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Charlie Montoyo introduced by Blue Jays

TORONTO — During a time when analytically inclined managers are more of a hot commodity than their old-school brethren, the Blue Jays opted for a candidate who has experience living in both worlds.

Charlie Montoyo, who was introduced as Toronto’s 13th manager in franchise history on Monday afternoon at Rogers Centre, has paid his dues. He spent 18 years managing in the Minors and comes from a traditional coaching background that was once considered essential for the Major League ranks. On paper, Montoyo is as old school as it gets, and yet that’s only one part of his story.

TORONTO — During a time when analytically inclined managers are more of a hot commodity than their old-school brethren, the Blue Jays opted for a candidate who has experience living in both worlds.

Charlie Montoyo, who was introduced as Toronto’s 13th manager in franchise history on Monday afternoon at Rogers Centre, has paid his dues. He spent 18 years managing in the Minors and comes from a traditional coaching background that was once considered essential for the Major League ranks. On paper, Montoyo is as old school as it gets, and yet that’s only one part of his story.

Toronto’s interest in Montoyo also stems from the fact that he spent the last three years working for an innovative Tampa Bay coaching staff that helped revolutionize the game. Aggressive defensive shifts, unique platoons and bullpen openers were all parts of the Rays’ lexicon long before they became mainstream ideologies.

Video: Blue Jays introduce Montoyo as new manager

The thing about Montoyo is that he’s not old school, but he’s also not entirely new school either. He’s a hybrid, and it appears as though that’s what the Blue Jays were looking for all along in their replacement for John Gibbons.

“I’m a blend of old school and analytics,” Montoyo said during his introductory news conference. “I think using both makes you a better manager. I wouldn’t say I’m one way or the other. Wherever I can find useful information, that’s where I’m going to go. … I’m a blend.”

Toronto’s decision to hire Montoyo was met with praise around the game and also some surprise. The Blue Jays previously were linked to David Bell, Rocco Baldelli and Joe Espada, but it wasn’t until the final week that Montoyo publicly emerged as a serious contender.

The Blue Jays’ interest was equally as surprising to Montoyo. Towards the tail end of the 2018 season, Montoyo put a Toronto media guide in the lockers of Baldelli and other possible managerial candidates on the Rays’ staff. He jokingly told Baldelli that he should start familiarizing himself with the Blue Jays’ roster for the inevitable upcoming job interview.

Video: Blue Jays hire Charlie Montoyo as skipper

Montoyo didn’t realize he was a serious contender until Oct. 21, when the Blue Jays called to request an in-person meeting. Two days later, Montoyo was in Toronto having dinner with general manager Ross Atkins and a select number of the Blue Jays’ front office. Less than 48 hours after that, the former infielder had the job.

It wasn’t immediately clear how other openings around the league impacted the Blue Jays’ final decision. Baldelli joined the Twins and Bell went to the Reds, but Atkins said by the time those two moves had been made, the Blue Jays were already zeroing in on their preferred candidate.

“We had an unbelievable amount of information to make that decision,” Atkins said. “The background work, the body of work and having watched his history unfold, how he got to this point, he really fit our criteria the best before he ever stepped foot in our building.

“I think when it started to become clear to me that he was the right choice, to the point of him agreeing to terms, I was absolutely elated, and that has only continued to grow as I’ve gotten to know him more. The flurry of text messages and phone calls that have flooded in have only reinforced that.”

Tweet from @BlueJays: Blue Jays staff welcome Charlie Montoyo to his new office 🇨 #LetsGoBlueJays pic.twitter.com/GAc2wvxP6Z

During his first public appearance in Toronto, Montoyo remained vague about what tactics he intends to use, but he displayed a lot of humility and humor. One of the first things he’d like to do is track down the waiter from last week’s dinner with the Blue Jays to offer a bigger tip. The service might have been slow, but Montoyo joked that it bought him more time with Atkins and the rest of his team.

The 53-year-old also said that he has responded to every single congratulatory text message because he doesn’t want people to think he has already become a different guy. Perhaps the biggest highlight of all from his trip to Toronto? Getting his wife a first-class plane ticket.

Tweet from @BlueJays: NOW it’s official. Give a big #BlueJays welcome to Charlie Montoyo! pic.twitter.com/zA0RLpCjD0

The long bus rides might be over, but Montoyo is just getting started with the Blue Jays.

“It’s awesome, because this is my favorite city to come in the big leagues.” Montoyo said. “I love Canada. I’ve been in the big leagues with three teams. Of course, one is Tampa Bay [as a Rays coach], and the other two are the Expos [as a player] and now the Toronto Blue Jays. I love Canada.”

Gregor Chisholm has covered the Blue Jays for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast.



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