Alex Mednick (Blue Jays Fan and Writer for MLB Reports): Gibbons May Work Out!
Tuesday November 20th, 2013
Note from Lead Writer Chuck Booth: Just to be fair on this whole John Gibbons hire, I am posting this article written by my fellow colleague/Baseball Writer at the MLB Reports) in order to give a different vantage point. Alex is a Blue Jays fan, so he has a passion for the team. His thoughts are of his own and while I may not agree with his opinion, that is okay. That is why we all have our own minds and are not all sheep! So here is his article (based on a question he answered on my previous piece this morning.)
Alex Mednick (Baseball Writer and Analyst):
I responded to our Lead Baseball Writers Message about not liking the Gibbons hiring in this article earlier today here.
It was, frankly, my initial reaction as well..I was not pleased when I first read this news about Gibbons. I think AA also realizes the consequences of spending his bosses money and then making a poor decision. If it does not pan out, it could mean his job…AA is not untouchable, even though there has been a demi-god status applied to him. Bosses don’t like when you squander their money…period.
But for some reason I am intrigued by this hiring. I was absolutely fed up with the Ricciardi/Gibbons regime, and thought that they should have been fired 2 years before they were. But Gibbons acted largely as the puppet of an egotistical, and nonsensical J.P. Ricciardi, which I can attribute to a lot the reasons he was criticized. There is no doubt, even though managers do not take any at bats themselves, they have a large impact on the team. Look at Bobby V and Boston.
I think that Gibbons was a stooge for JP Ricciardi and that is part of why he is so attractive to AA. AA actually stated during the hiring process he was looking for someone who could fall in line with his and the organization’s theory. Farrell was the opposite of that, a free thinking executive type, who also seemed disinterested in the organization as a whole. He didn’t take the job seriously.
During the frustrations that occurred within the organization during Gibbon’s previous tenure (trust me, I was frustrated), there were well publicized incidents of player-manager altercations between Hillenbrand, Lilly and Gibbons. I’m not all that sure, however, that Gibbons is much of a “hard-ass” or a tough guy to play for. He definitely is hard-nosed and passionate, but I think that the Hillenbrand scenario is something that happens more often that is reported, and the Lilly incident was an unfortunate instance that happened in a very public arena. All the while, Gibbons stayed very loyal to the organization and It is this same “hard-nosed” and “passionate” streak that the Blue Jays need. They are a young team, and still have a lot of young players developing to play a big role in their future. Clubhouse leader Jose Bautista (and Gibbons is a proponent of ensuring that a teammate, and not staff, leads the clubhouse), said that he wanted someone who could keep the players in line, but also allow them do relax and play their game. Gibbons seems like that kind of guy…It is hard to know for sure without being a part of the organization whether it is true, but I think Gibbons is a pretty good people person and those two infamous incidents have been blown out of proportion.
His easy-going side will allow the players to build their own culture and chemistry, but his passion will benefit guys like Lawrie who need to be told it’s okay to be “passionate”…For Lawrie that is truly a strength in his character and too many people are trying to give him a “labatomy”. Colby Rasmus needs the proverbial “kick in the ass” at times but is seemingly headed in the right direction to be all that he can be. I loved watching Gibbons argue with umpires, and the pitchers and players will feel that their skipper has their back. These are all things that are necessary for a team to win.
I really think that Gibbons has the potential to be the right fit for this team…after reconsidering. I think that with the raised expectations, if they fail, he will look horrible but it is unlikely to be largely due to the manager. If the team does mesh well, I think Gibbons could be an added asset to their success. More than anything, the coaches that AA and Gibbons hire are going to shape and have an effect on this team more so than anything Gibbons will do…it’s about the atmosphere in the clubhouse more than the occasional miscall from the dugout (all managers make them). And Gibbons is actually very good at managing a bullpen, that much has to be recognized…I will say, that I hope we don’t see too many of his crazy lineups being switched around all the time, although we do have a very versatile lineup this year with switch hitters and utility players. Maybe he will find just the right equation and stick with it! Hopefully he will also really put the running game into play…he is a national league guy, so he plays that kind of game (in his last term we saw lots of guys running who shouldn’t have…ahem, Bengie Molina)!
This team will be a lot of fun to watch play hit-and-run baseball. We also had a stellar defense during his last term that he cherished, and now, we have that once again…Jose Reyes and Brett Lawrie on the left side of the infield?…that’s going to be nice for our groundball pitchers (Morrow/Romero/Happ)…and an outfield of Cabrera, Rasmus and Bautista?…we have a great defense for a manager who knows how to match up bullpen arms with opposing hitters.
More of the success of this team has to do with the direction that AA steers the ship than Gibbons, because ultimately I think we can expect Gibbons to be a puppet once again (to a certain degree). If we hear Gibbons mumbling lots of “uh, you know, it’s a long season things will work out”…we will know that an ultimatum needs to be reached sooner than later.
*** The views and opinions expressed in this report are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of mlbreports.com ***
Alex Mednick is a Baseball Writer and Analyst with MLB Reports. He has both played and followed the game extensively his entire life. Alex grew up in New Haven, Connecticut—right in the crossroads of Red Sox Nation and The Yankee Empire. Somehow, he dodged the bullet of joining the war between these two teams, and a love affair between the Toronto Blue Jays and Alex formed. Growing up in Connecticut, Alex Mednick idolized Joe Carter and Roberto Alomar. When he was 19 he moved to Saint Petersburg, Florida. Here he attended Eckerd College and continued fulfilling his love for baseball. Tropicana Field was 5 minutes from his apartment, and there were 5 spring training camps within an hour drive. Alex graduated from Eckerd in 2010 with a B.S. in International Business and dual minors in Spanish and Management. Most importantly, he met his amazing wife in college, and the two now reside in Stuart, Florida.
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Posted on November 20, 2012, in The Rest: Everything Baseball and tagged alex anthopoulos, alex mednick, bengie molina, Brendan Morrow, brett lawrie, Chuck Booth, colby rasmus, Gibbons Hire, j.a. happ, j.p. arencibia, Joe Carter, john gibbons, jose bautista, jose reyes, ricky romero, roberto alomar, shea hillenbrand, ted lilly. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.