If John Gibbons is worried about his job security, he isn’t showing it.
The Toronto Blue Jays manager was in his typical jovial mood prior to Monday’s game against the New York Yankees, despite returning home on the heels of 2-8 road trip that included dropping two of three to the MLB-worst Houston Astros, sparking a new round of speculation surrounding his future beyond this season.
But in typical Gibbons fashion, the 51-year-old was cool and philosophical when asked whether he worries about being the fall guy for his high-priced club’s disappointing season.
“No, come on, my life’s good,” he told reporters while leaning back in a chair at his desk, spitting chew into a cup. “I enjoy competing every day out there. You play to win that game. What’s there to fear?”
Entering play Monday, the Blue Jays stood at 58-73, in last place in the American League East. As was the case a year ago, the team has been beset by a number of injuries to the starting rotation and other high-profile players.
The 2012 Blue Jays — under then manager John Farrell – finished with 73 wins, meaning the 2013 Blue Jays must go at least 15-16 over their final 31 games to match last year’s win total, one achieved with far less talent on the roster.
It won’t be easy an easy task with a remaining schedule that includes six games against the Yankees and 15 more against playoff contenders Baltimore, Boston and Tampa Bay.
Injuries or not, Gibbons isn’t feeling sorry for his club, or himself, and he understands that fingers are going to be pointed in his direction by some looking for a reason as to why the team has underperformed.
“I don’t get into what’s fair and what’s unfair,” he explained. “It’s a tough business man, and you’re in the arena, so it’s open season. Have at it.”
In November, Gibbons was signed to a two-year deal with a unique option. If Gibbons is still employed by the club after Jan. 1 in any season, the option for the following season automatically kicks in, thus removing the possibility of him operating under “lame-duck” status.
Should he return for 2014, Gibbons expects the Blue Jays roster to have a different look.
“I think the team needs to make some changes, no question,” he said, refusing to elaborate on what areas they might be. “Very rarely do you stay status quo coming off a bad year. We think we need a few little additions.”
Gibbons was also asked whether he sees this year as a “fluke.”
“We haven’t played good enough to win anything,” he replied. “Whether it’s a fluke or not, I don’t know. It’ll be determined next year.”
— John Petherick (@baked76) August 27, 2013
— Nelson Da Ponte (@Nelsontotals) August 27, 2013
— Michael Lintlop (@MichaelLintlop) August 27, 2013