Blue Jays fire Montoyo, promote Schneider for rest of season

Kevin Sousa-USA TODAY Sports
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TORONTO — The Toronto Blue Jays fired manager Charlie Montoyo on Wednesday and promoted bench coach John Schneider to interim manager for the remainder of the season.

Triple-A manager Casey Candaele was named interim bench coach.

The 13th manager in Blue Jays history, and the first from Puerto Rico, Montoyo went 236-236 in parts of four seasons. Toronto beat Philadelphia on Tuesday to snap a four-game losing streak and improve to 46-42 this season, which would put them in a playoffs as a wild-card team if the season ended Wednesday despite being in fourth place in the AL East.

The Blue Jays are 3-9 in July. They went 1-6 on a road trip against Oakland, which has the worst record in the majors, and Seattle that ended Sunday with a four-game sweep against the Mariners.

Toronto’s skid started July 2, when it was swept in a doubleheader against Tampa Bay. Montoyo and first base coach Mark Budzinksi left the dugout during Game 2 after learning of the death of Budzinski’s teenage daughter, Julia.

Several members of the Blue Jays organization flew together to Virginia on Monday’s off day to attend Julia Budzinski’s funeral.

Montoyo, 57, replaced John Gibbons as Blue Jays manager after the end of the 2018 season. Montoryo’s contract was extended through 2023 on April 1.

Montoyo oversaw a tumultuous period in Blue Jays history, with the team playing home games in three cities last season, including two minor league parks, because of border restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Toronto also played its 2020 home schedule at its Triple-A stadium in Buffalo, New York.

Montoyo led Toronto to a 32-28 record and a wild-card playoff berth in the expanded playoffs that followed the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, but the Blue Jays were swept by eventual AL champion Tampa Bay in the opening round. Toronto went 91-71 in 2021 and missed tying for the AL wild card by one game.

Before joining the Blue Jays, Montoyo spent six seasons on Tampa Bay’s major league coaching staff, including his final three as bench coach. Prior to that, he spent 18 seasons as a minor league manager in the Rays system and also worked with the Puerto Rican team at the 2009 World Baseball Classic.

Brian Cashman signs 4-year contract to remain Yankees GM

Lucas Peltier-USA TODAY Sports
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SAN DIEGO — Brian Cashman has signed a four-year contract to remain the New York Yankees Senior Vice President and General Manager. The announcement was made during the first day of baseball’s Winter Meetings.

Cashman, New York’s GM since 1998, had been working on a handshake agreement since early November, when his five-year contract expired.

The Yankees were swept by four games in the AL Championship Series and haven’t reached the World Series since winning in 2009. It is the franchise’s longest title drought since an 18-year gap between 1978-96.

Cashman’s main goal during the offseason is trying to re-sign AL MVP Aaron Judge.

Judge hit an American League-record 62 homers this season with a .311 batting average and 131 RBIs. He turned down the Yankees’ offer on the eve of opening day of a seven-year contract that would have paid $213.5 million from 2023-29.

While Judge remains on the market, Cashman was able to re-sign Anthony Rizzo on Nov. 15 to a two-year contract worth $40 million after turning down a $16 million player option.

Cashman has been the Yankees general manager since 1998. He has been with the organization since 1986, when he was a 19-year old intern in the scouting department. In his 25 seasons as GM, the Yankees have reached the postseason 21 times, including four World Series championships and six American League titles.