No matter how you try to spin it, the 2018 Toronto Blue Jays season was a dismal one.
Devoid of few, if any, highlights after a surprisingly hot April start out of the gate, this past season will likely be remembered for the young players that came up from triple-A in September and gave the team a much-needed injection of excitement that had been all but forgotten during the apathetic months of July and August.
Former Blue Jays manager John Gibbons certainly felt the jolt of energy that guys like Rowdy Tellez brought to the club.
“Really, there was a handful of them,” Gibbons told Bob McCown and Stephen Brunt on Sportsnet 590 the FAN’s Prime Time Sports Tuesday when asked about which young players he liked the most. “I think the guy that I can’t say necessarily surprised me, I’m talking about Rowdy Tellez, because I saw him a couple springs ago and there was just something I liked about him.
“I know he was dealing with a lot of personal things and I picked up that had an effect on that. And then, shoot, through the month of September he couldn’t have done any better in all phases of the game. So, it’s gonna get tougher than that one month, but he’s shown enough sign of being a pretty damn good player.”
Prime Time Sports
John Gibbons : It was time to move on
October 02 2018
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“Borucki’s another guy that for the first time in the big leagues I think he showed me that he was a pitcher,” Gibbons said. “I think that’s very important. Guys that are throwers, they take their lumps in that league until they figure it out. So that’s why I think Borucki’s ahead of the game there.
“Panone showed me, for not knowing him at all, he showed some good things. And even both the catchers.”
Expanding on Jansen and McGuire, Gibbons — a former catcher himself — said he was particularly impressed with the advanced stage both young backstops appear to be at this early in their careers.
“I think that’s the toughest position for young guys. There’s so much to it. It isn’t just the offence and defence. It’s game-calling and working the pitching staff and gaining the confidence of the pitching staff, and I think they both did that. I thought they both had a nice presence behind the plate for a couple young kids in their first go-around.”
Gibbons and the Blue Jays mutually agreed to go their separate ways after the long-time Toronto manager’s sixth season in his second time at the helm of the club. Though he still believes he would be a good fit as manager for a rebuilding situation like the Blue Jays are in, he agrees that it was time for him to step away, knowing the team’s in a good place moving forward.
“A lot of good things happened there in the end. September, you don’t always get carried away with that, but I saw enough good things that the future looks bright.”