A week before the All-Star Game, coming off a lowly west coast road trip, the Toronto Blue Jays front office decided a change was needed on the coaching staff. Charlie Montoyo, who was hired during the 2018-2019 offseason to go through a rebuild with the young squad, was let go, finishing with an even 236-236 record as the Jays’ manager.
The club looked internally for a replacement, moving John Schneider from the bench coach role to the manager spot, with the former Jays prospect in the late 2000s handed the interim tag for the remainder of the season.
Schneider has been with the team for over a decade, working his way through the Minor League ladder in the Jays organization. Concussions forced him to retire but he stayed on in a coaching role, and over the next 10 years, found his way into becoming the manager of a few different teams, including the Vancouver Canadians (Short-A), the Lansing Lugnuts (A), and the Dunedin Blue Jays (A-Advanced).
In 2018, Schneider was moved to Double-A New Hampshire and managed a team that included Cavan Biggio, Vladimir Guerrero Jr., and Bo Bichette, with the club winning the Eastern League Championship and with Schneider winning the Eastern League Manager of the Year award in the process.
Schneider Promoted to the Blue Jays Coaching Staff
The Jays moved him to the big league staff to start the 2019 season, working with the catchers before moving into a bench coach role, which is what he was in at the time of the promotion to manager. It was no secret that the former catcher was likely on the radar of a few different teams looking for a managerial change this upcoming offseason and the Jays gave him his first chance to finish off the 2022 campaign.
Overall, the New Jersey product finished the season with the same amount of wins as Montoyo (46) but did so in 14 fewer games. He was noticeably more aggressive on the base paths, enacting the hit and run more than Montoyo did when he was at the helm and wasn’t afraid to tinker with the batting order, most notably moving Bichette down in the lineup when he was struggling and moving him up when he found his groove in September.
Schneider also held his players accountable, something that was reportedly lacking under Montoyo, with the interim manager making waves by scolding Guerrero Jr. when the 23-year-old had a baserunning miscue late in the season, “This time of year is always important, but every game is important… We’d be doing everyone a disservice if we talked about being one game short last year and every game counts and not doing everything we can to cover all of our bases. So whether it was yesterday, today or April, I think it’s a good thing for those guys to hear.”
John Schneider and His Future With the Club
Yesterday, general manager Ross Atkins met with the media and was asked about Schneider and his potential return to the Blue Jays bench, “We’ve just started that process but I expect it to be difficult to do better than him.”
While that isn’t a sure-fire yes or no answer, the players are reportedly on his side, with third baseman Matt Chapman explaining after their AL Wild Card exit, “Of course I want him to come back. I love Schneids, I think he was great for this team. He understands the pulse of this team and how the guys operate.”
Having the players on your side is a great vote of confidence, and ultimately, Schneider has done a lot this season that would point to him returning to the Blue Jays without the interim tag next season and beyond.
While he did make a few questionable calls during the Wild Card series against Seattle (bringing in Tim Mayza to face Carlos Santana will be a tough pill to swallow), his compatibility with the squad and game tactics, combined with his no-nonsense demeanour when needed, support the decision to bring him back rather than see him return in a different role (or potentially move on elsewhere).