Cleat Geeks

Jays Jabber; Is John Gibbon’s job as Blue Jays manager on the line?

Some readers might be thinking this is a crazy question. The Toronto Blue Jays had a strong 93-69 season that saw the end of a 21 year postseason drought. They defeated the 88-74 Texas Rangers and put up a strong fight against the 95-67 Kansas City Royals who would go onto win the World Series.JohnGibbons

By all logical accounts, the Blue Jays had an incredible season. So why would John Gibbons managerial job be on the line?

Baseball is about winning and through winning putting up good numbers, but it’s also as much politics as it is the actual sport. With politics comes the need for control for the regime in charge. Nobody likes dissension in the ranks and while Gibbons is a good manager, he may or may not be the guy leadership has in mind.

The insides baseball changed significantly after the close of the season and the behind-the-scenes politics came into play. Though not officially confirmed, it was widely speculated that the reason why team mastermind Alex Anthopoulos departed was because of a new lack of control in the organization.alex-anthopoulos

At the time, The Globe And Mail reported on rumors surrounding the departure:

The talk around the water cooler is that Anthopoulos wanted the same job and responsibility that he had under Beeston, who hired him as GM. That was having the ultimate say in all baseball-related decisions.

The hiring of Shapiro, a former major-league GM, skewed that, with the belief that Anthopoulos, if he returned to the GM’s job, would not enjoy the same autonomy that he enjoyed under Beeston.

It was a claim that Anthopoulos refused to address or refute. Whether that means its true or he doesn’t want to talk about it is not clear.

The Fan View, a Vancouver Sun sports blog, did an excellent breakdown of why the Blue Jays may not compete. Their conclusion:

So, with the Jays looking like favourites if the club gets off to a mediocre start—say they are playing around .500 ball well into May—it is conceivable that the new front office will look down at a manager they did not hire and who is not one of their gang and think the club needs a refresher—someone they know very well.

Outwardly, Gibbons rarely shows pressure but the first six weeks of the season will show whether his calm demeanour is successful or whether it is soon to be unemployed.

That would likely be the result if the Blue Jays fail. But “if” is a big keyword, that may or may not happen.

david-price8The shifting of David Price from the Blue Jays to the Red Sox certainly transfers some pitching power, but even if the Red Sox rise, there’s still a Wild Card spot. Can the Yankees compete for the top? They can likely do so, but their team is also relying on some aged and fragile pieces.

The Fan View cites Aroldis Chapman as a big plus for the Yankees, but he has a potential suspension looming and there’s the question of how long his off-field troubles could linger. The Red Sox have a lot of young players maturing and becoming viable forces, but do they have impact chemistry for the full 162?

Baltimore finished at exactly .500 and Tampa Bay just under, and likely haven’t done enough to reverse course. This is a battle between the Red Sox, Yankees, and Blue Jays.

Given all the factors internally, it isn’t extreme to see John Gibbons feeling the pressure. But it is extreme to see the Blue Jays falling apart and not contend again.

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