The Toronto Blue Jays manager, John Gibbons, had an option triggered in his contract that will see him in Toronto for the 2017 season too!
The Toronto Blue Jays made a move while the rest of us were recovering from our New Year’s celebrations. More accurately, they made a move without doing anything at all. Manager John Gibbons picked up an extra year on his contract and will be back in 2017. He earned it by not getting fired.
As you may be aware, he has a nifty little clause in his agreement that says if he is not fired by January 1, an option is triggered that gives him another year of service. Many feel this is to avoid being in a “lame duck” manager position. It certainly is a clever aspect of negotiating.
It seems that most of Blue Jays Land is split on Gibby. Many love him. His personality can be described as “laid back” or “affable” or “personable”. However you describe him, most feel that Gibby, the person, is A-OK. He is always good for an interesting quote, a self deprecating quip or a way of dismissing the negative. Heck, he even gave us a whole host of gifs that were excellently compiled by Ian Hunter at BlueJayHunter.com. Though, just like he doesn’t get caught up in the valleys of the lows, he is also not likely to get too emotional about a huge win streak. Perhaps, “even keeled” is the best way to describe him.
While his personality cannot be questioned, his managing abilities certainly have been. Gibby has been taken to task in the public eye for nearly every aspect of his game. Whether it is his management of the bullpen or leaving a member of the starting rotation in too long, it seems that Gibby can’t win. Perhaps that is the nature of being in his position. Though, he would be the first to tell you that he can’t hit or pitch for his players. Things work or they don’t. And, that is him in a nutshell.
However, lost in the hoopla of the 2015 post season is the growth of John Gibbons. Where he has been known to favor players and their desires (see Mark Buehrle‘s attempt at 200 innings, which probably was not that big a debate between the two), he was a different manager in the playoffs. He wouldn’t even let R.A. Dickey stay in the ALDS long enough to get credit for a win with his team up by a comfortable margin. Nope. There was no risks or “wait and see how it goes” being taken there. That situation is just one example of the more serious, no nonsense John Gibbons many want to see all season.
He used the platoon of Chris Colabello and Justin Smoak very well also. He rode Colabello’s bat early and Smoak’s glove late; exactly how it should be. Now, the only question mark, really, is the way he handled David Price. It may not have made sense to some people, but the logic kind of works in hindsight. To Gibby, Price was his best arm and he wanted him to be ready if and when he needed him most. Whether it is what you would have done or not, it makes sense. Sort of.
That’s the thing with Gibbons. His thinking does make sense on some level. It may not make 100% sense 100% of the time to 100% of fans, but he has done a good job in Toronto. We should also mention the clubhouse management that has grown since his first go ’round with the Blue Jays. No more is he fighting with pitchers on the mound or hitters in the clubhouse. In fact, you could argue that there were even more personalities on the 2015 squad than ever before. And, they had to be mixed delicately mid season. That can’t be easy. Please don’t give me the “all he had to do was let them play” line. It is just not that clear cut.
Love him or hate him, John Gibbons looks to be set to manage the Blue Jays in 2016 and 2017. I get the feeling that whatever happens in the next season, the response to Gibby won’t be as even keeled as the man himself. If the season is a huge success, it won’t be because of Gibby. He’ll get no credit. Which is probably how it should be. If it isn’t a success, we can sit through another year of “Fire Gibby!” rants.
*Featured Image: Credit: Keith Allison-flickr-CreativeCommons
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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.