Before he signed with the Miami Marlins, utility infielder and veteran pinch hitter Greg Dobbs wasn't used to playing on losing teams. He was a key part of a Philadelphia Phillies championship in 2008, and thrived throughout his time in Seattle.
A Marlin since 2011, Dobbs has yet to be a part of a winning team in Miami. Despite the fact that he has consistently been around a losing atmosphere, the 35-year old veteran is excited to continue to be a leader and watch a young team grow. To ensure he would be around to do exactly that, Dobbs signed a one-year, $1.7 million contract extension in early June that wasn't reported until the end of the season.
"I embrace the challenge," Dobbs said in an interview with MLB.com. "But I embrace the challenge, because I understand the pieces we have in place. The future looks really, really bright, even though we are going through some tough times right now."
Dobbs has seen the organization struggle, both before and after trades. He was around when Hanley Ramirez and Dan Uggla were in the lineup and Josh Johnson was on the mound, and has now seen what some of the young talent acquired last offseason is capable of.
Miami initially signed Dobbs as a non-roster invitee. He is a well respected, left-handed pinch hitter off the bench, and can play both first and third. Since 2004, his 94 pinch hits are the most in the majors. The Marlins, at times, have also given Dobbs starts in the outfield.
This past season, Dobbs was 10-for-48 coming off of the bench as a pinch hitter. Having played on several playoff teams in Philadelphia, Dobbs knows the talent and discipline it takes to be playing postseason baseball.
"I embrace the challenge," Dobbs said. "But I embrace the challenge, because I understand the pieces we have in place. The future looks really, really bright, even though we are going through some tough times right now.I think, moving forward, we're going to be a really good team. I want to be part of when that happens."
Dobbs, like the Marlins as a whole, is excited about Miami's young starting pitching. Jose Fernandez, Henderson Alvarez, Nathan Eovaldi, and Jacob Turner are all expected to return to the starting rotation next season.
"There are a lot of really good pieces here," Dobbs noted. "It takes time for all that to culminate, for all these pieces and all these players to realize what it takes on a daily basis -- for them to realize, not only what it takes to compete at this level, but to win at this level."
With Casey Kotchman and Joe Mahoney on the roster, Dobbs didn't receive an ideal amount of playing time early on. However, those two got injured, and though he saw more action, he also became a leader in the clubhouse.
"I'm not the loud, boisterous leader," Dobbs said. "I'm not the rah-rah, in your face, scream and smash your football pads type. I'm a bit more reserved. I watch a lot. I watch and I listen more than I speak. If there is something that needs to be addressed, I absolutely speak. There is no question. To be an effective leader, you have to pay attention and watch and listen more than you speak."