Shapiro: Blue Jays ‘incredibly confident’ in Gibbons as manager

Blue Jays president Mark Shapiro uses the words like disappointing, concerning and sense of urgency to describe his club so far in 2016, but offers serious support for manager John Gibbons.

The Toronto Blue Jays have followed up their first playoff appearance in decades with a decidedly slow start thanks to an underwhelming offence and an unpredictable bullpen.

The first word team president Mark Shapiro uses to describe the 20-23 Blue Jays is “disappointing.”

“There’s both a sense of urgency as well as a sense of disappointment with how we’ve played to date,” Shapiro told Jeff Blair and Stephen Brunt on Sportsnet 590 The FAN Friday.

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It can be puzzling to watch a team built around offence scuffle at the plate, but Shapiro says he expects Toronto’s bats to start producing given their long track records of success.

“There should be some comfort placed in the fact that these guys are proven major-league hitters and they’re likely to progress to the mean at some point,” Shapiro said. “You’ve got to be careful not to react too quickly.”

In other words, the Blue Jays expect to find a solution without contemplating drastic changes such as the firing of manager John Gibbons. Speaking on behalf of the Blue Jays front office, including GM Ross Atkins, Shapiro said he’s “incredibly confident” in Gibbons’ leadership.

“To spend time around Gibby is to be incredibly confident in his leadership and to recognize that he’s part of the solution. We feel that he’s a guy who’s consistent. He is strong. He is tough. He is committed, and I feel like he’s the right guy to help guide us through the challenges that we’re facing now,” Shapiro said.

As for the possibility of changes to the coaching staff, Shapiro said “Those are not conversations we’re focused on.” Instead, the Blue Jays front office is working on adding players for the short- and long-term. While team decision makers will spend much of the next three weeks preparing for next month’s amateur draft, they’re starting to weigh possible trades, too.

“We are already spending time and energy on those things,” Shapiro said. “A front office’s job is to examine all of the scenarios and all of the alternatives. Ross and his guys are exhausting, whether it’s small adjustments or trades of bigger magnitude, those are conversations that we’re having every single day.”

One way or another, the Blue Jays intend to build on the success of 2015.

“You want this window to stay open,” Shapiro said. “You don’t want this to have been just one short run of success.”

The Blue Jays resume their series against the Minnesota Twins Friday when Aaron Sanchez starts against fellow right-hander Tyler Duffey.

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