TORONTO—Toronto Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos is giving his skipper a vote of confidence.
Speaking to reporters before Tuesday’s game against the New York Yankees, Anthopoulos said manager John Gibbons will return as manager in 2014.
Gibbons, who came back for a second stint as Toronto manager this season, has been an easy target as his team has been mired in last place in the American League East for most of the year.
When asked about the possibility of replacing Gibbons, Anthopoulos said, “There’s never been any thought on that respect at all.”
Gibbons reportedly signed a two-year deal with options last fall. Entering Tuesday’s games, the Blue Jays were 18 games behind the first-place Boston Red Sox.
Expectations were high for the Blue Jays after a busy off-season that included major trades and free-agent signings. However, Toronto struggled early in the year and never really got on track.
Injuries have been a factor and the starting rotation has struggled for most of the season. In addition, several key players have not performed up to expectations.
“The in-game managing and so on, I think he’s done a great job,” Anthopoulos said of Gibbons. “I think it’s so easy to pin results on one person. I think it’s convenient and I can say that for myself, I could say it for certain players, I could say it for the manager. I just don’t think blame falls on one person.
“I think when we’re playing the way we have, I just don’t think it falls on one person. I think it’s collectively so I think there’s blame to share. It’s probably the best way to put it.”
Gibbons went 305–305 when he previously managed the Blue Jays for parts of five seasons before being fired in June 2008. He was rehired last November.
On Tuesday night, the Blue Jays dropped a 7–1 decision to the Yankees to fall to 59–74.
“I don’t think he’s the guy to blame,” said Blue Jays closer Casey Janssen. “He’s not the one throwing the ball, catching the ball, or hitting the ball. He’s done a nice job for us.
“Sometimes the manager can be the sacrificial lamb but I think our coaching staff has done a nice job. It’s nice to get the support from the GM and see him around next year.”
The Blue Jays struggled mightily over a 2–8 road trip that wrapped up last Sunday. The team is currently home for a six-game home stand at Rogers Centre.
“I think we all can get better, myself included,” Anthopoulos said. “When we are where we are in the standings and the results are what they are, there is clearly a lot of room for improvement.
“Clearly we are going to need to have some type of change. I’m not prepared to say what those are, I think we need to play out the season.”
With files from The Canadian Press