Posted on April 1, 2017, by Bryan Zarpentine
In a move that’s been in the works for much of the offseason, the Toronto Blue Jays have formally announced a contract extension for manager John Gibbons. It is a great reward for the manager who not only helped the Blue Jays break a 22-year playoff drought but who has led the team to the ALCS each of the past two seasons. Gibbons, who was set to enter the final year of his contract in 2017, has received a two-year extension that will keep him in Toronto through the 2019 season. The Blue Jays also hold an option for the 2020 season.
“As far as success on the field, (the) ultimate goal is win a championship, and hopefully more than that,” Gibbons said during a press conference Saturday morning. “We’ve come close to getting to the World Series the last couple of years, and (winning the World Series is) what you want to do.”
Gibbons and the Blue Jays were both open to discussing an extension at the start of the offseason, but the manager allowed Toronto’s front office to focus more on personnel decisions over the winter. Thus, a deal did not get done until right before the start of the season. However, Gibbons was never worried about his status with the club, even with one just one year left on his contract.
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“I always hear about the lame duck status,” Gibbons said. “I don’t know if it really changes anything in the room. But as an individual, if you have that in the back of your mind, I don’t know if you’d do things differently. Security can be a good thing, but it can be a bad thing. Some take that for granted and back off. I certainly don’t plan in doing that My family is happy, put it that way.”
Gibbons is currently enjoying his second stint as Toronto’s manager far more than his first. Gibbons managed the Blue Jays from 2004 to 2008 but failed to take the team to the postseason during that span. The team brought him back in 2013 and he was able to lead the Blue Jays to an AL East title and an ALCS appearance in 2015. Last season, the Blue Jays secured a wild card spot before returning to the ALCS for the second straight year.
Between his two stints with the club, Gibbons has amassed 644 wins, good for second most in franchise history. The extension gives him a fighting chance of catching Toronto legend Cito Gaston, who has 894 career wins as Blue Jays manager. Gaston, of course, won four division titles and two World Series championships with the Blue Jays.
“Amount of wins is sometimes a thing of longevity, but to be here long enough, you gotta win some games, obviously,” said Gibbons about how he compares to Gaston. “I haven’t really thought about that, maybe someday I will. Cito is a front-runner and a buddy of mine. And he’s got two World Series rings, it’s tough to top.”
Obviously, Gibbons has some work to do to reach the same level of success that Gaston achieved in Toronto, but in terms of the present and the foreseeable future, he’s proven that he’s the right person to be leading the Blue Jays. Reaching the ALCS in back-to-back years speaks for itself, and while it remains to be seen whether Gibbons can get the Blue Jays over the hump and into the World Series, he undoubtedly deserves the opportunity to try.