As rince noted in the wee hours, J.P. announced yesterday that Cito can count on having a job next season. J.P. praised what Cito has done with the offense, saying that the team still had a ways to go but that Cito was moving the team in the right direction offensively.
For his part, Cito said that the Jays were "real close" and that they "just need to get some guys back who are on the d.l."
I'm happy with Gaston returning - he seems to have the respect of the players and he won me over with his immediate commitment to playing Adam Lind everyday. This was the one thing the Jays couldn't afford not to do as the season winds down. There's no doubt he's right that injuries have hurt - much worse than in last season, when J.P. basically blamed the whole season on injuries. And how much does the manager really make a difference anyway? I can't prove, but I have the unshakable sense, that some of the Jays better play under Cito was just regression to the mean after the team ridiculously underperformed under Gibbons.
But there are two things about this story that stick out - first, who has said that JP will be back next season? Last I heard, he was staking quite a lot on the team he assembled for this season and its ability to compete, and they weren't competing. The Jays are playing well at the moment, true, but perhaps they lucked onto stumbling Oakland at the right time. And what will it mean for the manager spot if J.P. isn't brought back?
Second, are the Jays really close? Perhaps, but I'm sure not feeling it. The offense seems worlds away from an actual functioning major-league offense, with the likes of Wilkerson, Mench (still yet to homer for the Jays), Stairs, Eckstein, and Inglett getting too many of the corner OF/DH at-bats (granted, some of that will change when Wells returns) and tons of question-marks around the infield and outfield looking forward to next season. Overbay has been barely adequate, Rolen about the same, Rios still not showing power, and who knows what will happen with Hill. It's not as if there's a ton of help coming from the minors in the short term (though Travis Snider was promoted to AAA and certainly has a shot at contributing next season). The Pitching, too, is a bit of a mystery - with Burnett unsure to return, Litsch scuffling a bit, and Janssen and McGowan rehabbing from shoulder surgery, there could be as many as 3 open rotation spots with not many internal candidates. My sense is that there's a ton of work to do for next season and the Jays should think long and hard about how they want to go forward.
Not fun thoughts considering the Jays just swept a four-gamer, but prompted by the announcement that Cito will return. By the way, today's title comes to us from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, who are, let's face it, pretty freaking cool. See everyone later!