The 2013 season has been disappointing for the Toronto Blue Jays. With the acquisitions of R.A. Dickey and Jose Reyes, among others, many thought the Blue Jays would contend for a division title.
However, Toronto has failed to meet expectations this year. Instead, they've had one setback after another.
Still, it's been announced that manager John Gibbons will return for 2014.
With all the talent on the team and the expectations, one has to wonder if the Blue Jays can win with Gibbons at the helm.
Injuries Partly to Blame
When you look at this season, you have to chalk some of the struggles up to injury.
Currently, the Blue Jays have a disabled list full of veteran contributors. Since Aug. 1, eight players have been placed on the DL, including Steve Delabar, Josh Johnson, Dustin McGowan, Brandon Morrow, Ramon Ortiz, Juan Perez, Luis Perez, Maicer Izturis, Jose Bautista, Melky Cabrera and Colby Rasmus.
That's the entire starting outfield and two-fifths of the starting rotation. And that's just right now.
Everyone remembers the time Jose Reyes spent on the DL with an ankle injury in April. He was lost through the end of June.
Then you have Brett Lawrie, who missed almost two months with a left ankle sprain. Add in that 13 different pitchers have started a game this year, and you have mass chaos on the field.
While I won't only blame things on injuries, but they have played a large role in why the Jays have struggled.
Gibbons is a Good Manager
When Toronto hired Gibbons, I thought it was a good move. I think it was a mistake for the team to fire him in 2008 after the team showed noticeable improvement.
Gibbons has an even better team to manage this time around; they just have to stay healthy. After all, we've seen what injuries have done to the New York Yankees.
Imagine if the Los Angeles Dodgers were without Clayton Kershaw and Yasiel Puig or the Detroit Tigers were without Miguel Cabrera, Prince Fielder and Anibal Sanchez. Would they be doing as well as they are?
Bottom line is, when a manager has his full complement of players, we get to see what his team can truly do.
Since Reyes returned from the DL, the Blue Jays have very rarely put out their best lineup. Injuries have played a major role and Gibbons shouldn't be held accountable for that.
As the Blue Jays look towards next year, Gibbons shouldn't be on the hot seat, even with a fully healthy lineup. The front office needs to give him a few years to instill a winning attitude in the clubhouse.
If they can go out and sign a couple of free agents that can contribute (especially on the mound), I see no reason why Toronto can't compete in 2014 or 2015.
Gibbons is a good manager and needs management to be patient with him as he works to improve the club on and off the field.