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The Blue Jays give John Gibbons a lame duck-proof contract

Feb 4, 2013, 4:30 PM EST

John Gibbons

Walter Alston managed the Dodgers on one-year deals from 1954 through 1976 and no one ever really got bent-out-of-shape about him being a “lame duck” manager. These days, however, any manager who is only under contract for the current calendar year are supposed to be all antsy and in the cross-hairs and their contractual status is supposed to create all kinds of problems and distractions.

I’ll leave it to others to decide if that’s true — I’m inclined to believe it’s only an issue insofar as the lame duck manager’s insecurity allows it to be — but in the meantime, the Blue Jays and John Gibbons have devised a system so that’s never an issue: automatically vesting options that keep Gibbons on what amount to rolling two-year deals:

The way it works is that as long as the Blue Jays don’t fire him prior to the following Jan. 1, the option becomes guaranteed with another option added to the back end. For example, if Gibbons makes it to 2014, his 2015 option vests with another option added for 2016.

Which also means that if the Jays simply get fed up with him they are unavoidably going to have to pay Gibbons’ salary for at least one season while he hunts, fishes and watches TV or whatever. But the Jays apparently feel that risk is preferable to the risk of having Gibbons and the media and everyone wondering if he’ll get a contract extension to cover the following year.

(thanks to Brad P. for the heads up)

  1. cur68 - Feb 4, 2013 at 4:36 PM

    Well. Is this good? Is this bad? Dunno. I have mixed feelings about John Gibbons. I’m prepared to give him to the AS Break to see if he can take a very talented team on paper and make something of them on the field. Providing the team is >.500 and so long as he doesn’t start any fights, do The Valentine, and/or allow Escobarian Foolishness to occur on his watch, I don’t think this contract does any harm. Can’t wait to find out.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Feb 4, 2013 at 4:38 PM

      Whether good or bad for Gibbons, seems like a really cool way to do it. Props to AA for creativity.

  2. tcostant - Feb 4, 2013 at 4:53 PM

    Jim Riggleman should have been so lucky.

  3. paint771 - Feb 4, 2013 at 5:14 PM

    Damn, Craig used my real name instead of my handle. :)

    I thought this was a cool thing. Unlike cur, I’m very optimistic about Gibby. For a group like the Jays, I think a little piss and vinegar in a manager is exactly what they need. And, don’t forget, as to the lame duck thing, how burned AA got on the constant Farrell sideshow – sure he wanted to leave anyway, but it didn’t help that every month people were constantly guessing at his contract status etc and the will-he-or-won’t he psychodrama. This puts it to bed before the question is even asked. “John Gibbons is our manager for this year and next”. Finally, it shows a lot of faith in Gibbons, which has to help his confidence taking back the mantle.

    But what’s really interesting to me is this basic contact structure. I wonder if this might not get dispatched to players in rare cases – say really great but late career organization guys that may want to just ride out with their home organization for however many years they can hack it. I’m thinking guys like John McDonald or Chipper Jones, who the team would love to have in the clubhouse and then transition into an organization job (obviously, that’s not quite how that worked out with Johnny Mac). Obviously would only be used in exceptional (and cheap cases, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see such a situation once in a blue moon.

    • proudlycanadian - Feb 4, 2013 at 6:13 PM

      Hi Paint. 1)Craig once used my real name, but I simply ignored it figuring that nobody would realize it. Besides, there are many people in Canada with the same name as me including a well known politician. 2) I agree with your analysis. 3) AA has been creative before with regard to some player contracts.

  4. dirtyharry1971 - Feb 4, 2013 at 8:46 PM

    Dont buy a home and get too comfy john, when your team finishes 4th again you will understand what i mean.

    • 18thstreet - Feb 5, 2013 at 12:18 PM

      I love that THIS comment closes with “you will understand what I mean.”

      My daughter is in kindergarten. This month, she’s learning about capital letters at the start of sentences, periods at the end of sentences, and spaces between words. I’m not sure when she’ll learn how and when to use an apostrophe, but it’s probably coming soon.

      In three weeks, a 5-year old will be more coherent than DirtyHarry1971.

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