Dobbs gets hot at the right time

With his 1-for-5 performance for Lehigh Valley Wednesday night, Greg Dobbs now has a five-game hitting streak. Considering that over the rest of the season, he has never gone past two consecutive games with hits in each, the accomplishment should signal a turn around for the former – and future – Philadelphia Phillie.

Over his five-game streak, Dobbs is hitting .450 (9-for-20) with two home runs and eight RBI with Lehigh Valley. Considering that Dobbs has just one home run  and 15 RBI over the rest of the season with both the Phillies and IronPigs, his recent performance is significant.

Even with his accomplishments for the Phillies over the past three seasons – 24 HR, 115 RBI, .272 AVG – Dobbs 2010 season seemed to put him in that class of players who would wind up their career with the Phillies in something less than good standing. After being designated for assignment twice this season and spending a fair amount of time at Triple-A Lehigh Valley, Dobbs was pretty much left-for-dead and there were many who thought he might not even resurface at some point past the September 1 roster expansions.

Now though, Dobbs is becoming much more like the Greg Dobbs of old, which is a great sign for the Phillies over the last month of the season. Having a veteran left-handed bat to bring off the bench to provide some power and clutch hits would benefit the Phillies greatly. With Dobbs performances since his arrival in Philly, there are plenty of examples to point to as evidence of just how important Dobbs can be in Philadelphia.

While his recent hot streak pretty much seals the deal to have him return to the Phillies literally at any moment – most likely Friday when the Phillies return home – if he is able to give the Phillies clutch performances over the final month of the season, it brings to light another question about Dobbs’ future.

After the season, the Phillies will need to decide whether or not to tender a contract offer to Dobbs. The 32 year-old is eligible for arbitration for the final time following the season and arbitration hearings don’t result in pay cuts for players. With Dobbs making $1.35 million this season, the Phillies may decide that there is no reason to go to arbitration and could simply non-tender Dobbs, making him a free agent. It’s also possible that they’ll try to reach a deal with him to avoid arbitration, but just how much would the Phillies be willing – and able – to offer and how low will Dobbs go in his demands?

The Phillies payroll is almost bursting at the seems and there isn’t a lot of money to go around. Had Dobbs put up the type of numbers that he did in his first three seasons, re-signing him would be a no-brainer. Now though, there is nothing about his future in Philadelphia that is definite.

For now, all that matters is what Dobbs can do for the Phillies over the rest of the season. In fact, what he does over the rest of the season is going to be a big part of what matters for Dobbs and the Phillies once the negotiating begins.

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