COMMENTARY | After watching a once-promising Toronto Blue Jays season implode, it's clear that general managers shouldn't hire managers for a second stint with a team.
During the 2008 season, Gibbons was fired as manager of the Toronto Blue Jays following a season that saw the team go 87-75 while finishing second in the American League East. Impressive stuff, right? The problem is that record came at the cost of Gibbons alienating players and losing the clubhouse. During his first time as manager of the Jays, Gibbons butted heads with Dave Bush, Shea Hillenbrand (whom he allegedly challenged to a fight), Ted Lilly and Frank Thomas.
Numerous media reports at the time claim Lilly and Gibbons were involved in shoving each other after Lilly was unceremoniously yanked from a game in the third inning.
The fact that Gibbons lacked the ability to deal with veterans should have been the first warning sign when he was hired to manage a team this season that lacked younger players and instead was chock-full of vets.
But, as the old adage goes, time heals all wounds. Or at least that what's Anthopoulos believed last winter when he handed control of roster that was heralded as being one of the top teams in the American League to a retread manager.
The fact that only Billy Martin has enjoyed success during a second stint managing a Major League Baseball team wasn't going to dissuade Anthopoulos.
Granted, the Jays were decimated by injuries this season, but there have also been more than enough questionable lineup decisions. Instead of making headlines in September for jockeying for a playoff position, this season will be remembered for Twitter beefs, dumb baseball decisions, fielders who have horrible hands and playing young, talented players too late in the season.
In short, it will be remembered for being mismanaged and falling well short of expectations.
The troubling thing for Jays fans is that Anthopoulos isn't quite ready to cut ties with Gibbons.
Instead, Anthopoulos has vowed to keep Gibbons around next season.
"There's never been any thought in that respect at all," Anthopoulos told the media in August when asked if Gibbons will be returning next season.
"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."
While Anthopoulos admits changes are needed, he feels those changes will involve the roster, not the manager.
"We need to make changes, I think that goes without saying," Anthopoulos admitted to the media back in August. "How could you sit here with the won-loss record and just say we're going to stay the status quo? That's just not realistic. What it ends up being, I don't know. But we're going to need to make changes."
But is that change going to be to the manager? No way. Anthopoulos is sticking with Gibbons even if it costs him his job. And, if the Jays don't make a drastic change next season, it looks like Gibbons and Anthopoulos will be looking employment elsewhere.
The thing that makes fans shake their heads is this train-wreck of a season could have been predicted when you look at how things shook out the last time Gibbons managed the team.
Heck, Gibbons wasn't even able to prevent a minor league team from finishing last in its division last season.
On top of that, Gibbons was only able to improve Toronto's win total from one game last season despite the team payroll ballooning from $82.3 million last season to $125.1 this season.
Despite this -- and a bunch of odd roster moves during the season -- it appears the Gibbons' is safe as manager of the Jays.
Sorry, but I don't get why Gibbons has so much job security. Why bring back a manager that guided his minor league team last season and major league team this season to last-place finishes back for another season?
It's clear no other major league team would touch Gibbons so it's baffling why the front office has given him job security for at least one more season.
Ryan McNeill became a Blue Jays follower when as a pre-teen the team won back-to-back World Series. You can follow him on Twitter by clicking here.
- Sports & Recreation
- Toronto Blue Jays