While Don Mattingly has made a big to-do this week about being a lame-duck manager next season, Diamondbacks skipper Kirk Gibson is taking a different approach to his own one-year contract. The fourth-year manager is "motivated to finish what [he] started" in Arizona, and doesn't expect his contract status to have any effect on his decisions in the dugout, reports Nick Piecoro of AZCentral.com.
Gibson, 56, recently had his contract options for the 2015 and 2016 seasons declined by the D'Backs, meaning that next year will be his final guaranteed season under his current contract. While that kind of do-or-die scenario might cause some managers to stress and worry, Gibson doesn't like to dwell on it:
"It’s just like when I was a player. You go up for a contract, you disagree. When you have the chance to go to arbitration, you go to arbitration, and when the arbitrator rules, it’s over. Then you’ve got a chance to be a free agent and then it’s over.
"Things come and go. I don’t get bogged down by stuff. It doesn’t change anything for me."
Gibson added that he likes the people he works with, that he believes the team's outlook for next season is encouraging and that he his goals for the club haven't changed. While his statements may be reassuring for D'Backs fans, they put a damper on the idea that Gibson could take over for Jim Leyland in Detroit.
The one-time World Series hero said that the team's first focus this winter is to build a new coaching staff. Pitching coach Charles Nagy and first-base coach Steve Sax were fired shortly after the regular season ended, and hitting coach Don Baylor left last week to join the Angels organization. If Matt Williams is offered the Nationals' manager spot, the club could be on the lookout for a new third-base coach as well.
The D'Backs are 290-279 overall in Gibson's three-plus years at the helm. The club took home the NL West title in 2011, Gibson's first full year, but have followed that with back-to-back 81-81 seasons.