It would be easy to think there’s a rift brewing between Toronto Blue Jays manager John Gibbons and third baseman Josh Donaldson, but don’t let your imagination run wild, says Jon Morosi.
The MLB Network insider joined The Jeff Blair Show on Thursday morning and said he believes the dugout argument that occurred at Yankee Stadium the previous day was nothing more than a tense moment between two competitive individuals.
“I really don’t think it’s going to be much more than that,” Morosi told host Blair. “As much as everybody loves to have there be a controversial story here, I don’t really see one. I think that was probably a moment similar to which players see a lot of over the course of the season, but we don’t see all that often. I think that was a heat-of-the-moment type of scenario.”
In the third inning on Wednesday, Donaldson struck out on three pitches against New York Yankees left-hander CC Sabathia. He slammed his bat upon entering the Blue Jays dugout, triggering an argument with Gibbons that required the intervention of teammates Troy Tulowitzki, Josh Thole and Justin Smoak.
Later in the game, Donaldson was seen receiving a low-five from his manager and both played down the scuffle in their post-game comments.
Gibbons chalked it up to a difference of opinion about the bat Donaldson was using. Donaldson, for his part, said it had to do with cologne.
“Gibby asked me what kind of cologne I was wearing, and I said, ‘It’s this new cologne called Tom Ford, I just got it,’” Donaldson told media. “He’s like, ‘Really,’ so he kind of got close to me to get a good whiff of it, and I was like, ‘Hey man, back up.’ I was like, ‘I’ll give you some after the game.’ So then we separated.”
Morosi watched the post-game comments from both parties and said their mannerisms were telling.
“I think that we can look at the way they both handled it post-game and their body language in their post-game comments — I thought both of them were very at ease,” Morosi said. “They didn’t seem tense, they didn’t seem like they were trying to hide something. Donaldson’s response was very clever. I thought that was an interesting and fun way to handle it.
“Gibby, similarly, seemed very much at ease and matter of fact at his folsky best. I don’t think there was really anything that we’re going to see continue on.”
Donaldson, who’s hitting .289/.399/.556 this season with 28 homers and 80 RBIs, signed a two-year, $28.65-million contract this past off-season. He’s arbitration-eligible in 2018 and could become a free agent at the end of that campaign. Morosi insisted Wednesday’s clash would have no bearing on the Blue Jays’ ability to re-sign the reigning American League MVP.
“I think it was a brief, momentary difference of opinion that was good for the cameras but I don’t think it will be a substantive thing moving forward,” he said. “I don’t think it’s going to influence, say, Josh Donaldson’s interest in signing an extension with the Jays this wintertime … It’s not evidence of a fundamental disagreement at all between manager and player.”