Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Pirates won't hire Gibbons

By Jeff

The Post-Gazette reported this morning that John Gibbons was interviewed for the Pittsburgh Pirates manager job. He won't get it.

Gibbons led the Toronto Blue Jays to a 305-305 record over the course of three full seasons and two partial seasons. His teams never made the playoffs or recorded more than 87 wins in a tough American League East. His lack of postseason experience is not why the Pirates will pass him over. The last guy didn't have any either. No, the Pirates will pass on Gibbons because he doesn't fit the team's mold.
Must resist "Pull my finger" joke! Damn it!

During John Russell's reign, he had little control over his team. Players like Jeff Clement, who I and Mike Z. defended early on, were handed starting jobs without earning them. These were decisions handed down from upper management to Russell, who was a good soldier and did what he was told. Gibbons won't be a door mat. He does what he thinks is best for the team and will fight for those convictions. Sometimes he might even fight his players.

Look at his time in Toronto. He tried to throw down with Shea Hillenbrand, and did throw down with Ted Lilly. You wouldn't think Lilly would win that brawl, but Gibbons was the one who walked away bleeding. This is another reason Gibbons won't coach in Pittsburgh

Fighting for your lineups and your baseball strategies with management is a good thing. Fighting your players is a bad idea. Some Pirates fans might think that kind of passion is needed in town after Russell, but give me an example of a player against coach brawl that helped the team. Challenging a player to a fight in front of the team (Hillenbrand) and having an actual fight during a came (Lilly) doesn't motivate the rest of the team. It creates tension between the manager and players. Are they going to want to play for a guy who might take a swing at them if he doesn't like their attitude?

Aside from his tendency to take on his players, Gibbons doesn't develop talent at the Major League level well. The Blue Jays were a little better with him, but not much. From 1998 to 2003, they never had less than 78 losses. Gibbons couldn't take the young talent he had and get over the hump the way the Tampa Bay Rays eventually did, and Gibbons had a lot more payroll.

So why did Gibbons have some success with the Jays? He had Roy Halladay. If you have an OK team in this league, an ace pitcher can make you decent to good. Thats what happened with the Blue Jays. Halladay had 12 (Injury shortened season), 16 and 20 wins in Gibbons three full seasons as manager. Gibbons wouldn't have that kind of ace with the Pirates. He wouldn't even have an A.J. Burnett-quality starter in Pittsburgh.

In the slim chance the Buccos were considering Gibbons, they should scratch him off and keep looking.

Queen - Princes of the Universe

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