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Blue Jays to announce today John Gibbons won’t return in 2019

The announcement will confirm months of speculation and rumours.

Cleveland Indians v Toronto Blue Jays Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

The Toronto Blue Jays are expected to announce that manager John Gibbons won’t return as manager in 2019 later today, per Steve Phillips of MLB Network.

The longtime manager of Toronto — he currently ranks second in Blue Jays games managed, behind only Cito Gaston — has been on the hot seat for the entirety of 2018, managing the Blue Jays to a record of 71-87 with four games left.

Gibbons is expected to manage the remaining four games.

The Blue Jays play the Houston Astros tonight for their final home game of the season. Next, they head to Tropicana Field to play a three-game series against the Tampa Bay Rays.

Jon Heyman of FanCred Sports reported September 6 that the Blue Jays and Gibbons were “ready to part ways” at the conclusion of the season, but there was no word on official decisions from the Blue Jays front office. Today’s report indicates that an announcement is only hours away.

Heyman also reported that the Blue Jays were looking to hire a young manager to help the Blue Jays be ready to compete in 2020 or 2021. Speculation suggests that John Schneider, who managed the double-A New Hampshire Fisher Cats to an Eastern League championship this season (with help from Vladimir Guerrero Jr., and Bo Bichette), is a front-runner for the role.

It’s unclear whether the Blue Jays will announce a replacement for the manager when they announce Gibbons’ departure, or if the team will hold off until after the season to announce his replacement — or even start the search.

“I would like to keep managing,” Gibbons told Sportsnet. “[But] those jobs are hard to come by.”

“I’ve been here in Toronto a while, so I have a special connection to the Blue Jays . . . I was always a Met as a player and then for a number of years as a coach, so I’ll always be a Met. But now I’ll always be a Blue Jay, too. I’m proud of this organization. They gave me an opportunity.”

Gibbons’ 791 wins with the Blue Jays — the only major league team he’s managed — is second in franchise history, once again behind only Gaston. In the whirlwind seasons of 2015 and 2016, when the Blue Jays reached the American League Championship Series, Gibbons proved to be a quiet yet effective manager who was firm when needed.

Gibbons is 56 years old.