John Schneider unlikely to be on hot seat if Blue Jays endure slow start next season

Photo credit:Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports
Thomas Hall
6 months ago
A disappointing start for the Toronto Blue Jays in 2024 isn’t expected to cost manager John Schneider his job, even if some fans believe it should.
While penning his latest piece for Sportsnet, Ben Nicholson-Smith outlined the immense pressure that the club’s coaching staff, including Schneider, will be under to outperform last season’s disappointing results after falling victim to yet another playoff sweep in the wild-card round.
As Nicholson-Smith writes, most of that focus will be directed toward the organization’s revamped hitting department, which no longer features Dave Hudgens. Instead, it’ll see Guillermo Martinez return for another go-around and Don Mattingly assuming a more prominent role, with well-regarded Matt Hague joining the staff from triple-A Buffalo.
That trio’s objective will be to maximize this Blue Jays offence more effectively compared to the underwhelming results many of its core hitters – including Vladimir Guerrero Jr., George Springer, Alejandro Kirk and Daulton Varsho – displayed in 2023. And a few more bat-first additions probably wouldn’t hurt, either.
But if Toronto’s lineup struggles to score runs again, especially out of the gate, the unrest amongst the fan base will continue to rise as the losses pile up. Still, a tumbling start to the regular season likely won’t trigger a managerial change, as Nicholson-Smith reports.
As history suggests, general manager Ross Atkins tends to steer clear of making rash and emotional decisions involving coaching and player personnel.
The Blue Jays, however, don’t exactly feature a favourable schedule to kick off the 2024 campaign, which begins with a 10-game road trip with stops in Tampa Bay, Houston and the Bronx to buy additional time for Phase 2 of the Roger Centre’s renovations to be completed. Surviving that stretch could be the key to avoiding a disastrous opening month.
That slate also includes another series against the Yankees, plus matchups versus the Mariners, Padres, Dodgers, Rockies and two with the suddenly-improved Royals.
Much of the fan base understandably lost faith in Schneider’s ability to lead the Blue Jays following his controversial decision to replace a dealing José Berríos with Yusei Kikuchi in Game 2 of last season’s wild-card series against the Minnesota Twins. But, as a few experienced executives told Nicholson-Smith, they feel he earned another layer of job security after taking full responsibility for the unpopular move.
Time will tell if that ends up being the case. Winning, of course, would serve the most effective medicine in this case, as it has repeatedly throughout professional sports.
Schneider agreed to a three-year contract extension – which runs through 2025 and carries a 2026 club option – after having his interim tag lifted following the 2022 season. He owns a 135-101 record since replacing former skipper Charlie Montoyo midway through the ’22 campaign.
The Blue Jays went 89-73 under Schneider last season, securing the final playoff spot in the American League on the second-last day of the regular season before being eliminated 2-0 by the Twins, extending their post-season losing streak to seven straight since 2016.


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