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Sources: Players don't want Cito back in '10

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Ken Rosenthal

Ken Rosenthal has been the FOXSports.com's Senior MLB Writer since August 2005. He appears weekly on MLB on FOX, FOX Sports Radio and MLB Network. He's a member of the Baseball Writers Association of America. Follow him on Twitter.

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The Blue Jays' rehiring of manager Cito Gaston last season started out as a feel-good story, a link to the franchise's back-to-back World Series titles in 1992 and '93.
A mere 15 months later, the mood inside the Jays' clubhouse has turned decidedly sour. The players are fed up with Gaston and do not want him to return next season, according to multiple major-league sources. "It's nearly a mutiny right now," one source says. "He has lost the entire team." The Jays are not playing like a club in turmoil — they have won six straight games and nine of their last 10, sweeping the Red Sox at Fenway Park in their most recent series. Tension built, however, while the Jays went 39-69 after their surprising 27-14 start. The players' primary complaints are Gaston's lack of communication, old-school approach and negativism, sources say. Losing teams often grow frustrated, and this is the Jays' first losing season since 2005. But the divisions in the Jays' clubhouse, as described by sources, are particularly acute. Those divisions exist not only between Gaston and his players, but also between Gaston and some of his coaches. Pitching coach Brad Arnsberg, bench coach Brian Butterfield and bullpen coach Bruce Walton all worked under the team's previous manager, John Gibbons.
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The Blue Jays hired batting coach Gene Tenace, third base coach Nick Leyva and first base coach Dwayne Murphy when Gaston took over on June 21, 2008. Tenace and Leyva had served under Gaston previously. The players' dissatisfaction with Gaston, who is under contract through the 2010 season, comes at a time of great uncertainty for the Blue Jays. The team has fired general manager J.P. Ricciardi. Paul Beeston, the club's interim CEO, does not wish to hold the job long-term and is searching for a permanent replacement. Gaston, who is close with Beeston, popular in Toronto and well-liked throughout the game, probably will be secure as manager until the Jays reshape their front office. Ricciardi and Beeston could not be reached for comment Thursday night. Efforts to contact Gaston through the Jays' public-relations department also were unsuccessful. Gaston, 65, went more than a decade without managing before reclaiming his position with the Jays. His previous success came with veteran, high-payroll clubs — the opposite of what the Jays are now. Yet, Gaston was initially successfully even in his current stint. He led the Jays to a 51-37 finish last season after the team started 35-39 under Gibbons. This season, despite a reduction in payroll from $97.8 million in 2008 to $80.5 million in ¿09, the Jays were in first place on May 23. It didn't last. Once the team started losing, Gaston became impatient with his players, sources say. The players, in turn, began tuning him out.

Gaston Gone?

ALTTEXT Cito Gaston isn't sure what to make of the reports. Check out his and some players' reactions here.
Recent news reports suggest friction. In early September, Gaston indicated that catcher Rod Barajas would not return to the team next season. Barajas, a potential free agent, said that he wanted to stay with the club. Last Sunday, Gaston was critical of reliever B.J. Ryan, whom the Jays released on July 8. Ryan, despite his struggles, was popular with his teammates. Gaston was quoted as saying, "Even when I was here last year, he didn't excite me." Certain Jays veterans bristle over reduced playing time and Gaston's failure to properly communicate substitutions, sources say. Younger players require more positive reinforcement than Gaston provides, according to another source. The reunion between Gaston and the Jays started off so well, held such promise. Fifteen months later, the tone could not be more different.

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