Skip to content

Jays GM recognizes 'massive' urgency but backs Schneider

Toronto Star / Getty

Toronto Blue Jays general manager Ross Atkins isn't ready to hit the panic button yet despite sitting in last place in the AL East with over a quarter of the season already done.

"We believe in this talent. We believe there is time left, but there is a massive sense of urgency, and we need to get it turned around soon," Atkins told the media during Saturday's press conference, according to Sportsnet.

Atkins also backed manager John Schneider amid a 19-25 start.

"He's been very strong through a very difficult time," Atkins said.

The 50-year-old executive believes the club's lineup - which ranks close to the bottom of baseball in homers, slugging percentage, and runs - is showing some signs of life.

"We're getting into really good counts, working starting pitchers better. ... We just haven't been getting our best swings off," Atkins said.

He added: "It's not something that I've been able to pinpoint. … We just see it as something we can correct. You don't just tell someone to swing harder. … Hitting is the most dynamic and challenging challenge in professional sport. The things that we've worked to change, we do believe in. We feel like we have the time and talent to correct."

Toronto removed slumping star outfielder George Springer, who slashed .196/.271/.288 with three long balls over his first 39 games in 2024, from the leadoff spot ahead of Saturday's game against the Tampa Bay Rays. Springer had an RBI single out of the No. 6 spot in the order Saturday.

"It comes down to: We need George Springer. We need to get him going," Atkins said.

The Blue Jays averaged 90 wins per season over the last three years, which included back-to-back trips to the playoffs in 2022-23. Toronto has the ninth-highest payroll in the majors.

A few hours after Atkins spoke, the Blue Jays blew a 4-0 fifth-inning lead and lost Saturday's contest 5-4 to Tampa Bay. Toronto's bats tallied 10 hits, but Kevin Gausman allowed three runs in six innings of work and reliever Nate Pearson gave up the game-winning, two-run homer to Jonny DeLuca in the eighth.

Daily Newsletter

Get the latest trending sports news daily in your inbox