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Spring trash talk: Colby Rasmus says John Gibbons won’t hit ‘panic button’ like John Farrell did for 2012 Toronto Blue Jays

David Brown
Big League Stew

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(USA Today)

In trying to pay his new manager a compliment, slugger Colby Rasmus strongly implied that his previous manager, John Farrell, was a horrible leader for the Toronto Blue Jays during the 2012 season.

The Blue Jays have made some of the most noteworthy moves in Major League Baseball during the offseason, aside from replacing Farrell with John Gibbons. Bringing in Cy Young knuckleballer R.A. Dickey. The apparently lopsided trade with the Miami Marlins. The acquisition of Melky Cabrera. And while the Jays are expected by many to compete for the AL East title, nothing in life is guaranteed. There will be rough patches, Rasmus told The National Post of Canada, and Gibbons is the right man to lead Toronto through them:

[Baseball 2013 from Yahoo! Fantasy Sports: Join a league today!]

And it sounds like Rasmus thinks anyone would be better than Farrell, who was traded to the Boston Red Sox:

“I’m not trying to bash anybody by starting up crap,” he volunteered during an interview, “but I think John Gibbons has got a little bit of a better idea of how to handle it, just because I don’t see him as a guy that’s going to hit that panic button and get tight and into kind of freak-out mode.”

A guy like ... Farrell? Well, that sure is honest! This could be a good gimmick for Jays fans when the Red Sox visit Rogers Centre Skydome late in the season and the pennant race heat is on. Make giant "panic buttons" with Farrell's face. It'll be a blast for all! Of course, Red Sox fans could do the same to Rasmus if he struggles in the second half again like he did in 2012.

Anyway, reporter John Lott seemed to give Rasmus an opening to walk back his comments, but he didn't do it. Remember, this is in the context of praising Gibbons as the right man for the job:

[A]s injuries and losses piled up in the second half, the mood plummeted, Rasmus said.

“It was just like panic mode, like what are we doing?” he said. “Everybody looking over their shoulder. It was just a bad feeling.”

Lott notes that Rasmus hasn't been the only Jays player/employee to rip Farrell, though earlier criticisms were for not making players accountable — especially young ones, like Rasmus — and a lack of discipline overall. That doesn't line up with players looking over their shoulder, tightening up, panicking and apparently fearing consequences that never were coming. Maybe that's how Rasmus felt personally, even if he did a poor job of explaining himself by lumping the rest of the clubhouse with him. It's as though he were waking from another Tony La Russa nightmare from his St. Louis Cardinals days.

[Also: Why isn't the World Baseball Classic a bigger deal?]

Still, I like that Rasmus stirred the pot with the Red Sox. The Blue Jays aren't going to sneak up on anybody this season. They might as well flaunt their shiny new (and old) manager at the expense of the guy who left town.

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