Greg Dobbs, millionaire.
Given the economy – and the outrageous salaries we see players pull down – it may be hard to appreciate the new status Dobbs enjoys, but anyone who recalls his time with the Seattle Mariners can probably work up a smile.
Dobbs, 30, signed a two-year, $2.5 million contract with the Philadelphia Phillies by being just that valuable to the team that won the 2008 World Series. Two years ago, he was waived by the Mariners.
In 2007, Dobbs hit .272 with 10 home runs and 55 RBI – and 18 of those RBI came as a pinch-hitter. Last season, Dobbs batted .301 with nine home runs and 40 RBI, in 226 at-bats. His 22 pinch hits led he majors, and produced 16 RBI.
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Saying Dobbs worked hard to extend his major league career doesn't sound like much – who, given the chance, wouldn't?
The answer is, a lot of guys.
When he came up with Seattle, he played the outfield, first base and – with Adrian Beltre's help – learned to play third base. He never went through the motions, never took an easy day in drills that were monotonous.
Dobbs grew up, lost the youthful arrogance and the sense of entitlement so many good athletes have. He stopped finding bad breaks and worked harder than he ever had.
About the time he'd learned the position, he lost his job. The Mariners let him go, and for a time in December, 2006, Dobbs feared his career might be over. Then Pat Gillick and the Phillies called.
And today, Dobbs is a millionaire. Nice story.
Philadelphia seems to collect former Mariners. They traded for Jamie Moyer, who now has a World Series ring. They signed free agent Raul Ibanez. This week, they reached out to another ex-Mariner, left-handed pitcher Jake Woods.
Woods signed a minor league deal with an invitation to spring training, and finds himself in a similar situation to the one Dobbs faced in '07. He has a chance, and in baseball that's often all you get.
Dobbs made the most of his. Like Dobbs, Woods needs to alter his attitude a few degrees and do the work without seeing the politics of roster moves.
Here's wishing Jake the best. Everything else, he'll have to earn.