Sep 27, 2013; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Reds manager Dusty Baker stands in the dugout prior to a game with the Pittsburgh Pirates at Great American Ball Park. Credit: David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

Should the Toronto Blue Jays pursue fired Cincinnati Reds’ Manager Dusty Baker?

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.

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Tags: Dusty Baker John Gibbons Toronto Blue Jays

  • Eric Viola

    Michael Wray, you have your head WAY UP YOUR ASS.

  • Erik Trenouth

    The Jays have to stick with Gibbons for one more year. You can’t build a winning team as a manager in the AL East in 1 year. There have been 2 managers in the last 16 years in AL East that have led their team to the post season in their first year. Francona had a team that was in the playoffs the year before, and Farrell this year, who reinstated Francona’s winning ways from when Farrell was there the last time. Girardi’s first year in New York was met with the first missed playoffs in New York in 12 years. Maddon took until his 3rd year in Tampa before they made the playoffs. Ditto for Showalter in Baltimore. It was Grady Little’s second year as manager of the Red Sox before they got in too. Give Gibby another year.

    • Michael Wray

      completely agree

    • brad

      This wasn’t Gibby’s first year in the AL East…. or with the Blue Jays.

      I don’t beleive in the validity of simply saying only 2 first year managers in the last 16 years have made the playoffs in the AL East. Expanding your range by 1 year and excluding the rays first 10 years of existence (because that’s really a volatile time to be taking statistics) there have been 21 first year managers in the east. Only 3 of them have made the playoffs but 10 have been over .500 in their first year including every one (other than Schowalter) who has made the playoffs since. In their first years,Williams, Torre, Little, Francona, Farrell, Girardi and schowalter (ie. every AL East manager not named Maddon to make the playoffs since 1996) combined for a 614-520 record for an average of about 13 games over .500. In comparison to the year before they took over, there was an average 6 win improvement and 3 of those 7 guys followed some pretty good teams….

      To me it just doesn’t seem like Gibby fits into that category. He made a lot of interesting decisions choosing when his starters should come out of the game and there was a lot of talk about lack of accountability and clubhouse leadership, particularly centered around motivation in spring training. I don’t know if he’s done enough to get fired but the certainly don’t “have to” stick with him