Blue Jays: John Gibbons unlikely to return next season

ST PETERSBURG, FL - MAY 6: John Gibbons #5 of the Toronto Blue Jays gets ejected in the eighth inning on May 6, 2018 at Tropicana Field in St Petersburg, Florida. The Toronto Blue Jays won 2-1. (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)
ST PETERSBURG, FL - MAY 6: John Gibbons #5 of the Toronto Blue Jays gets ejected in the eighth inning on May 6, 2018 at Tropicana Field in St Petersburg, Florida. The Toronto Blue Jays won 2-1. (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images) /
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While many had already speculated, a recent report from an industry source has all but confirmed the fact.

According to Jon Heyman of Fancred, the Blue Jays and skipper John Gibbons are set to part ways after the season comes to a close. The source referenced in the article told Heyman that the Jays were “99.9 percent” going to hire another manager for the 2019 season. Mark Feinsand of MLB.com confirmed Heyman’s report, noting that the two sides will “most likely” part ways.

For many Blue Jays fans, this is a seriously sad development. Gibby, the laid-back Texan who has been at the helm of this ballclub since 2013, has quickly become a fan favourite for his amusingly friendly personality, relaxed nature and generally positive relationship with star players.

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Though Gibbons has the support of a good part of the fanbase, it seems that managers in general are trending towards the younger end of the age spectrum. With first year managers Alex Cora and Aaron Boone triumphantly leading the Red Sox and Yankees respectively, it’s not crazy to suggest that Mark Shapiro and Ross Atkins could make a similar move.

At this point, no specific names have been rumoured to take Gibby’s place, though Stubby Clapp, a Canadian currently managing the Triple-A Memphis Redbirds (Cardinals affiliate) and Eric Wedge, former Mariners skipper and Jays player development advisor have been mentioned in speculation.

Despite the unfortunate nature of this (reported) move, it was somewhat expected. Last month, MLB Network’s Ken Rosenthal reported that the Blue Jays “seemed destined” to move on from Gibby. Rosenthal also reported that Gibby was “in the hot seat” at the end of the 2016 season.

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Should Gibbons manage his final games as Blue Jays manager in September, he will finish second in franchise history in managerial wins, games managed and postseason wins. Though he was never honoured as the AL Manager of the Year, he finished fourth in voting in 2015 and seventh in 2005.