The Toronto Blue Jays are on the verge of missing the postseason for the ninth time under manager John Gibbons, who's in his 11th season on his job, so his inevitable firing shouldn't come as a surprise.
Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reported earlier this week that the Blue Jays "seem destined to move on" from the 56-year-old skipper after the 2018 season. Steve Simmons from the Toronto Sun noted that Gibby has been informed his time as manager is running up, and it sounds like the Texan is expecting it.
Appearing on MLB Network Radio, Gibbons admitted he didn't want to be part of a rebuild, and offered hints that he's preparing to exit as manager after this season.
It's great on Gibbons to be coming to terms with the likely scenario that he'll be done as Blue Jays manager after the season. That's because Toronto has no choice but to move on as they look to rebuild into a championship contender.
It's not Gibbons fault that team president Mark Shapiro and general manager Ross Atkins failed to add impact players in the offseason for a second consecutive year. It's not on Gibby that ace pitcher Aaron Sanchez, team MVP Josh Donaldson and shortstop Troy Tulowitzki have been injured all year. It's not his fault that virtually every roster player has performed below expectations, with the exception of first baseman Justin Smoak.
But the reality is that when the team continues to play below expectations, the coach/manager takes the fall. Look at the legendary Dusty Baker, whom the Washington Nationals fired after back-to-back NL East division titles. They were tired of underachieving in the postseason, so Baker was shown the door.
In the case of Gibbons, his Blue Jays are going to miss the playoffs for a second straight season. In some ways, it's a miracle that he's already in his 11th season as manager, given the fact Toronto has only made the postseason twice under Gibby.
But if (and when), the Blue Jays decide to part ways with Gibbons, the fans have no reason to criticize Shapiro and Atkins. Toronto is a team in rebuilding mode, with top prospect Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and young slugger Bo Bichette likely to make the team at some point in 2019.
Teams are now focused on adding younger managers who know more about analytics than the old-timers. The Boston Red Sox are in the midst of their greatest regular season in franchise history, thanks to the success of new manager, Alex Cora.
The Philadelphia Phillies may end a seven-year playoff drought, thanks to the excellent job from first-year manager Gabe Kapler. The New York Yankees haven't lost a step under first-year manager, Aaron Boone.
Toronto simply needs a manager who can lead younger players by being more hands-on. Gibbons is far too relaxed and easy going with his players, and it's not acceptable. How many more times does he want to put in struggling relievers Ryan Tepera and Joe Biagini to blow a game? How many more times will he tell his bench players to swing, rather than bunt in big-time situations? It's unacceptable for a manager to simply be anti-bunting in today's era of baseball.
Sure, Gibbons is always good for some funny press conferences with the media, but that doesn't mean he should have another year on the job. The young players need to be held to higher standards. Gibbons deserves credit for his relaxed style, but that hasn't set a good example in the locker room.
The Blue Jays have to shake up the entire identity of this team. Don't be surprised if starting players like Kendrys Morales, Kevin Pillar, Yangervis Solarte and Russell Martin are traded. The time is now for the Blue Jays to begin rebuilding by bringing up the younger players.
And with Gibbons admitting that he doesn't want to be part of a rebuild, there's no reason for Shapiro and Atkins to give him another year on the job. If anything else, give him another role in the organization. If the players want him to stay, Gibbons can be found in the booth. That's a win-win situation.
But Gibbons doesn't fit the mold this team would need if they decided to bring up the likes of Guerrero, Bichette, Sean Reid-Foley, Anthony Alford and Danny Jansen next year. He fits the mold of a team trying to win now.
As such, moving on from Gibbons is the easiest move the front office will have made this offseason. The writing is on the wall, and there should be no hesitation to move on from Gibbons after the 2018 season.