Over the course of the past week, nobody has fallen under fire more in the Toronto Blue Jays organization than general manager Ross Atkins.
Atkins, 50, has been leading the Blue Jays as their GM since December of 2015. Since then, the club has won just one playoff series (2016 ALDS) and has been swept in each of the last three playoff series they've appeared in.
The talk of the town in Blue Jays land has obviously been the decision to pull José Berríos from his start in Game 2 of this year's Wild Card Series. The right-hander had been dominant through three innings, but it felt all along that John Schneider could not wait to take the ball from him. After walking his first batter of the game to start the fourth inning, he pulled Berríos in favor of Yusei Kikuchi, who promplty allowed runs to score and ultimately lost the Blue Jays the game.
Thrown under the bus
During his press conference this past Saturday, Atkins told the media straight up that he had nothing to do with Schneider's decision to yank Berríos early. It makes a lot of sense that people above Schneider would have a say in such a massive decision, but Atkins couldn't cover his ass quickly enough and happily threw Schneider and his decision-making under the bus. Making things even wilder, he immediately followed this up by praising Schneider and the management of this team, saying that the manager of the club will be back in 2024.
This, of course, caused a major reaction amongst Blue Jays fans and writers alike. Now, we are seeing Jays beat writers like Ben Nicholson-Smith and Shi Davidi use their platforms to throw jabs at Atkins and Co. when previously it seemed like they would rather side with Atkins than stir the pot.
With Atkins seemingly losing the trust of fans and the media, it will place more eyes on Mark Shapiro's upcoming press conference that is set for Thursday morning. Suddenly, the job security of the Blue Jays' GM seems to be up in the air, so it will be interesting to see which direction Shapiro goes in.
The Arizona Diamondbacks
Full disclosure, we are still prepared to die on the hill that both the Blue Jays and the Diamondbacks "won" the Daulton Varsho trade. Both clubs filled a need that they desperately needed and it has played out nicely for each party, even if one is still reaping the benefits while the other is sitting at home after a playoff elimination.
Lourdes Gurriel Jr. and Gabriel Moreno both have been hammering the ball in the postseason this year. The former is 5-for-21 with a home run and four runs driven in. The latter has been finding a whole new groove at the dish, as he is 4-for-16 with three home runs and six RBI. Moreno had just seven home runs all year in the regular season across 104 games, now he's finding his power stroke when it matters the most.
Every time one of these two former Blue Jays do something of note in the playoffs, it's going to serve as a reminder to Ross Atkins that he could've had both of these players on their 2023 club, rather than having to watch them find success for another team. Again, this is a trade that ultimately worked out for both sides, but the Jays aren't still playing, so we have no choice but to watch as a pair of old friends lights it up on the big stage.
On Wednesday night, Moreno was struck in the right hand during Chris Taylor's bunt attempt. He was promptly removed from the game, but his X-rays came back negative and it seems like he is going to be able to continue to help the Diamondbacks make their playoff push.
Elsewhere in the postseason, old friend Marcus Semien is continuing his playoff journey as well, as his Texas Rangers await the Houston Astros in the first-ever Texas vs. Texas ALCS matchup.