider has gone 135-101, good for .572 winning percentage. While that's a good rate for the first time MLB manager, his early postseason record stands at 0-4, which is the memory most Jays fans appear to be left with.

It's unfair to think the sole problem lies with Schneider and no one else. However, the Jays have been underperforming for the past few seasons, and often when teams do that, the manager takes on majority of the blame. In the case of the Blue Jays, it's the offense that has been getting major performances from several key players. If the Jays find themselves in the exact same position as last year, the organization can point to Schneider as the factor that couldn't get this team over the hump. Schneider is currently signed on the be the manager for the next two seasons, however that could change earlier, if things don't pick up for the Jays.

Lastly, a lot of smoke has been coming at General Manager Ross Atkins. While Atkins had been with the team since 2016, and been in place of the team's successful outlook just a few seasons ago, things have taken a turn for the worse. After a disappointing season last year, it was widely agreed upon by the public that the Jays needed an offensive boost going forward.

After making a run at the two-way player Shohei Ohtani (and ultimately missing out) Atkins was not able to make the external acquisition that most fans were hoping for. The signings of Justin Turner, Kevin Kiermaier, and Isiah Kiner-Falefa all present useful qualities that the Jays are looking for, but none of it stands as enough to push the offense into the upper echelon that they aim for. Instead, Atkins opted to buy in on bounce back seasons from many Jays from last. If players like Alejandro Kirk, Vladimir Guerrero Jr., and Daulton Varsho manage to put together better offensive seasons, then the outlook may be much different.

As it stands, the entire Jays offense seems to be in a rut. It's early to make any definitive conclusions about how the team will perform. That being said, there is concern that Atkins opting to run back the same team as before will not pan out, leaving him without much to back up this off-season. This core is ultimately a talented one, but after the consistent underperformance, they may not end up living up to their full potential. If they truly find themselves out of contention, and have no choice but to tear this core down, Ross Atkins might be seeing his last years running the Jays as the GM. James Click still remains with the Jays, as Vice President of Baseball Strategy. He does have history being as GM during his time with the Houston Astros. If the Jays decide to move on from Atkins, Click might be the clearest choice available.