Heading into the 2022 campaign, the Toronto Blue Jays had a lot of things going for them. The club was boasting the AL hits leader in Bo Bichette, an MVP candidate in Vladimir Guerrero Jr., and a full season of Alek Manoah waiting in the wings.
Jose Berrios was signed to a contract extension and while the club lost Robbie Ray, Marcus Semien, and Steven Matz to free agency, they brought in Kevin Gausman, Yusei Kikuchi, and Yimi Garcia while trading for Matt Chapman and Raimel Tapia, sending away Randal Grichuk in the process.
Things were looking up for the Blue Jays, especially since the club was going to have a healthy George Springer also back in the lineup. Fast forward to the All-Star break though, and things were looking a little bleak for Canada’s only MLB team.
A team that was ranked as one of the top clubs in the entire league heading into the year was 11.5 games back of the New York Yankees in the AL East as of July 19th and went through a west coast slump that saw their manager, Charlie Montoyo, get fired and bench coach John Schneider get promoted into the manager slot with the interim tag for the remainder of the season.
Since then, the Blue Jays have clearly separated themselves from the rest of the pack to become the second-best team in the AL East behind the Yankees.
John Schneider Working His Way Through the Ranks
The promotion of Schneider to the role made sense for the Blue Jays, as the former player turned manager/coach has worked his way up through the ranks in the MiLB system and had nothing but success.
Dating back to his time in 2018 with Double-A New Hampshire, Schneider won Eastern League Manager of the Year honors, while always winning the Eastern League Championship with Bichette, Guerrero Jr., and Cavan Biggio on the roster. He also won a championship with Single-A Dunedin back in 2017.
Following the 2018 campaign, Schneider was moved to the MLB coaching staff, where he worked with the catchers before molding into a bench coach role, sitting under the guidance of Montoyo and his squad. Schneider was easily starting to make a name for himself in the league and if it wasn’t for his current role as the interim manager, it wouldn’t have been a surprise if other teams came calling this offseason about his availability.
So far, Schneider has not made any egregious errors worth noting and last night, he made some excellent decisions that not only angered an entire Yankees fanbase but also won the Blue Jays the game, helping with the postseason aspirations.
He brought in left-hander Tim Mayza in extra-innings with Judge about to bat before intentionally walking the slugger, with Mayza set to face lefty batting Anthony Rizzo with the bases loaded and two out. Rizzo grounded out to Guerrero Jr. to end the inning and the Montreal-born slugger lined a shot to left field in the bottom half of the 10th to walk off the Yankees, keeping them from officially locking up the AL East division while also preventing Judge from tying Maris.
Overall, John Schneider has done a great job with the Blue Jays and currently owns a 41-25 record since taking over, currently putting the Jays in a spot to take home the first AL Wild Card spot and home field advantage with just a handful of games left on the season.
This, combined with his bullpen management and usage of his bench and juggling of the lineup, are just a few of the many reasons why Schneider has rightfully earned the manager role after this season is over.
Schneider has been around the core of this team for some time and is now looking like the perfect fit to continue to lead them into the future.