The Toronto Blue Jays are set to officially part ways with manager John Gibbons, following months of speculation, according to TSN's Steve Phillips.
Gibbons hinted at his departure on MLB Network Radio back in August, saying he didn't want to stick around for a rebuild and that the Blue Jays would be better off with a fresh voice. That was the unofficial closure that he wasn't coming back, but Phillips all but confirmed it this morning.
The 56-year-old Gibbons has compiled a 791-787 record as Blue Jays manager over two different stints. The first one began in the midst of the 2004 season and lasted until mid-season in 2008, before he was fired.
A close friend of former Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopolous, Gibbons was brought back for the 2013 season. The easy-going, relaxed and humble skipper led the Blue Jays to the playoffs in 2015 and '16, leading Toronto to the ALCS both years.
But the Blue Jays are headed for a second consecutive losing and non-playoff season, and change was inevitable throughout the organization. President and CEO Mark Shapiro has been linked to possibly leaving the Jays and taking a job with the New York Mets, while veterans like Yangervis Solarte, Kevin Pillar and Russell Martin stand to possibly get traded in the offseason.
Bob Nightengale of USA Today added that Eric Wedge and Stubby Clapp are two possible candidates to take over for Gibbons. The former has managed the Cleveland Indians (2003-09), and Seattle Mariners (2011-13), and currently works as an advisor in player development for the Blue Jays.
Clapp, a native of Windsor, Ontario, is manager of the Memphis Redbirds minor league team. With MLB teams looking to hire younger managers with deep knowledge of analytics and advanced statistics, Clapp certainly sounds out in that regard as an option for the Blue Jays.
Gibbons' tenure as manager in Toronto can be best described as a rollercoaster. It had its up and downs over time, but the Blue Jays simply decided that change was necessary.