Report: Ex-Orioles OF Gibbons near return to baseball
Shortly after his letter to every team in the major leagues seeking a second chance was made public, former Orioles outfielder Jay Gibbons learned he was about to land a job with a pro baseball team.
Gibbons says he expects to sign with a team in the independent Atlantic League and be back in uniform within days, The Baltimore Sun reported. The outfielder, who was named in the Mitchell report and acknowledged using human growth hormone, had been without a job since he was released by the Orioles a the end of training camp.
"I want to continue my career and start over," Gibbons said, according to the report. "This is an opportunity, and that is all I have been looking for."
On Wednesday, along with a story about players who remained unemployed after being named in the Mitchell report, ESPN.com published the letter Gibbons sent to every major league team. In the letter, Gibbons acknowledged he had made a mistake and sought a second chance. He pledged that were he signed to a minor league deal, he would donate his entire salary to charity.
"I just wanted to make sure the GMs knew if they were interested in me and my past issues, I'd have no problem talking about them," Gibbons said, according to The Sun. "I got some responses that were positive, but I never received a firm offer."
According to the report, Gibbons said he will sign with a New York- or New Jersey-based team in the eight-team Atlantic League, a circuit largely made up of former major and minor leaguers looking for another chance to get back into affiliated baseball. Four of the league's eight teams are in or near New York or New Jersey -- most notably the Long Island Ducks, whose roster has included John Rocker, Juan Gonzalez and Jose Offerman and currently includes Carl Everett and Donovan Osborne.
Gibbons was released by the Baltimore Orioles on March 30 for what the team said were baseball performance-related reasons. After batting .277 in both 2005 and 2006, Gibbons struggled in 2007, batting .230 with 62 hits and a .348 slugging percentage.
The Orioles owe Gibbons $11.9 million for the last two years of a guaranteed contract, which runs through 2009. According to league guidelines, Atlantic League players are typically paid less than $3,000 per month, The Sun reported. Gibbons said he doesn't know what he will be paid.
"I just miss playing baseball; that's what it comes down to," he said, according to the report. "Sitting at home, golfing, barbecuing with your [friends] is great. But when you still have that fire in you, you're just not ready to do that on an everyday basis."