gibbers

Don Mattingly was nearly fired in the middle of this season. John Farrell showed precisely zero magic while leading his un-bearded charges in Toronto for two years. Jim Leyland and Mike Matheny are two of the most absurdly old-school managers, tactically, in the game. Yet these are the managers who… er… managed to get their teams into baseball’s final four this season. It sort of flies in the face of all kinds of things, doesn’t it? Turns out magic is bullshit. Pulling teams to victory by strength of will is bullshit. Winning before the gift of Yasiel Puig is bullshit. Tactical perfection is bullshit.

It’s all kind of bullshit, isn’t it? And yet, through the sheer force of lazy metaphor, baseball managers are “generals” who “take” a team to the playoffs, or “take” the previous year’s version of a team to some kind of new strata of achievement.

Dumb, huh?

Of course, it’s not entirely bullshit. Those of us interested in data and the scientific method and tangible understanding and the quantification of as many aspects of the game as possible– i.e. those of us who’d rather think like those in the game’s front offices, as opposed to those willing to accept laughable spoon-fed legacy narratives– often get accused of not believing in things that can’t be quantified, but that’s hardly the case. Yes, the endgame of many advanced statistical pursuits is assigning appropriate value to something, and that does tend to marginalize some of the more abstract, or superstitious, notions about how the game works, but that doesn’t mean anybody thinks we’ve boiled down a manager’s potential impact to its bare essence. On the other hand, though– on the side of those who need to open their bloody minds to their thorough, hilarious lack of understanding of how it can all possibly work– when assessing a manager’s impact, in addition to questioning that which we know we don’t know, we all probably need to think a little bit more about what we think we do know.

Sorry to get all Dick Cheney Donald Rumsfeld on you there. What I mean is, not only is it important to ask questions about the absurdities–  like about Farrell’s sudden gain of managerial magic, or how it’s possible that tactically inept managers can manage to “lead” their teams so deeply into the postseason– but some of things that we take too easily for granted.

That, I think, needs to be in mind before we can embark on anything resembling a reasonable assessment of the season that John Gibbons had with the Toronto Blue Jays in 2013. Because, on the surface, assessing his job is easy: he wasn’t magic, he wasn’t able to use superior tactics to overcome the ill health and underperformance of his players, and he didn’t “get the best” out of some of his players who were entirely healthy– that is: Mark Buehrle (for a few weeks), Emilio Bonifacio, and, of course, J.P. Arencibia.

Everyone else was either hurt or performed to at least some kind of a reasonable expectation. Hey, but fire Gibbons, amiright?

Except– hang on a second! “Gibbons ran a country club in Spring Training,” say the absolute most lazy fucking morons imaginable! He should be fired just for that! Right?!? Didn’t prepare his team at all!!!

I mean… sure, J.P. Arencibia was great in April. And Encarnacion, Bautista, and Reyes all had wOBAs of .360 or above. And Lind and Rasmus were above league average at the plate. And the bullpen was great. And J.A. Happ was decent.

But, y’know, Dickey had a back issue, Buehrle started slow, Johnson, Morrow, and Cabrera were hurt, and Bonifacio and Izturis– it turned out– kinda suck. So, obviously, FYRE GOBBONS!!!!!!!1!!!!

Not only that, but let’s– in August, September, and still in Oc-fuckinggoddamn-tober– still let shit dribble out our mouths about the country club atmosphere in Dunedin sinking the club. Right??? Because, y’know, not only were the healthy players on the club pretty much playing as well as you’d expect coming out of Spring Training, but whatever supposed failings of the coaching staff were occurring at that point, they still fucking “got” the club to 38-36 by late June.

OH, BUT IT WAS THE “COUNTRY CLUB ATMOSPHERE” IN THE SPRING THAT MADE THEM GO 36-52 FROM THAT POINT UNTIL THE END OF THE SEASON!

Just dumb. Dumb dumb dumb dumb dumb dumb dumb.

Granted, that post-win-streak record hardly does Gibbons any favours, apart from making the country club narrative look abominably fucking stupid. Unless… y’know… you’re actually capable of understanding how racked by injuries the team was in the second half.

Hey, but the Yankees had injuries too, right???

OK, tough guy, so would you have thought Gibbons some kind of genius-wizard and Girardi a worthless sack of shit if the records of their two clubs had been reversed? Yes, I understand that they weren’t, but if you honestly attribute that solely to the difference between Girardi and Gibbons, clearly there’s something bordering on zero fucking hope for you.

That doesn’t mean that that– or anything in this abysmal season– suggests Gibbons is great, or even good, but there certainly isn’t anything to suggest he isn’t either. Not that we can see, at least.

In that way, the consternation about Gibbons coming back is almost exactly like the nonsense I wrote about earlier this month, after Chad Mottola was ousted as the club’s hitting coach:

It’s hilarious– hi-lar-i-ous– to hear people bemoaning this like they have anything close to the slightest clue about what these guys actually contributed or what Mottola did to justify keeping his job. We don’t know what he did to justify losing it either, but that doesn’t mean we can simply point to some batted ball luck for Colby Rasmus, or Brett Lawrie making the most obvious changes to his setup in the universe, and then say that he’s some kind of genius who the dummies running the club have now thrown to the curb. Not any more, at least, than we can point to the staggering regression of J.P. Arencibia, or the lack of success of Anthony Gose in Buffalo to say that he doesn’t know what he’s doing.

Life is bloody complicated. Ignoring that and trying to reduce its complicated questions into the most dull-headed binary ones imaginable does nothing to bring you closer to The Right Way. Posturing like you’re damn sure you know what’s going on in a room when you’re only able to look in through the keyhole is ridiculous.

In other words, you can’t possibly be fucking dumb enough to think results alone are enough to tell us whether a manager has done a good job or a bad one. Can you???

Comments (156)

  1. it is the players who go out on the field and play like fucking shit, not the manager

  2. Can’t wait to read Marty York’s latest Gibbons rumour.

  3. Of course you’re right. The redsux had bounce back years from lackey, bucholtz, good years from Napoli, victorino, Ortiz, Ellsbury and the jays had a train wreck of a rotation thanks to morrow and JJ. I think a manager can make a small difference (maddon) but otherwise it’s all about the warm bodies who take the field 162 times.

  4. So you had a bad day?

  5. The Jays’ lineup for the first game of the season:
    Reyes-Cabrera-Bautista-EE-Lind-Arencibia-Rasmus-Izturis-Bonifacio

    The Jays’ lineup for the 81st game of the season (which they entered at 40-40):
    Reyes-Bautista-EE-Lind-Davis-Rasmus-Arencibia-Izturis-Kawasaki

    The Jays’ lineup for the final game of the season:
    Reyes-Gose-Lawrie-Sierra-DeRosa-Langerhans-Arencibia-Goins-Pillar

    That tells you a hell of a lot more about the Jays’ season this year than a “country club” atmosphere.

  6. Working on the impact of a ball club’s manager in isolation right now for a grad school research project. The idea was heavily influenced by the debates on this blog. Frankly, I agree that crying “country club, fire Gibby” is lazy, but I’d argue it’s just as lazy to adopt a “well if we can’t find it on FanGraphs we shouldn’t speak of it” attitude that I think is a trap this blog falls into on occasion.

    I’ll be working on this for the next few months but will be happy to share it with the blog once complete. As a teaser: our early (cannot stress “early” enough) analysis shows that out of all Jays managers since inception, John Gibbons cost the team ~3 wins per year. Only Jimy Williams has been worse at managing the Jays. Don’t shoot the messenger.

    • Kind of like poking the tiger with a stick.

    • I would certainly be interested in reading more. What is your field of study?

      Have you read Steven Goldman’s piece in _Extra Innings_ about evaluating managers? It’s a nice short piece, and he exposes all sorts of problems with Chris Jaffe’s _Evaluating Baseball’s Managers_.

    • How do you evaluate them?

      I find it highly unlikely that you can put a win number on a manager.

    • I’m sure you will find that Cito has the highest WAR since ya’know he had the two best teams in the history of the club too right? No real coincidence right?

    • Your study is doomed to fail if you’re not bright enough to have grasped that nobody has a “well if we can’t find it on FanGraphs we shouldn’t speak of it” attitude. There are intelligent ways to speak of such things. The ones generally in the media are not. Neither are the ones that come close to trying to insist upon themselves as worth of being some kind of conclusions.

      You probably could have come to your same figure looking at pythagorean record, by the way. Hey, but if you want to pretend you just threw down some mind-bending grad school knowledge, way to go.

      • Didn’t mean to strike a nerve or come across as anything less than humble. I’d argue there’s a debate here that’s gone on way too long and has gone nowhere. There’s an answer here and that’s what I’m looking into.

        Yes, you got it, we’re using a Pythagorean (PythagenPat, to be more precise) based estimate of managerial impact and comparing and contrasting it with another approach that measures a manager’s skill from a wOBA based measure of economic efficiency. If both analyses spit out similar results, it’s sweet. If not, still sweet and we figure out why Will keep you posted.

        • Sounds good, actually. I’m always too quick to get my back up on this shit. Thanks!

        • PN, you may want to consider looking at pythag wins based on a run differential calculation using randomized hit/walk sequencing – which can have a very dramatic effect on run differential (i.e. 4 singles in one inning produces more runs than 4 singles spread evenly over nine). That is, unless you believe hit sequencing should be attributed to the manager…

          Unfortunately I don’t remember where I saw this metric (it could have been here), but it does exist.

      • Some people may be aware of APBA baseball that is a stats driven game.. When you play a season out a manager at best makes a 5-10 game swing one way or the other based upon in game decisions, the rest of the results are player performance driven. i believe like Andrew states that rsults are reflection of players performance. I do disagree with andrew that clubhouse chemistry does not effect results. Good chemistry will result in players going the other way vs swinging for fences. Good chemistry will result in less drama in room and players accepting roles and not bitching which results in players being relaxed and performing better

        • I’ve never said it does not effect results. We can’t tell that. But it’s silly to think it’s anything more than pretty marginal, I think, no matter how many nice stories we can create to try to tie it to something more impactful.

    • @PN

      +1. That sounds like a very cool research project.

      I do think Gibby deserves a pass for 2013.

      The team was new 8 players were at the World baseball Classic.

      Will Gibby be a drill sargeant in Spring 2014 to offset the Country Club Rumours?

    • Good luck with your research. I agree that a scientific approach is worthwhile and relevant considering how much the game has changed. Some of us have had a lifetime romance with the game and its history and feel the need to defend the old school way of things before HR’s and huge salaries changed everything. Managers probably are less relevant than ever before, and small ball doesn’t make sense considering the skill set of todays players. Rest assured though, teams like the 1982 Cardinals really did exist. Too bad for us those days are long gone.

  7. Rumsfeld

  8. You do realise the whole ‘the manager doesn’t affect the day to day performance of his players’ is a narrative too?

    It just seems from your constant articles on this that a manager needs to be able to fill in a line up card and run a bullpen and that is pretty much it- there are no other skills- or at least none we can comment on.

    I don’t like the general metaphor either but you ignore that some managers seem to bring the best out of players and a team and some don’t. Gibbons failed on this and failed quite badly.

    Furthermore he’s an ex catcher and having endured and I do mean endured a season of JPA I do question his managerial and coaching abilities based on that fact in isolation.

    • Sorry, but If John Gibbons held the reins in Boston they would be in the same spot they are today.

    • This would be a wonderful comment if anywhere in the piece anybody had said that the manager doesn’t affect the day to day performance of his players. That’s not, in fact, a narrative, because nobody is dumb enough to say it. Read a little harder. And if you’re dumb enough to think that Gibbons, and not the lack of anything better (and, very possibly, the GM), is behind all the times Arencibia was run out there this season, your comment just got even more worthless.

      Hey, but good luck believing in ghosts. I hear there are some good TV shows for your lot these days.

    • Has it occurred to you that pretty much the only observable things a manager does to “bring the best out of players and a team” is to fill out the lineup and manage the pen to best leverage their players’ strengths and put them in a position to succeed, and that whatever other magical pixie dust you think they have is just as likely to make no difference at all as it is to make as much difference as you think it does? Nope, of course you haven’t.

  9. Should have hired Dave Martinez.

  10. So to summarize your entire evaluation of John Gibbons’ season, Stoeten, it would read:

    “Tough to say what he contributed to the team. People are dumb.”

    Thanks for the insight. Maybe don’t bother evaluating the manager next year any more than you do the ushers, the bullpen coach, or the marketing department. Maybe call it negligible impact and move on.

  11. Andrew I think you meant to write “Sorry to get all Donald Rumsfeld on you there.” Have a look: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GiPe1OiKQuk

    • Gah! You’re right! Fixed it. Thanks, and thanks to those above who noted this.

    • Indeed.

      To get all Dick Cheney on you involves ‘peppering’ your face with birdshot. (And that’s just for his friends.)

  12. This reminds me of a story I read in 92. When a Manager leaves the visitors club house he usually leaves a note for the next manager coming in.
    The great Sparky Anderson had just watched his Tigers getting a shit kicking from the Jays.
    His note to Johnny Oates and the Orioles was “walk the first 6 and good luck with the rest”.
    So this just begs the question “was Cito just along for the ride”.

  13. Hate his team.
    Love Big Papi.
    Sigh.

  14. First Buchholz and now Lester embroiled in Rosingate.

  15. Now that’s what I’ve been waiting to see…..Go Cards!

  16. Lackey doesn’t seem to be embracing Farrell-ball.
    Carpenter is appreciative however.
    And then there’s that much vaunted Masshole defense.
    Nice.

  17. Talent wins baseball games not a magic coach. And so much of baseball is based on luck in a way. Bloop singles and last minute grand slams to pull your team back from the brink of elimination ( fuck you Ortiz! ) fluke injuries to key players and inexplicable down seasons by otherwise top tier talents. I have no issues with gibbys coaching this year at all. He goes with his gut sometimes and I like that. With a few more key spots upgraded the jays will have something.

    • For someone who starts with a solid “talent wins baseball games,” you rapidly devolve into positing ‘luck,’ ‘bloops,’ ‘flukes’ and the ever-popular ‘inexplicableness.’

      • Jesus, it’s kind of obvious what he meant. Calm down. Talent does win, but in the short run there’s a lot of happenstance.

      • Yes and some would say u gotta be good to be lucky. And luck does play a big part in baseball so go pick holes in your own posts

    • Wrong. Talent does not win anything. Skill wins baseball games. You can have all the talent in the world, if you don’t develop it into skills, you won’t win anything. This is what Farrell’s shots at the Jays and AA were all about.

      • Ridiculous.

        • I’m sorry Andrew, but if you don’t understand the difference between talent and skill, I feel sorry for you. Ask any performance coach if they agree with you. History, especially sports history, is littered with stories of unrealized and underdeveloped talent (Vince carter anyone?).

          Talent is natural and inate, skill is the combination of talent, experience, practice, etc. I.e. The development of that natural ability. Performance is correlated to how well you do your job (I.e. Skill) not how strong your natural ability to do your job (I.e. Talent) is.

      • He’s obviously never actually played any sport for a long enough time to actually understand it.

  18. Apparently we are going to have competition for a new 2nd baseman.

    • The word narrative must be banned.

      • Fuck this nonsense. Not the first time I’ve seen someone write this here. Pointing out invented narratives for the purpose of destroying them is a good thing. WAHHHH. Want the word to go away? Get people to recognize when they’re fed one.

        • Chill brother.

        • This is a hypothesis:

          The right manager can make a huge difference to the performance of his ball-team.

          This is a narrative:

          Dick and Jane walked past the RC. Spot their dog saw John Farrell emerge from the exit and pissed on his leg.

          You remember how upset you got when you thought I was shitting all over math? Well I feel about words the way you feel about numbers. They have concrete meaning as well. If you care about getting math right and get upset when you believe we aren’t taking stats seriously, please care about language as well.

          • I do. Your “hypothesis” isn’t one unless it’s presented in a way that makes it understood that it may or may not be true. When it’s repeated over and over as though it’s fact, then the statement is being a narrative.

            Not rocket science here.

            • You’re right in the sense, though, that we/I use “narrative” as a bit of a shorthand for “media-created narrative” or “lazy narrative.” But that still doesn’t make your “hypothesis” not a hypothesis until it’s actually presented as such.

          • A hypothesis requires operational variables and states the observable relation between them that is testable. Your statement does not.

            What the heck are “right manager” and “huge difference”?

            Start with something along the lines of “An increase in X will lead to an increase in Y” and adapt it to the thing you’d want to explain through evidence. It has to be possible that the evidence leads to the conclusion “X has no effect on Y”.

  19. I would love to read some analysis on what makes a good manager other than bullpen management and line up construction. From reading this you’d think that any sabre geek could get a job managing a ML team.

    Please stop setting up the media narrative as a crazed straw man and consider whether gibbons got the most out of what he was given last year. There is a middle ground between the idiot jays talk callers -griffin and rational analysis.

    There are certain soft skills and leadership abilities which some have and others don’t – it’s just possible that he wasn’t and isn’t the right manager for this group of players – is that a possibility?

    • Of course it’s a possibility, but that doesn’t make it OK to pretend you know any of that other bullshit, or to use the term “saber geek” like you’re not a piece of shit. Adios.

      • Seriously? You banned him for that post?

        • Hahahaha. Use your real fucking name.

          And stop being on the wrong side of everything maybe.

          Also: no, I thought better of it.

          • David is my real name… unless you weren’t talking to me.
            at this point i’m just curious which comments are allowed and which ones are blocked.
            you’re letting me get help plan my jays trip but i can’t post about think ubaldo would be a great addition

            • Was talking to “Spirit of Discussion.” Been approving your comments manually– they seem alright, I’ll unban.

  20. What the shit are you talking about Stoeten. Managers worth not quantifiable!? We know that one John Farrell is worth one Mike Aviles.

    Seriously though, I think a managers grading has less to do with his teams performance and more to do with what decisions he makes that pisitively affect the team. Gibbons seemed pretty good this year in that respect, although I would have preferred to watch Josh Thole over drudging JP Arencibia out there game after game.

    Bottomline is do the players like to play for him? Do they respect him? Haven’t seen anything written to suggest they don’t.

    Does Gibbons make good decisions in terms of who to start on the field? It appears he does. Manage the bullpen well? Sure.

    Did Gibbons put his best hitter, Jose Bautista, in the #2 hole? Yes he did.

    Good enough for me.

  21. Fucking Rosenthal is lights out!

  22. It would have been nice if this dealt with what we CAN discuss in terms of John Gibbons’ impact instead of defending against a straw man just as absent as “if it’s not on Fangraphs it doesn’t exist.” For example, did he manage the bullpen well?

    This is the best Blue Jays site I know, but man Stoeten sometimes you are just such a fucking asshole.

  23. I like Gibby and would love to see him succeed, but when you generate hype with big name acquisitions like the Jays did and follow it up by hiring a guy that was back managing AA in San Antonio—he becomes an obvious scapegoat if the team struggles. His 2nd year at the helm last time around was our best year since the glory days…maybe it’s in the cards again.

    Before he gets canned and disappears into the corn fields I’d love to have a wisers and hack a couple of darts with him, in between dancers at the Rail, and get the dirt on Ted Lilly and Frank Thomas

  24. Glad we are all agreed:

    - anyone who criticises Gibbons is a moron unless it’s about bullpen usage and lineup construction (which he’s great at)

    - any other skills are impossible to quantify or make an assessment on – irrespective of the results – and anyone who tries to do so is a moron

    - you could be the best or the worst or the most or least appropriate manager for a club in history but none of us could ever comment

    - results are irrelevant because it’s all on the players – mangers make so little difference it’s not worth commenting on (see previous poster on ushers, organ player and ace for impact on the game)

    Grand

  25. A good manager knows how to push the buttons at the right time. They know when it is time to back off or be vocal when things need to be said to accomplish the goal. Did John Gibbons do that last year? Don’t know, I was not in the club house, so I will give him a pass for 2013. But if the samethings are happening next April, I am sorry he needs to be fired.

  26. managers don’t do shit
    cito was a bad manager
    shiggerydiggerydoo

  27. Bottom line – Gibbons was expected to make Chicken Cordon Bleu when all he had for ingredients for most of the season was chicken shit.
    I would assume it’s difficult to play your Triple-A rotation and several key position players at a MLB level for the better part of a whole season.

  28. Outside looking in, of course, but from where I’m sitting I sure would rather work for the straight shooting boss who can smile, shoot the shit, and uses his players in the right situations than the rod-up-his-ass two-faced masshole loving piece of shit who ran the clubhouse last year.

    • I see your point but pay me millions of dollars to play the game of baseball I’m not letting anyone let alone the manager ruin my day.

  29. well it looks like Farrell is adding a lot of value after all (teaching/encouraging starting pitchers to doctor the ball).

  30. Gibby in the dugout with his belly out and his hands down his pants is a boss look for a manager. As a fan I mostly want a manager that I don’t get sick of hearing from in press conferences. After about 6 months of listening to Farrell I was sick of his nonsensical comments full of him trying to prove how smart he is. #gibbystillthebest

  31. How about this: The only case I’ve heard for why Gibbons should stay is that “It’s not fair to fire him”. For me personally, I don’t care about fair, I care about winning. If Gibbons “isn’t magic” as you say, better to get rid of him and look for a “magical manager” – the next Joe Maddon. Cuz a guy who wins 74 games on a team with this much talent NATURALLY has to answer for it.

    Can anybody make a logical case for why he should stay, without using the words “because it’s not fair”?

    • Stop.

    • You want to fire him for not being magic? You believe in magic and want US to try using logic on you??

    • Why should anybody have to make a case without using those words? That’s the case. Plus, tactically, he’s pretty good. With the media he’s pretty good. By all accounts players like him. Etc., etc.

      Hey, but keep on pretending that only looking at results isn’t dumb.

      • Joe Maddon went 127-197 his first two seasons in Tampa Bay. The next year, with only two significant upgrades (Longoria and Garza), they improved to 97-65.

        Not only are managers magic, but they can apparently transform from shit to magic over the course of a single season! That’s as good a reason as any to give Gibbons another chance!

        • So wait…your logic is that because Joe Maddon turned around the Rays in one year, the Blue Jays should keep Gibbons?

      • Well there’s an interesting question, and for the record I’m using the term “magic” because you brought up not because I believe it’s the case. I think managers have more control over a team’s performance than you do, but I can’t quantify it or define it, hence “magic”.
        Nowthen…just about everybody in this blog has admitted that Joe Maddon has “magic”. I think most people would admit that Bobby Valentine was the “anti-magic” last year.
        The fact is that we KNOW Gibbons isn’t magic with this core of players. So the question becomes: Would we rather have a manager who the players “like” (I don’t see much evidence for this btw), or look for a manager with “magic”? Would we rather have a guy the media likes, or would we rather find a guy with “magic”?

        I personally think it IS fair to fire a manager who goes 74-88 with a talented team. But I also don’t actually care about what’s fair. I just wanna see my team win. I don’t care about Anthopoulos, or Beeston, or Gibbons, or quite frankly any of the players’ individual careers. Give me the guys that will win. It’s just SO Canadian to keep Gibbons after this disasterfuck of a season because “he’s kind of a nice guy and people like him”.

        • thing is. they’r e not keeping him cause they like him. they’re keeping him because half the goddamn team was hurt last year and they didn’t see anything wrong with the way he handled the players he had. plain and simple. he can’t make moises sierra into the second coming of tim raines or turn ramon ortiz into pedro martinez. it’s not excuses. these are actual people who played for this team this year. yes. they were supposed to have a great and talented team but due to injuries and a little bit of under-performance they didn’t. in no way is that the managers fault. it might sound like excuses, but if these are things that actually make fire otherwise competent managers , you know, just because “they didn’t win” then you might want to consider the fact that you have no idea how logic works.

          • I agree that there is a real benefit to having a talented manager who gets on with and has the respect of his team. But one team’s great manager is another team’s nightmare as we have seen.

            As for Gibbons, if they do well, he’ll be OK. If the team really is one of those unfortunate constructs that look great on paper but fall apart in reality, then he’ll be the first to hit the bricks. Followed fairly quickly I imagine by the guy who hired him.

          • “a little bit of underperformance”? Come on man! A little bit?!?
            I suppose this sends us back to the arguments I wind up in every time this subject comes up. In literally every THING we do, performance can be improved by good coaching and management. That may be the foreman of a courier company, it may be a piano teacher teaching a student, and it might even be a tennis coach working with a player.
            I have never seen a logical explanation for the notion that a manager doesn’t affect the on-field performance of his players. PARTICULARLY when JUST ABOUT EVERYBODY will admit that Joe Maddon and Bobby Valentine had affects on their players.

          • He won 74 games! 74 games! That was with Bautista, Encarnacion, Lind, [reigning Cy winner] Dickey, Buehrle all healthy. The Jays were what? 2 games above .500 when Reyes returned? They also had one of the best bullpens in baseball before the overwork caught up. Any way you look at it, this team had significantly more talent than last season, NOT TO MENTION IMPROVED PERFORMANCE (Reyes, Lind, bullpen, etc all MASSIVE improvements). Yet they won only 74 games?!?
            Furthermore, John Gibbons has now managed the Jays for FIVE YEARS, without even sniffing the postseason. At what point do people stop making excuses for him?!?

            • Well, I take issue with a few of your assertions.
              Bautista was shut down the last month or so of the season.
              Dickey wasn’t right at the beginning…and even so, a healthy pitcher affects the outcome of every 5th game. Throw in Wang, Johnson, (insert AAA pitcher’s name here) and you officially are behind the 8-ball in three of 5 games.
              Yes, Lind and EE were healthy for the most part – but unfortunately they were surrounded by the awesome offensive juggernauts of Arencibia, Kawasaki, Itzuris, Bonifacio, Goins, Pillar and whatever other AAA guy they had to shoehorn into the lineup.
              As for Gibbons’ record – let’s not equate playoff appearances with success, alright?? He had 3 consecutive seasons of 80 wins, and one season of 87 wins. We’d have sold a kidney for an 87-win season this year.
              Seriously, guy – you’re way out to lunch on this one. (Maybe if you used more caps it would have had more impact?)

              • It’s a major problem in Toronto if we’re equating success with the quantity of 80-win seasons.

                • We get it, Zigman, you refuse to look at anything but results, and you don’t care how many times people tell you how hilariously and dumbly narrow that is, damn it, you’re going to keep doing it anyway.

                  Show that you can process the fact that other factors obviously need to be considered by anybody even half serious and maybe you won’t have to get so exasperated that nobody is buying your dull-headed nonsense. Sorry.

            • you hurt Logics feeling by ignoring it

  32. I figure if you want to know how good a Manager is, you ask his boss and his players… That’s about it.

    • that works if you ask them in the corner booth of a shitty put and they’re thirty beers deep… i dont know if asking them when they know their response is going to be headline guarantee’s you get a true response.

      • Oh I wasn’t really suggesting that you or I would get the answer. But I imagine this is how the people who actually make the decision on Gibbons’ future do it.

  33. Some people may be aware of APBA baseball that is a stats driven game.. When you play a season out a manager at best makes a 5-10 game swing one way or the other based upon in game decisions, the rest of the results are player performance driven. i believe like Andrew states that rsults are reflection of players performance. I do disagree with andrew that clubhouse chemistry does not effect results. Good chemistry will result in players going the other way vs swinging for fences. Good chemistry will result in less drama in room and players accepting roles and not bitching which results in players being relaxed and performing better

    • I agree Andrew its hard to measure but if its even 10 games that makes a diff in a season

      • That’s a crazy large amount. If teams actually thought managers were capable of that, they’d be paid a whole lot more.

        • Damn if it were like 10 game difference, that is essentially the difference of having Mike Trout on your team or not. I find that hard to believe.

        • when I say 10 games thats 5 to win or 5 to loss based on decisions in game

  34. aaaannnnnd it was deleted…

  35. that’s better.

  36. When do q offers happen?

  37. My whole take on the Fire Gibbons phenomenon was that it was based around the assumption that if Gibbon’s hadn’t made a particular call or decision then everything would have worked out fine. For example, If he had pulled the starting pitcher two batters earlier, then the home run wouldn’t have happened. The problem is that there is no way to know whether this is true or not.

    Not only is hindsight 20/20 but so is fantasy.

  38. I do wish that they had kept Butterfields (?) shifts from last year. That’s the only gripe I have.

    Talent wins.

  39. A lot of teams need bullpen help, I hope we sell high on Janssen.
    Santos is ready to close and we can always offer Brian Wilson a contract to add another vet arm to the pen.

    I like Casey but he’s easily replaced and we need to start filling some holes.

    • @Smasher.

      I disagree. We should keep Casey. We need a shutdown closer. I want to see a healthy Santos for a full season before I trust him as a closer.

      Jays have a potential Henke+Ward 2.0 with Santos & Janssen. Why the rush to get rid of Casey????

    • Yeah I’d like to see a somewhat sustained healthy Santos before I anointed him closer.

    • I think the sell-high point for Janssen was the trade deadline. Obviously I don’t really know anything, but with the number of high-quality FA relievers this winter, it might be difficult to convince teams to give up assets when better (or at least equally capable) alternatives are available to be signed without any additional compensation required.

  40. Long as we feel the gaping hole at catcher and get us another starter I am good to go.

    As for Gibbons, I am surprised to find I would prefer Butterfield. But if he’s back I’m not going to scream about it.

  41. Rosin. That is all.

  42. guess the offseason is dead for another week or so?

  43. Buehrle and Dickey nominated for the gold glove.

  44. Been gone for a few days.

    Did I miss anything?

  45. “You are approaching RADAR-esque levels of eye-roll inducing ridiculousness here”

    Jeez was it something I said?

  46. Nope. It was something I said :)

    • At least you’re in good company. :)

      I remember a time when DJF was a place for those who enjoyed baseball to candidly debate different sides, the issues of the day.To express, with a passion, their viewpoint and others to counterpoint,which would cause one or other of the commenters to go “hmm they could be right”.

      And whatever happened to JB?I might owe him an apology.

  47. Rosterbation rumours please?

  48. So the real argument seems to be that the things the manager may or may not affect is stuff the general public and media can not innately see or measure. So when someone from the general public or media make an assumption or create a story line to show how such and such an action must have made a difference, its no more than a guess.

    Yes a manager can make a difference, by talking to player about a concern he has, showing him a human side of his to a player that may be struggling, relating a point of view that the player may act on or a suggestion about how to approach something the next time…..none of this is know whether it actually happened or has happened or does happen.

    There is no magic. if you dont have it in you to be the best you can be and try hard with out some one wiping your ass, telling you try harder or got get’em than you probably arent the top 1% in your profession. However, like other pro athletes there are coaches to point things out. Tiger Woods has a swing coach, not because that guy is better than Woods, but because he can point out mechanical flaws, suggest technique changes or alterations or reference points that may make him a better player. Or its to help with ego, personal issues etc to calm the mind to allow greater focus. These are broad examples and are by no means the only things the can affect, but examples.

    No one has suggested they are worthless but we do not know what is being said behind closed doors, many players dont know what is said to other players behind closed doors. I dont think Gibbons is going around shitting in JPA’s bed or prank calling his pitchers in the middle of the night so they shit the bed the next day, or feeding one group of players KD and the Rasmus, EE steak to explain their successes and failures.

    The one thing that has bothered me is the “lack of fundamentals” Im sure these players know of and heard of a cut off man, whether they choose to use one seems like they are lepers and need to be shunned in their game of keep away. But we still do not know what has been said to these players about sucking ass when called for or when they were patted on the back for coming through.

    Gibbons had no hand in Morrows arm or JJ, or Dickeys back or Beurle for the first month and a half, of happs inability to duck faster than a 100mph ball, or tell reyes not to twist his ankle on second that one time, or brett lawrie to strain his rib cage at the WBC or his ankle sprain, or melkys tumor, or rasmus’ oblique strain or his ability to see a ball thrown to him when he wasnt looking, or Joses bruised hip, or any other injury. If you can prove he did, than fire him. I dont think the team decided to shit the bed and get hurt on purpose because John Gibbons was a dick and a bad manager. Its inside the player, do I want to preform my best or do I need someone to make me do what Im paid to do.

    Shit I wrote too much

  49. the really crazy thing about the jays bullpen is the fact that they they can make some trades and bring up jeffress and lincoln who both pitched decently this season. They have the ability to trade some relief depth and still have a strong bullpen. they only player who will be leaving the team from the bullpen without trades is oliver. The Jays bullpen pitched the 3rd most innings, had the 7th best baa, 10th best obp, 16th in blown saves and when you consider the innings pitched that’s pretty awesome. They were 9th in whip, and the most suprising stat 3rd lowest pitches per plate appearance at 3.8.

  50. Re: John Farrell showed precisely zero magic while leading his un-bearded charges in Toronto for two years.

    A decent argument can be made for magic on the 81 wins in 2011. That was not a very good team.

    http://www.baseball-reference.com/teams/TOR/2011.shtml

  51. Evaluating him from a tactical perspective, gibby did some good things and also some bad things. He’s clearly not as progressive as say joe maddon, cause I think everyone here was a tad frustrated with his non-use of casey janssen late in games, and he also appears to be unenamored with defensive shifts. The good – jose bautista hit second for a while, although truthfully it was only reyes’ injury that took him away from his traditional opening day lineup (speedster at the top, contact hitter second, best hitter third and rbi man 4th), so I don’t think we can say he’s totally into progressive lineup construction. Other than his use of janssen, he seemed to use his bullpen pieces in the right spots, and he seemed to be open to platoons, also a plus. Hes definitely not the greatest tactically, but I don’t think he’s any worse than the next guy, probably better if it comes down to it. Another plus, even in the midst of a horrible season that must have been hard for everyone involved, he managed to avoid drama of the wrong kind (in fighting, clubhouse mutinies, etc.). Another thing I give him props for is his handling of brett lawrie, who seemed to take a step forward this year, both at the plate and in his on field maturity. As gibby noted after the game where he yelled at lawrie for being a douche about lind not tagging, I think there was a lot put into that relationship behind the scenes. I dunno, I can’t find a case for firing him. Can we all go back to discussing roster upgrades now?

    • I think that’s a really good point that even though it was a shithole of a season we didn’t hear too much about clubhouse feuds and whatnot. The team must have been as frustrated as hell and in that environment it’s easy for stuff to get overblown and out-of-hand but if there were any problems they did a good job of keeping a lid on them. That must have been somewhat down to Gibbons.

  52. Honestly, when the boys are playing well and clicking on all cylinders – anyone could “manage” a team, for the most part. It’s how you handle a team that’s scuffling – a team that is starting to show signs of fracturing from frustration or from nerves starting to fray. A good manager can read those signs and stop that particular train from running off the rails. A good manager can hopefully take a young, snorting bull like Lawrie and tune him down from an 11 to a sustainable level for the long haul. He can take a guy with a batting approach like Kawasaki, and use him as teaching tool for guys that are hacking.
    There are so many subtleties and nuances to the manager. A good manager is like a good referee…you should hardly notice him if he does his job well.

  53. Biogenesis or not, Cesar Puello’s numbers this year at AA were sick.

    http://www.baseballamerica.com/statistics/players/cards/88819

    First year at that level at 22 years old is pretty impressive.

  54. My main criticism of Gibby is his adherence to the magic 100 pitch rule that has overtaken MLB these last few years. He waived it a few times with Dickey, and whether it was good or bad, those were my favourite games.
    For me, the equation is simple: let your starter throw his game. If you pull after 6 scoreless innings because he’s at 100 pitches, you’re a wanker manager and deserve to be fired. By this logic, I would rate Gibby about a 6/10.

  55. Bob Brenly was the manager when Arizona won the World Series in 2001. He hasn’t managed a team since he got fired in 2004. I guess teams really don’t recognize results because that is the sole basis for hiring a manager. Fire Gibbons!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Idiot.

  56. Ten years ago, I dubbed Dr. Pepper plus Jack Daniels as “the Donald Rumsfeld.”

    By comparison, “the Dick Cheney” is a fat line of cocaine. (Shotgun blast to the face.)

    John Gibbons (of the ’86 Mets) admires George W. Bush, who quit drinking in 1986.

    Gibby always runs a country club in Dunedin. (2005 Grapefruit League Champions.)

    More indecipherable: Roy Hartsfield or John Gibbons?

    Among players: Colby Rasmus, Dustin McGowan, Orlando Hudson, or George Bell?

    • Of course, Kawasaki cannot be understood, but he speaks with his bat and glove!

      (And what’s up with him and Esmil Rogers?)

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  58. Hey that was my first post in months. At least the first that you actually deleted…

  59. Oh, so then you’re just an idiot, and not an idiot with mental problems. My bad.

  60. “Hammer Head Alert!”

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