The Toronto Blue Jays search for a new manager has come to a conclusion.
And, like some of their trades and signings lately, this one comes a bit of a surprise.
For Jays fans, this hire must come as a huge surprise considering Gibbons' name was never seriously considered as a candidate. He managed the Blue Jays to a 305-305 record over five seasons and his trademark was his somewhat bipolar relationships with his players.
While Gibbons often held a spectacular reputation for working with players, he also had much-publicized run-ins with former Jays Ted Lilly and Shea Hillenbrand."That was kind of a black eye for me", Gibbons said Tuesday. "I wish it hadn't happened. But I'm an intense guy, I play to win".
Either way, there are likely to be many confused Jays fans Tuesday morning.
With a large amount of speculation surrounding whom the Jays would hire this week, many people believed one of Manny Acta, Jim Tracy or Jim Riggleman would be introduced sometime next week.
But Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos has once again surprised everyone in re-hiring Gibbons. Whether or not Jays fans agree with this move will soon be decided, but there's likely to be a large contingent of both supporters and detractors.
At the Tuesday morning press conference, Anthopoulos and Gibbons re-enforced the idea that this move is based heavily on their comfort level with each other. Ultimately, Anthopoulos' previous relationship with Gibbons and his intimate understanding of his coaching style trumped any risk that would have been absorbed in hiring another candidate.
Beyond that, Anthopoulos relayed his faith in Gibbons' abilities to effectively manage a bullpen and develop positive relationships with his players. "Everyone on his staff loved to work for him", Anthopoulos said. "If you can't play for Gibby, you can't play for too many guys".
Earlier, Anthopoulos stated that he has "more conviction" in hiring Gibbons than any other transaction he's made.
As for the rest of the coaching staff, Anthopoulos said he hopes to have everything in place "in the next few weeks".
Gibbons was hired as the Royals bench coach in 2008. His most recent job was with the San Diego Padres Double-A team.
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