Tag: John Gibbons

John Gibbons, Blue Jays Agree to New Contract: Details, Comments and Reaction

Toronto Blue Jays manager John Gibbons will reportedly have a new contract as he attempts to lead his team to a second consecutive American League East division crown.

TSN.ca cited sources Monday that said Gibbons is inked for the 2016 and 2017 campaigns. The rollover clause was eliminated, and “Gibbons has received a bump in pay to compensate for it.”

TSN.ca explained the previous rollover clause: “Under the terms of Gibbons’ original deal, there was a clause that would preclude him from reaching ‘lame-duck’ status. In that previous contract, a proviso existed whereby every Jan. 1, the contract became guaranteed for the following year with another option tacked on to it.”

Blue Jays general manager Ross Atkins appeared on MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM and discussed Gibbons’ contract with Steve Phillips and Todd Hollandsworth:

The 2016 season will be Gibbons’ fourth in his current stint with Toronto. He was also the team’s manager from 2004 to 2008 and sports a 555-541 overall record with the Blue Jays.

The 2015 season marked Toronto’s first playoff appearance since 1993, when it won the second of back-to-back World Series titles. While Toronto lost to the eventual World Series champion Kansas City Royals in last year’s American League Championship Series, it finished the regular season with a 93-68 record and the most runs scored in baseball.

In fact, Toronto’s 891 total runs scored were 127 more than the New York Yankees, which finished in second place with 764 runs. Thanks to sluggers such as Jose Bautista, Josh Donaldson and Edwin Encarnacion, Gibbons trotted out arguably the most feared lineup in the league in 2015 and likely will again in 2016.

As a result, he finished fourth in the American League Manager of the Year voting last year behind Jeff Banister of the Texas Rangers, A.J. Hinch of the Houston Astros and Paul Molitor of the Minnesota Twins, per Baseball-Reference.com.

Part of what likely makes Gibbons appealing to the front office is the fact the Blue Jays have shown steady improvement throughout his second stint with the team:

Blue Jays president and CEO Mark Shapiro had nothing but encouraging words to say about his team’s manager, per Steve Buffery of the National Post: “Gibby’s been unbelievable. I appreciate (watching) him across the field, but his consistency, his patience, his positive attitude, his openness to ideas and thoughts, there’s a steadiness to him and a professionalism to him that, day to day, has just been extremely impressive.”

Perhaps most importantly for Gibbons’ long-term future, Buffery noted Shapiro rebuffed the idea he hired Eric Wedge as the player development adviser to be something of a “Manager in Waiting” for the Blue Jays. Wedge was the American League Manager of the Year in 2007 with the Cleveland Indians.

With Gibbons leading the way, the Blue Jays figure to challenge for another playoff spot in 2016. They lost David Price to the Boston Red Sox this offseason when their division rivals signed him, but there is still a core in place to remain competitive this season and beyond.

Outside of Bautista, Encarnacion and defending American League MVP Donaldson anchoring the lineup, shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, center fielder Kevin Pillar and catcher Russell Martin make the middle of the field a strength for Toronto. What’s more, ace Marcus Stroman is only 24 years old and has the talent to become one of the best pitchers in the American League, and Toronto added Drew Storen to solidify the bullpen.

If the Blue Jays fulfill their potential and compete for a World Series yet again, Gibbons will have even more job security moving forward.

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MLB Playoffs: Managers Who Will Be Feeling Pressure in October

Having a great manager doesn’t guarantee postseason success.

Games are still won on the field, but managers are tasked with putting players in the best position to succeed.

Bruce Bochy didn’t have a ton of success before joining the San Francisco Giants in 2007. Before arriving in San Francisco, Bochy managed the San Diego Padres for 12 seasons. 

His regular-season record was below .500, and he couldn’t guide the Padres past the National League Division Series. In four postseason appearances, Bochy’s club was 8-16, according to Baseball-Reference.com.

The Giants didn’t make the playoffs in the first three seasons under Bochy but qualified in 2010 and turned into a dynasty. The team won the World Series in 2010, 2012 and 2014.

Bochy’s decision to pull Tim Hudson in the fifth inning of Game 7 and bring in Madison Bumgarner is the perfect example of a manager pulling the right strings and putting his club in the best position to win a championship.

Here are five managers who will feel pressure to step up as a tactician and help guide his team to a World Series championship.

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Toronto Blue Jays: Manager John Gibbons’ Smartest Moves of the 2014 Season

In baseball, managers are often placed in an unenviable position. They are usually the first targets of blame if anything goes wrong with their team over the course of the season.

But, if the team ends up doing well, managers rarely get the credit that they deserve.

Toronto Blue Jays manager John Gibbons has certainly experienced this firsthand. When the Blue Jays struggled during the 2013 season and finished with a 74-88 record, Gibbons wasn’t exactly a popular figure in Toronto. Here is an article published last year by Bob Elliot of the Toronto Sun that wondered if it was time to remove Gibbons from his position.

Fast forward to the 2014 season. The Blue Jays are currently 63-56 and 1.5 games out of the second wild-card spot entering play on Monday. But, while Gibbons is no longer on the hot seat, he certainly hasn’t been given the proper credit that he deserves for the team’s turnaround either.

In fact, Gibbons has made several managerial decisions this season that have directly contributed to the team’s success. Let’s take a look at some of his smartest moves.


All stats are from MLB.com and are current entering play on August 11, 2014.

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Is Don Mattingly, Mike Scioscia or John Gibbons Most to Blame for Teams’ Flops?

Just blame it on the manager.

In Major League Baseball, when a team that appears dominant on paper but underperforms on the field, managers tend to take the brunt of the fault. Often times, they’ll lose their jobs because of it even though they aren’t the ones playing.

Through the early stages of the 2013 season there have been three teams that haven’t played like many expected to: the Toronto Blue Jays (15-24, 9.5 GB), Los Angeles Angels (14-24, 10 GB) and Los Angeles Dodgers (15-22, 7.5 GB).

But should fans be blaming John Gibbons, Mike Scioscia and Don Mattingly for their respective teams’ woes? And if so, who deserves the most criticism?


Is It John Gibbons’ Fault?

The Toronto Blue Jays made a slew of offseason moves in order to attempt to make the postseason for the first time since 1993. Toronto acquired several Cy Young-worthy starting pitchers and a couple of impact bats as well.

Toronto also hired John Gibbons, who hadn’t managed in the big leagues since 2008 when he was fired after a 35-39 start in his fifth season with the Blue Jays. It’s safe to say that Gibbons hasn’t been able to capitalize on his second opportunity just yet.

“We’re kind of just sputtering,” Gibbons told Evan Peaslee of MLB.com back in mid-April. “We haven’t been able to get anything going. We’ve had some well-pitched outings and haven’t gotten a whole lot of offense with it. Nothing has come together yet. I think it will, it’s just a batter of time, but you know what, it’s time to start playing some better baseball, there’s no question about it.”

Toronto was 7-10 when Gibbons made those comments. The Blue Jays are 8-14 since.

The starting rotation looked like one of the best in baseball before the start of the season, but R.A. Dickey (2-5, 5.06 ERA) has been a disaster, Mark Buerhle (1-2, 6.19 ERA) has been the worst pitchers on the team in terms of WAR and Josh Johnson (0-1, 6.86 ERA) is currently on the disabled list with inflammation in his triceps.

Jose Reyes, the top offensive player acquired by Toronto this winter, suffered a severe ankle sprain after just 10 games. While Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion have been their normal selves, Toronto still has the third worst offense in baseball, according to FanGraphs.

But is it really that Gibbons isn’t playing the right players or making the right decisions as to who goes on the mound?

That’s not the case here. Gibbons, who hasn’t managed in the big leagues in five years mind you, is coaching a bunch of stars that haven’t lived up to expectations yet. Injuries are out of his control. The Blue Jays would still be last in the division at this point in the season no matter who was hired over the offseason.


Is It Mike Scioscia’s Fault?

The Los Angeles Angels have spent tons of money the last two offseasons and still have nothing to show for it. Los Angeles signed Albert Pujols after the 2011 season and still finished third in the AL West.

This past winter, Los Angeles emptied its pockets in order to sign Josh Hamilton. So far, that move hasn’t paid off either.

Hamilton is hitting .212/.261/.344 with four home runs and 11 RBI through 38 games. Pujols hasn’t been much better and has a slash line of .234/.315/.393 with five long balls and 21 RBI. The offense hasn’t come through for the pitching staff yet, which hasn’t been great either.

T.J. Simers of the Los Angeles Times recently wrote how Scioscia isn’t the problem, but could get the axe regardless. Simers writes that it isn’t his fault that general manager Jerry Dipoto has left him with “a bunch of journeymen pitchers.”

Sure, Joe Blanton (0-7, 6.46 ERA) probably isn’t the best guy to have in the rotation these days. Other than that, the rest of the starters should be good when healthy. Unfortunately, Jered Weaver is out with a fractured elbow and Tommy Hanson was recently placed on the restricted list.

What’s Scioscia really supposed to be able to do when two of his top hitters are experiencing the worst stretches of their careers and his ace is sidelined for an extended period of time? Well, there’s not much he can do except for playing the guys that are available and hoping they have what it takes to win.

Maybe Hamilton and Pujols could use a bit of a pep talk considering it appears that if they continue to slump, Scioscia is going to be out of a job. Whether he gets another is regardless; he has to get the Angels moving forward quickly.

Los Angeles is 10 games under .500 through 38 games, which is completely unacceptable. The poor start hasn’t been the skipper’s entire fault, but I do think that he’ll ultimately pay the price for it.


Is It Don Mattingly’s Fault?

In several ways, Don Mattingly is in the same position as his crosstown rival, Scioscia. Mattingly is managing a team of underperforming stars that haven’t clicked yet. The Los Angeles Dodgers are also without one of their top starting pitchers, Zack Greinke.

Mattingly has been the manager in Los Angeles the last two seasons and hasn’t had much success. The Dodgers finished three games over .500 his first year with the club and 10 games over .500 last season. Through 37 games, finishing over .500 for a third straight time seems highly unlikely.

Despite having the likes of Adrian Gonzalez, Matt Kemp, Carl Crawford, Andre Ethier, Hanley Ramirez (injured for most of the season so for) and Clayton Kershaw, among others, the Dodgers have been very average this season. But he hasn’t had much to do with it.

Tim Brown of Yahoo! Sports puts it perfectly when he says:

…the Dodgers have had a player problem, not a Don Mattingly problem, and that will continue for as long as they hit like they hit, and pitch like they pitch and rehab as often as they rehab.

This is on Kemp, League and Andre Ethier, and it’s on Josh Beckett and Ronald Belisario. It’s on Hanley Ramirez’s thumb/hamstring, and Zack Greinke’s collarbone, and Adrian Gonzalez’s neck and Mark Ellis’ quad.

A handful of injuries and poor offense and pitching has brought the Dodgers to where they currently are: last place in the NL West. There’s nothing that Mattingly could’ve done to avoid this from happening. He’s playing the best players he can and it just isn’t working out.

Kemp is arguably the top offensive weapon the Dodgers have and he puts their season in a nutshell. Through 37 games, he’s hitting .277/.327/.348 with one home run and 15 RBI. Mattingly could move him down in the lineup, but it’s Kemp who needs to starting hitting like an MVP candidate instead of a below average outfielder.

Could Mattingly take Josh Beckett, who’s 0-5 with a 5.19 ERA in eight starts this season, out of the starting rotation? Sure he could, but there aren’t many other options that Mattingly has to flirt with.

The Dodgers have to start winning sooner rather than later unless they like last place. But it’s not up to Mattingly; it’s up to his players.


Final Thoughts

It’s easy to see why John Gibbons, Mike Scioscia and/or Don Mattingly could lose their jobs during or after the 2013 season comes to a close. Poor play usually results in the man at the top getting fired because that’s the easiest course of action at times.

But none of the trio deserves to have the brunt of the blame put on them or be fired for their teams’ awful starts to the season.

The Toronto Blue Jays, Los Angeles Angels and Los Angeles Dodgers are playing poorly because of the players on the roster and not because of the guy that decides who starts and who sits. Injuries have taken a toll on each of the three teams, which has made it difficult to turn things around.

But there isn’t much and Gibbons, Scioscia or Mattingly can do at this point except to keep motivating their players to play well. Making minor changes in the lineup, rotation or bullpen could potentially win a game here or there, but overall, it isn’t going to do much.

Ownership, front offices and fans need to wake up and smell the coffee. It’s not the managers that take the field, strike out each time and blow leads in the eighth and ninth innings; it’s the players.

The players deserve 100 percent of the blame for the way the Blue Jays, Angels and Dodgers are currently playing. It’s not the managers’ fault.

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Who Is John Gibbons? An Introduction To the Likely Next Pirates Manager

Now that perceived top candidate Eric Wedge will be donning a Seattle Mariners uniform on opening day 2011, that leaves the Pirates in a position to take a look at what’s left.  The front office has interviewed many candidates ranging from Carlos Tosca to Bo Porter to Dale Sveum.

Myself and others have been campaigning for names such as Phil Garner, Tony Pena and Ken Macha to become the new Pirates skipper.  None of these guys will have a chance at the job though.

Let me introduce you to the guy that will eventually get the job.  That man would be John Gibbons.  Now the first question many of you will ask is “Who is John Gibbons?”  The rest of you will utter something along the lines of “What the (insert any swear word you like here).”

Several sources including ESPN’s Buster Olney have indicated this is all but a done deal.  I’ve tried but haven’t been able to confirm anything except that Gibbons interview went very well.

Gibbons isn’t exactly the sexy pick that Pirates fans were longing for.  Many will be very upset over this choice and probably rightly so.  I’ve stated over and over that this is a hiring that the Pirates absolutely can’t screw up.  The window for this young team to succeed will likely be a short one. The Pirates can not afford to drop the ball on this decision.  If they do, well then many expected them to do so anyways.

What does Gibbons bring to the table?

He served as the Toronto Blue Jays manager from 2004 (the final 50 games of the season), where he replaced Tosca, until June 2008.  In his first full season as a big league skipper, Gibbons led the Blue Jays to an 80-82 mark.  The following season, Toronto finished 87-75, good for second place in the very tough AL East.

Overall, Gibbons is an even 305-305 as a major league manager.

Currently, he’s serving as the bench coach for Ned Yost in Kansas City.

What has been his downfall though is that he’s had many confrontations with his players. Gibbons is a his way or the highway type of guy, which is actually something the Pirates could use at the moment.

In 2005, pitcher Dave Bush showed up Gibbons after he removed him from a game.  The next day Bush was on his way to the minors.  Shortly after he was traded to Milwaukee.

More controversy showed up in 2006 when Gibbons challenged infielder Shea Hillenbrand to a fight after Hillenbrand posted negative comments about Gibbons.

Again in 2006, Gibbons got into a shoving match with  pitcher Ted Lilly.  After giving up seven runs in an inning, Lilly refused to come out of the game.  When he finally did, Gibbons followed Lilly into the clubhouse and the two got into it.

Finally, there was the 2008 controversy involving Frank Thomas.  Gibbons benched Thomas, who was not happy about it.  It didn’t matter that Thomas was hitting .167 at the time.

Pirates fans seem to want fire out of their manager.  If that’s the only thing you’re looking for, then you should like Gibbons.  He doesn’t let the inmates run the asylum.  It doesn’t matter how much money you make, which actually doesn’t apply to the Pirates situation or what the name says on the back of the jersey, you will play hard for Gibbons.

He’s been viewed by others around the league as a total team guy. Everyone will buy into his way or they won’t be there.

If Gibbons gets the job, you can bet the Pirates won’t be dogging it on the field for much longer.

Most people want a manager that will change the culture.  Eliminate being lazy on the field.  A guy that the players would run through a wall for.

While Gibbons isn’t the popular name Pirates fans have been looking for, could it be he’s the perfect guy for this job?

While he wouldn’t have been at the top of my list, or near the middle for that matter, maybe the Pirates need a no nonsense type of manager like Gibbons.


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Who Will Be the Next Captain of the Pittsburgh Pirate Ship?

The Pittsburgh Pirates are currently interviewing candidates to replace the recently fired John Russell. I thought I’d take some time to break down how I view the leading candidates.

Let’s start with the candidates the Pirates have already interviewed. Their career win-loss record is in parentheses.

Eric Wedge (561-573)


Managed a young small market team to an ALCS appearance.



Not able to overcome injuries and talent trades to meet expectations.



Wedge was the manager of the Tribe when our current GM, Neal Huntington, was working there. In 2007, Wedge led the Indians past the Yankees in four games in the ALDS, then lost in seven games to eventual champion Boston. He was named Manager of the Year. His later teams were derailed by both injury and then by trading their star talent elsewhere (C.C. Sabathia, Victor Martinez).

I actually think Wedge makes the most sense, not only because he has a history of success, but also because of his connection to Huntington. The main reason why he might not end up with an offer from the Pirates is because he is also linked to other available positions, including the Cubs and Mariners.  In fact according to ESPN.com, Sources say the Mariners have hired Wedge to be their manager.

Ken Macha (525-447)


Local guy with a winning record in multiple stops


Not much success with fellow NL Central team Milwaukee.


A lot of Yinzers (local term for Pittsburgh fans) out there will say they’d love to see Macha come manage the Pirates since he’s a local guy. You want to be careful not to get caught hiring a guy just because he’s from around here. Just ask Pitt football fans how that Wannstadt hire is going for them.

Having said that, Macha did not have a single losing season in four years with Oakland, including an ALCS appearance when his Athletics lost to the eventual World Series Champion Detroit Tigers. He got fired following the A’s sweep in that series.

John Gibbons (305-305)



Managed a .500 record in an ultra competitive AL East.


Has a history of disputes with his players.


Managed to have an even record through three-plus years with the Toronto Blue Jays. Keep in mind that meant he had to face off against two of the biggest spending teams in baseball (Yankees and Red Sox). He also had to contend with up and coming Tampa Bay.

I think that should actually make his non-losing record stand out even more considering Toronto isn’t exactly a prime free agency destination. You can’t ignore his run-ins with players. You have to wonder why several players did not respect him all that well.

Jeff Banister (0-0)


Familiar with the Pirate Organization


Familiar with the Pirate Organization


Jeff has zero big league managing experience, and hasn’t managed a minor league team since 1998. How can such a great talent remain unknown? Let’s be brutally honest here. If the Pirates do in fact name Banister as their next manager, they’ll basically be giving the middle finger to any remaining Pirate fans out there. The Pirates really need this next hire to come from outside the organization.

Bo Porter (0-0)


Would come from outside the organization


No big league managerial experience


Porter is a strong contender to get the Marlins position because of his past history with the organization. However, considering he’s been fired as a position coach by both Florida and Arizona, I have a hard time considering him a strong hire for the Pirates.


Dale Sveum (7-5)



Has ties to the Pirates organization


Very little MLB managerial experience


While he wouldn’t be my first choice for manager, he does fit the “rising star” type of manager who could end up paying off for the Pirates.  He was named Top Managerial Prospect in the Eastern League by Baseball America in 2003.   

Other Candidates of Interest

Phil Garner (985-1054)



Most experienced candidate of the ones listed, and is also a former Pirate.


Not all of that experience is good


Phil has contacted the Pirates expressing interest in the position, and has stated that he would bring some new ideas to the position of Pirates manager. The problem is that Pirates management might be looking for more of a “yes man,” and I’m not sure this kind of independent thinking would be appreciated here. After all, the Pirates did fire Altoona manager Matt Walbeck for thinking outside the box.

Getting back to Phil, His most recent tour of duty was with the Houston Astros. He took over mid-season in 2004 and led Houston all the way to the NLCS. He then guided them to a World Series appearance in 2005. Houston’s core was already old by this point, and things went downhill from there.

Hiring Garner wouldn’t be a HORRIBLE move, but I think that Wedge and Macha are just far better candidates.

Tony Pena (198-285)



Responsible for the only recent winning season in Kansas City in last 20 years.


Followed that up with a 100-plus loss season.


I must start off by saying I may have a slight personal bias for Tony Pena, as he was my favorite player when I was a kid. He handed me a baseball at the first Pirate game I ever attended. I still have it. Tony has a passion and fire for baseball, and has served as bench coach for a very successful Yankees team. His last stop was with the pathetic Kansas City Royals. The fact he turned that bunch of losers into winners, if only for one season, is still an amazing feat.

The main drawback with considering Pena for the position is that the Pirates can’t even interview him until the Yankee’s playoff run is over. I think if the Pirates want their choice of the candidates above, they may need to make a choice long before they get the chance to interview Pena.

So there you have it. Of all the candidates I discussed, I have to say Wedge would be my first choice followed by Ken Macha. Gibbons or Pena would be tied for third choice for me. Feel free to discuss this in the comments below!

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