Toronto Blue Jays have officially announced a contract extension with manager, John Gibbons
News came down today that Blue Jays skipper John Gibbons has signed a new two year contract with the team, taking him into the 2019 season with an option for 2020.
Happy to announce that John Gibbons has signed a 2-year extension! Congratulations, Gibby! pic.twitter.com/kjgjEW67Qr
— Toronto Blue Jays (@BlueJays) April 1, 2017
It is a move that has been expected given the glowing terms the F.O has spoken of the two-time manager – his first stint at the helm being 2004-2008. Blue Jays GM Mark Shapiro gave clear clues that the extension would be coming back in October in an interview with The Globe and Mail:
“Spending time around Gibby, Ross and I both feel he’s a part of the solution. He’s a tough, strong, consistent individual that doesn’t panic, yet still feels a strong sense of competitiveness and believes in our players and wants the team to get better.”
It wasn’t the first time fans heard of the easy style and manner of Gibbons. It has been spoken of throughout his career. Brian Butterfield, a premier infield coach formally with the Blue Jays, now with the Boston Red Sox organization, worked for Gibbons during his time in the Blue Jays organization. Butterfield spoke about Gibbons’ style back in 2014 for The Globe and Mail:
“Everybody has their own distinct strengths, their own unique personalities. It was easy for me to draw close to Gibby just because of the type of man he is. I think one of the things he brings, other than great baseball knowledge, is a great way with people. He’s always got his players’ backs, he always has his coaches’ backs. He’s a man’s man. He’s one of my best friends in baseball.”
As Gibbons heads in to his fifth season in his second time as the Blue Jays manager, hopes are high that he will be able to lead the team to their third post season in as many years, with this season ending with a World Series victory. Though the re-signing of John Gibbons will undoubtedly be met with mixed feelings for some, for thousands of Blue Jays fans, Gibbons’ calming influence in the clubhouse and his relaxed, affable manner are welcomed sights in a long 162 game season.
Returning with a record of 644-612, Gibbons seemed pretty happy to have this signing behind him at the beginning of the season, even joking that this tenure would make him an honourary Canadian.
John Gibbons says he's "very fortunate" to have extension completed. By the time the deal's up, "I'll consider myself somewhat a Canadian"
— Ben Nicholson-Smith (@bnicholsonsmith) April 1, 2017
Make no mistake, no amount of affability and easy manner will erase the fact that it is going to be a pressure filled season in 2017. With the loss of Edwin Encarnacion, an outfield in flux, and a fan base eager for a path that leads to a World Series win – an event half of Blue Jays fans remember while the other half can’t imagine – the pressure to win is real. The expectation is that Gibbons is just the man for the job.
Though the first year of his second try as Blue Jays manager didn’t go as well as then GM Alex Anthopoulos had hoped, finishing last in the East 74-88 in 2014, Gibbons managed to bring the team out of their 22 year play-off drought to the post season in 2015, winning the East Division title with a record of 93-69.
The eventual loss in the ALCS to the Kansas City Royals was heartbreaking, but the momentum continued into last season. What blue Jay fan can forget the exciting wild card game win against the Baltimore Orioles?, paving the way to the second post season for the club in as many years.
With John Gibbons steadying hand, Blue Jays fans across the nation are looking to move on from past heartbreaks. It’s World Series or bust, people….. #letsRise…
*Featured Image Credit: Arturo Pardavila III UNDER CC BY-SA 2.0
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Catherine Stem is a Blue Jays fan and writer who has combined both of these great things by writing for Jays From the Couch. Through all the ups and downs of baseball, all aspects of the game are explored. Keeping a close eye on the Blue Jays Triple A team, the Buffalo Bisons has also become part of her make-up.