John Gibbons is the new skipper of the Toronto Blue Jays, returning to the same team he managed from 2004-2008.
Gibbons signed a two-year contract with an option. He replaces John Farrell who left Canada to manage the Boston Red Sox. The first time around, Gibbons’ Jays record was 305-305. Last season he managed the Padres’ Double-A team in San Antonio, Texas, and ESPN indicates that he had been “somewhat off the Major League radar.” Previously he had been the Kansas City Royals bench coach.
During today’s news conference, Gibbons said the following:
“This came as a big surprise to me. I’m really thrilled, and it’s an honor to be back. I never could have guessed this would have happened.
“Ever since I left five years ago, I’ve been following the team because I have a lot of friends here that I care about and I’m always rooting for this organization. They gave me my first shot at being a big league coach and a big league manager.”
Jays General Manager Alex Anthopoulos spoke very highly of Gibbbons at this morning’s press event.
“From my standpoint, I don’t know that there was anybody better in terms of managing a bullpen, connecting with players, connecting with the front office, holding players accountable — really everything you want from a manager.”
If the players perform up to expectations, the team will be making a lot of noise in the already competitive American League East.
In consultation with his staff, Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig approved the controversial monster trade yesterday. In a statement, Selig said in part:
“After a thorough examination of this information, it is my conclusion that this transaction, involving established Major Leaguers and highly regarded young players and prospects, represents the exercise of plausible baseball judgment on the part of both Clubs, does not violate any express rule of Major League Baseball and does not otherwise warrant the exercise of any of my powers to prevent its completion. It is, of course, up to the Clubs involved to make the case to their respective fans that this transaction makes sense and enhances the competitive position of each, now or in the future.”
According to MLB.com, while Gibbons, 50, might have been a surprise choice, Anthopoulos wanted someone with a big league track record:
“Anthopoulos might not have begun talking to Gibbons until last week, but all along he was prepared to offer a veteran manager a second chance. The 35-year-old GM felt hiring a manager with previous experience would come with fewer question marks about his overall style while also providing an opportunity to correct previous mistakes … In the end, it’s Gibbons who winds up with the job. He fits into what Anthopoulos was looking for in a manager and has garnered a lot of praise in the past for his ability to manage a bullpen.”
[Image credit: Dennis Ku / Shutterstock.com]