Technically, it’s not official, but it’s close enough to being official that Toronto GM J.P. Ricciardi and manager John Gibbons were willing to discuss it. "It" being the one-year contract extension that the Jays are giving to Gibbons.
Gibbons is currently under contract for $500,000 in 2007, and the new deal would pay him $650,000 in ’08. Instead of looking at it as simply a one-year contract, Ricciardi preferred to view it as a two-year deal, considering the contract covers the next two seasons.
Ricciardi also said that the run-ins that Gibbons had with former players Ted Lilly and Shea Hillenbrand last year had no bearing on the length of the contract, or on how long it took to put together. Ricciardi said the club waited until the spring so that Gibbons could spend more time with his late father this past winter witout having to worry about any ongoing negotiations. His dad, William, passed away of cancer in January.
So that was the big news of the day. The contract should be officially announced later this week — maybe later. It’s virtually done. Ricciardi said the rest of the coaches, who are signed through ’07, will have their contracts dealt with at the end of the year.
The sun was finally out today and at lunch time there were no clouds in sight. By the time I left the Bobby Mattick Training Center, the temperature guage in my car said it was 64 degrees fahrenheit. Needless to say, it was a much more enjoyable day of work.
In camp today were former Jays pitchers, and now guest coaches, Pat Hentgen and Dave Stieb. We were joking that they might just jump into the mix for the open jobs at the back end of the rotation. "I was kidding them both today. ‘Hey, get loose you guys,’" laughed Ricciardi.
Victor Zambrano — coming off Tommy John surgery — arrived to camp today and threw off a mound. He said he feels close to 100 percent, but Toronto is still going to take it slow with him. Pete Walker — coming off shoulder surgery — also threw and could be in the mix for a bullpen spot. Gibbons and Ricciardi had nothing but positive things to say about both pitchers. Tomo Ohka is expected to arrive in Florida on Tuesday, and should be in camp on Wednesday.