Archive for the ‘Gibbers’ Category

Is Gibbons’ Job In Jeopardy?


“Anthopoulos not tipping hand on Gibbons’ status” reads the headline from a piece published Tuesday evening at by Gregor Chisholm, and… wait, what? Gibbers is in trouble???

John Gibbons, as you may be aware, has a contract that automatically adds an extra year to his deal every January 1st. That, according to the GM, is apparently all you need to know about whether he’ll be back.

“He’s under contract,” Anthopoulos said when asked if he was going to take care of the situation. “He’s always under contract, pretty much. I don’t think there’s anything to take care of and I think he has done a good job.”

Oh. Well that doesn’t sound so bad. Much ado about nothing, right?

Er… hold on a second. There’s more.

“He’s under contract,” Anthopoulos reiterated. “I’ve said this before, I’m a big believer that no matter what position — grounds crew, administrative assistant, manager, coach — you support them until you don’t support them.

“Until they’re no longer in this position, you support them. That position is going to be that way — whether you’re 100 games over .500 or we’re struggling. We always support our staff.”

So Anthopoulos supports Gibbons?

“Every employee,” Anthopoulos said. “I wouldn’t make anything more of this.”

Yeah… so that’s definitely a bit odd. What’s more, as Gregor pointed out on Twitter, the comments are considerably different than what Anthopoulos said in response to similar questions last year.

From on Agosto 27, 2013:

“There’s never been any thought in that respect at all,” Anthopoulos said when asked if Gibbons will be returning.

“John is our manager, and we expect him to be. But I understand what the response is. When you’re not playing well as a team, these are the things that happen. You talk about the GM, the manager, you talk about the players … people want a reason, and changes usually come when players aren’t playing well and teams aren’t performing. I think that comes with the territory.”

. . .

“I actually think [regarding] the in-game managing, he has done a great job,” Anthopoulos said of Gibbons. “I think it’s so easy to pin results on one person. I think it’s convenient. I could say that for myself. I could say that for certain players, for the manager. I just don’t think blame falls on one person.

“When we’re playing the way we have, I just don’t think it falls on one person; it’s collectively. There’s blame to share — that’s probably the best way to put it. I just don’t believe it’s one thing, and that’s the issue.”

I like what 2013 Anthopoulos had to say a whole lot better. He maybe wasn’t entirely full-throated in his vote of confidence, but it’s a long way from “you support them until you don’t support them.” In fact, what he said on Tuesday was uncomfortably reminiscent of the comments he made as John Farrell’s tenure was winding down, telling reporters that a manager’s contract simply sets his rate of compensation, the implication being that it was irrelevant whether or not Farrell was going into a “lame duck” year — so irrelevant, apparently, that they needed to structure Gibbons’ contract so as to entirely avoid the issue. *COUGH*

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Via Sportsnet (and their YouTube channel, which is apparently a thing that exists) we now have video of John Gibbons’ outstanding answer following today’s game, a 7-4 walk-off win in which he was ejected following a horseshit use of replay… and a whole bunch of less-than-impressive umpiring that was on display.

Not less-than-impressive? John Gibbons.*

Did I mention #GibbyTheBest?

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This item is probably better suited in a link dump, and I’m really just parroting the excellent work of Ben Nicholson-Smith and Shi Davidi here, but what the hell, here it is:

In a piece at Sportsnet, the aforementioned Benny Fresh lets us know that the option on John Gibbons’ contract for 2015 has been picked up by the Jays, and a new option for 2016 has been added to his contract by the club. Oh, but don’t be fooled. This wasn’t the produce of some tense sit-down negotiation between Alex Anthopoulos and his manager’s agent (presumably just ol’ Gibbers himself in a fake moustache and sunglasses with a sandy briefcase full of cocktail napkins that he uses to draw contracts up with — “Why yes, I’m his agent. Lon’s my name… uh… Lon Chibbons!”). No, it happened automatically, because of a stipulation in his original contract, and because Gibbons had made it all the way to January 1st without getting fired.


Nicholson-Smith explains that Shi Davidi explained a year ago how it all works:

The way it works is that as long as the Blue Jays don’t fire him prior to the following Jan. 1, the option becomes guaranteed with another option added to the back end. For example, if Gibbons makes it to 2014, his 2015 option vests with another option added for 2016.

Believed to be the first of its kind in the big-leagues, although that’s unconfirmed, the structure essentially means Gibbons will be operating on a perpetual two-year contract, eliminating any in-season intrigue on how his contractual status affects his standing.

Nifty. Except, perhaps, for that fact that Gibbons is now guaranteed to get paid for the 2015 season, whether he’s here, or whether he’s ejected through the windshield of another flaming wreckage of an April this year. But I’m sure he’s not making so much that it really matters anyway, and at least we won’t have to read a bunch of insufferable stories about how he’s a lame duck.

It probably also means I’m going to have to read a whole bunch of half-brained comments on this post about what a waste of a manager a bunch of dolts think Gibbons supposedly is, but that’s not really so bad. And it wouldn’t be the first time.

Otherwise… it doesn’t really change anything. Good for ol’ Gibbers, though. Smart man that Chibbons.


It’s not just Alex Anthopoulos and the rest of his key front office lieutenants who are down in Orlando this week– where, according to a Jeff Passan tweet, all kinds of trade talk is going on, despite the fact that not much has become concrete just yet– as the Jays’ field manager is down there as well! Ol’ Gibbers met with the media this afternoon, and Gregor Chisholm was kind enough to try to scratch down some of his patented Gibberish (some of which needs a helping hand to resemble proper English), providing a transcription of the session at his North of the Border blog.

In the previous post I noted the comments that Gibbons made regarding the possible moving of money from the rotation to the bench, depending on what the Jays are able to do on the pitching side. Here are some other highlights…

On J.P. Arencibia…

The writing was on the wall for J.P.  I mean, [there] was kind of the sentiment [that] you guys [were] ready to get rid of him too.  Not that we were, but you guys were pushing that way.  That was a joke … But you know what, personally I’m going to miss the guy.  You know what, I think wherever he ends up, I think he signed with Texas.  I think that’s official now.  I think he’s going to do a good job there.  I really do.  What can you say about him?  He wanted to be in that lineup.  He got beaten up pretty good.  But I think he’s still got a bright future.  Just came to the point in time there at Toronto where it was probably best to go the other way.

This topic has been exhausted, and… I don’t know. If Gibbons wants to feed the us-vs.-them thing with the media, or if he just wants to make it clear he’s got his player’s– or former player’s– back, sure, that’s fine. And even if I thought that was bullshit (and I might!), I can’t really fault him for any of what he says here. He’s not wrong that it’s for the best that Arencibia left, and he’s not exactly wrong that the media howled for his departure, either. Much of that was warranted because of his play, of course, and some of it was warranted by some of his attitude and actions. But as I’ve written before, it’s not like Maicer Izturis or Melky Cabrera or Josh Johnson took the same level of shit as J.P. did, despite that fact that they all were probably, somehow, astonishingly, worse. Just kinda hard to separate it all from how he handled it, at this point.

Anyway, something that I think I can fault Gibbons on is his absolute fawning over Ryan “.214/.243/.310 line against triple-A left-handers” Goins as a possible starter at second base for the club. Ugh.

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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.

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In each of their two current pieces on the subject, the Toronto Star has a poll up about what the fate of John Gibbons should be. The one in Cathal Kelly’s evenhanded piece, in which he states emphatically that “in every instance, the specific fault for each incremental failure that led to this long slog into mediocrity lies with the roster,” is buried at the bottom. The one in Damien Cox’s puddle of goo is practically front and centre– at the end of his sharted out rant, but in the middle of a bigger pile of ramblings on a number of topics.

Not that I’m suggesting placement has all that much to do with it, but at the time of this writing, Star readers are about 82% in favour of Gibby being shitcanned.

This is, of course, incredibly dumb, and rests on foundation of assumptions that crumble easily with a nanosecond of thought, but which are so ingrained that people will defend them like you’re questioning the existence of God– which, given what they seem to think about a manager’s magical powers, you essentially are.

“Nobody could fairly blame Gibbons for all that has gone wrong,” Cox fully admits.

“At the same time,” he continues, “he’s hardly come in and re-set the table or established a new winning culture.”

Well, then, I guess he’s dogshit, because he hasn’t met some magical expectation that I’ve created for him in hindsight in order to mask the fact that I can’t be bothered to challenge the hopelessly dumb idea that all the injuries and underperformances that sank this year’s club somehow lead back to the manager’s office, and whatever establishment of a winning culture he totally cocked up by not sufficiently filling Josh Johnson or Brandon Morrow or R.A. Dickey with the kind of winning mentality that only winning winners win with (and would have prevented them all from getting hurt to varying degrees, apparently).

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As you can see from the 4/5 and 5/4 next to the names of Brett Lawrie and Maicer Izturis above, some funny stuff from John Gibbons today, who I’m guessing is trying to lighten the mood around his club, especially among the media that– myself included– has been hanging on every single slice of minutiae they can find, and trying to divine from it content of great significance.

Or maybe he’s actually pulling a Jimy Williams, and intends to have Brett Lawrie play at third base tonight when right-handed hitters are at the plate, and then swap him with Maicer Izturis at second when it’s a lefty facing R.A. Dickey.

Based on their tweets, the media hordes seem skeptical Gibbers would actually try something so unorthodox (thereby solidifying his position as… y’know… the best). They seem to figuring he’s actually just fucking with them. Which… actually is kinda fantastic too.

Either way, then, eh?



Image via @TSNScottyMac.