The Gibbons Love-In

When John Gibbons was fired by the Blue Jays in 2008 we were still deep in the wake of the shitstorm that occurred when a frustrated JP Ricciardi lost his patience and accosted a Wednesdays With JP caller for suggesting the club should pursue Adam Dunn. Ricciardi, you’ll recall, insisted to the world that he’d done research on Adam Dunn, and that Jays fans wouldn’t like Adam Dunn, because Dunn didn’t actually like baseball.

The Jays were 35-39 at the time, two seasons removed from the 86-win 2006 club that stands next to 1998′s Roger Clemens/Tim Johnson year as the franchise’s best since the World Series days. They were seven years into Ricciardi’s tenure as GM, heading towards Gibbons completing his fifth fourth full year as manager, and last in the American League East, atypically behind an Orioles club that would eventually fall back to earth, and a Rays club that was in the midst of breaking out.

In terms of self-preservation for a GM who held all the power and was facing an uncomfortable number of questions about his own competency, it made too much sense to fire the manager at the time he did. And for the hopelessly cynical former president of the club, I suppose it probably even made sense to patronize the fans and jeopardize the development of the organization’s young players in order to miscast Cito Gaston as some kind of saviour.

John Gibbons’ ultimate fate was inextricably linked to these forces, even though his most glaring fault as a manager was that he didn’t have a particularly good team to work with in the first place.

The Jays of that era weren’t bad, but they certainly weren’t so good that they were being held back by their manager.

Gibbons managed his bullpen well– he got great years from Jeremy Accardo and pre-surgery Casey Janssen; Scott Downs emerged under his watch; Jason Frasor became Jason Frasor; and Jeff Blair of the Globe and Mail remembers BJ Ryan telling him that in his first year he could only recall getting up once in the bullpen and not actually getting into the game.

He was liked and respected by his players– on Blair’s show Tuesday ex-Jay Frank Catalanotto painted Gibbons, impressively, as both a player’s manager, and a guy who, “if things need to be taken care of, Gibby’s not afraid to take care of it.”

Catalanotto– who, it should be noted, may have been politicking slightly– added that he “gained a lot of respect, and a lot of players gained a lot of respect, for what happened with Shea Hillenbrand, and also Ted Lilly,” undercutting the most vital argument of the tools who try so desperately to work backwards from Gibbons’ poor on-field results in order to find flaws to hang on him.

He actually deployed platoons, using left fielders Catalanotto and Reed Johnson to tremendous effect– something he may be called on to do again in 2013– and was willing to be unorthodox with his lineup construction, hitting Catalanotto, Vernon Wells, and Alexis Rios lead-off at various times during his tenure.

Gibbons was hardly perfect, but in the most general sense he put his players in position to succeed, and it just so happened that they didn’t. Or, perhaps more accurately, they were unable to succeed to the same level of the powerful Yankees and Red Sox clubs of the time. To me, and evidently to Alex Anthopoulos, that’s about as much as you could ask of a manager– at least as far as on-field stuff goes.

Off the field, despite what he referred to as “a couple of dust-ups” at this morning’s press conference, which will certainly dog him for several years more at the very least, Gibbons comes off as warm, conversational, intelligent, and damn funny– as I saw first hand in the Jays’ media conference room this morning, with Paul Beeston practically breathing down my neck for much of it.

I purposefully don’t go to a lot of these things. Getting so close to the gravitational pull of Beeston’s personality as to comprehend how he might kinda be the fucking best, for example, doesn’t make it any easier when down the road I may feel the need to write about him being thoroughly full of fucking shit. And all I managed to take away, physically, from the event is a bunch of quickly-entered and wholly incomplete notes on my phone, and one picture (above) where AA and Gibby’s faces were so brightly lit and indistinguishable that I had to filter it to death to get it anywhere close to usable. (Now, had I known that Getty wouldn’t have any for us to use by now, I might have taken a few more snaps.)

I could have done a much better job digesting and writing about what Anthopoulos, Gibbons and Beeston said if I’d just stayed in the office, frankly, and I’ll have to catch up on Wednesday with some of that stuff based on what exists in my notes, plus the other sources out there, and the numerous radio hits that followed the formal presser. But what I wouldn’t have got that way was any sense of the feeling in the room, which was convivial, if not a bit surreal, at least for me, to be rubbing elbows with the many suits who made their way down for the event.

Even though I wasn’t ever there when John Farrell– a name conspicuous by its near-total absence Tuesday– held court, I could sense clearly that this was probably a bit of a different atmosphere, given what I’d seen of the thoughtful, politician-like answers he tended to give.

Gibbons provided a healthy contrast in terms of presentation, without lacking anything in the way of substance– a suggestion that ought to be doubly impressive seeing as for all his high talk, Farrell never seemed able to manage the club with the intelligence he could ably show off fielding questions, while Gibbons long ago demonstrated such tactical substance– and not just with the Jays, but while he was winning Manager of the Year awards in the Appalachian League, the Eastern League, along with a pair of championships and four playoff appearances during his seven years as a manager in the Mets’ system.

Gone was the talk of getting into opposing pitchers’ heads with aggressive running game, replaced with an unwillingness for the club to run their way into outs with the likes of Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion at the plate. Better still, this was coming from a manager whose clubs finished bottom three in the Majors in sacrifice bunts attempted in each of the three full seasons he was here.

He may come off like an old-school hard-ass, and he may be ridiculously unfairly dismissed by reductive-thinking boobs because of the way he speaks, but there’s a very progressive manager underneath that exterior– and one who claimed at the end of the presser to model himself after Davey Johnson. *SWOON*

Shit, Anthopoulos, like Catalanotto, even said he sees the “dust-ups” in a positive light– or at least was able to convince himself that it wouldn’t look foolish to suggest as much, explaining, “I don’t have a problem with it. I look at it as a strong point. What happened with Shea Hillenbrand, he needed to be confronted.”

I mean… seriously.

Yes, it truly was a remarkable love-in, with Gibbons at the centre of it, somehow convincingly painted as being all things to all men: a warm, intelligent, funny, human, good-natured disciplinarian who takes no shit but can work with anyone, is an excellent evaluator of talent, manages progressively with tactics, and told the media horde that his “dream job” was the one he was in last year, managing at Double-A in his hometown of San Antonio.

“It didn’t go too well,” he explained of his now former gig. “And I left that one for this one– that ought to tell you something.”

It did. But how could it not have? We were buying whatever they were selling today. Or at least I was. And why the hell shouldn’t I have been? John Gibbons is back!

Comments (209)

  1. So I take it, that’s a thumbs up from you?
    Good.
    I feel like I usually do after a big event has passed.
    I reflect, then tell myself it’s back to the grind.
    Let’s win some ball games and kick some ALE ass.
    Go Jays!

    • BTW Stoeten.A personal note.
      We seem to be closing in on the same page.
      What do we argue about now?

      Ummm.
      What’s your position on polka music?

      • Tell him it’d be nice to get Halladay back. He HATES that.

        • Well, it would be. He remains a damn good pitcher (and perhaps better than that, we’ll see how his 2013 goes).

          Hard to see such a thing happening this offseason, though. I’d expect the Phillies would want to keep him to make another run at a pennant with their veteran core.

          • The real question, re: Halladay, is… would you be willing to let TDA go for him?

            I think the Phils would take that. (Doc permitting)

          • Okay folks – if everyone wants Doc THAT badly, wait until he’s a free agent next year – if Johnson doesn’t re-up, that’s something like $20m coming off the books so there’d be lots of room to sign him.

          • Let’s see where the Phillies are at the trade deadline, and whether we’re truly in the playoff mix. If they’re out of it, there’s no reason why they wouldn’t unload the last few months of Roy, and the asking price would obviously be much less then than it would be today.

        • I don’t hate Halladay as a pitcher, I just wish fans would get over it already an stop scheming.

          If he hits FA and makes sense for the Jays, sure, or if the Phillies are tearing it down, OK. But stop pining for it when he isn’t going anywhere.

          • @ Stoeten

            Agreed.
            But the question on everybody’s mind is .
            How do you feel about the “Too Fat Polka”?
            I think the lyrics are dated but it has a catchy rythym.

          • It’s harmless to discuss the possibility of Halladay coming back, that’s what fans do especially in the off season. I think a good portion of the Jays fan base feels him and the Jays have unfinished business to take care of. Who knows maybe Roy is sitting back looking at what the Jays are doing and thinking the same thing. Its a dreamers game, that’s the appeal.

      • Well, the asking price would be at least the value of the compensation pick Philly would receive. And Halladay has a no-trade clause, so he may be averse to coming back, who knows?

        But yes, I agree that’s the only realistic prospect of Halladay ending up a Blue Jay during 2013.

        Unfortunately, absent a huge injury crisis, the Phillies are unlikely to be way out of contention by July.

    • Of course

      Stoeten is not only a fanboi, he’s a hipster fanboi.

      That means he strokes his ironic beard and picks the unpopular choice. Gibbons?…whatever. The guy is a janitor at best.

      What that hiring says is that they were scraping the bottom of the barrel. My guess is that AA is one micromanaging shithead to work for or they would have a manager that can both read and write English.

  2. well written piece..

    i dont understand anyone who feels the need to shit all over this. that dave gersham loser felt that this most completely negated all the good work done by trades/signings.

    nothing in gibby’s history suggests he’ll hurt the club on/off field in any way. thats really all you need in a manager, let the players play, put them in good positions to succeed and stay out of their way as best you can.

    I mean I consider Joe Girardi easily one of the worst managers in the league, yet year after year the yanks are competitive and playoff bound.

    I’m excited to see what comes next, this last week has been sort of like a dream.

  3. Like I said before….never thought of Gibby. Great Idea!!! The man didn’t deserve to be fired in the first place. As far as the Hillenbrand/Lilly incidents, I don’t see how they are even an issue. Both disrespected their manager and Gibby let them know. Good on AA. Never saw this comin but I like it!

  4. You’re going to be huge on instagram, Stoeten.

  5. As a BC Jays fan i consider these night time posts a gift to me.

  6. I’ve listened to the whole press conference thanks to the fan590 on internet all the way here from France and i can tell it was a happy meeting. What really came on top is the humour of Gibby. Man that dude is funny.

    I wasn’t impressed when i heard he was name but you’ve convinced me Stoeten. Should be a excellent season. It can’t start soon enough!

  7. In addition to Gibbons’ understanding about the importance of splits and that giving away outs is a bad thing (stuff that is really quite simple on its face, though it’s amazing how many managers in baseball never grasp those concepts), he routinely puts his players in the best position possible to succeed. There is far less risk here that he’s going to start fucking up games with stupid, unjustifiable decisions than many other managers. Coming from a fan who really doesn’t think the manager matters that much to winning/losing, I couldn’t be happier about the decision.

    The fallacious arguments against his hiring from within the fanbase (such as him being a .500 manager or him being some kind of asshole that will fight/ruin team chemistry) seem to be coming from people who either don’t have a clue about what kind of manager John Gibbons was for this team or those who attached him to the JP era of baseball that they just don’t want to remember (or at least an era that they want to deny had any positive qualities).

    And as far as the outsiders who’ve said it’s a poor move or that a bigger name/star should have been hired, what the hell do these people know about John Gibbons (beyond his record and his confrontations in 2006)? Quite clearly not a hell of a lot.

    • Yes

    • Very well said my friend. I think we will still learn a lot more about him with this new lineup

    • Absolutely right…

    • The only group of fans who are upset are the fans who truly believed Joe Torre was coming to manage the Jays.

    • Re MLB managers not getting that some tactics tend not to pay off: I’m really not convinced that is an understanding thing.

      Some feel that morale matters and, therefore the morale of the better players matters more. So the Citos of the world would rather keep some guy happy than try to gain the platoon advantage. I don’t happen to agree, but I get where he’s coming from. I mean, Cito is aware of the fucking platoon advantage. So Gibbons is perhaps not so much tactically acute as he is willing to give unpopular orders.

      Then there is the whole question of how incomplete the context of the data concluding that bunting is mostly for morons is. It says that a batter bunting in that runner/out context usually destroys value. It does not say that THAT batter bunting in THAT run/out context destroys value. Men in general, managers included, tend to think they can do great things. So some managers like to think they can pick the spots better. It is like acquisitions of public companies: 2/3 of them destroy value for the buyer, yet boards approve them every day. So here it is by being humble that Gibbons is different.

  8. I forgot how likable the guy is. He was on PTS this evening, pretty good clip, those guys love him too.

  9. The things I liked about Gibby I doubt have changed. He looked like he’d tear your skull from the shoulders it was resting on if you weren’t playing a team game. His walk out towards an umpire had a the strut of a heavyweight fighter looking to put someone on the canvas.

    It’s funny but I remember watching him pop out of the dugoot on close plays that didn’t go our way and knowing he was about to get tossed, just by the hitch in his giddyup. I’m sure umpires noted the same. He’s a catche,r so he’s of the rare breed that knows what needs to be said to a pitcher, yet can relate to the hitters because he needed to put the bat on the ball.

    I’ve never found the man especially articulate and have stated as much underneath Stoetens columns. That said, some of the most motivational coaches I have ever played under, or read about, were men who quickly got to the point and lead through action. Some of Stoetens commentary was directed squarely at me, and by me, I mean the fan who has commented on Gibbons failings in front of a microphone.

    Look, the guy will always remind of Jimmy Two Times from Casino (best movie of our gen.) but the more I’ve thought about it I think the move is pure genius.

    He’ll get the kids in order and run a tight ship. Personally, I Think Lawrie will excell under him. I think he’ll be the most improved Jay and be one of the most important players in the lineup in 13.

    • Your taste in and understanding of movies leaves something to be desired.

      • You’re crazy, and I actually meant Good Fellas.

        Not sure why I wrote Casino.

        Good Fellas is one of the best movies of the last 30 years.

        • Ed’s right about the movie thing, but I love your point about Lawrie. Those two (Lawrie and Gibbons) have a lot in common and Gibby has an opportunity to get into Lawrie’s head and fix a few things.

          • How do you not like Good Fellas?

            I feel society crumbling all around me….

          • Hell, Gibby and Lawrie’s father are probably weaned from similar cloth. I think he will bring the best out of him.

          • Speaking of movies, I, for one, think that Gibbons getting into Lawrie’s head will be an improvement over the original Inception.

        • let me get the papers, get the papers

      • And what the fuck did “understanding of movies” mean?

        If you’d like to start a valid argument then let’s do it.

        Otherwise shut that little hole of yours. You come of sounding like something that rhymes with cunt.

        • “How do you not like Good Fellas?”

          You didn’t say Goodfellas.

          • What did you just add to the conversation?

            How often do you end up pushing on doors that are marked pull?

            I’m just curious.

          • Actually he has a pretty goodpoint….I love you you typo then criticize people for not understanding what you meant through your typo…

  10. I just watched the press conference.

    I am intrigued at both AA and Gibby. I enjoyed how Gibby described Alex back when he was JPs assistant, and person who loved to talk baseball but had a different outlook than the average guy………. And Gibby is the anti christ of Farrell. Up front and engaging with substance to his words….. And funny. Answered some tough questions on his reputation with candor.

    But, I am most impressed with the Greek…. He comes across like a smart, innovative and ballsy guy. I love it.

    • AA was on PTS too. He said when he first mentioned Gibby to Beeston, his eyes popped out of his head. Then he gave his rationale and the Beest gave his blessing.

      Fuck I can’t wait for the season to start!

    • How can you be intrigued “at” them? Fuck, you have warped my mind.

  11. Stoeten, I’ve always said you know youve found your right path in life when your personal dysfunctions align with professional attributes

    Embrace your social anxiety and awkwardness as a means to preserve your objectivity and distance.

    We the reader, are the beneficiaries of your many personal shortcomings.

    Congrats

  12. A new managerial signing is always a time for optimism! I just hope we’re all able to retain our love for ‘Gibby’ during the dog days of August when every move he makes gets put under a microscope.

    Funny, but I can’t help but recall a similar amount of optimism after the Farrell signing. That didn’t seem to work out very well

  13. I looked on Bluejays.com for the complete press conference but there were only bits. Does anyone have a link to the complete conference.

    Much appreciated.

  14. The biggest part of the manager’s on field job is to make the obvious moves, and basically not to fuck things up. Gibbons from what I remember seems fine at that. Btw, does it surprise anyone else he was the manager for as long as he was the first time? It didn’t feel nearly that long….

    Despite the “dust ups” players generally seemed to like and respect him, and the incidents were with Ted Lilly and Shea Hillenbrand, who who we all know had a few screws loose anyway.

    Eh, giddy up. Or should I say Gibby up.

  15. I still think they should have hired Betty White!

  16. I cannot stress enough how the “dust-ups” in ’06, to me, were the mark of a great leader. I mean, he literally was willing to fight a professional athlete to defend the team. That is the kind of take-no-shit attitude that I like to see. Plus, I think Dave Bush became the pitcher he was because of the attitude adjustment given to him by Gibby. It sucks that he was playing for someone else when it finally happened but you cannot argue with results. And according to Blair, Lilly and Gibbons are still friends.

    • “I think Dave Bush became the pitcher he was because of the attitude adjustment given to him by Gibby”

      You mean the Dave Bush that had ERA’s of 4.41, 5.12, 4.18 and 6.38 after the attitude adjustment?

    • I went back and read some of the accounts of the Lilly/Gibbons dust up. Both guys were very remorseful and contrite. I liked that. As for the Hillenbrand thing I think that was very different. Hillenbrand had trouble fitting in everywhere he went.

      • I heard this morning on the FAN, think it was everyone’s friend Jerry Howarth on Blair’s show, say that Shea recently remarked he was in the wrong to write on the whiteboard and that he respected Gibbons, felt he’s a good hire.

  17. This has been quite a few weeks. The Jays have many new exciting players.

    The payroll parameter /Rogers is cheap debate is finally over .

    I would love Brunt or Davidi to find out what triggered the change in payroll parameters so quickly.

    Was the Marlins deal too good to pass up.?

    Looking forward to seeing Gibbons manage.

    How many times will he get thrown out of a game next year for arguing with an umpire?

    The next thing we need is one more 5th pitcher & LF DH. However, the team will be OK with the current roster. 90 wins should be achievable.

    What about bringing Carlos V back?? I know he wants to be paid like a starter, but he could be an ideal swing man.

    If one or more pitchers gets hurt, he could step up & take over.

    • I agree with another 5/6 pitcher, but I think you meant 1B/DH? The Jays signed the LF…

      Frankly, I’m fine with the line-up. Could it be improved? Absolutely. But there’s plenty of time for that, too.

    • “I would love Brunt or Davidi to find out what triggered the change in payroll parameters so quickly.”

      uhhh, how about they actually did what they said they would do (i.e. followed AA’s plan of building prospects and, when the time was right, payroll would get a boost)? Not fucking rocket science here.

      • Could be true ?.

        It always seemed to me that Beeston was blowing smoke last year.

        Let’s say Farrell was still here. Would Rogers still spend 120 million?

        Did the jays lie to Farrell in 2012 after he told them in october 2011 that he wanted to leave ?

        I am glad that Rogers figured out how to build a team .

        • “Let’s say Farrell was still here. Would Rogers still spend 120 million?”

          On what logical basic can you keep linking these two events?

          You’re suggesting an ultra successful corporation would massively cut into it’s profit margins just because they lost a manager!?!

          How about just accept that AA/Beeston have done exactly what they said they were going to from day 1 with the backing of Rogers.

          It’s the simplest explanation.

    • Because Carlos V wants to be guaranteed 30 starts and Alex can’t guarantee that.

    • There was apparently a Globe & Mail business article a couple of weeks before The Trade which said that Rogers had increased the budget for the Jays to $120MM a couple of weeks before the trade. The rationale was that attendance had increased by something like 15% last year and the team made a bigger profit than was forecast.

      Either Stoeten or someone at Getting Blanked did a post about it sometime last week.

    • Yesterday on Tim and Sid, timing and how the hockey strike lock-out could be a big coop for baseball now and next year.

    • I don’t think payroll parameters changed quickly. Looking at it from a business persepctive I think the option to spend has been there but the problem he had was to manage fan expectations. He can’t go out saying they have the money to spend because if nothing made sense from a business persective and AA didn’t do anything then he would be run out of town. This way, by lowering expectations he is more easily able to exceed them and build an atmosphere around the team.

    • Right 1b dh to replace Lind.

      iPhone autocorrect

      Does anyone expect AA to get a veteran on a 1 year contract?

      • The iPhone auto-corrected 1B to LF? It’s almost as if it’s conspiring against you. You should probably destroy it.

    • The ideal 5th starter is Ricky Romero. At this point, the Jays are getting into the portions of the win value curve where that last piece they add could have a huge impact. How about an Edwin Jackson to be the 3 or 4?

  18. I like the fact that AA is following what he thinks is right on this. Dude is a smart man.. reminds me of Star Trek and Bones telling Spock that Kirk trusted his guesses more than most peoples facts. At this point its kinda how I feel.

  19. I’ve basically jackknifed from extreme unhappiness, when I first heard the news, to cautious optimism after the press conference.

    I do think the Adam Dunn talk is revisionist. Whether J.P. used Gibbons as a scapegoat or not, the issue at the time of his firing wasn’t Adam Dunn or J.P. getting out of hot water but how poorly the offense was performing. I agree that at a certain point the manager has done all he can and that point is usually well before the batter gets into the box. However, when, let’s say, a majority of the line-up is under-performing offensively and a managerial switch is made and suddenly, let’s say, the majority of the offense is no longer under-performing it at least leaves me with some questions about what kind of an offensive philosophy the manager was employing and whether it was ineffective.

    I’m happy about Gibbons’ tactical abilities. I remember being frustrated with when he chose to pull starting pitchers, but that’s through the fog of memory and inexpert observation. I could also care less about the Hillenbrand and Lily situations. I’m just curious about the offense and I don’t think that curiosity is unfair.

    • I would’ve blamed the poor offense at the time on Gary “take 4 pitches before you swing” Denbo.

      • I blame the Wankees and JPR for that. They knew the guys was a major piece of work but talked him up everytime JPR called.

    • It was a stupid thing to say because it did not make any player want to come here. But at the same time I can’t stand Adam Dunn, so I’m glad it stopped him from even considering signing in Toronto.

    • Regression to the mean much?

  20. i wonder…did farrell leaving perhaps influence or kick-start the bevy of activity, albeit in a roundabout sorta way? perhaps his departure drove home the point that they (jays) needed to be more aggressive (and spend-happy) in acquiring players/taking on money if they want to retain their talent (insert joke about ‘talent’ & ‘john farrell’ here).

    • you mean AA built a much better team out of spite?

      i doubt it.
      its something I would do, but i’m pretty spiteful

      • not spite, just…i dunno, really. i suppose that AA/beast were planning to make some pretty big moves, but if they knew farrell was interested in leaving, it made sense to wait until he was gone before making these moves. it pretty much shows that they weren’t interested – in the least – in keeping farrell…if they were, then wouldn’t they have suggested that he give it a couple weeks, let them make the moves, and then see how he feels about his ‘dream’ job?

    • I’ve thought about that too, but maybe it was inevitable that something like this was going to happen. The surprise is how quickly AA addressed the majority of team needs while simultaneously creating an even stronger buzz than the general optimism and new uniforms induced last year. The moves have also put Toronto on the map for free agents again. That is really an amazing feat when you look at it that way.

      Farrell’s timing could not have been worse. By the way, I loved Gibby’s comment yesterday that he left his “dream job” in San Antonio to come back to the Jays so “that tells you something”.

      • I do think the Farrell departure had an effect on Rogers, I don’t see how it couldn’t. Farrell effectively kicked sand all over the Blue Jays brand, especially in the dismissive way he talked about Toronto at the press conference. If this had been an isolated incident I don’t think it would have changed much but it came after a lot of fan discontent last off-season and a horrible 2012. Rogers bean-counters may be parsimonious but I doubt they wanted to kill an important part of their sports holdings. If they had stayed with a low-rent payroll and a lot of crossed fingers after the mess that was 2012 and Farrell disappearing in pursuit of his ‘dream job’ while making it clear Toronto was not his dream job, I suspect their research showed it would have been difficult to win back fans. It was just a media perfect storm and they had to do something so they did.

        • I’m gonna PS myself to say I think they expected to spend more money anyway. I’m not sure they would have made this big a splash though.

          • And PPS, I’m sure the nhl strike played into this as well. Fans are gonna be ticked with that next season.

          • Just to be clear, what you’re saying is that you think if Farrell never left and AA went to Beeston with the Marlins trade proposal, Beeston would have said no? Or that perhaps Rogers says no?

        • Agreed. Brunt said on PTS a couple of weeks ago that Rogers was concerned about brand damage. The new tv revenue from MLB helps. AA was first in line at the marlins fire sale

          • I think the deal may have been done whether Farrell was there or not. But I”m not sure about that. The brand was damaged by the Farrell business. And 2 weeks later all kinds of money was thrown around. Those were the events. Are they connected? I don’t think the Farrell thing was the reason the deal was made but I do think the fallout may have been a contributory factor in the decision. Farrell made us sound like a 4A feed for the ‘real’ teams. Well we aren’t a 4A team now, are we?

        • AA was the prime motivator here, his baseball career was on the line after last year’s shitshow. Roger’s brand was collateral damage but gave AA the leverage to spin the wheel.
          No way AA does this without a 73 win season and turncoat manager padding his resume.
          AA brings in a trusted hand to guide to ship, he can’t risk being wrong as much as he can afford to gamble on being right; he’s backed in the corner with nowhere to go but up or out.
          I hope it’s up.
          I also find AA’s remarks about Gibbons’ talent assessment abilities to be a nice little parting gift to John Farrell, whether that’s true or not; I have no clue.
          I have to also say, my post-trade giddy-ness is starting to wear off; I can now see that the Jays still don’t have a proven,established ace to match up against the elite teams out there and I am a tiny bit concerned about how seriously a tendon-sheath injury can impact on a potential 50HR seasons.
          AA took on a ton of money here, I just hope everyone stays healthy.

    • AA and Beest were already in the excrutiatingly slow stage of the rebuild with drafts and trades etc when Farrett signed on. All 3 (Farrett AA and Beest) knew that part of the deal was that Rogers would pony up the $$ when the time was right. Farrett left before the offseason started and about the only thing that would have been different would be the Esmil Rogers deal. Having said all that I bet Beest and AA are wringing their hands in glee right about now.

  21. I suppose I didn’t appreciate how well he handled his bullpen the first time around, I always attributed the bullpen’s strength to Riccardi and his ability to scrape together quality arms.

    I also thought it was sad that “Cat” was our lead-off hitter, I yearned for someone in the Ricky Henderson or now Jose Reyes mould.

    I’m not going to disagree with the media-types who were more cognizant of Gibbons’ managing acumen from 04-08, but I can’t help but remember how “checked out” the team was during the Milwaukee road trip right before Gibbons was fired.

    Does that make me a neanderthal who can’t comprehend BABIP or WAR?

  22. All of the mouth-breathers who are pointing to the confrontations with a player who was a complete shit-head and one who acted like a baby and showed up his boss as some kind of justification as to why Gibbons shouldn’t have been hired are idiots, plain and simple. These are the same people who were bitching about Farrell not standing up to Yunel Escobar or Brett Lawrie, yet they also don’t want players confronted? I guess it’s just the old adage that if Toronto sports fans don’t have something to complain about, they aren’t happy.

  23. I’m psyched about this. But I was also firmly in the “anyone but Tracy” camp, so I’m just psyched that we have a manager at all.

    Two things though:

    1) I kind of want Gibby to get into a fight with someone.
    2) I was never a fan of his “different lineup every day” approach. I understand that he was trying to put the best possible team out there given the circumstances, but I hope he can temper that with a bit of stability as I suspect that some players really are affected by things like that in some meaningful way.

    • Yes if Lind is allowed to hit left-handed pitching he might be total shit at it. Optimal lineups that allow players to succeed at what they’re good at is more important that what you think feels right about a lineup.

  24. Watching the Ted Lilly thing again – looks like Lilly says “asshole” to Gibbons on the mound.

  25. Suck it, Farrell, you mealy mouthed squish.

  26. And the Jays are rockin it out in music city!! OH MAN THAT WAS GREAT!!!!

  27. Well done Stoeten. As I said earlier on the thread, the only people who are upset about this are the fair weathers who believed Torre was coming in. Those are fair weathers who miss the Leafs and who weren’t watching in 2008, and they only know Gibby for 3 things: 1) that he got in fights with players; 2) that he was fired by Ricciardi, who was also fired; and 3) that he was replaced by Cito. (And also factions of the US media like Heyman, who are taking a shit on it with anonymous GM polling saying Farrell’s a managerial “star”.) Any fan who truly follows baseball around here understands why this is a good move, or at least came around by the end of the press conference.

    I think when we saw this news most of us went “Holy shit!” or “What the fuck!”, but it was more of a shocked reaction than a negative one. This is the right move, at least right now. And the Toronto Star had an article this morning interviewing Shea Hillenbrand, who actually endorsed Gibby. That was stunning, and says a lot. So yeah, I really hope it works out, and I think it’s going to. I just wish Elliott hadn’t tweeted it so that Alex could have just brought Gibbons on stage and completely shocked everyone on live TV. Well done, AA.

  28. I believe in my heart that Gibby will not allow Adam Lind to see left-hand pitching. This would be easy if AA can find a platoon dude that can mash lefties. (Hi Gomes)

    • I’d be just as happy if Gibbons would not allow Lind to be a fat, doughy fuck.

    • good point. Lind is horrible vs Lefties. He is a good power hitter vs Righties though. Check out his career splits vs Righties:

      .836 OPS, .358 wOBA, .502 SLG, 120 wRC+

      I wish more Jays fans were better informed about Lind rather than just hating on him 100%.

      • best thing for the Jays at this point is to keep Lind (you can’t even give him away anyway) and put him in a platoon. There are far more Right handed pitchers than Left anyways, and now that we have so much speed and more depth it will be easy to bring in a pinch hitter (or pinch runner if the occasion warrants) when someone brings in a Lefty to face him late in games.

        I think there is some upside to Lind if he can regain his form and his confidence should increase if he doesnt’ have to face lefties. He is a big man with a lot of power.

        • you absolutely could give him away, but you’d get nothing of value back, and even though his contract isn’t onerous for a fulll-time player, it’s kinda/sorta shit for a guy who has to be platooned. but a team with ambitions to lefty/righty split him (like the jays should do) would certainly be interested.

          • no 2damkule you couldn’t give him away. The Jays put him on waivers awhile ago and nobody took him when they had the opportunity.

      • Would be interested to see how the split looks if you take out his one career year. But too lazy to look it up, so I guess I’m not that interested.

        There are better one-dimensional RHP-destroyers out there, but we’re pretty much stuck with his $5mill salary so may as well give him one more chance.

        If we’re in the contention in late July and Lind is still useless, I could see that being a relatively easy spot for a short-term upgrade.

        • His career year is not overly skewing the numbers. even if you look only at last year, which I think most people would say was pretty bad his split vs. R were:

          .795 OPS, .343 wOBA, .457 SLG, 116 wRC+

          so, yeah, it is really how he has been misused in the past and most of that is because we didn’t have much else to work with in the past (look at last years’ dreadful lineups for instance…Lind was one of our best hitters vs R).

          • That’s fucking terrible. A career .795 minus his contract year? That’s awful.

            We’re all plenty informed on Lind, thank you very much.

            And he wasn’t just bad at hitting lefties, he had something like a .113/.115/.118 line against them at one point. Not sure if all you clowns realize that if he’s on the team he WILL SOMETIMES BE FACING LEFT HANDED PITCHING. And the reason why Lind is repugnant is that he doesn’t fucking care.

      • Indeed it’s hard not to have a full time hate on him but for someone that’s likely to dh a 110-120 games vs right handed starters those would be pretty damn decent numbers out of your dh spot.

        League Average DH in 2012 put was .256/.328/.430/.758

      • its not about hating him, its about hating how hes used,

        batting 5th vs a lefty starter is ridiculous..

        Lind also hit lefties really well in his 1 good year that 1 time, way back when

      • Also, even without proper platooning, the ratio of RHP-LHP in the league makes it astonishing that his OPS is that high against RHP but so low overall. Painful misuse.

  29. Once again Stoten ,very well written. BTW ,Farrell and Mitt Romney were separated at birth.

  30. It was refreshing not to have to listen to farrell-esque double-speak going around in circles without saying anything. Gibby seems like a straight forward, down to earth guy. Hopefully we start hearing about the coaching staff soon. I for one would like to see wholescale change in the coaching staff.

    • I wonder if Gary Denbo is doing anything?

      • Oh fuck!

        • @allisauce. I read that article. Why did Rogers not approve any upgrades for 2012?

          It’s hilarious to see the mood shift from fans. 4 weeks ago several on this board were always upset when any team overpaid for any free agents. Some wanted to keep lawrie’s in the minors to avoid super 2 compensation

          • “Some wanted to keep lawrie’s in the minors to avoid super 2 compensation”

            Could you be any dumber?

            • @jays 2010

              Go read the posts in 2011 tthat Parkes wrote advocating keeping Lawrie’ in the minors as long as possible to avoid him become eligible for free agency sooner. It was a penny pinching argument. Lawrie’s was supposed to be called up in June but broke his hand

          • “4 weeks ago several on this board were always upset when any team overpaid for any free agents. Some wanted to keep lawrie’s in the minors to avoid super 2 compensation”

            For an accountant, you seem to have a very tenuous grasp of how to spend money.

            The Giants, for example, would be in much better shape had they kept Lincecum down a few extra weeks. It would have saved them a few million every year.

            You can call it “penny pinching” and you can call getting Bautista, EE, Morrow and Escobar to sign well below market deals “penny pinching” as well.

            All of those moves are the reason the Jays have an elite $120 million teams as opposed to a mediocre one.

          • I’m not sure we can call the jays an elite team just yet. I’m also pretty sure that if they had signed Fielder and Darvish they’d be a better team going into 2013 than they are right now.

  31. “I would love Brunt or Davidi to find out what triggered the change in payroll parameters so quickly.”

    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-investor/how-the-radical-economics-of-pro-sports-powered-a-mega-blue-jays-trade/article5326502/

    There you go.

    • Thanks allisauce.
      Your gonna make oakville’s head explode.

      “you can send a message around the world in a quarter of second but it can take years to take an idea and pound it through a quarter inch of human skull”
      — Kettering

    • I love how the G&M still refers to everyone as Mr….old school!

  32. Well, this is interesting.

    http://www.nypost.com/p/sports/mets/market_suggests_amazin_could_cash_X5YcHiuOYTUuTgPxE4SuiI

    Sherman suggests the jays are still looking for a frontline starter which I find hard to believe but hope like hell is true. He also says the jays can build a package for dickey around arencibia/darnaud, gose/davis, and syndergaard/sanchez as long as an extension is agreed upon. I would definitely be willing to part with arencibia, davis and some c level prospects for 1 year of dickey but definitely not the others. Or, if they were to agree to an extension I would be willing to include 1 of syndergaard/sanchez and MAYBE gose but that would be tough since they already traded marisnick. Its a fun time to be a jays fan, for sure.

    • BTW Sherman is the same guy that predicted the mega marlins trade back in the summer. So, he knows what he is talking about, which makes it even more interesting.

      • What did he say exactly back then? Do you have link? I would be curious to read what he said.

        Would be a tough price to pay but if it really put the Jays over the top it’s kind of hard to argue with. Of course it would have to be contingent on signing him for multiple years.

      • If the Jays are giving up a crazy contingent of top prospects, it better be for a great pitcher who is far younger than 38.

        I like Dickey, but really, is he really worth that type of package with a guaranteed extension?

        Your package for one year of Dickey I’d do though.

    • I say trade JPA + Davis + any pitching prospect not named Synd, Sanchez or Osuna for Dickey or Niese. I’m sure there is a pitching prospect that Riccardi still wants in the Jays system.

      • Give him Cecil.

      • I can almost get my head around trading D’Arnaud instead of JPA and Gose instead of Davis. But I sure dont like the Sanchez/Syndergard thing. Right now I dont mind going into the season with Happ in the 5 slot and taking my chances. If he’s mediocre they can work something out at the break. I dont have to win the pennant this year but I think with this lineup the playoffs should be a lock.

        I wonder if the Yankees are looking seriously at Dickey or Niese? That would be a huge motivating factor for AA.

  33. test

  34. I was working at Cora’s near the Roger’s Centre a few years back when Gibby was manager. I served him and his family weekly during the summers. He knew me by first name and was always kind, polite, and generous. One morning he came in with his daughter and after a lengthy brunch I jokingly asked if he had tickets for the game that evening. The Yankees were in town and it was the finale of a 3 or 4 game set and to top it off, Halladay was on the mound. He looked at me and said “Oh man, sorry Jay, tonight is tough because of the Yanks.” I totally understood and thanked him anyway. Two minutes later his daughter came up to me and asked if three tickets would be ok. He ended up giving me three tickets behind the dugout/home plate area. Jays one 14-2 or something crazy…
    Good Ol’ Gibby

  35. I guess I’m taking a wait and see approach to Gibbons.
    Judging by the reaction of many posters here, you’d think Gibbons had actually won something when he was here before.

  36. Baseball gods are funny:

    July 22 to 24 – Dodgers at Rogers Centre (Ted Lilly)
    September 2 to 4 – Jays at D-bags in Arizona (Shea Hillebrand ranch is a scant 30 km from Chase Field)

    http://www.adoptapet.com/adoption_rescue/77842.html
    Hillebrand has already blamed himself for the problems with Gibby and endorsed him, why not have him attend one of those games – him in the booth with Buck and Tabby – LOL
    and Lilly and Gibby can go on one of their morning jogs together in July

  37. Anyone else find it funny that one-time top prospect of the Jays Zack Stewart got DFA’d? We essentially got Colby Rasmus for a couple of middling relievers.

    • Which is exactly what the consensus was at the time.

    • Sorry about Stewart though. I thought he had promise..I guess so did Chicago and the Red Sox. It doesnt look like Molina did a lot better.

    • Did anyone see the full page ad in the Toronto star today? Jerseys of all the new players plus fan favorites . Missing jerseys are Colby Rasmus and Adam Lind. Foreshadowing a trade ?

  38. Interesting stat about Jays starters when Gibbons was here first: He took his starters from 5th in the league in era to 1st. I’ve been looking everywhere for that stat which I think Blair reported as did a couple of others.

    I’m good with this hire.

    • Or you could give credit to you know, the pitching coach, that guy that so many love to hate, at least on this site it seems, Brad Arnsberg. Better yet, maybe it had to do with the Jays actually spending some money on better players. I really find it hard to give credit to the success of pitching staff solely to a manager or even pitching coach. The players you have are certainly going to influence the results far more than a coaching contribution imo. Take 2008 vs 2009 for instance. The Jays went from a staff of Halladay, Burnett, Litsch, Marcum and McGowan in 2008 to one of Halladay, Romero, Tallet, Cecil and Richmond in 2009. The same argument can be made when guys are trying to blame Gibbons for pitching injuries too imo.

      2005 – 4.06 ERA (6th in AL) vs 4.35 ERA (AL Average) on $45.7 million payroll
      2006 – 4.37 ERA (5th in AL) vs 4.56 ERA (AL Average) on $71.3 million payroll
      2007 – 4.00 ERA (2nd in AL) vs 4.50 ERA (AL Average) on $81.9 million payroll
      2008 – 3.49 ERA (1st in AL) vs 4.35 ERA (AL Average) on $97.8 million payroll
      2009 – 4.47 ERA (10th in AL) vs 4.45 ERA (AL Average) on $80.5 million payroll

      • @ NM
        Yeah, Arnsberg desrves a lot of credit.
        So much, that he got run out of town in Houston.

        • You mean the team that lost 100+ games the last two seasons while cutting payroll from $102 million to $70 million (of which 27% of went to Carlos Lee)? That team? The team that won 74 games the year before he arrived?

          Again it’s all about the talent that’s there imo. Coaches are no different when it comes to being a scapegoat.

        • Also I think it had a lot more to do with the fact that he was arguing with the manager in front of the players than his lack of success with the players.

          http://houston.sbnation.com/houston-astros/2011/6/15/2225345/brad-arnsberg-firing-doug-brocail-astros

          From some of the other articles I read he came across as a bit of a douche more than anything.

          Just saying it’s silly for anyone to credit a pitching staff’s performance solely to a manager or pitching coach.

          • At this point though it’s important to point out that every coach, be it Batting or BP or Pitching or Bench gets high praise from whoever the broadcasters are. I can still almost hear Tabby telling us all how wonderful Arnsberg was.

  39. Interesting quotes in the Star today:

    So if anyone might hold a grudge against Gibbons, it would be Hillenbrand.

    And yet, over the phone from his home in Phoenix, the 37-year-old sounded thrilled by news of Gibbons’ hiring.

    “That’s awesome,” he said. “He’s a great guy.”

    Hillenbrand, who has been out of baseball for four years, said the highly publicized conflict was his doing.

    “I think he handled the situation that we had very professionally and I didn’t handle it professionally at all,” said the father of three, who owns a ranch in Arizona and devotes most of his time these days to a foundation that uses baseball and animals to teach life lessons to at-risk youth.

    “All I know is that during my time with him he was a really good manager and I think he did a really good job with what he had.”

    Ironically, what Hillenbrand said made Gibbons such a great manager was how approachable and accessible he was. “I think John’s going to be a great addition to that ball club and he’s a great guy.”

  40. Sean McAdam ‏@Sean_McAdam

    Source: #RedSox are narrowing their outfield search to Cody Ross and Jonny Gomes. http://ow.ly/ftC3O #RedSoxTalk

    Shit eating Massholes might be closing in on our RH DH! Say it ain’t so!

  41. “fifth fourth full year” might be the most alliterative typo I’ve ever seen.

  42. So from what I gather, the consensus around here is that Gibbon’s is a scrappy ol’ army vet with a laid back affect and approach to managing. Despite effective use of platoons and savvy bullpen management, he took the fall for JPR and an under performing Jays squad.

    Say what you will about Zaun but he says that for Gibby to have success he’ll have to hire extraordinary coaches toute suite, as this affable, non-micromanager will most certainly have to rely on a great staff.

    http://www.sportsnet.ca/video/36651949001/40415880001/Zaun-Gutsy-move-to-hire-Gibbons

    • I wouldn’t be surprised if AA wants full say on what coaches Gibby wishes to bring aboard just to make sure there is balance. I don’t pretend to know the process but I have heard managers usually pick their coaches. In this case a little veto agreement would have been wise.

      • Agreed. I’m speculating that a huge part of this Gibbons deal is that he’ll be falling in step with the front office.

  43. Bruce Arthur in NP today:

    “The Jays had sought and received budgetary approval last season for an unnamed difference-making player making about US$20-million, but the deal fell through; there was another big-ticket move in this off-season that was approved but fell through, too.”

    Any ideas who he’s talking about?

    • Take a guess

      Alex Rodriguez, $27,500,000 (2008-17)
      Ryan Howard, $25,000,000 (2012-16)
      CC Sabathia, $24,400,000 (2012-16)
      Cole Hamels, $24,000,000 (2013-18)
      Cliff Lee, $24,000,000 (2011-15)
      Albert Pujols, $24,000,000 (2012-21)
      Prince Fielder, $23,777,778 (2012-20)
      Joe Mauer, $23,000,000 (2011-18)
      Johan Santana, $22,916,667 (2008-13)
      Joey Votto, $22,500,000 (2014-23)
      Mark Teixeira, $22,500,000 (2009-16)
      Adrian Gonzalez, $22,000,000 (2012-18)
      Matt Cain, $21,250,000 (2012-17)
      Ryan Braun, $21,000,000 (2016-20)
      Carl Crawford, $20,285,714 (2011-17)
      Tim Lincecum, $20,250,000 (2012-13)
      Roy Halladay, $20,000,000 (2011-13)
      Matt Kemp, $20,000,000 (2012-19)

    • Johan Santana – $23,145,011
      Mark Teixeira – $23,125,000
      CC Sabathi a- $23,000,000
      Joe Mauer – $23,000,000
      Prince Fielder – $23,000,000
      Adrian Gonzalez – $21,857,142
      Cliff Lee $21,500,000
      Miguel Cabrera – $21,000,000
      Carl Crawford – $20,357,142
      Justin Verlander – $ 20,100,000
      Roy Halladay – $20,000,000
      Ryan Howard – $20,000,000
      Felix Hernandez – $19,700,000
      Carlos Lee – $19,000,000
      Alfonso Soriano – $19,000,000
      Carlos Zambrano – $19,000,000
      Barry Zito – $19,000,000
      Torii Hunter – $18,500,000
      Tim Lincecum – $18,250,000
      Jason Bay – $18,125,000
      Ichiro Suzuki – $18,000,000
      Josh Beckett – $17,000,000
      Jake Peavy – $17,000,000

      Take your pick though I imagine it is pretty safe to cross of position players and dead money contracts for guys like Santana or other busts like Zito.

      It woudn’t surprise me if it was Cliff Lee. Outside chance of Hernandez or even Beckett.

      • i’d guess lee or lincecum

        • The only reason I wouldn’t say Lincecum was, one, his performance, two, the Giants being right in the middle of a pennant run. Still you could be right if the Jays were going to part with position players. The timing of the deal might give us a better chance to narrow it down. Was it post Melky?

      • I wonder about a guy not making as much but Andre Either in LA. they have Kemp, Crawford signed Yasiel Puig and rumoured to be interested in Hamilton.

    • More interestingly it looks like Rogers was willing to make a big move far earlier than most typically thought. Good to see that they were aware of just how much was starting to slip away after such a fantastic build up prior to spring training.

      • Also it’s not clear from the text whether the first move was last off-season or a trade during last season.

  44. I know it’s been said already 100 times, but it would be great to see AA resign CV this offseason. I know the Jays see him as the 6th starter and longman in the bullpen, while he sees himself as a starter making starter money, but if the jays were able to meet him halfway, and say pay him a bit more than a longman but less than a starter, on say a 2 year deal plus an option or a 3 year deal, I’d be satisfied with that. Let him know that Happ get’s the 5th starter role but he is 1st to take over if a starter get’s hurt. Then sign a right handed platoon player to compliment Adam Lind and some minor league depth, and we’re good to go here boys.

    Keep in mind also, that the Mets lost out on the Bisons because they were constantly putting out an awful product. I’ve seen several articles where AA and the Jays in general have said how important Buffalo is to them and I would be shocked if AA doesn’t make a few signings with the specific intent of making sure that Buffalo has a real nice team next year to keep the Bisons’ brass happy.

    • CV doesnt want to be next in line or a swingman. He wants to be starter right away. I don’t think AA thinks he has the endurance to be a starter from the start and the #s appear to bear this line of thinking out over the past couple of years.

  45. Betcha Gibby asked for a no trade clause in his deal.

  46. @Jays2010

    “4 weeks ago several on this board were always upset when any team overpaid for any free agents. Some wanted to keep lawrie’s in the minors to avoid super 2 compensation”

    For an accountant, you seem to have a very tenuous grasp of how to spend money.

    I look at the big picture. If the Jays are in a pennant race & you have a hotshot 3B prospect waiting in the minors, you don’t was 60 games giving Mike Mccoy starts to save a few million on a potential 6 years down the road with Brett Lawrie. Those days are over.

    The money you make from winning a pennant or staying competitive offsets any additional salary you would have to pay Brett Lawrie in 6 years.

    The Giants, for example, would be in much better shape had they kept Lincecum down a few extra weeks. It would have saved them a few million every year.

    Would they have won the pennant with him in the minors? That’s penny wise pound foolish.

    You can call it “penny pinching” and you can call getting Bautista, EE, Morrow and Escobar to sign well below market deals “penny pinching” as well.

    All of those moves are the reason the Jays have an elite $120 million teams as opposed to a mediocre one.

    Bautista was a fluke because he had one amazing 2010 that no one was sure he could replicate. Parkes wanted AA to not sign him in 2011 & take the chance he doesn’t repeat. If he did, then he wanted the draft picks.Where are the Jays in 2011-2013, without Bautista?

    With Edwin, the Jays forced him to play 3B in 2011 to let Rivera DH because he couldn’t play LF or 1B properly .

    The Jays got lucky that Edwin finally regained his power swing during the last half of 2011 & 2012.

    Escobar was almost DFAd in 2012 as a result of the black eye patch.

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