Blue Jays dismiss manager Charlie Montoyo

Skipper's tenure ends in Toronto with a 236-236 record in 4 seasons

July 14th, 2022

TORONTO -- The Charlie Montoyo era in Toronto is over, as the team pivots in a new direction with hopes of salvaging a season that's suddenly turned cold in July.

Montoyo was relieved of his duties as Blue Jays manager, the team announced on Wednesday, and bench coach John Schneider was named the interim manager. Triple-A Buffalo skipper Casey Candaele has been appointed as the interim bench coach.

After a good start to its season, Toronto has mustered only three wins in July, fresh off a 1-6 road trip that included a four-game sweep by the Mariners. Montoyo’s departure comes after a 4-3 win over the Phillies at Rogers Centre on Tuesday.

Speaking Wednesday, general manager Ross Atkins didn’t shy away from sharing the responsibility of this outcome, which all seemed so avoidable only two weeks ago.

“I truly wanted this to work with Charlie and wasn’t able to make that happen,” Atkins said. “I’m extremely disappointed with where we are. I think we are better than how we’ve played. There’s been a lot of good individual things happen, but I think we could be playing better as a team. Having said that, this is a collective setback, and ultimately that starts with me. I’m the one who needs to be most accountable for that, and I have a great deal of respect for Charlie Montoyo.”

The postseason-hopeful Blue Jays were 46-42 at the time of Montoyo's dismissal, when they occupied the newly created third Wild Card spot in the American League and fourth place in the AL East.

While Atkins avoided getting into the finer details of this decision, it’s clear that it wasn’t made overnight. It’s also clear that this is one move being made with hopes of addressing a much larger issue, or a series of issues.

“In professional sports, environment matters. The level of energy and positivity, all of that matters. Execution matters. Deployment matters,” Atkins said. “It’s not one thing. That all comes back to me. Ultimately, I’m the most accountable for that not going well. As we proceed, we’ll look to continue to improve upon that, and I will continue to look inward for how I can improve upon that.”

In the modern game, it’s grown increasingly difficult to measure the success or failure of a manager. With the collaborative nature of front offices and coaching staffs, managers aren’t the lone voice players hear, but this move nevertheless sends a message to the Blue Jays.

“You think of the human element of it. This is a father and a husband,” said outfielder George Springer. “You understand and you feel in that moment, but obviously there’s a game that has to be played tonight, so we have to shift our focus fast and go to work.”

On the field, the Blue Jays need to work. Answers have been few and far between lately, but this roster has the talent to be in a far better position.

“As players, we know that things could be better and have to be better,” Springer continued. “We understand what we all can do. It hasn’t really shown yet, and I think that’s the frustrating part.”

Schneider’s job isn’t to reinvent the Blue Jays, but to get a roster stacked with elite talent moving in the right direction.

The 42-year-old knows this roster and the organization well. The Blue Jays drafted Schneider in the 13th round back in 2002, and after his playing career, he moved into a coaching role in '08. Since then, he’s risen through the ranks, including a '17 Florida State League title in High-A and a '18 Easter League Championship in Double-A. Those teams featured plenty of the Blue Jays' young core in Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Bo Bichette, Cavan Biggio and Lourdes Gurriel Jr.

Schneider’s tenure began with an 8-2 win over the Phillies on Wednesday, but he enters the job with an appreciation for the man who once occupied that office just outside the Blue Jays’ clubhouse.

“This is a whirlwind day and bittersweet, obviously," Schneider said. "I have all of the respect in the world for Charlie Montoyo as a baseball coach, manager and as a human being. This is bittersweet. It’s something that I’ve been looking forward to for a long time, and I’m excited to be able to do this with an organization I’ve known for over 20 years.”

Previously the bench coach in Tampa Bay, Montoyo was named Toronto's manager in October 2018, just as the Blue Jays geared up to start a retooling process that saw stars such as Guerrero and Bichette reach the big leagues and usher in a new era for the organization. The 56-year-old Puerto Rico native led the Blue Jays to an AL Wild Card Series in the shortened 2020 season, when his team fell to the Rays.

The Blue Jays fell just one game short of the postseason last year, finishing with a 91-71 record, while splitting their home games between Dunedin, Fla.; Buffalo, N.Y.; and Toronto due to the COVID-19 pandemic and Canada’s travel rules.

Montoyo signed an extension that ran through the 2023 season one week before Opening Day. He ends his tenure with the Blue Jays at an even 236-236 record.