Gibby the Best: Blue Jays to Extend John Gibbons


It appears as though the deal may be done, keeping ol’ Gibbers around through at least 2019, with a club option for 2020. With his current deal set to expire after the season, Gibbons has been given a two or three year extension. That’s a nice reward for back-to-back ALCS appearances, and should provide some nice stability as the team transitions from the current Bautista/Donaldson era to whatever comes next.

The veteran roster seems to suit Gibbons’ “let them play” managing style, and the club’s recent play certainly does nothing to dispel that notion. While there may be the occasional issue with his in game tactics at times, he is by no means a bad on-field manager and his work with the players behind the teams could push him squarely into the “above-average” group. We don’t know financial details, but Gibbons is likely looking at a nice little raise as well.

It was thought that Gibbons wasn’t Shapiro/Atkins’ guy, but they clearly believe that he’s the man for the job. Now it’s time to go win a World Series.

Original Story

News is breaking in Blue Jays camp today. Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports that Toronto is finalizing the parameters of an extension with Manager John Gibbons, noting that it is said to be a multi-year deal. Word is they are confident that a deal will be signed by Opening Day. Terms are not yet known.

Gibbons’ history with the franchise is exceeded only by that of World Series manager Cito Gaston, who is also the only manager in Jays history with more wins. Initially hired by GM J.P. Ricciardi in 2004 to replace the fired Carlos Tosca, Gibbons lasted through the next three full seasons before being dismissed 74 games into the 2008 season to be replaced by Gaston

Gibby had every reason to believe he’d had his one shot. He then went on to spend some time as the bench coach in Kansas City and was managing the minor league club in San Antonio, his hometown, when GM Alex Anthopoulos called him up to talk about returning as manager for the 2013 season. Anthopoulos had built a strong working relationship with Gibbons in his previous tour of duty and felt that he was the man to help right the franchise after previous manager John Farrell had ditched the club to return to Boston. He stuck with Gibbons even when 2013 did not go as planned and many doubted that the right choice had been made.

More questions followed when Anthopoulos left the fold after the 2015 season and the arrival of new team president Mark Shapiro, but the new upper management team kept Gibbons and found that they had a good thing on their hands. All reports indicated a strong working relationship between the hold-over manager and the new leadership and both sides insisted at every opportunity that they anticipated a long term relationship. Those predictions seem to be coming to fruition in the coming days.

Gibbons’ original contract structure agreed upon when he was brought back to the club before the 2013 season featured a “no lame-duck” clause, which meant that every year on January 1st his contract would automatically extend for another year unless he was fired. However, that recurring option was bought out by Shapiro and Ross Atkins last off-season, requiring the club to come to an extension with Gibbons this season in order to keep him beyond the length of his current agreement.

From an anecdotal perspective, it is practically impossible to find anyone in the game who has a bad word to say about John Gibbons. Everyone who works with him seems to love him, and despite the occasional contentious debate among fans about some managerial decision or other (a phenomena which no manager ever has been immune to) the fans, by and large, seem to find him likeable as well. It is arguable that in terms of in-game decision making, a manager has a limited impact on the game, but a manager’s primary duty is to put 25 diverse human beings in the best position to succeed as a unit. The Blue Jays clearly think Gibbons has done that well.

For the record, Gibbons has now managed the Blue Jays to 644 wins (and 614 loses) in the regular season, and two consecutive playoff appearances. He’s 13th among active managers in wins. Also, he gets ejected a lot, and that is really fun to watch.

Lead Photo: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

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