The Blue Jays’ 2016 season ended with disappointment tonight as the team lost 3-0 to the Indians, who will move on to the World Series after topping Toronto 4-1 in the American League Championship Series. While the offseason comes with plenty of uncertainty for Toronto — Edwin Encarnacion, Jose Bautista, Michael Saunders and Brett Cecil are all free agents — Jays president Mark Shapiro tells Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi that manager John Gibbons will return to manage the team in 2017.
The 54-year-old Gibbons will be entering the fifth season of his second stint as the Blue Jays’ skipper and will look to guide the team to its fourth consecutive winning season under his watch. Since coming back to the Blue Jays prior to the 2013 season, Gibbons has compiled a 339-309 record — a successful run that has boosted his career record as a manager to 644-614. Each of the 1258 games that Gibbons has managed at the big league level has come in a Blue Jays uniform.
“There’s a level of consistency with him in approach that is unflappable and I think that translates into toughness,” Shapiro tells Davidi. “He’s the same guy and in a role like this, when people tend to go with the wind and get so impacted by the emotion that flies all around us, that stability, that strength and that toughness from a leader is a real asset.”
There’d been some thought that Gibbons was in a “postseason-or-bust” situation with the Blue Jays, and while it’s unclear if that was truly the case, Toronto’s fairly deep playoff run rendered that a moot point. Gibbons will be entering his 10th season at the helm of the Blue Jays, though it’s unclear whether Jays decision-makers will pursue an offseason extension as Gibbons enters the final year of his contract. That, however, may not be considered a pressing issue for the team with so many roster issues facing them this offseason.