“Anthopoulos not tipping hand on Gibbons’ status” reads the headline from a piece published Tuesday evening at BlueJays.com 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 BlueJays.com 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*