Of the four shocking personnel moves made by the Blue Jays this off-season, the most surprising of them all may have been the re-hiring of John Gibbons as manager.
It was a gamble with no explanation in logic. There’s a huge amount of money invested in this 2013 Jays roster, the highest payroll in 37 years of the franchise, and the wise guys were all betting the Jays would go the “veteran manager with post-season experience” route to contention. In fact, that was what Gibbons himself believed as he flew north for an interview for what he thought would, at best, be a bench coach job.
But Gibbons is clearly GM Alex Anthopoulos’s man, much as 24 years ago Cito Gaston was club president Paul Beeston’s man. In ’89, when the Jays were thinking of firing Jimy Williams early in a season slipping away, GM Pat Gillick wanted a veteran manager to come in. But Beeston had faith in his quiet hitting coach.
Beeston was asked recently if the current Anthopoulos-Gibbons bond reminds him of Beeston-Gaston. He laughed and talked about his stunned reaction the first time the GM knocked on his door.
“I think so,” Beeston said of the connection, “and that’s very important. Probably moreso for John and Alex than me and Cito, because there was a general manager between us.
“But there has to be a relationship between general manager and field manager. If it doesn’t exist, then there’s a war and who’s going to win. The ability to discuss, the ability to debate, the ability to argue, the ability to resolve the issues are critically important and they have got that. You’d like to hope that over the years they can continue the relationship like I’ve been able to with Cito.”