Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Pirates Interview John Gibbons

The Pirates have officially interviewed their third candidate for the open managerial job, bringing in former Toronto Blue Jays skipper John Gibbons.

Gibbons might be most well known for his multiple run-ins with his players, most notably the ones that led to the trade of Dave Bush, the trade of Shea Hillenbrand, and the outright release of Frank Thomas. He and Ted Lilly also got into a shoving match, but both say that everything is resolved.

When I first heard about the interview that's what came to mind, I assumed he was just the other extreme from John Russell's corpse like demeanor. The more I read though I kind of think that he was dealing with a group of immature, egotistical players, and he needed to clear them out.

Hillenbrand was clearly a cancer, writing "this is a sinking ship" and "play for yourself" on the teams white board. That sort of behavior is completely unacceptable and can't go without a response.

Ted Lilly refused to give his manager the ball on the mound after giving up 7 runs in an inning, I defy you to find me a good manager who is just going to let that slide in the dugout.

He had problems with Frank Thomas too. Does that really seem like a big deal? Frank Thomas was hitting .167 after 20 games and he was benched by Gibbons. What did Thomas do? Instead of working hard and proving he belonged he whined about it, and made it about the Blue Jays not wanting to pay his option. Gibbons made the right move benching Thomas, and after watching how this team handled Aki I think that's a bit refreshing.

From all accounts his players seemed to respect him, save the four above. Maybe the respect came from his handling of those situations. People don't like to work with Debbie Downer's and like it or not he rooted them out and they were gone.

He has had some success with the Blue Jays, and for the most part he did it with a lot of young players. He is not a huge small ball guy, but it's hard to tell coming from the AL where pitchers don't bat. He does use a lot of relievers, which probably is going to be a given considering our starters, and his teams don't run a whole lot.

He does like to use the intentional walk though, which is a terrible, terrible choice in most cases.

He isn't the type of manager to play for just one run. He is a fiery guy to players, and while he makes very bland basic decisions, and has a pretty meek demeanor on the field, I'm not so sure he would just be a yes-man for the Front Office.

So as of right now I'd be slightly in favor to neutral of this hiring.

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