Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Offseason's over, It's Gibby

No nonsense, boys.

Bob Elliott of the Toronto Sun is reporting that the Jays will announce John Gibbons as their new manager at some point today, probably at the press conference scheduled for 9:30 ET.  Gibbons, of course, was the Jays' manager from 2004 to late-2008, until being replaced by Cito Gaston.  If I remember correctly, he was actually a pretty decent manager, but those were my college years, and I drank a lot back then.  Since his dismissal, he'd been working with the Royals as a bench coach and as a minor league manager in SD's farm system.

It's not like everybody hasn't been wrong about this already this offseason, so I suppose we can wait until it's entirely official, but Elliott says that AA and Gibby were spotted having dinner last night in Toronto, which is apparently good enough for him.  But shit, it's not like he's just slamming this in to his twitter account or anything; this is in the Sun, and it doesn't sound like speculation... he's really fucking sure of himself.

The last time the Jays finished better than third in the division was under Gibbons' rule, though, again, for the billionth time, I doubt that's entirely of his doing.  Roy Halladay, AJ Burnett, Ted Lilly, BJ Ryan (pre-nosedive), Vernon Wells (also pre-nosedive),Troy Glaus... this was a good fucking team that ultimately probably could have benefited from one more starter and a halfway respectable bullpen.

I don't mind the move, all things considered.  I can definitely remember myself thinking that Gibbons was a good manager (that is to say I can't remember myself screaming at my TV watching him do retarded nonsense with his bullpen), but I can't help but worry, at least a little (even though my opinion on a managers' effect has been stated and probably overstated by now).

He got in a shouting match with Shea Hillenbrand (albeit, after Hillenbrand wrote "this is a sinking ship" on the team's bulletin board like a fucking moron), with Ted Lilly (after he blew an 8-0 lead and refused to exit the game, mind you) and with Josh Towers (who sucked) [I'm being told that this was Dave Bush, not Towers], all in a rather public manner.  I'm sure the team is going to know that Gibby is a bit of a no-nonsense kind of hot-head coming in, but three fairly wide-open spats like that just kind of make me nervous; if there were three of those, there were probably countless closed-door types as well, which isn't to say that those kind of things don't happen in any clubhouse.

Having said all of that, at the end of the day, AA really likes to go out there and find "good people" to be on his team (despite the Yunel Escobar reputation and subsequent actions... not saying Yunel isn't a good person, but...), so as long as twits like Hillenbrand don't show up, I guess we're all going to be alright.  I can't think of anybody on the team that I'd label as a twit at the moment, but I probably wouldn't have done so with Hillenbrand either until that incident.

Basically what I'm trying to say here is that managers don't mean shit, other than being mindful of platooney situations with your bad hitters (Adam Lind vs. LHP, for example) and managing your bullpen reasonably-- two things that John Farrell didn't really do.  I'm sure they do other stuff too, in terms of actual coaching of, say, proper groundball-fielding etiquette or hitting mechanics, and of course, the ever-so necessary "keeping everybody loose," just don't go trying to convince everybody that Gibby, or anybody else for that matter, is going to be a 5-WAR manager.  And it's not like Farrell had a glut of options against lefty pitching (and/or guys who had a past of playing 1B), but he stuck Octavio Dotel in there against lefty hitters, stuck with Coco as his closer for a long fucking time this year, and let's not forget about Corey Patterson and Eric Thames batting in front of Jose Bautista day-in and day-out for the first half of 2011, simply by virtue of being lefties.  Again, at this point, these examples don't really look like they're something worth worrying about, since Coco, Patterson, Thames and Dotel are gone, and the entire world understands that Lind can only hit RHP; let's just pray that Gibby has that last memo in hand.

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