Return to the dugout: John Gibbons 'thrilled' to manage Blue Jays again
Published Tuesday, November 20, 2012 9:09AM EST
Last Updated Tuesday, November 20, 2012 12:58PM EST
Meet the Blue Jays’ new manager: Same as the old, old, old manager.
The Toronto Blue Jays welcomed John Gibbons back to the dugout Tuesday to replace previous manager John Farrell, who left earlier this year to manage the Boston Red Sox.
“It’s really a thrill and honour to be back. I never would have guessed that this would happen,” Gibbons said at a Tuesday news conference, referring to the Jays as the organization that gave him one of his first shots at being a “big league” coach and manager.
Gibbons, 50, was previously hired on as Blue Jays manager in mid-2004. He held that role for roughly four years, until he was fired and replaced by Cito Gaston, who had steered the team to the World Series championships in 1992 and 1993. Now, like Gaston, Gibbons is returning for a second tenure.
“To go out on a limb and bring back an individual who was here a couple of years ago is a really big thing,” Gibbons told reporters.
News of his return comes a day after Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig green-lighted a blockbuster 12-player deal between the Blue Jays and the Miami Marlins. The deal -- which will see Toronto obtain shortstop Jose Reyes and outfielder Emilio Bonifacio, among others -- has rebranded the Jays as tough competition in the American League East.
What’s more, the Jays have also just inked a two-year deal with free agent outfielder Melky Cabrera. The agreement is worth US$16 million, the Jays announced Monday.
For his part, Gibbons said he’s ready to manage the new roster and believes he has all the characteristics that general manager Alex Anthopoulos wanted to complement the changes.
“The front office has put together a legitimate contending-type team. Now it’s the manager’s job, the coach’s job to pull together as a team and get the most out of these guys,” said Gibbons. “That’s our number one job: get the most out of these guys and get out of the way.”
During his first go-around with Toronto, Gibbons had a 305-305 record. He’s currently recognized as the third winningest manager in Blue Jays history.
Gibbons recently managed the San Antonio Missions, of the Texas League, after three seasons as bench coach for the Kansas City Royals.
Anthopoulos said he’s “thrilled” to have Gibbons back, saying club officials admired and often talked about his performance during his first stint as manager.
“I don’t know that there was anybody better in terms of managing the bullpen, connecting with the players, connecting with the front office, holding players accountable,” he said Tuesday.“I have more conviction in this hire…than I probably have in any transaction that we’ve made here. So, I’m thrilled to have him.”
Gibbons played professional baseball for 11 years, including some time as a catcher with the New York Mets.
In 2002, Gibbons joined the Jays coaching staff as a bullpen catcher. He was promoted midseason to first-base coach.