If Toronto Blue Jays manager John Gibbons had his way this winter, there would be some changes coming to the Blue Jays clubhouse for the 2015 season.
In a Monday appearance on Sportsnet 590 The Fan, the Blue Jays skipper spoke fairly earnestly about the players in the Toronto clubhouse and blatantly said that some new blood was needed to loosen things up, according to Sid Seixiero.
Over the course of the last several seasons, there has been differing reports about the how the Blue Jays clubhouse actually is, with some saying it is fractured group and others saying earlier this season that it is a tight knit group. Now, with the 2014 season firmly in the rear-view mirror, it appears that not everything is fuzzy and cuddly within this group.
For Gibbons to come out and admit on the radio that the clubhouse isn’t as tight as some perceived it to be is a pretty telling. When asked how to grade his team functioned together Gibbons noted, “we had our issues, but it’s a good bunch. The issue we had was we just weren’t good enough.”
The proof was in the pudding so to speak.
On June 15th, the Blue Jays held a 41-30 record and a 4.5 game lead in the American League East. However they would quickly slip from there, going 42-49 the rest of the way and finishing in third place, 13 games behind the division-winning Baltimore Orioles. The Blue Jays would end up missing the playoffs for the 21st consecutive season, now the longest active streak in Major League Baseball.
The clubhouse issues may seem to have a bit of traction this time around. While last year seemed to be a clubhouse divided, there was at least a guy like Mark DeRosa who wasn’t afraid to step up and rattle the team when it needed it. The 2014 squad was missing that player, and with no one to play that role there was no one there to help pull the team out of its tailspin, particularly in August.
I’m not sure if that guy is available on the 2015 free agent market though. Sure there are fiery individuals like Jon Lester and Max Scherzer that will lead the Hot Stove discussion this winter, as well as a classy veteran like Victor Martinez, but they don’t seem likely in the Blue Jays case. Additionally, guys like Russell Martin, who could be a positive clubhouse presence, doesn’t have an opening in Toronto with the position occupied by Dioner Navarro.
Regardless, a clubhouse leader is an admitted need for this organization, and the Blue Jays will be on the look-out. Just a matter of whether or not that really is the missing ingredient.