Charlie Montoyo And The Reality Of Managing In The AL East
The question of what reasonable expectations are for a team is a never ending one. The Toronto Blue Jays fired their manager, Charlie Montoyo, today. John Schneider takes over for him until the end of the season. In the AL East, where the Blue Jays play against two high profile teams, the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox, how fair is this?
The Red Sox and Yankees in any division would make it tough. The Tampa Bay Rays and their ability to find prospects, call them up and develop them, and stay a playoff team is remarkable. The Baltimore Orioles just made their way back to .500. The way the team has risen in the standings is impressive. The Orioles current winning streak is the teams longest in 23 seasons. Against this level of competition should a manager be fired when his team is four games over .500 and tied for the final Wild Card spot in the AL?
Higher Payroll Always Brings Expectations, Pressure
The reality of a higher payroll bringing greater expectations hit the Blue Jays this year. The team spent 11% more than last year on player salaries. This brings more pressure to win for any team. Add to it that the team finished 91-71, just out of the playoffs last year, and the tension grows.
The Blue Jays line up is one of the best. George Springer, Vladimir Guerrero Jr., and Bo Bichette are a top of the order anyone in baseball would want. They have the best team batting average. They also rank tenth in runs scored.
The pitching staff, both starters and relievers, has been an issue. The Blue Jays team ERA ranks 20th in MLB so far and their bullpen ERA is 21st. The staff’s struggles were probably the biggest part of Montoyo being fired. It will be interesting to see who Toronto targets at the trade deadline to try to improve their staff and stay in the playoff hunt.
Catching Lightning In A Bottle
The Philadelphia Phillies fired Joe Girardi earlier this season. They then went a 9 game winning streak. The Blue Jays are hoping for a similar tunaround. It will not be easy as the Seattle Mariners just won their tenth in a row. There are now three wild card teams that make the postseason in each league, in addition to the three division winners. More teams in the playoffs means greater pressure to make it. Time will tell if this move will be good or not for the Blue Jays. A season of high expectation hangs in the balance.
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