Tuesday, 20 November 2012

"Are You Kidding?" Gibbons Rehired.

The more I think about the John Gibbons hire, the more I like it. I think the hiring addresses some of the major problems many had with the previous John.

Gibbons doesn't call for the sacrifice bunt or other small ball nonsense. He doesn't encourage running stupidly into stupid outs and he manages a bullpen extremely well.

It's kind of easy to forget that Gibbons was manager for 2004-2008. I didn't realize it had been that long. I remember the accent and the "I tell you whats" and the Diet Coke and the warm up jersey with the tobacco stains. I sort of missed the guy.

This was an extremely endearing press conference. Gibbons remembered some of the press, he was humble, he talked about wanting to work. He joked with Anthopoulos about speaking French.


So AA, why Gibbons?

“He manages a great bullpen, as good as I’ve seen,” Anthopoulos said. “Good evaluator of talent, that’s my experience with him for five years. Was right on a lot of players. As a general manager, having a manager that can evaluate players really helps you do the job.

“Players love playing for him. They’d go through a wall for him. They respected him. He had the respect of the guys in the clubhouse. He didn’t ever lose that. At the same time, he could put his foot down to let someone know where they stood. He wasn’t afraid to do that either.

“The added layer is he connected incredibly well with the front office. From that standpoint, it was a perfect fit.”

Jon Heyman of CBS Sports wrote a piece about how this rehire is maybe not the best idea.
"I don't understand the lure of John Gibbons," one rival AL East GM said. "All he did was [tick] off Ted Lilly."

"The AL East has some real managing stars. Joe Maddon. Buck Showalter. Joe Girardi. Even Toronto's old guy, John Farrell," the rival continued. "I'd say Gibbons is fifth."

Fifth in five? Oh, the humanity!!!

Aw, rival GM is so cute. John Farrell is a managing star? Cherington, is that you? You'll notice that all those listed, save Farrell,  are also managers that have made it to the playoffs. Maybe it's the team that makes the manager a star not the other way around.

In a very entertaining press conference, what Gibbons referred to  as a "black eye" in his previous stint are his two run ins with players the last time around. He had a bit of a row with Shea Hillenbrand in the clubhouse. Hillenbrand wrote that the "ship was sinking" on a white board for the team to see. Gibbons challenged him to a fight. Hillenbrand was known as a malcontent. He and Gibbons had had beef about playing time. While a member of the Red Sox in 2003, he reportedly told Theo Epstein to, "Trade me, [gay slur]." 

Gibbons also had a run in on the mound, that continued in the clubhouse, when he pulled Ted Lilly. I remember it clearly, because it got quite personal. Lilly clearly said, "Fuck you, John." Which is far more personal than a "Fuck off" or a "Fuck you, Gibby." Lilly was also in the process of blowing an early eight run lead when Gibby came out to get him. People were a little raw. There was a lot of ego involved in that. Ted Lilly and Gibbons, who had been running buddies pre-fight, made up and remained friends. 

That's two incidents that happened in close to four years, and both incidents had surrounding circumstances. The short of it is that I'm not concerned. If team discipline was really the problem it seemed to be in 2012, maybe someone who is a bit aggressive is a good thing.

“I didn’t have a problem with it,” Anthopoulos said after introducing Gibbons at a news conference. “I actually looked at it as a strong point. What happened with Shea Hillenbrand, he better be confronted. I think in a manager at times, it can be done in front of his teammates. I don’t know any other way to deal with that.”

Here is what Gibby was up to last season 

With the announcement of the new manager, baseball writers scurried around to get all Gibby's old players opinions.  “I like working with him and I like him,” said Roy Halladay. 

Here is some completely out of left field, unsubstantiated rumour mongering, but notice the present tense Doc uses? PRESENT TENSE.*

* Oh wait, this is an old quote from when Halladay actually did play for Gibbons. But that makes the rumour mongering that much better....take an old quote out of context and run with it.

Oh and the trade was finalized and Cabrera's signing was officially announced. Josh Johnson is excited to play, according to Anthopoulos. Jose Reyes is working out in Jays warm up gear.  And I have offered to live and care for Slater Buerhle out of province.

When Anthopoulos described the start of the talks with the Marlins, where he inquired about the availability of Josh Johnson, I imagine the conversation went a bit like this:

Anthopoulos : So is Johnson available?
Michael Hill : Alex, you have no idea how available.

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