Unless the Blue Jays bring in someone who can teach their pitchers to work undetected with Will Smith or Michael Pineda’s sticky accessories ...
Unless they hire Joe McCarthy to manage, who had his own set of accessories named Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig and Earle Combs, plus pitchers Waite Hoyt, Herb Pennock and Urban Shocker ...
Unless either happens, it won’t matter who is the pitching coach, the manager or general manager with this year’s Blue Jays team.
The paper-thin Jays will have to ride this out.
Replacing John Gibbons won’t change a thing.
Look at the lineup he ran out against former Seattle Mariners Cy Young award winner Felix Hernandez:
Ezequiel Carrera, Jose Bautista, Edwin Encarnacion, Russell Martin, Chris Colabello, Kevin Pillar, Danny Valencia, Ryan Goins and Menenori Kawasaki.
That’s an aggregate of 230 games started in the majors this season,
Carrera, Colabello, Goins and Kawasaki have played in 88 games at triple-A Buffalo this season.
The mark of a young team -- as the Jays were when they broke camp with six rookies -- is inconsistency. Well, now three of the rookies are gone and second baseman Devon Travis is injured. They have to hope Jose Reyes comes over the hill from Toledo with his swing back (likely) and new-found range to his right (unlikely).
How the Jays have managed to lead the league in runs scored without Michael Saunders, their every day left fielder, their part-time DH Dioner Navarro, their every day shortstop and now Travis is an amazing feat. Nothing against the great city of Buffalo which I love, but it will be difficult to sustain with a western New York offence.
The trouble spot and the bottom line is the Jays have to pitch better.
Even after R.A. Dickey’s complete-game win Thursday, the Jays head into the opener of the weekend Seattle series:
Sit 29th in starters ERA (5.20), 29th in walks (99, one behind the Colorado Rockies) and are tied for 29th in home runs allowed (38).
And if they don’t pitch better eventually there will be a change because you can’t demote five starters.
We remember the trip to Minneapolis in 1989 when the Jays were swept 6-5, 10-8 and 13-1 on a weekend series to come home 12-24, six games behind the Cleveland Indians in the American League East. Coming off an 87-win season, president Paul Beeston and Pat Gillick visited manager Jimy Williams’ home in Mississauga pink slip in hand.
When you have so many changes -- nine managerial hirings since Cito Gaston was fired at the end of the 1997 season (or one every two years) -- there comes a point as former general manager Gord Ash used to suggest where it is not the manager’s fault, but the players who are culpable.
When the time comes, and the time is coming for GM Alex Anthopoulos and Gibbons, would it not be something different if the Blue Jays hired a big name with experience?
Down the road at 1 Maple Leaf Way or 40 Bay (the Air Canada Centre) they go after THE executive or THE coach everyone else wants to run the show.
And at 1 Blue Way?
Well, outside of Jim Fregosi, an emergency hire two weeks before opening day, to end the Tim Johnson era, what experienced manager have the Jays hired in their 39 years of existence?
Bobby Cox had managed three-plus seasons with the Atlanta Braves when the Jays hired him in 1982. Few had him pegged as a Hall of Fame manager that season.
After that it was Williams, Gaston -- who had great success after the interim title was removed from his job -- Johnson, Buck Martinez, Carlos Tosca, Gibbons and John Farrell as manager.
For all their first game managing the Jays was their first managing in the majors.
And then Gaston and then Gibbons each had a second try.
Upstairs after Pat Gillick left, he had not been a GM before and he’s in Cooperstown one panel over from Cox, it was Ash, then J.P. Ricciardi and Anthopoulos holding the title. For all three it was their first GM jobs.
While the Toronto Maple Leafs have not had the success the Jays had since 1977 you have to give them credit for bagging big game with success elsewhere or predicted big things. They’ve hired the likes of Ken Dryden, Pat Burns, Cliff Fletcher, Brian Burke, Pat Quinn, Randy Carlyle and Ron Wilson to be GM or coach.
And now Mike Babcock, even if Roger Communications had to chip in on his salary to help get its ball team off the front pages.
Keith Pelley won’t be running Rogers Media (the umbrella under which the Jays sat) come the fall as he’s off to hunt lost golf balls in Europe.
Beeston is leaving the building at the end of the season.
It would be no surprise if Gibbons and Anthopoulos joined him.
Babcock is already taken.