12:03pm: GM Ross Atkins announced in a joint press conference with Gibbons that the latter will not return to his position.
9:06am: The Blue Jays will announce today that they will not retain manager John Gibbons for the 2019 season, according to Steve Phillips of MLB Network Radio (via Twitter). As Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca explains in reporting the same, this news represents a formal acknowledgement of an outcome that was more or less already decided.
Gibbons, 56, has run the dugout for the past six seasons in his second stint with the organization. He originally took over the team in the middle of the 2004 season but was let go in the midst of a disappointing 2008 campaign. After a few years in the Royals and Padres organizations, Gibbons returned for the 2013 season after the Jays allowed John Farrell to move to the division-rival Red Sox.
Most recently, Gibbons signed an extension that included a guarantee for the 2019 campaign. Accordingly, he’ll be paid under that deal regardless of where he ends up. As Davidi writes, Gibbons says he’d prefer to continue managing. Whether that’ll come to pass in the near term isn’t clear, but it seems to suggest that he’ll continue to look for opportunities on major or minor-league staffs.
In his return effort with Toronto, Gibbons guided the club to memorable campaigns in 2015 and 2016, including an AL East title in the first of those years. While the Jays were unable to break through to the World Series, suffering consecutive ALCS defeats, the period represented a return to prominence for what had been a dormant organization.
Things have turned south since, of course, though it’s tough to lay the malaise at the feet of Gibbons. In the aggregate, he carries a 791-787 record as the Blue Jays manager. As Davidi notes, that places Gibbon second only to the legendary Cito Gaston in games managed and wins in franchise history.