Twitter was buzzing today after a report surfaced that the Cincinnati Reds have fired Dusty Baker after six seasons with the team. John Fay of the Cincinnati Inquirer confirmed the rumour and Baker will be replaced after six seasons with the club, which included playoff appearances in three of the past four years.
This of course has led many fans to ask the question – should the Toronto Blue Jays fire John Gibbons and hire Dusty Baker?
The first thing that should be noted is the creative language of John Gibbons contract. Shi Davidi at Sportsnet broke it down earlier this year but basically Gibbons was given a two-year contract in November 2012 with a rolling option. If he is still the Blue Jays manager on January 1, 2014 his option would be vested for 2015 as well and he would receive another rolling option for the next year. It avoids having Gibbons become a “lame-duck” manager since he wouldn’t have to manage with his contract status uncertain.
I really liked Gibby this year and thought he did a great job managing the game and especially the bullpen. It’s not his fault that his established group of veteran pitchers didn’t perform but some have wanted to throw him under the bus for things like not having the team ready to play out of Spring Training.
At the same time if the Blue Jays do want to make a move a manager, now might be the time to do it. If the Blue Jays fire Gibbons they would still be on the hook for 2014 but from my understanding of the way it’s worded if he was ever fired they would probably have to pay him a year when he wasn’t managing anyways. I’m not sure if replacing the manager would solve any of the Blue Jays problems but sometimes a new voice can at least bring the illusion of a fresh start.
Dusty has managed in the Major Leagues for 20 consecutive seasons and won the NL Pennant with the San Francisco Giants in 2002. He has a great reputation but after the Cincinnati Reds lost to the Pittsburgh Pirates in the NL Wild Card game some started to wonder if the Reds needed a new man at the helm. Critics questioned if he properly protected Joey Votto in the lineup or if opposing pitchers were allowed to pitch around the Canadian slugger too often.
Would Baker be an improvement over Gibbons? I’m not so sure about that myself. And Alex Anthopoulos has to hold face after he verbally confirmed that Gibby would be back in 2014. But I’m sure that won’t stop people from debating.