Blue Jays manager, John Gibbons has done good things in Toronto, but he’s not really the bench boss they need in 2019
Ever since the Toronto Blue Jays front office restructured John Gibbons‘ contract, it opened the door for the conversation of his eventual dismissal. He had a genius clause in his deal that in effect gave him a rolling contract- if he was manager on January 1, he’d get another year tacked on. The current front office altered it so that his deal would end at the end of next season. This was not done out of malice, or as a result of poor managing. No, it just makes good business sense for the club to give themselves options.
At no point did management suggest that John Gibbons wasn’t doing a good job. And, at no point should anyone think this post is going to suggest he has. This is not a #FyreGibbie slag job. There are aspects of his game that rub people the wrong way, sure. Hell, I wrote that he hasn’t been using the running game this year, despite finally having pieces to do so. People criticize him for being too laid back, or for not being laid back enough when confronting players. The guy can’t win. Except, he was at the helm of the most successful seasons in the last 25 years. So, there will be no Gibby hate here.
However, this very well could be his final season in Toronto…and it probably should be. Maybe terminating his deal early is t he best thing to do.
GM, Ross Atkins has said that he won’t be firing Gibby during the season and he went as far as to say that the Texan bench boss is “part of the conversation” about the future of this team. Yet, Ken Rosenthal seems to feel that the club is “destined” to move on from Gibby. At this point, expecting anyone to say anything else, even if Gibby is on his way out the door before the end of the season would be silly. Everyone is saying the right thing. Sort of.
Gibby made it clear he doesn’t want to be part of a rebuild. That just might be the real issue in all of this. Even if the front office offers to keep him, he may turn it down anyway. I mean, winning is so much better than losing and this club looks to be set for another losing season in 2019. That is not to say they won’t be fun to watch, but the reason they’ll be fun is the reason they’ll lose.
2019 figures to be a season of youngsters. You can call it “rebuilding” if you like, you can also call it “transitioning”. Regardless, it is going to be a young team, a team that needs a lot of effort. John Gibbons is not exactly the guy for that job. He was perfect for a team loaded with stars, though. His style is to sit back and let the players do their thing. And, for two years, it worked (even if it hasn’t worked for him in the past). His ‘things will take care of themselves’ approach suited the Jose Bautista, Edwin Encarnacion, Josh Donaldson, Troy Tulowitzki, Russell Martin, David Price kind of All Star team. But, the 2019 version of the Blue Jays will be anything but.
On the most recent episode of the Jays From the Couch Radio podcast, our round table discussed the struggles of Sean Reid-Foley as he was torched in New York. SRF’s outing was on the heels of a clunker from Ryan Borucki. Our discussion focused on whether it is best to let these kids learn at the big league level, or to sort things out in AAA, etc. If you listen to Buck Martinez, he thinks there is no better place to learn than MLB.
If that is true, then there will be a lot of growing pains as young, talented players figure out how to take their game to another level. We saw Pete Walker work with Kyle Drabek in the bigs, so it has happened before. And, what better year than 2019 to allow this to happen. As our Ryan Andrews said on the podcast, by the time the team is ready to compete again (2020/21), these ‘kids’ will have had lots of big league experience. It makes sense to allow the Boruckis, Reid-Foleys, Anthony Alford (do we dare say the name Vlad Jr?) to come up and learn to make the necessary adjustments.
But, John Gibbons is not the guy for that. The club needs a manager who will be more hands on, one who will bring in staff to do the same. The next manager needs to be a teacher as well as a nurturer as kids will certainly take their lumps. That doesn’t really sound like Gibby. Telling SRF, “It’s just one of those things” after a shelling may not necessarily be what he needs. The transition of young kids is going to require more than that.
John Gibbons has done some good things in Toronto and he has built up quite a following of fans, of which I am one. His personality and style have their place. Unfortunately, it is not in Toronto in 2019.
*Featured Image Courtesy Of DaveMe Images. Prints Available For Purchase.
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Shaun Doyle is a long time Blue Jays fan and writer! He decided to put those things together and create Jays From the Couch. Shaun is the host of Jays From the Couch Radio, which is highly ranked in iTunes, and he has appeared on TV and radio spots.