All Cito Gaston

Phoenix Coyotes, NHLPA, Toronto Blue Jays and now, Cito Gaston… Here my friends is around the globe on les Coup Cito:

“A Fox Sports report by Ken Rosenthal this morning claims that virtually the entire Jays’ clubhouse is in agreement that manager Cito Gaston needs to go. He has lost everyone, says the source. Since Rosenthal is not around the Jays’ clubhouse and has very rarely quoted any Jays’ players directly in recent years, this “clubhouse insider” information has to come from someone in the Jays’ front office.

Here’s a clue. Needing confirmation for the column, Rosenthal claims he was unable to reach GM J.P. Ricciardi for comment. If it’s true that he was unable to contact the GM that would be a first. This has the feel of a Ricciardi scud missile on his way out the door.”

We start things off with a bang as the Star’s Richard Griffin slams J.P. Ricciardi as the likely rat behind this story.

“Let’s see, if an entire team wants a manager out of the way, the usual strategy is that a team quits playing for him and virtually mails in the results. Unfortunately for the conspirators, the Jays have won six in a row and nine of 10 and have returned to the offensive juggernaut numbers of April and May – and even beyond that production. Way to deliver a message to management boys.

No, some significant discontent is definitely there towards Gaston, but it is far from as rampant as Rosenthal insists it is. When the New York Yankees visited Toronto September 3-6, they already knew about the clubhouse anger. The links are former Jays Josh Towers, A.J. Burnett and Eric Hinske, who heard about it from friends with the Jays. The knowledge of the discontent has certainly permeated the Jays’ clubhouse. They have all heard it, but for young players trying to establish themselves and fit in, stating that position and adopting it as their own would be professional suicide.”

It’s not necessarily whether the things are as bad as they may appear, its that they are TOTALLY public…

“The leadership of the revolt likely comes from the bullpen and likely started with the treatment of B.J. Ryan as he struggled to regain his form at spring training and was subsequently released.

At spring training Gaston threw Ryan under the bus during a trip to Orlando to play the Braves. He discussed the diminishing returns issue and scratched his head over Ryan’s loss of velocity, even though he was healthy. The baton of explanation was immediately passed to a distressed pitching coach Brad Arnsberg, who while trying to defend his friend B.J., inadvertently backed the bus up over Ryan and moved forward, crushing him again. That was the beginning of the end.”

I can’t believe that the answer here is letting the inmates run the asylum and with the 2009 Blue Jays the analogy couldn’t be any more appropriate.

“Gaston is not patient with pitchers. Scott Downs, a good friend of Ryan’s and another of Arnsberg’s disciples, has been the latest whipping boy for Gaston. He took over from Ryan as closer, then got hurt and was replaced by Jason Frasor, came back and got hurt again. The last time he was hurt it was in leaving the mound to cover first, and he strained a hamstring. The manager and trainer George Poulis went to the mound to check on Downs. When Cito found out his pitcher was hurt again, Gaston strode back to the dugout, leaving the trainer and injured reliever to hobble off the field. It seemed strange at the time, but seems to be part of the mutual discontent that has clearly developed.

It comes down to this. There are many villains and few heroes in this Jays’ piece. In hindsight, that’s exactly the way their disappointing season has gone. Many changes will be made.”

Classic stuff, what a way to end a season.

Over at the Canadian Press:

“There are issues, obviously,” clubhouse leader Vernon Wells said before Friday’s game against the Baltimore Orioles. “We have to figure out how to do this in a family manner. We’re not out to bash anyone in this situation. It’s a touchy situation. It’s something that obviously most of us, if not all of us in this clubhouse, have not gone through something like this.”

It’s public already- it’s way beyond the “family” when us outsiders are reading about it!

“Wells indicated he and ace Roy Halladay are at the forefront of a group of players that also includes second baseman Aaron Hill and catcher Rod Barajas which intends to raise the clubhouse issues in a meeting with Beeston, and perhaps Gaston in a team-wide chat, this weekend.

While they were all uncomfortable airing their dirty laundry in public – Halladay offered nothing more than the terse “Any concerns I have will be expressed to the right people” – they confirmed what multiple sources at all levels of the clubs, including two players, told The Canadian Press earlier about the “friction” between players and Gaston.”

This whole things reeks of an intentional leak. Someone wanted to do true harm to this team. Why this is the least bit public is beyond comprehension.

” “I think there are some things that need to be addressed,” said Hill. “I think everybody pretty much feels the same for the most part. Everything that’s gone on with the team, we’ve stayed together. It’s one of those things where as a whole I think they’ll stay together.”

Gaston – the 65-year-old whose contract runs through the 2010 season, just like Ricciardi’s – questioned just how pervasive the insurrection was, and said bluntly, “I’ve treated everybody with respect, so I’m not sure what their bitch is.”

“I don’t think you can and just rely on the players that told you that,” he added later. “I think you need to talk to all of them to find out. If it comes out to 50 per cent, maybe we got a problem. And I’d like to know what the problem is because I can’t be any fairer than what I’ve been.”

If Hill or any of the younger guys have the same feeling, it’s a MAJOR problem….

” “You can’t sit there and let problems linger,” said Barajas. “A small problem starts growing into a bigger problem and all of a sudden if you let this go for another four months, who knows what could happen? … You don’t want to go into a brand new season with a whole set of issues. It’s going to make for an unhappy season.”

Added first baseman Lyle Overbay: “It’s something that we go through and we’ve got to figure it out because we’re not going to be a very good team if this is going to go on. We’ve got to get it straightened out, either way.”

Compounding matters is that there’s also a split in the coaching staff between bench coach Brian Butterfield, pitching coach Brad Arnsberg and bullpen coach Bruce Walton, who were left over from the fired John Gibbons’ staff, and Gaston’s crew of hitting coach Gene Tenace, third base coach Nick Leyva and first base coach Dwayne Murphy.”

When, if ever have you read so many public comments about a teams “dirty laundry”? I mean for us fans it’s fascinating- but this shit doesn’t get aired in public.

“Added Scott Downs: “I don’t think anything really snuck up. I just think nobody paid attention to it. It was just one of those things where it was kind of `We have a job to do. Let’s go do our job and play the game, play hard and let everything else take care of itself.”‘ Whether or not that can happen under Gaston is now in question. “Whatever goes on, obviously yeah, I’m going to be in the middle of it,” said Wells. “Doc and I have been here for the longest time and we’ve gone through our share of managers and coaches a”

“I have not yet (spoken to Gaston). I think that obviously that the time is going to come. For some of these discussions I was going to wait until this weekend and kind of clear the air and get some things out there, probably from both sides. I’m sure he has things to say. I’m sure guys have things to say. It remains to be seen how that conversation’s going to go.”

Now this is odd. Consider if you will, why would a player leak this to the media? I mean look at what these guys are saying. Down’s basically says this has been going on for awhile. Well’s says he hasn’t talked to Cito about it. WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON WITH THIS TEAM? Where is JP, Where is Beeston? This makes the NHLPA look like a well managed business!

Tim Wharnsby’s take:

““You hate for anything like this to come out, but we’ll have to deal with it,” said Aaron Hill, the all-star second baseman. “I think there are some things that need to be addressed, yes.

“I think everybody pretty much feels the same, for the most part.”

That’s a major fucking problem. For a guy as important as Hill to be saying that everyone feels the same way!!! Wholly shit- I mean how bad is this clubhouse?

““In the past I always knew what players thought of managers and all that stuff – their strengths, weaknesses and their ability to laugh at them and their ability to be upset with them,” he said. “But I haven’t heard any of that this year. And no one’s talked to [general manager] J.P. [Ricciardi] about it either.”

That from Beeston who has been away for a few days. If this is true then it just goes to show you just how out of touch Beeston and JP are. If the young phenoms are saying it’s true and everyone’s pissed then the guys running the team clearly aren’t paying attention.

““More than anything, I want to try to figure out what to expect for next year,” Overbay said. “It kind of caught me off-guard a little bit when I wasn’t playing. … [Gaston] never really said a lot. As we were winning, he was kind of sitting on the back burner, watching us play good.”

Gaston and his coaching staff are under contract until the end of 2010. Hill remarked that any relationship can be mended, but there needs to be “some give and take” from both sides. Wells wasn’t so sure.

“I don’t know who’s going to be here next year,” Wells said. “I don’t know what moves are going to be made. It all boils down to us playing better on the field. It’s the 25 guys that are willing and committed to trying to get better and kind of leaving the extracurricular activities to the side and try to concentrate on winning ball games.”

Fantastic attitudes- and this in a season when “they were supposed to be shitty!” Can you imagine if the were supposed to contend?

““As far as coaches, I have a couple of coaches who are loners,” Gaston said. “They go their own way. They are always invited to come out and have dinner. If they want to come, they can come. If they don’t want to come, that’s fine.

“I don’t think [anybody] wants to hang out with their boss, do they?”

Now that’s not only telling, it’s just not very smart. How the hell do you look your employees in the face after making such an asinine comment like that? If you are “hanging out” with some of your employees and not others- there is clearly a problem- calling them loaners….just not very smart.

Jeff Blair has a few gems too:

“In truth, the players wanted a meeting during the last homestand but Beeston was overseas for his 40th wedding anniversary until mid-week. Beeston rubbished the reports of mutiny Friday, saying he would have known if Gaston lost the clubhouse, because the players knew his door was open.

But, really, Beeston himself is here on an interim basis, as he keeps telling everyone. Couple that with a general manager, J.P. Ricciardi, who most in the game view as dead man walking, and a manager who is tight with the interim president in an environment where nobody trusts ownership? Good luck keeping lines of communication open with that.”

It’s a total disaster, that’s what it is. The reality is, they should all be gone, Beeston, JP and CITO- totally clean the house and start again!

“What to make of this mutiny? What does it mean for the future? The first thing to keep in mind – and not to be indelicate about this – is that the 2009 Blue Jays aren’t a very good team, so who the hell cares what some of these guys think? I know this: If Kevin Millar’s upset with Gaston, he’s dimmer than I think he is because no other manager would have given a player as pathetic as him as many at-bats.

As for Vernon Wells? My guess is there are worse things that could happen to the Blue Jays than have him so embittered that he decides to exercise his escape clause. In fact, the payroll relief that would provide might alone be worth another year of Gaston managing.”

Cito’s stubborn support for a horsehit player? NO really… There is no way Vernon will walk away from this deal- no one- not even Dominic Moore is THAT dumb.

“Gaston’s bullpen mismanagement is as poor as Buck Martinez’s was when he was here, so if the relief corps is a bubbling cauldron of discontent it’s understandable. Since it might be the most cost-effective part of the team and should be back almost in its entirety in 2010, that’s not good. You can debate Gaston’s so-called passive in-game managing all you want, I judge a manager first and foremost on how he handles a bullpen.

At the end of the day the only ones who matter in all this are Aaron Hill, Adam Lind, Travis Snider and pitchers such as Ricky Romero and Marc Rzepczynski. It is their souls and well-being that ought to be first priority, and the young pitchers have done okay by Gaston, as has Lind. Hill becomes the most important person in the clubhouse the second Roy Halladay is traded, because he has the edge and the interpersonal skills to be this franchise’s go-to guy for years to come. He is close to Wells, too close, some of his veteran teammates will tell you, to the point of being deferential.

And when Hill told reporters Friday that there were issues that needed to be addressed, it spoke volumes.”

Damn straight. I could care less about 9/10’s of the guys in the clubhouse- Tell me what these guys are feeling…besides “get me the hell out of here”

Over in the National Post:

“Asked if he would be willing to change, Gaston replied: “Absolutely. I’d really like to know what I need to change. That would be interesting, I’d like to hear it myself.”

Gaston said he liked everyone on the team and has treated players and coaches fairly. He suggested the complaints may originate with a small number of players.

“I think you need to talk to all of them to find out,” he said. “If it comes out to 50%, maybe we’ve got a problem. And I’d like to know what the problem is because I can’t be any fairer than what I’ve been.”

You can hear the sarcasm in those answers.. The guy probably can’t wait for the season to end. Can you blame him?

So, the meeting is tomorrow. Truthfully I fully expect to hear all the right (wrong) things come out of it. The reality is all the these guys, those at the top should be gone. I have lost total faith in any of them to deliver a winning product.

Griffin is here
CP is here
Wharnsby is here
Jeff Blair is here
The National Post is here


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