Blue Jays: Rumours about John Gibbons’ job security
With the Blue Jays mired in a recent slump and a 9-19 record in May, rumours are starting to swirl about John Gibbons’ job security in Toronto.
You’ll have to take this whole thing with a grain of salt, but I figure it’s worth mentioning, especially since I just wrote about how I believe the Blue Jays should move on from Brook Jacoby as the hitting coach in Toronto.
According to a tweet from Marty York, the Blue Jays may make a change in the managerial seat as soon as next week. Whether or not this rumour has any merit to it or not is up for discussion, but York isn’t just an internet troll looking for followers. As pointed out by Tip of the Tower, he has worked with publications like the Globe and Mail, TSN, Sportsnet, and the Metro, which is basically the gist of his Twitter bio or resume as well.
On the flip side, the front office has routinely given Gibbons a ringing endorsement when asked, and have shown faith in him as their manager, even though they inherited him from Alex Anthopoulos’ time as the GM. It’s also pretty hard to blame the skipper for all the troubles after the last month, especially when you consider that the roster has missed time from Josh Donaldson, Devon Travis, Marcus Stroman, Randal Grichuk, Aledmys Diaz, Roberto Osuna, and more. Throw in some epic struggles at the plate from guys like Russell Martin and Kendrys Morales, and it’s been a recipe for disaster.
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Still, is it Gibbons’ fault that the veterans aren’t performing to expectations, or are getting hurt? I’ll be the first to admit that I was not a fan of Martin playing shortstop or left field, at all. But outside of that circus, I have felt like the Blue Jay skipper has done about as well as we could hope for, considering the circumstances. Even through routine calls for the Blue Jays to cut loose a guy like Kendrys Morales, Gibbons often had little choice but to put him in the lineup, even if he was hitting eighth on some nights.
When that many players are missing from your roster, things are generally going to go poorly for your club unless someone steps up in a big way, and the Blue Jays have been lacking that since April. Outside of players like Kevin Pillar, Yangervis Solarte, and Teoscar Hernandez, who have all since cooled off considerably, the offence has been in a deep, deep rut. I joked on Twitter the other night that Kendrys Morales was the only one hitting lately, but it’s actually pretty true. Morales had two of their six hits on Wednesday, two of the eight on Tuesday, and one of seven on Monday, all against the Red Sox, and is 10-23 overall.
Getting back to Gibby here, the problems haven’t been limited to the lineup either, as the rotation has performed far below expectations, and things would be way worse if not for the work of the bullpen this season. The credit for the fine bullpen performance has to go to the pitchers, but Gibby has also done an excellent job of using the arms available to him, even when you factor the recent hiccups.
I know that when a team struggles this badly that a change it often made, but I’m hoping that York’s tweets and any other rumours about Gibbons are false. I know some of you reading this would like to see him replaced with another voice as the bench boss, but I’m not sure that’s what is going to right the ship in Toronto. The team will ultimately need their stars to start performing, and to stay healthy.
It’s been a true team effort of disappointment this season, but if you’re looking for a “nutshell”, have a look at the stats of Donaldson, Stroman, and Aaron Sanchez compared to their pre-season projections. When you consider that those three may be the biggest stars on the roster, it shouldn’t be a surprise that the team is 25-31. In fact, maybe Gibbons should be getting some credit because it’s not worse.
The story of Gibbons’ impending doom was largely by most of the major news outlets who cover the Blue Jays, so hopefully York’s tweet was nothing more than a rumour. That said, if the Blue Jays can’t get things going then a change in the dugout will come eventually. whether he’s to be blamed for the struggles or not.
That’s the way things work in professional sports, and no one knows that better than Gibbons, who has already been fired by the Blue Jays once back in 2008. Hopefully the team can get back to the way they were playing in the first month of the season, and this can stand as nothing more than a rumour during a tough stretch of the season.