Charlie Montoyo gets more than his share of complaints around here (including from me), so I thought we might have an appreciation thread.
Now, off the top, managers get complaints. That is part of the job. And just because I complain about something he does, say pinch-hit with Joe Panik or Santiago Espinal, doesn’t mean I think he should be fired. No manager ever does everything exactly the way I would. Nor should they. It doesn’t mean they aren’t always wrong (though sometimes they are wrong).
What people forget is that intelligent people can disagree.
And managers are closer to the players than we are. They know if a guy is limping or has a fever, or has a sore arm.
Beyond that, almost no in-game decision, by itself, is a firing offense (other than, say, leaving your top reliever in the bullpen in a winner take all game, leaving someone else to give up the game losing home run). But we have a blog and it is fun to over-dramatize every decision.
Anyway....Things Charlie does that I like:
- Few bunts. I’d be happier with none, but few is good. The occasional squeeze bunt can be fun, any sac bunt that isn’t by a pitcher is a bad idea. And we get very very few of those.
- Few hit and runs. The hit and run is one of those things that people notice the 2 or 3 times a year it works (because it looks so good) and don’t notice the few dozen times it doesn’t work. I was told that, at least in his second term with the Jays, that Cito didn’t have a sign for it. That might be going a bit far, but I like we don’t try it often.
- A calming presence in the dugout. Old guys like me remember Earl Weaver, Bobby Cox, and Billy Martin arguing with the umpire every few days. But it more tends to irritate the umpires (Cox had umpires that hated him, which I’m sure didn't help him). I don’t think we’ve seen a manager get nuts on an umpire, for either team, during a Jays game this year, and I hope that’s a trend that stays.
- We all complained me included when he put Marcus Semien in the leadoff spot and when Marcus didn’t get off to a great start, the complaints got stronger. But he kept him there, minus Springer’s time and the odd game, and it has worked out. Sticking to your guns is a good trait in a manager.
- I like the lineup construction as a general rule. Sure a guy could go up or down one spot, but all-in-all it is fine. I like Teoscar behind Vlad. I’m curious how things will change when Springer is back, but that’s a good problem.
- Occasionally I think a reliever could stay in longer or a different reliever could be used, but we have several relievers on the IL and our bullpen is still near the top of the league. I have to admire that. They seem to have a set number of pitches a reliever is allowed to throw and it is working. I’m a fan of having relievers stay out there if they are doing well, and would likely use guys longer, but I can’t argue that it hasn’t been working. As noted in the thread for last night’s game, Charlie has been using the better pitchers in the high leverage spots. The longest argument was about his use of Joel Payamps and Payamps has only been used in one high leverage spot this season.
- The team seems to be having fun and Charlie seems to be encouraging the fun. I really like that. Thank he isn’t like La Russa.
- I get that the big argument is Panik over Espinal, which is hugely overblown. There isn’t as much difference between the two as we pretend. I’d like if they both played less, but we have to play with the hand we are dealt sometimes. The decision, in the end, is going to be over keeping options open and going with whoever they will be best in the clubhouse. I’d pick Espinal, but I don’t think it is a big enough difference to worry about. And, of course, this is more of a GM decision.
- That he has held together the team through all the injuries is a mark in his favor. It is easy to imagine a young team using all the injuries as an excuse not to win.
- The biggest point in his favor is that the team is winning. Years ago Bill James answered the question ‘what is Sparky Anderson’s best point as a manager’ and he said ‘his record’ and people taking a swipe at Sparky, but he was paying him a compliment. The team is winning with Charlies and that is a point in Charlies favor.
- Last one, Charlie doesn’t make winning about him. Some managers seem to make winning about them, it never is. The players win or lose. The manager puts them in the spot and should try to stay out of the way.
Your turn, this thread is only for appreciating Charlie. Complaints can go somewhere else.