Gibbons hired as Royals bench coach

BOB ELLIOTT, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:46 AM ET

BOSTON -- So, is this a case of John Gibbons not being able to sign Gil Meche, so he joined him?

"That's a good one," Gibbons said with a laugh on the phone from San Antonio after Kansas City Royals general manager Dayton Moore and manager Trey Hillman hired Gibbons to be their bench coach in 2009.

At the 2006 winter meetings the Jays attempted to sign free-agent Meche, who instead took a five-year, $55-million US contract from the Royals, which was basically the same money the Jays were offering.

Gibbons was fired by general manager J.P. Ricciardi June 20 in Pittsburgh when the Jays owned a 35-39 record and sat in fifth place. The Jays went 51-37 the rest of the way under Cito Gaston to finish fourth in the American League East.

"I've known Trey since we managed against each other in the minors. He's a real Texan from over near Austin. I'm a transplant," said Gibbons, who was born in Great Falls, Mont.

Gibbons managed in the New York Mets farm system while Hillman ran the show for the New York Yankees affiliates, opposing each other at three different levels.

Gibbons was at class-A Port St. Lucie when Hillman was at Tampa; then they were at double-A (Binghamton and Norwich) and in triple-A (Norfolk and Columbus) managing against one another.

"I met Dayton Moore once and he's first class," Gibbons said. "When we got into September, I began making some calls to some teams about next season. He said they didn't know yet if they had an opening, but he'd call back."

Last week Gibbons flew to Austin to meet with Moore and Hillman. The San Diego Padres were said to have been interested in Gibbons. Dave Owen, the Royals bench coach in 2008, becomes their third-base coach.

Luis Silverio, the third-base coach in 2008, will be a special assistant to player development. Hitting coach Mike Barnett, the Jays former hitting coach, and Silverio were not offered coaching contracts.

Major League Baseball put in a rule a decade or so ago about not staging major announcements during the post-season as New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner was in the habit of hiring a new manager and upstaging the World Series

Gibbons, in a good mood, and at his self-deprecating best, was asked if the major news of his hiring would break any MLB rules?

"Do you think they'll flash it across the board at Fenway: Royals hire John Gibbons? I don't think so," Gibbons said jokingly.

Gibbons managed 610 games with the Jays, taking over in 2004 from Carlos Tosca, and was 305-305.


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