The Dodgers designating Garret Anderson for assignment opened up a roster spot, and the man who took it was one Jay Gibbons. Interesting story there.
Gibbons, you’ll recall, was a Mitchell Report All-Star, having been tied up with those “rejuvenation clinics” that supplied players with HGH. He was released by the Orioles the following spring and failed to latch on anywhere else as spring turned to summer. In June 2008, he wrote letters to all 30 MLB teams basically pleading for a job (see the sidebar). In the letter he said this:
I respectfully and humbly request that you grant me the chance to play
for your organization. I am so willing to prove myself as a player, and a
person, that I will donate ALL of my minor league earnings to your
Club’s charity. In the event that I earn the right to play at the major
league level, I will gladly donate a significant sum to that same
The letter bore some immediate fruit, as Gibbons was signed by the independent Long Island Ducks. Soon after that the Milwaukee Brewers took a chance on him, but he never made the big club. The Marlins gave him a look in spring training in 2009 but released him and he spent the year with the independent Newark Bears. This year he’s been at AAA Albuquerque all season.
But now he’s back in the majors. Query: did he give his minor league salary to the Brewers’ charity in 2008 and the Dodgers’ in 2009? Now that he’s been called up, is he donating a “significant sum” to the Dodgers’ charity?
I’m not saying he should be forced to — the Dodgers charity has it’s own problems, so I actually hope he doesn’t, and it has been a couple of years since he made that promise — but he did say he would.
Terrible, terrible news: Christian Moreno of ESPN reports that Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura has been killed in an automobile accident in the Dominican Republic. His death has been confirmed by police. He was only 25 years-old. There are as of yet no details about the accident.
Ventura was a four-year veteran, having debuted in 2013 but truly bursting onto the scene for the Royals in 2014. That year he went 14-10 with a 3.20 ERA in 183 innings, ascending to the national stage along with the entire Royals team with some key performances in that year’s ALDS and World Series. The following year Ventura won 13 games for the World Champion Royals and again appeared in the playoffs and World Series.
Ventura was often in the middle of controversy — he found himself in several controversies arising out of his habit of hitting and brushing back hitters — but he was an undeniably electric young talent who was poised to anchor the Royals rotation for years to come. His loss, like that of Jose Fernandez just this past September, is incalculable to both his team, his fans and to Major League Baseball as a whole.
Our thoughts go out to his family, his friends, his teammates and his fans.
Free agent right-hander Tim Lincecum isn’t ready to hang up his cleats just yet. At least, that’s the word from Lincecum’s agent, Rick Thurman, who says the 32-year-old is still “throwing and getting ready for the season” (via Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News).
Lincecum may not be ready to enter retirement, but another quote from Thurman suggests that he’ll be picky about where he pitches next. He doesn’t appear open to pitching overseas, and despite not having a contract for 2017 (or even any serious suitors), the right-hander is set on pitching in the big leagues this year. Whether or not he’s willing to take a bullpen role to do so remains to be seen.
While Baggarly predicts some interest in the veteran righty, there’s not much in Lincecum’s recent history to inspire faith in him as a starter, or even a reliever. He picked up a one-year, $2.5 million contract with the Angels following his hip surgery in 2015, and went 2-6 in 2016 with a 9.16 ERA, 5.4 BB/9 and 7.5 SO/9 over 38 1/3 innings. At this point, a minor league contract seems like the surest path back to major league success, though he’s unlikely to find an open spot on the Giants’ or Angels’ rosters anytime soon.