TORONTO - If the call rests solely with general manager Alex Anthopoulos, John Gibbons will still be manager when the Blue Jays report to spring training next February.
"Yes," said Anthopoulos, when asked if it was his unequivocal intention to bring Gibbons back for 2014.
The Blue Jays are on pace to lose 90 games for the first time since 2004. The franchise has lost more than 90 games only five times in its 37-year history, the first four coming in the club's first four seasons.
This is Anthopoulos' fourth year at the helm. In 2010, his first season, the club went 85-77 despite having traded ace pitcher Roy Halladay. In 2011, Toronto lost 81 games. The number jumped to 89 in 2012.
The Blue Jays must go 14-16 to avoid losing 90 games and sending Anthopoulos into a fourth-consecutive offseason with an increase in the loss column.
"I think we can all get better, myself included," said Anthopoulos. "When we are where we are in the standings and the results are what they are there's clearly a lot of room for improvement and clearly we're going to need some sort of change. I'm not prepared to say what those are, I think we need to play out the season. Either way we've looked it, we've talked about it. We can look at so many areas because when you have the results that we have, there are plenty of areas."
Start with the starting pitching. Supposed to be the strength of a team remade by blockbuster deals with Miami (Josh Johnson, Mark Buehrle) and the New York Mets (R.A. Dickey,) the Blue Jays have consistently ranked in the bottom two in starters' ERA.
Prior to Tuesday's game against the Yankees, the Blue Jays ranked second last, better than lowly Minnesota, with a staff ERA of 5.03.
The failure to mention the dreadful Astros is not a typo. Houston ranks third-worst at 4.67, more than a third of a run per game better than Toronto's rotation.
"I do think and I believe that, if you look at this historically, second last in starters' ERA, I've yet to see some teams have success doing that and ultimately we can examine why that is," said Anthopoulos. "That's not to say we can't improve in other areas, offensively, defensively, but I think that's where it starts."
Johnson couldn't stay healthy and when he was he won only two games.
Brandon Morrow couldn't stay healthy and when he was he won only two games.
Dickey has been better of late but hasn't lived up to the expectations, as out of control as they may have been, created by his Cy Young year in New York.
Among the starters only Mark Buehrle, a 10-game winner for a 13th-straight season, has been as advertised.
"I don't know how much the manager can influence that part of the game alone," said Anthopoulos.
Anthopoulos says he expects to be back. There's no reason to believe he won't return. If he does, so will Gibbons.
"I actually think, the in-game managing, I think he has done a great job," said Anthopoulos. "I think it's so easy to pin results on one person. I think it's convenient. I could say that for myself, I could say that for certain players, for the manager. I just don't think blame falls on one person. I think when we're playing the way we have, I just don't think it falls on one person, it's collectively. There's blame to share, that's probably the best way to put it. I just don't believe it's one thing and that's the issue. I think Gibby, in game, has done a great job."