TSN.ca cited sources Monday that said Gibbons is inked for the 2016 and 2017 campaigns. The rollover clause was eliminated, and “Gibbons has received a bump in pay to compensate for it.”
TSN.ca explained the previous rollover clause: “Under the terms of Gibbons’ original deal, there was a clause that would preclude him from reaching ‘lame-duck’ status. In that previous contract, a proviso existed whereby every Jan. 1, the contract became guaranteed for the following year with another option tacked on to it.”
Blue Jays general manager Ross Atkins appeared on MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM and discussed Gibbons’ contract with Steve Phillips and Todd Hollandsworth:
The 2016 season will be Gibbons’ fourth in his current stint with Toronto. He was also the team’s manager from 2004 to 2008 and sports a 555-541 overall record with the Blue Jays.
The 2015 season marked Toronto’s first playoff appearance since 1993, when it won the second of back-to-back World Series titles. While Toronto lost to the eventual World Series champion Kansas City Royals in last year's American League Championship Series, it finished the regular season with a 93-68 record and the most runs scored in baseball.
In fact, Toronto’s 891 total runs scored were 127 more than the New York Yankees, which finished in second place with 764 runs. Thanks to sluggers such as Jose Bautista, Josh Donaldson and Edwin Encarnacion, Gibbons trotted out arguably the most feared lineup in the league in 2015 and likely will again in 2016.
As a result, he finished fourth in the American League Manager of the Year voting last year behind Jeff Banister of the Texas Rangers, A.J. Hinch of the Houston Astros and Paul Molitor of the Minnesota Twins, per Baseball-Reference.com.
Part of what likely makes Gibbons appealing to the front office is the fact the Blue Jays have shown steady improvement throughout his second stint with the team:
|Toronto Blue Jays' Recent Improvement|
|Season||Record||Place in AL East|
Blue Jays president and CEO Mark Shapiro had nothing but encouraging words to say about his team’s manager, per Steve Buffery of the National Post: "Gibby’s been unbelievable. I appreciate (watching) him across the field, but his consistency, his patience, his positive attitude, his openness to ideas and thoughts, there’s a steadiness to him and a professionalism to him that, day to day, has just been extremely impressive."
Perhaps most importantly for Gibbons’ long-term future, Buffery noted Shapiro rebuffed the idea he hired Eric Wedge as the player development adviser to be something of a “Manager in Waiting” for the Blue Jays. Wedge was the American League Manager of the Year in 2007 with the Cleveland Indians.
With Gibbons leading the way, the Blue Jays figure to challenge for another playoff spot in 2016. They lost David Price to the Boston Red Sox this offseason when their division rivals signed him, but there is still a core in place to remain competitive this season and beyond.
Outside of Bautista, Encarnacion and defending American League MVP Donaldson anchoring the lineup, shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, center fielder Kevin Pillar and catcher Russell Martin make the middle of the field a strength for Toronto. What’s more, ace Marcus Stroman is only 24 years old and has the talent to become one of the best pitchers in the American League, and Toronto added Drew Storen to solidify the bullpen.
If the Blue Jays fulfill their potential and compete for a World Series yet again, Gibbons will have even more job security moving forward.