Orioles Release Gibbons
Since Jay Gibbons’s bulging biceps (that he dutifully showed off while playing) and solid power numbers were aided by PEDs, wouldn’t it be reasonable now that he’s apparently unable to perform for the Orioles to try and recoup some or all of the money still owed on his contract? Gibbons signed a four-year, $21.1 million contract in January 2006—-ESPN Story—-and in addition to the PED revelations, he only played in 84 games last year and his numbers this spring make him look like he’d be lucky to get out of A ball without the special “help” of PEDs. With the Orioles releasing him, why are they so agreeable to paying off the remainder of that contract? It seems to me that in this case, they’d have a pretty solid argument for a player’s performance misleading them into thinking he was worth all of that money and could void the contract.
I’m no lawyer, but the players contracts have morals clauses to get the team out of paying the player if they commit a severe enough crime, so what about the small print that shields the teams in the case of someone like Gibbons? Jay Gibbons was a steroids-assisted player, capitalized on it by receiving a lavish contract, then couldn’t perform once testing came into baseball; why is he still receiving his paychecks as the Orioles are dumping him? The money isn’t the point, but it’s not like it’s a small amount either. We’re talking about almost $12 million going to a guy who’s unlikely to get picked up by another team and isn’t going to be seen on a big league diamond again; not because of the PED usage, but because he can’t play without them.
This is what’s so strange about these contracts; I would think that a team like the Orioles could at least try and get some of that wasted money back. Just as I suggested weeks ago that the Yankees should sue Carl Pavano for not putting forth a reasonable effort to fulfill his part of the agreement he signed when he joined them, the case of Gibbons is more clear cut. At least Pavano has his injuries (as piddly as some of them have appeared, and as uninterested in making any kind of good faith attempt to come back) to fall back on. Gibbons has no argument to say that he was a good enough player without the PEDs that he would have gotten the contract anyway, because it’s quite obvious that he wouldn’t have.
As reviled as some owners are (specifically someone like Peter Angelos), they have rights as well. One of those rights should be a good-faith performance from their highly paid employees. Angelos’s legal career was made by representing labor unions; one would think that he’d be able to get some of that wasted money back if he really wanted to. And it’s not the money itself, it’s the principle. The guy’s unable to play anymore because he can’t use the drugs, so why should he still be getting paid?