Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Gibbons' Plea

Check out the sidebar to this story about the Mitchell Report players who remain unemployed:
"All I need is a chance"

The following is the full text of a letter written by former Orioles outfielder Jay Gibbons to all 30 major league teams, seeking a minor league contract. Gibbons, who was named in the Mitchell report, has been without a job since Baltimore released him in March.

Writing this letter is both painful and humiliating. It has been almost six weeks since my release from the Orioles and I am still unable to land any opportunity at a second chance to play the game that I love.

I am young, healthy and determined. I have acknowledged and apologized for the mistake that I made and writing this letter should be proof enough that I have indeed suffered for my mistake. I have faith and hope that some team will give me the chance to prove that I can not only be a productive player but also be a stellar member of their organization. My faith in a second chance has inspired me to work harder than I have at any time in my life. My faith has gotten me through this most difficult period in my life.

All I need is a chance -- any chance -- anywhere. I am more than willing to begin the process of proving that I can and will be a productive major league player by playing in the minor leagues. As you know, I have played seven seasons in the big leagues and have hit 20-plus home runs in three seasons and have hit .277 in three seasons (2003, 2005 and 2006). At 31 years old, I have NO DOUBT that my best baseball is
ahead of me.

I know that my agents at ACES have tried to land me an opportunity in the minor leagues but have been met with negative responses by each and every Organization. I am not blind to the fact that I have made a mistake and that mistake has raised doubt about my character and ability. It is important that you know that my indiscretions, while regretful, were made in an effort to heal a nagging wrist injury. I would encourage you to speak with anyone in this game, including players, coaches, front office etc. who know me. I am confident that everyone you speak with will vouch for my character.

I respectfully and humbly request that you grant me the chance to play for your organization. I am so willing to prove myself as a player, and a person, that I will donate ALL of my minor league earnings to your Club's charity. In the event that I earn the right to play at the major league level, I will gladly donate a significant sum to that same charity.

Once again, all I need is a chance and I will prove that I can be an extremely productive player and a great addition to your organization.

Please feel free to contact me directly [phone numbers redacted].

Thank you for your time and consideration.


Jay Gibbons

I think it's safe to say that we've never seen anything like that. And I feel for Jay Gibbons. But the fact of the matter is that he is a corner outfielder/DH type who, despite his claim, does not have his best baseball ahead of him. Moreover, the baseball behind him consists of almost exactly league-average production, which is unacceptable for the positions he can play. Gibbons batted .172 before being released this spring.

Whether or not the Mitchell Report had anything to do with it, his release was the right move. Whether or not the Mitchell Report has anything to do with it, the failure of any team to show interest is understandable.


Justin Zeth said...

Didn't Gibbons also have the reputation of being a jackass? Or am I confusing him with some other mediocre Oriole?

Jason said...

Well, he's essentially offering to do what so many of us fans have said for years: "I'd play that game for free".

Quite a letter.....

Diesel said...


You're totally right about Gibbons' qualifications for a major-league job. However, what he's asking for — a minor-league contract — is something he would assuredly get if it weren't for the steroid flap. Average in the majors means awesome in the minors, and he more that qualifies as organizational filler.

I don't know how I feel about the fact that Gibbons is unemployed because of the Mitchell Report, while others named alongside him (who didn't confess) remain gainfully employed and may even lead the NL in All-Star voting for their position. But I do know that playing in baseball is a privilege, and that players have been frozen out of the game for less noble reasons in the past.

Russ Smith said...

Jay Gibbons is a crummy player, injury-prone, and the O's were uncharacteristically smart to dump him and his salary. He's supposed to be a pretty good guy, but that's not really relevant. I wonder about Trot Nixon, who, although he's playing in the minors, would seem to be a decent bench guy for some team in contention.

Craig Calcaterra said...

Diesel: signing Gibbons to a minor league deal is not a totally cost-free proposition in that he's still taking up a roster slot someone else could be filling up. Maybe not some stud prospect, mind you, but teams do try to be somewhat loyal to organizational soldiers and guys who, one day, may be coaches or something.

Russ: Trot Nixon is curious in that he's playing well (or at least was a couple of weeks ago when I checked) and the Dbacks could probably use his bat. Or other teams.

Anonymous said...


Improvements in the game and it's thinking don't always come in great, instantaneous flashes that are universally adopted. Sometimes they come in trends whose adaptation is steady and sure, but take place over time.

Such is the lament of Jay Gibbons. As Craig points out, a league average production in positions that demand above average production, at an age where decline is inevitable.

His complaint that every team has spurned him garners some sympathy becuase teams still make boneheaded contract errors: Dontrelle Wills ($ 29M for 3 years), Juan Pierre, etc..

But what he is basically asking for is that a team make an error in judgement on him, albeit at a lesser, minor league price. But evry major league team now bases their player evaluations in part on sophisticated metrics. And those metrics are not Jay Gibbons' friends.

Anonymous said...

The best part about this article is Bonds' agent's statement. He's dumbfounded that no one wants Bonds? Is it possible he's unaware that his client is the single most disruptive athlete to play major league baseball since maybe Curt Flood? Does he not grasp the media circus that would follow his client? Is he ignorant of the storm of criticism sure to be poured on a club that signs him? Does he now know that fans outside of San Francisco universally despise Bonds?


Ron Rollins said...

This is self inflicted wound for baseball.

Sometimes, someone just has to step up and give a person a chance. We've all been there and just need someone to give us an opportunity.

And sometimes, just sometimes, the game should be bigger than the money.

Dre said...

DBacks fans are asking the same question about Trot... sure Alex Romero, Jeff Salazar, and Chris Burke are decent players to have on the end of your bench, but that trio is batting .093 while starting in LF in Eric Byrnes' absence. Which sadly makes Byrnes a monumental improvement no matter his suckitude.

Now the crazy part... Nixon Splits vs RHP in Tucson .341/.474/.645
Nixon MLB career splits vs RHP
Byrnes career splits vs RHP

Hmmm, a platoon here in LF would seem pretty ideal now wouldn't it?

AZ has an open spot on their 40 man roster so I see no reason to keep Nixon in the minors unless you plan on running Chad Tracy/Mark Reynolds/Conor Jackson out there in LF instead.

Justin Zeth said...

The primary use for a 31-year-old who doesn't hit enough to play a corner in the major leagues is to be a role model/clubhouse leader/semi-coach on the AAA team while being held in reserve for an in-case-of-emergency-break-glass scenario. And I think that's why Gibbons is having trouble finding work: Teams are understandably skeptical of Jay Gibbons, Clubhouse Leader for the kids in AAA.

Dre said...

not to hijack the thread, but "ask and you shall receive"

Conor Jackson will be playing LF tonight for the DBacks.