What started off like a second honeymoon looks to be crashing down to reality.
Some of the Toronto Blue Jays are finishing their disappointing season at odds with manager Cito Gaston.
A number of major league sources say some Blue Jays players do not want Gaston back next year, according to Ken Rosenthal of Foxsports.com.
“It’s nearly a mutiny right now,” one source said to Rosenthal. “He has lost the entire team.”
Some of the players started to speak publicly on Friday, ahead of Toronto’s game against the Orioles in Baltimore.
“It’s something that we go through and we’ve got to figure it out because we’re not going to be a very good team if this is going to go on,” said Lyle Overbay, to Canadian Press.
“We’ve got to get it straightened out, either way.”
Friction would not be unexpected for a baseball club that has posted a 39-69 record since their impressive 27-14 start to the season.
Gaston, who is under contract through 2010, is in his second stint as manager of the Blue Jays.
In his first tenure as bench boss from 1989-1997, Gaston would win World Series championships in 1992 and 1993.
However, those titles were won with a payroll near the top of the league, a luxury that the Blue Jays can no longer afford.
Sources speaking to Rosenthal say that some players’ primary complaints are Gaston’s lack of communication, old-school approach and negativism.
Staff ace Roy Halladay took the silent route, declining comment at this time.
When Gaston was asked about the discontent, he was surprised.
“You’re not going to have everybody like you on the team that’s just the way it is. There’s not a guy on this team I don’t like.
“I treat all the guys fairly. I wouldn’t know that [they had issues with him].”
Canadian Press is reporting that player frustration has reached the point that a group is expected to meet Saturday with Blue Jays interim CEO Paul Beeston to talk about their concerns.
“It’s not up to the players to have me back here,” Gaston said to CP. “It’s up to ownership, of course Paul Beeston and J.P. [Ricciardi].
“It’s up to them, it’s not up to the players. I’m willing to come back here next year and my door is always open, guys can come in and talk to me about everything.”
Rosenthal says the problems have been going on for a while.
Once the team started losing, Gaston became impatient with his charges, sources told Rosenthal. The players, in turn, began tuning him out.
These issues are occurring at a time of instability for the franchise.
The team is without a permanent president or CEO, and general manager J.P. Ricciardi could be at risk of losing his job after another unsuccessful season in Toronto.