Could Gibby Be On The Way Out?

Kim Klement - USA Today Sports

Kim Klement – USA Today Sports

Despite leading the Blue Jays to their first meaningful September baseball in 15 years could the Blue Jays be planning on parting ways with manager John Gibbons?

When asked earlier this week about Gibby’s future Alex Anthopoulos wasn’t really committed either way. “He’s under contract,” said Anthopoulos. “I mean, again, I’ve said this before too, I’m a big believer that no matter what position it is in the organization, grounds crew, administrative assistant, manager, coach, you support them until you don’t support them. Until they’re no longer in those positions, you support them. I mean, that position’s going to be that way whether we’re 100 games over .500 or we’re struggling. You know, we always support our staff.”

That’s a far cry from what AA said last summer when it was announced that Gibby would return this year.

There’s never been any thought in that respect at all,” Anthopoulos said when asked if Gibbons will be returning.
“John is our manager, and we expect him to be. But I understand what the response is. When you’re not playing well as a team, these are the things that happen. You talk about the GM, the manager, you talk about the players … people want a reason, and changes usually come when players aren’t playing well and teams aren’t performing. I think that comes with the territory.”

“I actually think [regarding] the in-game managing, he has done a great job,” Anthopoulos said of Gibbons. “I think it’s so easy to pin results on one person. I think it’s convenient. I could say that for myself. I could say that for certain players, for the manager. I just don’t think blame falls on one person.
“When we’re playing the way we have, I just don’t think it falls on one person; it’s collectively. There’s blame to share — that’s probably the best way to put it. I just don’t believe it’s one thing, and that’s the issue.” AA told Gregor Chisholm last August.

Maybe the decision won’t be completely AA’s for the making, it could be that ownership is looking for a scapegoat to run out-of-town and letting another hitting coach go like they did last year just won’t cut it again this year.
Personally I think Gibby has done a fine job with what he had to work with, can’t blame him for being stuck with in adequate replacements when the injuries took their toll on the team. It’s also hard to blame him that the reliable bullpen guys like Steve Delabar, Sergio Santos completely fell off the face of the earth and wound up in Triple A or that Casey Janssen has become a shell of his former self in the second half. Sure some of his September decisions around the handling of Colby Rasmus have been troubling, even more so after Melky Cabrera’s season ending injury, but it seems like some of those decisions have come from the front office so I’m not sure you can completely pin that on Gibby.

As for Gibby when asked about it by Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi, Gibby said,”I give it zero thought. To be honest,” he added later, “I’ve never been one of those guys to worry about it. I live in the moment, I don’t worry about the future.” When Gibbons was hired his deal was structured so that his vesting option kicks in on New Years Day. If Gibby is still employed by the Jays come Jan 1st of 2015 his 2016 option will be picked up. “New Year’s Day is more important to me than a lot of people, put it that way,” Gibbons said laughing. “I celebrate it a little harder.”

O’s Eliminate Blue Jays From AL East Race

PATRICK SEMANSKY / AP

PATRICK SEMANSKY / AP

The Baltimore Orioles won the AL East tonight defeating the Blue Jays 8-2. It’s the Orioles first AL East crown since 1997. The loss eliminated the Blue Jays from the Division race but they do still hold on to very faint Wild Card chances where they sit 5.5 games back with 12 games to go.

It seems long ago that the Blue Jays held a 6.5 game lead in the AL East in early June. Tonight they now sit 13.5 games back, that is a 19 game swing in the span of three months, that’s almost unheard of. Since June 7th the Orioles are 61-30 while the Blue Jays have gone 39-49.

The Blue Jays suffered injuries to Adam Lind, Edwin Encarnacion and Brett Lawrie and unlike the Orioles who lost Matt Weiters and Manny Machado to injuries and an awful year by the now suspended Chris Davis didn’t have the depth they needed to make up for it.

The Jays did make it this far with a lacklustre bench of Munenori Kawasaki, Steve Tolleson, Anthony Gose and Juan Francisco but if they have serious hopes of making a run in 2015 they need to upgrade their bench with at least a few veterans that can come off the bench and contribute.

The Blue Jays also need to address the bottom of the line-up which has looked awful recently, The Blue Jays can’t carry both Ryan Goins and Anthony Gose in their everyday line-up in 2015 and you can add Kevin Pillar into that mix if they don’t resign Melky Cabrera or at least bring in a formidable replacement. The bottom of the line-up at times has felt like a black hole and really sunk this team when the offence really hit its skid in July and August.

When most championship teams are described at the end of the year the term luck is thrown around too, the Blue Jays could have used a little of that too this year like the Orioles have gotten in the second half but in the end the Blue Jays need to be better and that falls on Alex Anthopoulos to make the proper moves this offseason to improve this group or we can probably recycle this post in a year from now.

The Saturday Night Notebook

Rick Madonik / Toronto Star

Rick Madonik / Toronto Star

The Blue Jays won today to stay within four games of the Wild Card spot, but now instead of the second wild card spot both wild card spots are in play thanks to Oakland’s collapse during the second half. The Blue Jays close out their six game homestand Sunday when they send Mark Buehrle to the mound to face the Rays Chris Archer.

With 15 games to go the Blue Jays will almost have to run the table to make it in and it feels like it might take 89-90 wins to get in which the Blue Jays would have to go 12-3/13-2 to make it. It also means that the four game series against Seattle is going to be absolutely huge and for a fan base that has gone a long time without meaningful September baseball it doesn’t get any better than this. Another thing that may also work in the Blue Jays favour is the final series with the Orioles who will have long clinched the AL East and will be more concerned with resting players and setting up their playoff rotation. Lets just hope it comes down to that final weekend.

If Blue Jay fans have learned anything so far this month is Brandon Morrow’s potential. Morrow has always had the great stuff and have had plus velocity on his fastball and when he was a starter he never did really show it and it seemed like he was always holding back and not going all out. It seems like the new bullpen role has brought out the best of Morrow’s ability and it has brought up his future with the Blue Jays. The Blue Jays have a 10 million dollar club option on Morrow and it is hard to imagine that it would be picked up if he is going to pitch out of the bullpen next season. But the Jays also risk losing him altogether if he hits the open market as some team will pick him up as the need for pitching is always big and with the stuff that Morrow has some team will convince him that the best role for Morrow would be as a closer. As for the Blue Jays they have an opening for a closer next year and Morrow would be a perfect fit as a closer for the Blue Jays next season. The only stumbling block now is figuring out whether Morrow will get the 10 million next year or if the Blue Jays can work out a deal that works for both sides.

Blue Jays Acquire Mayberry Jr. From Phillies

Laurence Kesterson/AP

Laurence Kesterson/AP

The Toronto Blue Jays added another depth player to their roster tonight by acquiring John Mayberry Jr. from the Philadelphia Phillies in exchange for minor league third baseman Gustavo Pierre according to several sources.

Mayberry Jr. 30, whose father John played four seasons for the Toronto Blue Jays from 1978-1982, was a first round pick of the Texas Rangers 19th overall in 2005.

Mayberry Jr plays first base and all three outfield positions so it’s not clear where he’ll fit in or get playing time with the Blue Jays. 

Mayberry Jr. has been on the DL since June 21st with a wrist injury and was on a rehab assignment at the time of the trade.

Mayberry Jr. has hit 213/304/418 with six home runs in 138 plate apperances this season with Philadelphia. Mayberry Jr is in his sixth Major League season and is arbitration eligible in 2015 and is eligible for Free Agency in 2017.

Looking At The Blue Jays September Call-up Candidates

Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

With the rosters expanding on Monday it’s a good time to look at the possible players that could be candidates to be added to the Blue Jays Roster.

1. Anthony Gose
Gose has been one of the many Blue Jays that have been up and down all season between Buffalo and Toronto. Gose has actually played a career high 69 games with the Blue Jays while playing 49 in Buffalo. Gose also has been on a tear recently in Buffalo, including a game earlier this week when he was a triple short of hitting for the cycle and he also had 6 RBI that game. Gose will add some speed to the team which will be much-needed and could be very well be used off the bench and possibly in a platoon with Kevin Pillar in Centre Field.

2. Rob Rasmussen
The Lefthander has spent a couple of different stints with the Blue Jays and will provide some much-needed bullpen depth and help lessen the workload of the sometimes overworked Bullpen. In 11 1/3 innings with the Blue Jays Rasmussen has allowed four runs on eight hits he has also struck out 13 while walking seven.

3. Ryan Goins
Goins has had two stints with the Blue Jays with the last stint ending as a casualty of needing a fresh arm after the Blue Jays 19 inning win over the Tigers August 10th. Just as the concerns last season, the offence has again been a problem for Goins as he has hit .197/.222/.262 in 132 plate appearances with the Blue Jays. His defence at second is better than any other current option on the Blue Jays roster and most likely would get playing time against right handers and could also be a late inning defensive replacement.

4. Daniel Norris
Norris who has been on the fast track path to the Majors this season. Norris started in Single A, was promoted to Double A New Hampshire where he made eight starts and was recently promoted to the Bisons where he has made four starts. John Lott tweeted today that Alex Anthopoulos has said that the plan was to not have Norris make his next start and have him pitch out of the bullpen, and the way Anthopoulos has been hinting Norris could take the same path as Aaron Sanchez has and pitch out of the bullpen. It would be another lefty out of the pen and would probably have the best fastball out of the current left handers in the bullpen and could be used in high leverage spots to help out the pen.

Off-Day Notebook

USA TODAY Sports Images

USA TODAY Sports Images

The Nolan Reimold Era officially ended today as he was claimed off waivers by the Arizona Diamondbacks. Reimold appeared in 22 games with the Blue Jays hitting .212/.283/.404 with 2 home runs and 9 RBI in 60 plate appearances, but may be remembered more for botching that fly ball in the tenth inning in Sunday’s loss to the Tampa Bay Rays.

As for Reimold’s replacement on the roster, Kevin Pillar hasn’t looked so bad in his two games back with the Blue Jays. Pillar has a pair of doubles since his call-up and his hustle on the base paths gives the Jays some much-needed speed which was lost when Anthony Gose was sent down earlier this month.

LOUSY AUGUST
With last night’s win the Jays improved their August record to 7-16, which is the worst in the Major Leagues this month. But where does this rank when it comes to the worst August records in Blue Jays history? Not including the two strike years the lowest wins in a month of August are 9. The 2012 team went 9-19 and the 2004 team went 9-20. The club record for fewest wins in a month is four set by the 1978 Blue Jays who went 4-22 in September of that season.

JOEY BATS WANTS TO STAY
There has been a ton of speculation around Jose Bautista’s future beyond 2014, who the media is all but ready to run out-of-town after his ejection in Sunday’s game, yes it was a bad time to get tossed, but it’s not a reason to run a guy out-of-town. Bautista who hit his 25th homer of the season on Tuesday became only the third Blue Jay player behind Joe Carter and Carlos Delgado to hit 25 home runs in five straight seasons.

As for Bautista, he told Sportsnet’s Arash Madani that he has no reason to want to leave Toronto and that he would like to finish out his career here. Bautista still believes that the Jays can also make a run and make it into the playoffs this year. But Bautista did cause a bit of a shit storm earlier this week when asked if the organization was committed to winning by the Toronto Star’s Richard Griffin, Bautista answered he did not have enough information to answer that question. I can’t say I blame Bautista for saying what he did, if I was a player chances are I would have said the same thing. Maybe if Rogers allowed AA some payroll flexibility this season to make an acquisition or two to help the team over the hump at the deadline it would show their commitment to winning. Personally, when the CEO change happened last winter I think the commitment to winning went out the window.

JETER’S LAST VISIT TO TORONTO
This weekend’s series with the New York Yankees will mark the last time that Derek Jeter will suit up in Toronto before retirement, and like Mariano Rivera last season, The Jays are planning on honoring and presenting him with a gift. I think these gifts to retiring players that are not on your own team is kind of lame, and really why should we all get up and cheer for a Yankees’ player? The Yankees’ fans sure as hell wouldn’t return the favour to a non Yankee. But if we must give Jeter a gift it should be the shin pads that Ken Huckaby wore in the Home Opener in 2003 when Jeter separated his shoulder when he made contact with Huckaby sliding into third base. Hell, lets even throw in third base too while we’re at it. The best part of the whole play, Jeter was called out.

Protest Gate

 Fred Thornhill/Canadian Press

Fred Thornhill/Canadian Press

The Jays enjoyed another walk-off win on Saturday, which happened to be their third in their last four home games, defeating the Tampa Bay Rays 5-4.

Although the biggest news to come out of the game didn’t even happen after the game, it came during it. In the top of the fourth inning Rays’ manager Joe Maddon protested the game after Will Myers was called out on a review of a pick off at first base. Maddon argued that Jays’ manager John Gibbons had waited to long to challenge the call at first base and also argued that Bob Davidson, who is the crew chief, screwed up by allowing the review to go on.

Bob Davidson was also asked after the game about it and Sportnet’s Shi Davidi tweeted out Davidson’s response to the question.

I think Davidson’s reasoning is why I don’t see this protest being upheld. As Maddon had said after the game the batter was in the box and the pitcher was on the mound but there is room for interpretation. At no time during the time waiting for Gibby to come out did catcher Dioner Navarro ever look towards Buehrle, Navarro had his sight set on the dugout to wait to see if Gibby was going to challenge. Once Gibby came out, Navarro headed towards the mound. As Davidson said he was watching Gibby in the dugout and keeping tabs on whether Escobar was set in the box.

Also there is some precedence to all of this, although there wasn’t a protest involved. There was a similar situation in a game between Detroit and the Los Angeles Angels in late July.

freep.com states in the story on that situation that the replay rules are as such, The replay rules say that a challenge must be initiated before the next “play.” According to the rules, “the next ‘play’ shall commence when the pitcher is on the rubber preparing to start his delivery and the batter has entered the batter’s box.” But the replay rules also say, “The Crew Chief shall have the final authority to determine whether a Manager’s Challenge is timely. The judgment of the Crew Chief regarding the timeliness of a Manager’s Challenge shall be final and binding on both Clubs, and shall not be reviewable by Replay Review or otherwise.”

Umpire Jim Joyce explained how he saw the play, “I saw them on the phone (in the Angels’ dugout) and I walked off the line and I was watching the batter and the pitcher. I understand what Brad is thinking. But to tell me I can’t do it is not what the rule is. So I just informed him that it’s at the crew chief’s discretion.

“I knew it was a really, really close play. If he’s going to come out and ask me to review it, I’m going to review it. The whole entire deal is to get it right. I kept informing (Ausmus) that at my discretion I can look at this play.” Joyce said.

“I wasn’t technically arguing the challenge,” Ausmus said. “I was arguing they couldn’t challenge in the first place.”

Ausmus said he couldn’t protest the game. “Part of the rules involving instant replay is that it is non-protestable,” Ausmus said.

As for the next step in the protest Megan Robinson tweeted out what Bill Welke had said.

Rays 8 Blue Jays 0; The Good, The Bad And The Ugly

Steve Russell / Toronto Star

Steve Russell / Toronto Star

The Blue Jays opened up their nine game home stand by getting thumped 8-0, The Blue Jays record now stands at 65-63, The Jays are nine games back of Baltimore in the AL East and are now four and a half games back of Seattle for the second wild card spot. Mark Buehrle goes to the mound for the Blue Jays tomorrow as they face Tampa’s Jeremy Hellickson.

The Good: Well, um, no one got hurt. Brett Cecil and Kyle Drabek each pitched a shutout inning, although Drabek did load the bases before striking out Evan Longoria. And, hey, at least the Jays pitching staff looks better than the Tigers right now, who had their starter only go an inning and a third and have burned through their pen tonight and they have a double-header tomorrow, so yeah there’s that.

The Bad: Marcus Stroman got roughed up for his second straight outing going five plus inning allowing six runs, five earned and allowed 10 hits. The offence tonight was MIA only getting two hits off of Tampa’s Drew Smyly. The Jays offence looked listless most of the night as they allowed Smyly to get into a comfortable rhythm and were never able to break him of it.

The Ugly: Colby Rasmus’ lackadaisical effort on Kevin Kiermaier’s single turned double in the fourth inning. Rasmus never even looked at the runner as he went to pick up the ball, although to be honest Reyes looked surprised when Rasmus realized that Kiermaier was going for second and threw the ball in rather quickly. All in all if the Jays want to be serious about making a run for a playoff spot in the final 34 games they need to look a whole helluva lot more focused than they did tonight.

Davidi: Jays May Be In The Market For New President And CEO

beest

It’s been quite the 24 hours when it comes to the future of the Blue Jays front office. First it was Steve Simmons reporting that Alex Anthopoulos will be back in 2015, which was denied by Keith Pelley who told Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi, “Our focus right now is on the current season and making the playoffs and not on what will or will not transpire in the off-season.”

And now Davidi has a report out saying that Blue Jays President and CEO Paul Beeston could be on his way out as it is believed his contract with the club expires at season’s end.

In the article Davidi points to the departures of most of Beeston’s inner circle and with his last connection to ownership Phil Lind set to retire at year’s end. Beeston however has remained tight-lipped about his future beyond this season.

It should be noted that Beeston had aligned with Boston Red Sox Chairman Tom Warner when the election for a new commissioner took place last week in Baltimore and there is speculation that if Warner had become the next commissioner that Beeston would have headed back to the MLB’s head offices.

It will make things interesting this winter as this little bit of news could affect Anthopoulos’ future, although if a new President were to come on board they could let AA finish out his last year of his contract and then have 2015 to decide whether a change would be necessary. It would be the same situation that happened when Beeston came back in 2008 as then GM J.P Riccardi had a year left on his deal and then was let go at the end of the 2009 season.

Davidi doesn’t mention any names of who could replace Beeston if he were to leave, although I could see a scenario where AA gets promoted to Club President and the Blue Jays wouldn’t be the first team to do that as the Indians promoted then GM Mark Shapiro in 2010. Anthopoulos started out in as a scouting co-ordinator for the Blue Jays in 2003 and had started out in the Expos mail room when he first got into a major league front office, he has worked his way up so the top job wouldn’t be out of the realm of possibilities.

As for Beeston, if he does leave, I’m not so sure that I’ll be sad to see him go. He’s the only one left from the glory days of the World Series years but his act has worn thin the last few years. Him telling the fan base that they would make the playoffs three of the next five years when the trades of 2012 were made at the time might have seemed like a possibility, but then to follow it up by saying over and over that the money will be there to help the team when they need it and then watching them not do anything in the off-season or at the trade deadline was the last straw.

Beeston also said last week that the payroll will go up in 2015 which it most likely will, the problem was though that most of it will go to raised due to players and arbitration eligible guys and most likely won’t be spent on Free Agent help.

I guess at best if Beeston goes, we can thank him for his service with the ball club and be thankful that he was the one instrumental in bringing back the original colour scheme and the updated “old” logo, it was long overdue.

It will make for a very interesting off-season so stay tuned.

AA Returning In 2015, How Is This News?

aa1

Steve Simmons of the Toronto Star reported this morning that Alex Anthopoulos will be brought back for his sixth season as the General Manager of the Toronto Blue Jays.

In the article Simmons mentions John Gibbons future as uncertain as Simmons says that it’s assumed that Gibby is not under contract next season. That statement is wrong as Gibby has in his deal every January 1st that comes around that he is still employed by the Blue Jays and has another year automatically added to his deal.

As for AA coming back, how is this the big news that it has become? He’s done a good job with the resources or the lack there off that have been given him by ownership.

Sure AA wasn’t able to add anything at the trade deadline, well I guess we can count Danny Valencia as a deadline move. But AA has this team headed in the right direction with the young arms that are in the organization. It’s possible that the Jays rotation could include Marcus Stroman, Aaron Sanchez, Drew Hutchison and at some point next season Daniel Norris. All of the above named pitchers were drafted by Anthopoulos.

When Anthopoulos was named GM at the end of the 2009 season he had to rebuild the scouting department after previous GM J.P Riccardi had slashed and burned the scouting department. Anthopoulos was also masterful in ridding the Blue Jays of Vernon Wells albatross of a contract.

The one knock that could be said about Anthopoulos is the Blue Jays lack of positional depth outside of their pitching. Even before the 2012 deal with the Marlins their depth wasn’t very good and now I don’t believe it’s much better. Sure there is Dalton Pompey who was on other teams asking lists before the trade deadline, but he is a few years away yet.

Lets face it, as long as Paul Beeston is still the Blue Jays president AA will be the GM of the club and I don’t think it’s totally out of the realm of possibility that AA could be the future club president and perhaps someone in the front office gets promoted to GM.

But really, the bigger question should be when was the last time Steve Simmons broke any kind of Blue Jays news first?

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