Person of Interest: New Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo

Shi Davidi explains what the new manager of the Toronto Blue Jays, Charlie Montoyo, to the team.

The Toronto Blue Jays concluded their managerial search Thursday by hiring Charlie Montoyo.

Montoyo was among the handful of candidates the Blue Jays interviewed to replace John Gibbons.

“I am extremely honoured and humbled to join the Toronto Blue Jays organization and I would like to thank Mark and Ross for this amazing opportunity,” Montoyo stated in a press release. “Managing a team that represents an entire nation is incredibly special. My family and I look forward to working towards the ultimate goal of winning a championship for this city. I also want to recognize the entire Tampa Bay Rays organization for giving me the chance to start my coaching career.”

The 53-year-old Puerto Rican is coming off his first season as bench coach with the Tampa Bay Rays but has two decades of managerial experience.

Here is a bit of background on the 13th full-time manager in the franchise’s history.

PLAYING CAREER

After playing college ball at Louisiana Tech University, Montoyo had a 10-year playing career as an infielder that lasted from 1987 to 1996 and was split between the Brewers, Expos and Philies organizations. He played almost exclusively in the minor leagues after being first selected in the 26th round (649th overall) of the 1986 draft by Milwaukee then drafted for a second time in 1987 (this time in the sixth round but also by the Brewers).

He played 1,032 total games with 1,028 being of the minor-league variety and more than half of them were in triple-A. The four MLB games he did end up playing in were with the Montreal Expos during the 1993 season.

They say batting .400 is an unattainable benchmark in modern baseball yet Montoyo finished his career with a .400 average. These are the facts. Of course, when you register two hits in five career plate appearances that’s the number you get. He also drove in three runs. Not too shabby. Fun fact: His two MLB hits came against Gary Wayne of the Colorado Rockies and Chris Hammond of the Florida Marlins.

COACHING CAREER

He stopped playing in 1996 but on Halloween of that year his managerial career began when he joined an expansion Rays franchise that at the time was still two years away playing an MLB game.

Montoyo had an eight-year run as manager of the Durham Bulls at the triple-A level but managed at all levels in Tampa Bay’s system. He had stints managing the Princeton Devil Rays, Hudson Valley Renegades, Charleston RiverDogs, Bakersfield Blaze, Orlando Rays and Montgomery Biscuits. After leading the Biscuits to a Southern League title in 2006 he got the call to manage the Bulls beginning in 2007.

In his eight seasons managing the Bulls in the International League he won seven division titles, a triple-A title in 2009 and set a new franchise record for total wins in 2014. The next year he was named the Rays’ third base coach. He was inducted into the International League Hall of Fame in 2016.

Internationally, he was a coach with Team Puerto Rico at the 2009 World Baseball Classic.

WHY HE APPEALED TO THE BLUE JAYS

In addition to being bilingual, which should help him deal with some of the top prospects in the Blue Jays’ system, as Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi pointed out, he comes from a Tampa Bay team with whom Blue Jays management was impressed when it comes to how they use data in decision-making both on and off the field.

Blue Jays GM Ross Atkins: “Charlie is a highly regarded leader by so many individuals in the game and we were thoroughly impressed by his experiences and approach as we learned more about him during the interview process. Charlie is passionate about the game, with a superior ability to connect and relate and we are confident he will have an overwhelmingly positive influence on Blue Jays players and staff. On a personal level, I am looking forward to working with him as we continue to build and sustain a championship organization.”

Blue Jays president and CEO Mark Shapiro: “Charlie possesses the warmth, authenticity, and extensive experience that will help foster a championship culture in our clubhouse and throughout the Blue Jays organization. His collaborative nature and leadership ability will undoubtedly have a broad impact across the club.”

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