November 18, 2017

Stop Blaming Gibby

John Gibbons isn’t the perfect manager, but also isn’t solely responsible for a forgettable 2017.

Managing a baseball team might be looked at by some as a “dream job”, but for the majority of those who have held down the post, it’s been more of a nightmare. I really don’t know how they do it.

From the moment John Gibbons returned to the Jays, for his 2nd stint as manager, prior to the 2013 season, he was under the microscope. Any loss, strikeout, error, missed cutoff man or failed bunt attempt, was his fault. Every home run, complete game and win was all credited to the players.

Welcome to the world of being a Major League manager.

Let’s make something clear; there’s a reason why they are not referred to as “coaches”. Each baseball team has plenty of those. A manager is responsible for strategy, but for the most part, his number one job is, supply leadership on and off the field. Ask anyone who’s played under John Gibbons and they’ll tell you he is outstanding when it comes to that.

One of the biggest criticisms Gibbons has received in this disappointing season, is his handling of the bullpen. “He leaves guys in too long” say some. Others claim “he takes guys out too soon.” It’s an absolute no win situation.


Then there’s the batting order, specifically the leadoff spot. The Jays have received very little from that spot this season and the numbers don’t lie.

(Stats as of August 25)

Lead off hitters with at least 20 At Bats

Player          AB         Ave  HR   RBI   SB  OBP   OPS

Carrera         24         .250    3      3       0   .333    .958

Pillar           246         .248    8    18      10  .307    .725

Bautista     200          .200    8    22      2    .305    .680

Travis           35          .114    1      3      0    .162    .362

As you can see, John Gibbons has tried a number of players, and none of them have taken the ball and run with it. Is this his fault? How can it be? The Jays just don’t have a prototypical leadoff man. He’s even resorted to using Steve Pearce and Nori Aoki there recently.

The fact that the clubhouse remains positive and stable is a sign that John Gibbons is doing a fine job. Does he make mistakes? Of course he does. As much as any of us second guess his moves, Gibbons, like any manager, does the same. It’s just nowhere near as quickly as we all tend to do.

Gibby knows what’s being said. He’s been a manager for a long time, and he didn’t get into the job to be popular with the fans. He also knows that he, like every other manager, was hired to be fired. If you still insist on blaming John Gibbons for all that ails the Blue Jays this season, you also have to give him credit for all the good as well.

When I asked him what he loved most about managing, when he joined me on Outta the Park,

He told me he loves being responsible for everything that happens on the field and the way the team plays. He even agrees with all of you who want to blame him for all that has gone wrong this season.

That’s just one more reason to love Gibby….Sometimes even a great manager doesn’t yield great results.

Be sure to follow the Barry Davis Podcast: Outta The Park

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