Soon after the New York Yankees lost game seven of the American League Championship Series, they fired the man who got them there, Joe Girardi. The move was surprising considering the Yankees unexpected success, but also made sense for the same reason.
New York’s 2017 jump confirmed that they were ready to contend for years to come, and frankly Girardi wasn’t the man they wanted leading the club to the promised land. Therefore management made a change; they brought in a younger, more analytical manager to lead the young club; former ESPN analyst Aaron Boone.
I bring up the Yankees situation because the fact of the matter is, it may be the Blue Jays situation as early as next season.
The future is exciting, and in recent years the future has come quicker than expected for multiple organizations. Teams like the 2015 Chicago Cubs, the 2015 Minnesota Twins, the 2018 Atlanta Braves and as mentioned the ’17 Yankees have seen their young prospects adapt quickly to bright lights of the bigs. Because of that, these clubs defined the odds in making surprising pushes for October baseball.
It truly is a different time now, kids as young as 15-years-old are comfortable in the spotlight. With the intensity and popularity of high school baseball in the U.S and the international youth baseball coverage across the world, kids are prepared mentally and physically for the next level. A guy like Juan Soto excelling at 19-years-old in the majors is not as improbable as it would be 20 years ago.
With the Blue Jays obtaining young kids matured beyond their age like Vladimir Guerrero Jr, Bo Bichette, and a slightly older Anthony Alford, as previously mentioned the future really could be the present soon.
And like Brian Cashman and the Yankees ownership did, Mark Shapiro, Ross Atkins and Rogers Communications will need to ask themselves who they want to lead the club back to the playoffs.
John Gibbons’ managerial style has worked well with recent Blue Jays clubs. The ’15 and ’16 postseason teams had some of the oldest rosters in all of baseball, and a veteran manager with a relaxed approach mixed well with these squads. Gibbons’ 1500 games managed should not be overlooked; he has done a quality job. But with a new haul of players knocking on the big league door, a younger boss may be the right boss. And if you ask me, his job could be handed over to one of his former players; Mark Derosa.
Mark Derosa’s infectious personality has been on center stage since joining MLBNetwork once his playing career came to an end. His knowledge, communication skills, analytical understanding and love of the game have been on full display. And most importantly his interest in managing is evident.
After the New York Mets fired Terry Collins, Derosa was one of the leading candidates for the gig. Unfortunately for him, the job went to Indians pitching coach Mickey Callaway. But truth be told, the Mets job should’ve gone to Callaway, at the time it just made too much sense.
But once the Blue Jays managerial job opens up, it should go to Derosa because it just makes too much sense.
It always helps to have a connection, and “Dero” has that with Shapiro’s Indians. In 2008, Cleveland traded Chris Archer, John Gaub and Jeff Stevens to the Chicago Cubs for Derosa. Obviously, trading Archer didn’t work out any way you spin it but come June of that same season; the Indians were able to grab Chris Perez for him.
Of course, Derosa also has a connection to the Blue Jays organization. In 2013, the club signed him for his leadership qualities. They hoped he could help mentor a young third baseman in Brett Lawrie. While in Toronto, Derosa also served as Munenori Kawasaki‘s sidekick. Toronto fans got a good look at one of the bigger personalities in the game not named “Muni.”
And if it means anything, he and Josh Donaldson seem to have a pretty good relationship. Derosa has often spoken highly of Donaldson on the morning show MLB Central. And last spring they spent a couple days together filming a hitting segment.
Like any big free agent, there’s always that one question, would he move to Toronto? Derosa is New Jersey-born and currently works in the same city, as well as also living in Georgia. So, of course, it wouldn’t be easy to move he and his young family to Canada, but you’d like to think his 2013 stay would help convince him.
Also, my speculation doesn’t ensure Shapiro and Atkins would be comfortable handing a managerial role to an inexperienced television analyst; it is a huge risk. A risk that could put one’s job on the hot seat.
Although there are a lot of question marks, if this situation were to play out, there are also a lot of guarantees; Hard work, Positivity and Class. That is Mark Derosa.
When Gibbons’ time comes to an end and the Blue Jays look for a new face, don’t be surprised one bit if the Blue Jays follow the Yankees playbook and also hire their new boss from the entertainment field.
(Photos: REUTERS/MARK BLINCH, RICK MADONIK / TORONTO STAR, JOHN LOTT)