Blue Jays Fire Manager Charlie Montoyo Despite Being in Playoff Position

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The Toronto Blue Jays announced today that they had “relieved Charlie Montoyo of his duties as manager:”

The Blue Jays came into the season as either close favorites or just behind the New York Yankees after a series of high profile acquisitions in recent years.

Just this past offseason, the team traded for star third baseman Matt Chapman from the Oakland A’s for several prospects.

Chapman joined an already impressive lineup including Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Cavan Biggio, Bo Bichette and Teoscar Hernandez.

They also signed free agent starter Kevin Gausman to a $110 million contract after trading for Jose Berrios at the deadline last season.

Even so, the Blue Jays have dramatically underperformed this season, falling 15.5 games behind the first place Yankees and only four games above .500 at 46-42.

What’s most confusing about the timing of the decision is that if the season ended today, the team would be competing in the postseason. While technically in a tie with the Seattle Mariners for the 6th seed in the American League, the Blue Jays are only 1.5 games behind the Rays for the first Wild Card spot.

By Baseball Reference’s Simple Rating System, which takes average run differential per game and adjusts for strength of schedule, the Jays are in a tie for 8th in MLB, ranking ahead of division leaders like the Twins and Brewers.

Jeff Passan shared one possible motivation for the move, saying that issues ranged from “questions in the clubhouse about leadership” as well as some memorably bad losses:

Montoyo joins Joe Girardi and Joe Maddon as 2022 in-season firings, although both the Phillies and Angels were significantly lower in the league standings when those decisions were announced.

Despite the apparent leadership issues, it’s extremely unusual for a team to remove its manager while in playoff position.

The potential impact of this move remains to be seen, but it now appears to be a trend in MLB that underperforming teams with high payrolls are growing increasingly impatient.

Written by Ian Miller

Ian Miller is a former award watching high school actor, author, and long suffering Dodgers fan. He spends most of his time golfing, traveling, reading about World War I history, and trying to get the remote back from his dog. Follow him on Twitter @ianmSC

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