Dodgers reward Jay Gibbons' perseverance with major-league contract for next season
While one outfielder may have been slipping away Thursday when Scott Podsednik became a free agent, the Dodgers were at least securing their bench strength with the signing of Jay Gibbons.
The Dodgers signed him to a one-year deal for [Updated numbers] $650,000, plus incentives that could add another $150,000 based on plate appearances.
Gibbons gave the Dodgers some much-needed power off the bench last season after he was called up Aug. 8, batting .280 with five home runs and 17 RBI in 75 at-bats.
He was a major upgrade over Garret Anderson at the plate, plus he can play some first base.
Gibbons doesn’t figure as an everyday left fielder -- his defense is what you might politely call fair -- but he’s a solid addition as an occasional starter and left-handed pinch-hitter.
He turns 34 in March, so he’s far from a long-term solution. Still, after being out of the majors for almost three years after being named in the Mitchell Report, it’s a long ways from retirement.
Gibbons had bounced around since the report on performance-enhancing drugs in the majors, even trying a stint in an independent league. He sent letters to every club asking for another opportunity, but received no offers.
He was set to retire when the Dodgers offered a chance to play in their minor league system last spring. There was no guarantee of a job back with the Dodgers, but after hitting .347 with 19 home runs at triple-A Albuquerque, he finally earned his call-up.
And now, a major-league contract.
-- Steve Dilbeck