We knew the Blue Jays’ front office was a mess, but Ken Rosenthal explains that the clubhouse is no better:
The Blue Jays’ rehiring of manager Cito Gaston last season started out as a feel-good story, a link to the franchise’s back-to-back World Series titles in 1992 and ’93.
A mere 15 months later, the mood inside the Jays’ clubhouse has turned decidedly sour.
The players are fed up with Gaston and do not want him to return next season, according to multiple major-league sources.
“It’s nearly a mutiny right now,” one source says. “He has lost the entire team.”
According to Rosenthal, players are complaining about Gaston’s “old-school approach” and lack of communication, and that “certain Jays veterans bristle over reduced playing time.”
Those seem like an odd combination of complaints to me. Usually veterans are the beneficiaries of a manager with an old-school approach. As in they get a lot of undeserved playing time simply because they’re veterans. Scanning the Jays’ roster, however, doesn’t reveal anyone who should be getting PT but isn’t. At least no glaring examples, and certainly no veterans. Cito has a mediocre team and he’s deploying it in a more or less reasonable manner in my eyes.
But you still have to communicate to your players. And if the players hate him, even unreasonably so, it doesn’t matter how well he handles playing time. A manager who doesn’t have his team’s confidence is 100% assured to be an ex-manager, because you can’t just go out and get new players.
Silver lining: it seems inevitable that J.P. Ricciardi is going to be fired. If he is, it will be easier to hire a good replacement G.M. if he’s also going to be allowed to bring in his own field manager rather than be stuck with old Cito. If I’m running the Jays I fire them both and start fresh.
CC Sabathia‘s contract with the Yankees expires after the 2017 season but the lefty feels that he has enough left in the tank to pitch in 2018 and beyond, Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News reports.
Sabathia said, “I just know myself. I know I feel like it’s not my time yet. Barring any crazy injuries I know I can pitch past next year. I feel like this is just the beginning of what I’m trying to do. I feel like there’s a lot more still to learn and a lot better to get. It’s exciting.”
The 36-year-old lefty currently holds a 4.02 ERA and a 144/63 K/BB ratio in 172 1/3 innings. It’s his best and healthiest season since 2012. He battled a knee injury last season and checked into rehab for alcohol addiction last October. Sabathia said that being treated for his addiction put him “in a good spot.”
Sabathia is owed $25 million through a vesting option for the 2017 season.
The Red Sox can thank the Orioles for not having to fight to clinch the division on Thursday or later. The Orioles came from behind to defeat the Blue Jays 3-2 on Wednesday evening, clinching the AL East for the Red Sox.
A few minutes after that game went final, the Red Sox squandered a 3-0 lead taken in the eighth inning, culminating in a walk-off grand slam by Mark Teixeira in the bottom of the ninth inning. Closer Craig Kimbrel started the ninth, but didn’t have control over any of his pitches. He allowed a leadoff single followed by three consecutive walks to force in a run. Joe Kelly relieved Kimbrel and seemed to be close to wriggling out of the jam, getting Starlin Castro to strike out looking and Didi Gregorius to pop up. But after starting Teixeira with a first-pitch curve ball for a strike, Teixera clobbered a 99 MPH fastball, sending it over the fence in right-center to end the game.
For the Yankees, the come-from-behind victory was crucial as it staved off Wild Card elimination for one more day.
This is the first time the Red Sox have clinched the AL East since 2013, also the last year they won the World Series.