It’s been a long five and a half months for the Toronto Blue Jays as they have spent virtually the whole season in the basement of the competitive AL East. It’s been a campaign that one finds it hard to wrap their head around when wondering what went wrong after what seemed to be a positive offseason.
They don’t lack talent. They possess speed. They have the ability to produce runs. They have solid pitching. So, what’s the problem? Someone needs to manage the game. Someone needs to manage the players while exemplifying great communication skills and knowledge for the game. That is what they are lacking: leadership in the dugout.
John Gibbons was a tough sell for many Toronto fans when he was rehired by GM Alex Anthopoulos shortly after the blockbuster trade that the Blue Jays pulled off with the Miami Marlins, and for good reason.
Gibbons had already been let go by the team back in 2008 when Anthopoulos was the assistant to GM J.P. Ricciardi at the time. Gibbons didn’t create positive relationships with his players and failed to get the best out of a respectable lineup at the time. He did manage the team to a 87-75 record in 2006, but still couldn’t properly motivate his lineup.
Gibbons has always been given a lot of talent to work with, especially in 2013, but he can’t seem to win no matter who he manages.
The current Blue Jays lineup boasts a fun bunch of players that absolutely love playing the game. With the likes of Jose Reyes and Brett Lawrie, the Toronto clubhouse is one that is full of energy. They need a manager that will have fun with them and yet still have a handle on whatever situation comes their way.
Gibbons likes to sit and watch … a lot. The Blue Jays need a manager that will stand on the first step of the dugout and actually manage the game so that when he has to make a quick decision, he is ready. Gibbons isn’t that guy nor does he want to be, but there may be someone in the near future that Anthopoulos should consider.
Jim Price and Dan Dickerson of 97.1 The Ticket in Detroit spoke on Monday night about how it was a very important final two weeks of the season for Texas Rangers manager Ron Washington. They made it clear that someone needs to go when it came to the Rangers personnel as the team has has dropped seven games in a row including six games at home in Arlington at the hands of the Oakland Athletics and Pittsburgh Pirates.
The Rangers now find themselves fighting for their playoff lives when just two weeks ago they were sitting atop the AL West. It could be time for Washington and the Rangers to go their separate ways if they fail to play October baseball, and the Blue Jays could jump on the opportunity.
Rangers CEO Nolan Ryan told Galloway and Company on KESN-FM 103.3 Monday morning that Washington’s job was safe and that it was the players that are at fault when it comes down to the Rangers’ latest skid. Ryan said exactly what he needed to say. His team is still in the running for a playoff birth and he isn’t going to throw his manager under the bus just yet.
But when it comes down to making a change, Ryan isn’t going to fire any players — he needs to fire a manager.
If Texas fails to make the postseason, change is something that Rangers fans will want, and they will want it right away. Washington would welcome a change in scenery as his seven-year managing career in Texas has exhausted itself with unfortunate losses down the stretch and in the World Series.
He needs a new crew to lead, a new lineup to motivate, a new group of players to have fun with. Washington is a real player’s manager and would be a great fit with the Blue Jays.
Anthopoulos has also said that Gibbons’ job is safe, but he is not one to give anyone any hints about what he has up his sleeve. Expect something to change in both Toronto and Texas, and perhaps see those changes coming together in a very big way.