Gibbons comfortable amid club's transitions
Manager speaks at Winter Meetings, isn't concerned about job security
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- It has been an offseason of transition for the Blue Jays' front office. Despite the turnover, manager John Gibbons insists he's not concerned about his long-term job security.
Toronto recently hired former Cleveland executive Ross Atkins to become its new general manager. Whenever a new boss is put in charge there's a risk that he'll want to hire his own people and that led to some speculation that Gibbons might be in trouble, but that hasn't been the case.
Atkins and team president Mark Shapiro have expressed praise for the job Gibbons did during an American League East Championship season and emphatically stated that he would return for 2016. Gibbons, for his part, seemed confident and comfortable when speaking to the media on Day 1 of the annual Winter Meetings in Nashville.
"I don't think I have to do that at all," Gibbons said when asked if he'll be looking over his shoulder. "It really comes down to production. If whoever's in charge feels that the team's meeting expectations, you're in good shape. If they don't, then generally, sooner or later, something happens to these positions.
"I've never been a guy that worries about that. You guys know that. That's truthful. You just go out and do the best job you can, and I don't think it will be a problem."
Gibbons was hired by former GM Alex Anthopoulos and the two sides agreed to a rather unique contract structure. On Jan. 1 of every year, Gibbons gets another year added to his contract, which means within weeks he'll be back on a multi-year deal. The intention was to avoid any talk of "lame-duck status" and to never have Gibbons enter a season with only one year remaining on his contract.
The fact that Gibbons' biggest backer within the organization is no longer with the Blue Jays might be concerning to some, but apparently not to Gibbons. Instead, he has been spending the last several days getting to know his new bosses.
"Nice guys, very professional," Gibbons said. "I met Mark years ago when I was in Canton [Arizona]. I was with the Royals, and we were out at Spring Training. That's the first time I really had a chance to talk to him.
"I did not know Ross. He was a player back when he was managing in the Eastern League. I know the name ... We had our meeting this morning. They're two easy guys to talk to. Throw my opinions out there and things like that. It's never an easy transition when you bring new people in. It's not easy for us. It's not easy for them. But we can make that work."