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Blue Jays, John Gibbons to part ways after season: report

Reuters, AP

The Toronto Blue Jays and manager John Gibbons will part ways after this season, according to a Fancred report on Thursday.

Per the report, nothing is set in stone, but a person familiar with the thinking of both parties called it “99.9 percent done” that Toronto will have a different manager next season. The report adds that the team likely plans to hire a younger manager as it continues a rebuild, with a goal of being competitive in 2020 or 2021.

General manager Ross Atkins declined to comment, while Gibbons told Fancred, “We’ll sit down after the year and see what direction we’re going to go, myself included.”

Gibbons, 56, has one year remaining on his contract. He said last month on MLB Network, “I’m not sure I want to go through one of those things — a total rebuild.” The Blue Jays entered Thursday at 63-76, and they recently traded 2015 AL MVP Josh Donaldson.

Gibbons helped the Jays to the ALCS in both 2015 and 2016, the franchise’s only two playoff appearances since it won back-to-back World Series titles in 1992 and 1993.

He is in his second stint as the Blue Jays’ manager, after holding the post from midway through the 2004 season until his firing in 2008.

In related news, Blue Jays did not offer third baseman Donaldson a contract extension prior to trading him to the Cleveland Indians last week, according to Donaldson’s agent.

A report from Jon Heyman of Fancred on Thursday said the Jays “extended an offer for more than the three-year, $75 million deal the Phillies gave to free agent pitcher Jake Arrieta, another major star older than 30. The belief is they were flexible to go at least a bit higher.”

Donaldson’s agent, Dan Lozano of the MVP Sports Group, denied the report.

Wild finish in Atlanta

Dansby Swanson scored the go-ahead run on Yoshihisa Hirano’s wild pitch in the 10th inning, and the Atlanta Braves recovered after blowing a two-run lead in the ninth to beat the visiting Arizona Diamondbacks 7-6 Thursday.

Atlanta had a chance for the go-ahead run in the 10th on a single by Tyler Flowers that bounced off shortstop Nick Ahmed’s glove, but Swanson stumbled over third base and had to retreat to the bag.

The Braves then loaded the bases against Brad Boxberger (2-6) before Hirano uncorked a wild pitch that scored Swanson.

“Different frustrations, the way our lineup battled to get back in it in the ninth inning,” Boxberger said. “I just couldn’t hold it.”