Hiring John Gibbons Is A Huge Mistake
Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer): Follow @chuckbooth3024
I am in complete shock that the Jays hired John Gibbons as their recycled coach. For a guy that has largely supported Alex Anthopoulos on many moves since he has taken over the helm, I can’t believe he pulled this guy off the scrap heap for managers. Gibbons managed the Blue Jays from 2004-2008 and held down a mediocre 305-305 record. While he did post back to back winning seasons in 2006 and 2007 in a tough AL East, he also had some talented players to work with. Roy Halladay was the premier pitcher in the American League from 2005-2008 and would give a 11-13 games over .500 clip just by taking the hill every year. In the 3 full years that Gibbons had Halladay, he was 44-16 (.733) in 72 starts, so if he had been healthy for 96 starts in this time frame, he would have won about 59 Games versus only 24 losses. In Gibbons best year as a manager, he was 87-75 with the 2006 club. Halladay was 16-5 (11 Games over .500).
I would never want to re-hire a manager that has 0 playoff appearances when the current club is going to be graded on exactly that. The Jays will have a serious ‘PR’ nightmare if this hire does not work out. No one would have faulted AA for hiring a manager with playoff experience. If those guys aren’t available as your top choice, at least bring in someone fresh that has not tasted failure for the club.
I don’t understand teams bringing back managers that did not fare well with the club the 1st go around. At least with Cito Gaston (who took over for Gibbons when he was fired in 2008 after starting 35-39), had World Series Championships to his credit. Gaston took over the same club that Gibbons could not reach, and placed a 51-37 record down the stretch of that season. Only if Gaston could be brought back into the fold to coach this team once again. This time around, with all of the talent stockpiled on the team, he would have a chance to take the Jays back to the promise land.
The other managers the club missed out on:
Gibbons is known as a tough, no-nonsense manager. If they were going to sign a guy like that, Ozzie Guillen would have been a better direction to go. Ozzie Guillen would have been perfect to take over this team considering how many LATIN players on the club. Guillen is so underestimated in the world of baseball as a manager. He would have been perfect in the Media Mecca that is Toronto. I have never seen anyone in the Major Leagues as a Manager that the team would put their post game conference up on the scoreboard as the fans are exiting the park, as the White Sox always did with when Ozzie managed them at Us Cellular Field. It was a testament to the man’s colorful ways and popularity. The Jays should have given this guy a longer look.
Ernie Whitt is not only the best catcher the organization has ever seen, the man has been a bench coach for the club, and had led the Canadian National Team for the better part of the decade to decent results in International competition, despite a limited roster and not a lot of ex or current MLB Players. The fans love this man and he would have been a perfect selection for the job. He is currently a roaming instructor for the Philadelphia Phillies. Whitt is likely to coach Canada in the 2013 World Baseball Classic. I mean, why wouldn’t the club even interview this guy? I find him likeable as an interview and the man also knows the game.
Sandy Alomar Jr.
Sandy Alomar Jr. was almost hired by the Jays in 2010, before the club hired John Farrell instead. He acted as the bench coach for the Cleveland Indians in 2013. He also played the game at the catchers position for 20 years. He also would resonate well with all of the Latin players on this team. Plus he would probably have brought along Roberto Alomar as part of his coaching team. It would have been an awesome hire to bring this guy in, instead he will remain as the Cleveland Indians bench coach for 2013.
Jim Tracy/Jim Riggleman
While I think it would have been a mistake to hire these guys too, I would even have them over John Gibbons. Jim Riggleman did a pretty decent job with the Washington Nationals in grooming some of their young talented stars and really got a raw deal without being giving a contract extension. Yes that would be a red flag for some that he quit on the job last year, however the man is a pretty decent teacher of the game. Riggleman coached some talented young Cubs teams in the late 90’s as well. Jim Tracy has also led 2 of his 3 teams managed to playoff births and had early success in his 1st year he took over the Colorado Rockies. Both of these guys would have been better hires than Gibbons.
So where does this leave the Jays? They could end up playing well anyway. After all, John Gibbons will never throw a pitch, or take a turn at bat. If you are a Jays fan, the time to win is now and they can’t afford a slow start out of the box. If they do start slow, the fans and the city of Toronto will be calling for his job early. It almost will be playoffs or bust for the club in 2013. I am not confident he will do a good job, but maybe I will be wrong. If Gibbons couldn’t control those teams back then, how is he going to manage a bunch of superstars now? So please Cito, keep your cell phone ready!
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Posted on November 20, 2012, in The Rest: Everything Baseball and tagged 2012 Douglas "Chuck" Booth- (Baseball Writer and @chuckbooth3024 on twitter)- Today's expert is Kurt Smith. Kurt will be the interview subject of the following parks: Citizens Bank Ball Park, alex anthopoulos, Cito gaston, ernie whitt, j.p. arencibia, Jays Managerial Job, jim riggleman, jim tracy, john farrell, john gibbons, jose bautista, ozzie guillen, philadelphia phillies, roberto alomar, roy halladay, sandy alomar jr, shea hillenbrand, ted lilly, twitter @chuckbooth3024, wbc. Bookmark the permalink. 10 Comments.