Hiring John Gibbons Is A Huge Mistake

Tuesday, Nov.20/2012

Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer):

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.

John Gibbons being given the Managerial job came out of nowhere from Jays management. There had been no speculation at all that he was even being considered as late as yesterday. With many of the other candidates yielding playoff appearances as part of their pedigree, a lot of people will question the hiring.

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:

Ozzie Guillen

Ozzie Guillen is a smart manager that deflects the media  in his direction when the club is struggling and praises their efforts when doing well. With 20% of the players having already played for him last year, he would have had a smooth transition. His Manager style is better suited for the American League.

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

Ernie Whitt has been Managing Team Canada in International Play for the last 8 Years with some nice success. He should have at least been interviewed for the job as Blue Jays skipper.

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. might have been the best candidate to have not been hired by the Jays Brass. He is young enough, could have coached the LATIN players well, and could have helped J.P. Arencibia and the other catchers work on refining their defense at the position. He will remain with Cleveland for 2013 as a bench coach.

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

Both Jim’s would not have been my favorite selections, but at least both have been to the Playoffs.

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!

Cito Gaston took over for John Gibbons after a 35-39 start in 2008. Gaston led the club to a 51-37 record in the last 88 games. He was the skipper for both of the franchises World Series wins and is credited for fixing Jose Bautista‘s swing.

*** The views and opinions expressed in this report are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of mlbreports.com ***

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About chuckbooth3023

I played competitive baseball until 18 years old and had offers to play NCAA Division 1 University Baseball at Liberty University. Post-concussion symptoms from previous football and baseball head injuries forced me to retire by age 19. After two nearly made World Record Attempts in 2008, I set a New World Record by visiting all 30 MLB Parks (from 1st to last pitch) in only 24 Calendar Days in the summer 0f 2009. In April of 2012, I established yet another new GWR by visiting all 30 Parks in only 23 Calendar Days! You can see the full schedule at the page of the www.mlbreports.com/gwr-tracker

Posted on November 20, 2012, in The Rest: Everything Baseball and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 10 Comments.

  1. I agree about Ernie Whitt. Would be a fresh face. A very likeable Canadian. Not sure if Gaston would want to come back. No way on Ozzie. Don’t like him at all. If Havana ever gets an expansion team, Guillen should go there.

  2. Wow. I have to say, I did not see this coming. You will be pressed to find someone who was as fed up with Gibby during his first time around as I was…I was a big critic. That being said, I am slightly (notice “slightly”) intrigued by AA’s hiring decision. Partly because I didn’t see it coming. But also because my biggest gripe with Gibby was his mostly the fact that he was a puppet for JP Ricciardi ( I had big problems with Ricciardi). Gibbons’ ability to be controlled (and their friendship) is surely one of the reasone he has been given a secOnd chance in Toronto. Who knows, maybe he is a better puppet on AA’s ninja hands? One thing we know is he is a discipliner, something Farrell had no concern about doing. Please recognize that I am trying to be optimistic, and that causes me to point out his first full year with the Blue Jays before he was wasted by ricciardi’s misdirection…the blue jays had a good rotation not unlike they have now (halladay, Burnett, Lilly)…and we got second place for the first time since 1993. With the new wild card slot we would have actually been in the playoffs. The surprise factor originally had me sick, but now, being an optimist I have uncOvered sOme bright spots. Still, I would have rather seen Alomar, fasano or Whitt.

    Sent from iPhone

  3. @Alex. I just don’t like the idea of hiring a guy that has already been in your organization. I think it is better to go with a fresh face. If this guy fails, it could cost AA his job. You have about a 3 year window to win and that is it. If the Jays don’t make the playoffs it is a failure now. The Yankees are not going to be conservative forever (especially if they continue to lose, or god forbid-don’t make the playoffs.) Last time they didn’t make the PostSeason, they spent half a billion dollars.

  4. Alex, I have moved your comment to now be a post, look for it in about an hour as a article piece. Nice work Man,

  5. It’s about time…been almost 20 years…never recovered from the ’94 strike which really killed their momentum…

    …the Blue Jays are going to have to live up to some high expectations they’ve built for themselves!

  6. Jlb1700 –You can cut this any way you want but it’s is a terrible choice In my view this choice goes with the poor choices in 2012.Gullen in Miami @ Valentine in Boston I might add these guys were poor a choice forth wrong reasons There is no wau this works I don’t give this situation until the All star Break

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