Manny Acta? Jim Tracy? Mike Hargrove?
Nah, how about somebody more…familiar?
The Toronto Blue Jays‘ search for a new manager is finally over, as the team is expected to name John Gibbons their new bench boss on Tuesday morning, when GM Alex Anthopoulos will also speak to the press regarding the team’s monster trade with the Miami Marlins.
Yes, that would be the same John Gibbons who was fired by J.P. Riccardi in June of 2008.
There had been word going around that Toronto would be looking for someone with experience to manage this revamped ballclub; Gibbons, having managed the Blue Jays from 2004 to 2008, fits the bill, and gives the team the additional benefit of someone who is familiar with the organization – even if Anthopoulos (Riccardi’s former assistant) and Paul Beeston are now at the helm.
Those of you who’ve followed Gibby through his tenure with Toronto in the mid-200os will likely remember him for his, uh, fiery personality in dealing with players. I’ll leave a review of those anecdotes, and the various adjectives that will be used to describe Gibbon, to the other folks who are going to be writing on this topic across the internet in the coming days.
What is worth remembering, on the other hand, is that Gibbons was a good tactical manager, and someone who should be well equipped with the baseball smarts to take on this Blue Jays lineup. The team has bolstered its bullpen considerably, which should play to Gibbon’s strength in handling relief pitchers.
Plus, the guy isn’t in the habit of giving out free outs:
@emmaspan You’ll love Gibbons. Bunts less than once a week.
— Joe Sheehan (@joe_sheehan) November 20, 2012
So, no frivolous bunts from to move Jose Reyes or Emilio Bonifacio up 90 feet? Flexibility in relief pitchers’ roles? Sounds like something I could get behind.
Even though Gibbons is someone who you probably wouldn’t want to cross if you were one of his players, I get the sense that one of the reasons that Anthopoulos brought him in (aside from the fact that they have some history working together) is, well, exactly that: if there was an accountability issue in the 2012 Blue Jays clubhouse, I think we can all be assured that, with Gibbons, they’ll unlikely be an issue next season.
That’s not to say that it’ll all be rainbows and sunshine – Gibbons has had four years of experience in the organization, but he’s never had a lineup quite like this. That said, if you’re someone who cares for the intangibles in a bench boss, the ex-Blue Jays skip definitely has enough of it to make his second stint in Toronto a success.
Best of all? Now that this thing is done with, we can go back to talking about the guys that will actually be making the bulk of the difference for the Blue Jays in 2013.
That would be the players, of course.