It’s been a wild few days in the world of the Toronto Blue Jays. The Jays traded for pretty much every good player on the Miami Marlins’ roster only days before shocking fans again by bringing former manager John Gibbons back to run the suddenly very-talented team. The expectation level is high for Gibbons as he gets his second kick at the can in Toronto.
John Gibbons joined Bryan Hayes on TSN Radio in Toronto to discuss his new job, his relationship with the general manager, his experience as an asset, and how his last run in Toronto affects this new opportunity.
On suddenly becoming the Blue Jays’ manager… again:
“Things just kind of developed quickly, and here I am. … So it really hasn’t sunk in yet but I’m very excited and I’m sure reality will hit me in a couple days.”
On his relationship with Jays’ general manager Alex Anthopoulos:
“He came calling me. Alex and I have maintained a good relationship over the years, ever since our first go-round here. We’ve talked about players that I might have seen. I came through town with the Kansas City Royals and I ran into him on the field a couple times during batting practice. So we’ve kept in touch to that extent. … He just called me last week. He was in a search for a guy he wanted and he interviewed a lot of guys this year and a couple years ago, so he knew what he wanted. And I guess sorting through it all, somehow my name stuck with him. He gave me a call just so we’d come up here and [talk] a little bit, and he liked what I had to say. It seemed to be a very good fit. He knows me. … I’ve got experience — that was a big [part of] what he was looking for. It all came into place but it’s happened really, really fast.”
On what makes him the right man for the job:
“Experience teaches you a lot of things, there’s no question about it — trial and error. So the four years that I was here earlier, I picked up some things that way. There’s no question it’s tough to do anything without talent, and we’ve got a lot of talent now, so I’m excited about it.”
On if he has any regrets from his last run in Toronto that he’d like to rectify this time around:
“Not really, as far as running the game, baseball and things like that, no. From the other end of it, I had a couple dust-ups with a couple players along the line. I regret the way things happened, and it showed me in a bad light. But yet, I’m a passionate guy; I believe in doing things right. Everybody on the same page, pulling the right direction and sometimes you make some tough stands. But you’ve gotta be careful the way it happens.”
On how he’d compare this team to the one he won 87 games with in 2006:
“Going back to ’06, there was still some question marks in certain spots. I don’t think we would have been as thick and solid as we are with this team. This team really has a little bit of everything — very good team speed, a few switch-hitters, which to me is a big advantage, they’ve got some tremendous power in the middle of the lineup with Bautista and Encarnacion. Lawrie, we’re really expecting to come into his own and become a tremendous player for us. And a team that’s got a chance to be a very good defensive team. So really there’s nothing missing.”