John Schneider and Ross Atkins never stopped talking to each other, it’s just the subject that’s shifted in the past two weeks.
Schneider and the Blue Jays officially agreed on a new deal Friday to make him manager of Toronto for at least the next three years, with a team option for the 2026 season.
Schneider and Atkins, the Blue Jays’ general manager, said that after Toronto’s postseason exit, their day-to-day conversations were no longer about the win and instead focused on the team’s long-term plans.
“Once the season was over that really shifted to ‘OK, how are we really going to do this’ and looking back and seeing areas where we’ve improved from a preparation and performance standpoint, but also areas where we’ve improved can tighten up,” Schneider said in the bowels of the Rogers Centre.
“Having open conversations with Ross and hearing his feedback and input and hearing from a different perspective and then arriving at a place that we feel is best for the team and the organization.
“There, many years in a row, it’s shifted from trying to win tonight to trying to win for the future.”
By: The Man(ager) 😃
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Schneider was promoted from bench coach to interim manager after Charlie Montoyo was fired on July 13. He led the Blue Jays to a 46-28 record and the postseason, but Toronto was defeated in the three-game wild card series by the Seattle Seafarers.
Atkins said removing Schneider’s interim tag was a completely different circumstance than hiring Montoyo when the Blue Jays were interviewing several different candidates. This time, it was an ongoing discussion about how to improve on Toronto’s 10-9 playoff elimination to Seattle on Oct. 8.
“All of our energy was put into winning every night and it was really helpful for us to step back and see things from a bigger perspective and felt productive for John too,” Atkins said.
Continuity until 2023
The Blue Jays finished the season second in American League East standings and first in wildcard racing with a 92-70 record. Most of Toronto’s roster will remain in place next year and Schneider said his coaching staff will likely remain untouched.
“You’re always trying to evolve and tweak things, whether it’s the way you prepare for a game, how you communicate with players, how you communicate with staff,” Schneider said. “It’s been really fun over the last week or so talking to Ross and our front office group and how we’re going to try to address that and the things we’re going to implement to try and improve our overall process to improve.”
Schneider is the 14th manager in franchise history. His win rate of .622 is the highest ever by a Toronto coach in his first season at the helm — with at least 10 games under management.
The 42-year-old Schneider, from Princeton, NJ, was drafted by the Blue Jays in 2002 as a catcher and played six minor league seasons before becoming a coach.
He later made it to five different tiers in the Blue Jays organization from 2009-2018, winning championships with Class-A Vancouver, Advanced-A Dunedin, and Double-A New Hampshire. Schneider joined the Oberliga coaching staff in 2019 and was promoted to bench coach ahead of the 2022 season.
Schneider said becoming a major league-level manager became a goal as his “very mediocre playing career” came to an end.
“It was the end goal to understand that with the organization I worked with, that might not have been the case,” Schneider said. “But I think it makes it even more special to be sitting here with this hat on this shirt. Being here now is pretty cool.”
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