Pat Gillick, who won two World Series in Toronto with Cito Gaston as his manager, said he wouldn't be surprised to see Gaston succeed in his second go-round with the Blue Jays.
"I think he can," said Gillick, now the Phillies general manager. "But it depends on what kind of players he's got."
Gillick said he agrees with the idea that Cito was the right manager for the players Toronto had in the early 1990s.
"Absolutely," he said. "Cito did a great job. He had a tremendous rapport with the players. He's certainly a players' manager. People think it's pretty easy, but sometimes it's easier to screw up a good club than to keep them where they should be."
Of the three teams that fired managers this week, you might have noticed that the Mariners were the only one that also fired their general manager.
There are those in baseball who believe that Bill Bavasi lost his job as Seattle GM because he wouldn't fire John McLaren himself. And there are just as many who believe that J.P. Ricciardi in Toronto and Omar Minaya with the Mets are in serious danger, if not now than at least at the end of the season.
Asked how Ricciardi could fire John Gibbons, his longtime friend, one veteran baseball man responded: "You don't worry about friends when your own job's on the line."
That's three managerial firings in four days, with Willie Randolph early Tuesday morning, McLaren on Thursday and Gibbons today.
Tough time to be a manager?
"It's the nature of the game for anyone in this position," said the Angels' Mike Scioscia. "The only job security is performance."
Scioscia's job security, of course, ranks near the top of the list. But then, so does his performance.
"Those guys (who got fired) are terrific baseball men," Scioscia said. "But everybody's going to look at your report card and ask, are you getting the most out of your players?"
Kudos to classy Angels center fielder Torii Hunter, who accepted full responsibility today when reporters asked him about his baserunning blunder Wednesday night. Hunter lost track of how many outs there were, and started jogging back to the dugout thinking the inning was over.
"It was the worst feeling in baseball," he said. "I've talked trash and pulled young guys over when they've done something like that. I was like an ostrich, with my head in the sand. It won't happen again. Trust me. You won't have to write that story again."
Incidentally, Hunter said getting away from the Metrodome's artificial turf has made a huge difference in how he feels this year.
"God knew what he was doing when he made grass -- it's healthier," Hunter said. "It's like organic food vs. antibiotic food. Organic's good for you."
The Yankees are understandably happy with how Joba Chamberlain's move to the starting rotation has worked out, but it remains to be seen whether Chamberlain will be efficient enough with his pitches to work deep into the game against the better lineups in the American League. He needed 100 pitches to finish 5 2/3 innings Thursday against the weak-hitting Padres, and he's averaging nearly 18 pitches an inning in his four starts.
"Some days, 100 pitches might get you eight innings," Yankee manager Joe Girardi said hopefully. "Some days it might get you six or five. The key is that you shut down the other team."
That's true enough, but some are calling Joba the ace the Yankees need in Chien-Ming Wang's absence. You'd like an ace to get you into the late innings regularly, and it could be tough for Joba to do that right now (especially since the Yankees will be understandably cautious with his pitch counts).