John Lott has an article up with John Gibbons talking about his 'worst move' of 2014:
Viciedo, just signed to a minor-league deal, was playing for the White Sox last June 28 when Gibbons summoned Dustin McGowan from the bullpen with two men on base. McGowan gave up a prodigious three-run shot that turned the tide in Chicago's 4-3 win.
"That was probably my worst move of the year," Gibbons said with a chuckle.
So that got me wondering about what was Gibby's worst move of 2014 really was. I don't agree with Gibby. That one didn't turn out great but it's tough to blame Gibby for it. There are plenty of other choices. Let's list a few:
- Playing Jose Reyes in Montreal.
Reyes was nursing a hamstring injury that caused him to miss the last couple of weeks of camp, but he wanted to play opening day. The Blue Jays played their last two preseason games in Montreal, on carpet that was even worse than what they had in Rogers Centre last year and Reyes played. Then, leading off the first game of the season, in Tampa Bay, he injured himself hustling after hitting a line drive that Desmond Jennings made a great catch on, got hurt, and was out until the Jays 19th game of the season. It really was stupid to have Reyes play in Montreal, but then maybe we would have had the injury anyway. Still.....
- Having Dustin McGowan start the season in the rotation.
Going into spring training, last year, Esmil Rogers, J.A. Happ and Todd Redmond were supposed to be battling for the last spot (or the last two spots) of the rotation. All three were terrible and Gibby, with about 10 days left of spring training, decided to give Dustin McGowan the spot. McGowan had try to get his arm stretched out to where he could go more than the one or two innings he might be asked to throw from the pen in less than 2 weeks. It didn't go well. McGowan made 8 starts, had a 5.08 ERA, throwing 39 total innings, before being moved to the pen. Batters hit .291/.371/.475 against him as a starter, .215/.284/.405 against him as a reliever. It was a bad idea. The rotation really came together when he was removed and Brandon Morrow hit the DL.
- Continuing to run Juan Francisco out there, day after day.
Francisco was called up when Adam Lind hit the DL on April 15 and, for a month and a half, he was pretty great. He was hitting .275/.365/.596 at the end of May. And then the other teams figured out that you shouldn't throw the guy a fastball. In June he hit .169/.217/.369. He did right the ship some in July, batting .258/.319/.532 for the month, but then August was a bust, .130/.196/.196 and by then even Gibby had enough and he only had 5 at bats in September. He was also pretty terrible defensively at third base.
- Letting Casey Janssen go to the Dominican during the All-Star break.
I suppose it's really not Gibby's fault that Casey got food poisoning. The closer role was a mess at various times. Casey started the season on the DL, and Sergio Santos closed. Sergio's converted his first 4 save opportunities, but then imploded (or exploded or whatever happens to a reliever when things go bad) and he blew 3 of his next 4 chances, in rather spectacular fashion. Casey came back and was great, until he got sick at the break. He never seemed to get back to 100%.
- Having too slow a hook with R.A. Dickey.
Early in the season, Dickey seemed to start games well, but then fall apart at about 85-90 pitches. Gibby seemed slow to figure this out. In particular, there was a stretch from June 14 to July 18, where he took losses in 6 of 7 starts, blowing up late in each start. I though Gibbons should have had a shorter leash on the guy. Later in the season, Gibby seemed to be able to read the signs of a tiring knuckleball pitcher better.
- Playing Ryan Goins too much.
Goins played in all of the first 24 games of the season. Being fair he Jose Reyes was hurt, but there should have been a better choice out there. At the end of the 24 games Goins was hitting .150/.203/.217.
I kind of feel bad about picking on Gibby, I think he did a pretty good job, all things considered, last year. No manager does everything right. But then, he did invite us to the subject by giving us his suggestion for his worst move of the year.
Hat tip to Minor Leaguer for the idea.