Gaston: Unrest reports from outside
Toronto skipper doesn't believe Jays are behind drama
BALTIMORE -- Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston is convinced that the first reports about unrest among his players were based on comments from someone outside of the Toronto organization. Gaston does not believe his team is behind the late-season drama.
"You know what?" Gaston said on Saturday. "The comments that players made about me, I don't see that. I don't even think that came from this club. I think that came from outside this club, as far as all those things, I really do. That's what I believe."
On Saturday, Blue Jays interim president and CEO Paul Beeston met with a small group of players to discuss the reports that leaked one day earlier. An anonymous source referred to the clubhouse situation as "mutiny" in one online report, and other published reports cited negativity and a lack of communication on Gaston's part.
At Camden Yards on Friday afternoon, a few players -- Vernon Wells and Aaron Hill, among others -- noted that there were indeed some issues that did need to be ironed out within the ballclub. As far as reports claiming that the players wanted Gaston out of the picture in 2010, one team source went as far as referring to them as "lies."
The source indicated that the issue began with a group of players discussing ways to make a better situation for the team. From there, things snowballed and it quickly was perceived as the players having a problem playing under Gaston. The source said no one within the current clubhouse has owned up to the unsourced quotes and they are believed to be from someone outside the team.
Players would not go into specifics about their meeting with Beeston.
"Whatever we spoke about in our meetings, stays in our meetings," Wells said.
Hill declined comment when approached about the situation surrounding Gaston and the players.
Beeston confirmed that he spoke with players about the matter.
"They raised the issues with us," Beeston said. "I met with them. Were they addressed? They were listened to. They have not been addressed at the present time. It's the end of the season. We're all going our separate ways as of Monday. But certainly we had a meeting and I had my ears open. I kept my mouth shut. I gave them some comments and that's all I want to say about that."
Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos, who assumed J.P. Ricciardi's role on Saturday, said that the team intends to bring Gaston back in 2010 to fulfill the final year of his contract.
"Cito is our manager. He's under contract," Anthopoulos said. "I think he's done a good job. It's unfortunate the things that have leaked out to the media, but those are things we take care of in-house. I don't think it's [of] any benefit to us to really talk about that to the media.
"These are things that happen over the course of a season. Certainly, we're not the first club that's had these things go on. It's something that we'll deal with internally. Going forward, he will be our manager."
Gaston is aware that a few players spoke on the record on Friday, telling reporters that there were issues between the manager and the team that needed to be sorted out. After hearing what the players said, though, Gaston still did not have a clear understanding of the problem. He added that multiple players approached him in the past 24 hours to clear the air.
"I know they spoke with you, but what'd they say?" Gaston said. "They didn't say anything really, did they? Did they say the issues? How can I comment on the issues if I don't know the issues? I've had players come to talk to me and a lot of them said, 'Hey, I didn't say it. I wasn't the one that started it.'
"A lot of them have come to me and said, 'Hey it's not me. I didn't do it. I didn't say it.' That's why I'm thinking it came from somewhere else."
Blue Jays ace Roy Halladay, who declined comment on Friday, echoed that sentiment.
"The players being on the ledge was kind of brought up by people who aren't associated with the situation," Halladay said. "I think it's a lot different than how it was brought up. I think things were obviously handled very professionally and I think Paul's done a great job of that. Again, I feel good about a lot of the things I've heard today, and things that have happened."
Gaston said he did not know who made the original comments that caused such a stir.
"I don't," Gaston said. "If I did, I wouldn't say anyway. It wouldn't do me any good to say."
Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.