Once again, I am the lone demented voice crying out in the wilderness to tell one and all that Jay Gibbons has reached the next signpost in his Sisyphean journey back to the major leagues. The former Oriole, who will be 33 on Opening Day and has not played in the MLB since 2007, has signed a minor league deal with the Dodgers and a spring training invite. It smacks of a last ditch effort. In the past two and a half years, here's the path that Jay's career has taken:
September 2007: Implicated as a steroid and human growth hormone user by Sports Illustrated. A torn labrum had already brought a halt to his worst season to date (.230, 6 HR, 28 RBI in 84 games).
December 6, 2007: Suspended by commissioner Bud Selig for the first 15 games of the 2008 season.
March 29, 2008: Released by the Orioles on the eve of the new season, bringing an end to his seven-year tenure with the club. He had hit .189 with no homers and four RBI in 16 Grapefruit League games. With a rebuilding effort underway, the O's chose to eat the $11.9 million left on his contract rather than keep him around.
June-July 2008: Still unsigned, Jay sends a letter to all 30 teams pleading for a second chance and offering to donate his salary to charity. Ultimately, he signs with the Long Island Ducks of the independent Atlantic League and hits .280 with five home runs in 107 at-bats.
July 22, 2008: Gibbons signs a minor league contract with the Brewers. He hits .308 with five homers in 34 games between AA Huntsville and AAA Nashville. He is not promoted to Milwaukee, and becomes a free agent at season's end.
January 12, 2009: Jay signs a minor league contract with the Marlins. They invite him to spring training, but release him in mid-March after just 16 at-bats (with five hits, a .316 average), citing a roster crunch.
May 11, 2009: He signs with the Newark Bears of the Atlantic League. In 40 games, he hit .230 with four home runs. But he did get to rub elbows with a bunch of big league washouts.
Well, Gibbons is persistent anyway. Because of that, and because I used to enjoy rooting for him, I'll keep updating you on his progress. After all, I've got to do something with the THIRTY-FIVE cards of his that I own.