The controversial decision to pull Blue Jays starter José Berríos in the fourth inning of their recent series-ending loss to the Twins was the full decision of manager John Schneider, Blue Jays general manager Ross Atkins told reporters on Saturday. While also confirming that Schneider will return as the club's manager in 2024, Atkins said of the strategy sessions that laid out pitching strategy for the Wild Card Series – a 2-0 sweep by Minnesota – that, "Those meetings are John Schneider's meetings."

As well, Atkins went on to say that the front office is not dictating such tactical approaches to the manager. "We're not flowing information," Atkins said to reporters, including Blake Murphy. "He has a staff that gives him info he's asking for. We're not funneling info into his decision-making."

The decision came just as Berríos was beginning his fourth inning of work during Wednesday's Game 2 at Target Field. Through the first three frames, Berríos had allowed no runs on three hits with five strikeouts and no walks. After a leadoff walk to Royce Lewis in the bottom of the fourth, however, Berríos was lifted by Schneider in favor of Yusei Kikuchi. Kikuchi was exclusively a starter during the regular season, which means he's unaccustomed to entering a game with runners on base. He proceeded to allow a walk and two singles. The Twins were able to put two runs on the board, and that 2-0 score would hold up. "He had electric stuff," Schneider said of Berríos' abbreviated start. "Tough to take him out. But I think with the way they're constructed, you want to utilize your whole roster. It didn't work out."

The decision to pre-emptively lift a starter before he can get into trouble is a defensible one, particularly in an elimination game. Schneider's move, however, seemed a bit early even by those standards, and the decision to put a starter into an inherited-runner spot can be questioned. Suffice it to say, Atkins was disinclined to share any of the blame for the decision, but at the same time he revealed a lack of tactical coordination between front office and manager that's pretty rare to see these days. 

As for Schneider, he'll return in 2024 with a 135-101 (.572) mark as Toronto's  manager across roughly one and a half seasons. He's guided the Jays to the postseason twice in as many opportunities, but in the playoffs he has a record of 0-4 – two sweeps in the wild-card round. Until further notice, that latter record is what fans and observers of the team will be focused upon, particularly in the afterglow of the Berríos decision.