March 2011

When is the right time to release a player?

These past 48 hours have been pretty tough on me. On Friday morning at 7:38 am, I entered the Tigers clubhouse like any other normal spring training day. Just before I was about to get dressed for our nutrition and supplement meeting I noticed my teammate had a note in his locker saying “Please see Rojas”. Sometimes that can just mean to see the “boss” to be told you may be throwing in a lower-level game that day to get your work in, or it can be the dreaded you have been let go meeting. As I walked up to my locker I noticed I had one too. My brain started to wonder, could this be it? I looked down every row of lockers to see what other “bubble” guys had these notes. I got a pretty good feeling that this wasn’t going to be a good meeting.

After Kyle Bloom exited the office I entered knowing my fate ahead of time. Was I going to scream, curse, cry, or question their decision? Being released before with Oakland I had a heads up on what my emotions may become. In the office I was confronted by Mike Rojas, Kevin Bradshaw, Dan Lunetta, and Avi Bechlar. They kept it short and brief and said it was a numbers game and this year I didn’t have a spot. Dan said some nice remarks about my time with the organization and I thanked each of them personally for the opportunity within the organization.

Packing your bags in front of everyone is not a pleasant sight. Everyone feels awkward coming up to you apologizing or wishing you the best. You are speechless and don’t know what to really say back. I have played with many great players and friends within the Tigers organization and want to thank them for all the fun times. I know I didn’t get to see and say goodbye to all of them, but I want them to know I appreciate their friendship and time together.

When is the right time to release a player? It is a very hard thing for the staff and players to deal with. Organizations sign many free agents in the off season to go along with their own players and new draft class. I have been in camps ranging from 100-180+ players in it. Now if you do the math only four teams break out of spring training which are allowed 25 players on each team. So 100 guys break camp and 20-40 are left over for extended spring training and the rest are left without work.

Some organizations release players each week throughout ST. Some players only get one inning or 3-5 at bats to prove themselves. But those guys have no shot of proving themselves. They were written off the minute they stepped on the field for ST. To give a guy one week of camp is not fair by any means. There may not be a right answer of when is the right time to release a player. Some teams think by releasing a guy early in camp if benefits that player to get picked up by another team. But every other team at this time of the year is downsizing and already have their guys. It’s not very likely that a team is shopping for players.

Teams do have to “use” players as insurance in case of injuries, trades, or waiver movements. Some teams let go of players on the very last day of camp which is very tough to see. A couple years ago I saw an organization make a pitcher throw 5 innings in an inter-squad on the last day of camp to just release him following the game no matter the outcome of his performance.

So right now I’m still currently unemployed looking for work with an affiliated team preferably. I want to thank my supporters on twitter and blog readers for all the kind words and support during these hard times. I will be back on the field soon enough.

Random Q&A’s

The minor league spring training schedule has been posted here. If you are in the Lakeland or surrounding areas we play against the Phillies, Braves, Houston, and the Nationals during our short stint here. All games are open to the public.

spring training 2011 Schedule

Best food places on the road are always Bar Louie or Chipotle in Columbus. Frickers or Grumpys in Toledo. Palominos or St Elmos in Indianapolis. Podestos sandwiches and In-n-Out in Stockton, California.

Favorite baseball movie is For Love of the Game. But in a close second is Mr Baseball or Major League.

The Hens will sure miss Larry Parrish this upcoming season. He was a great field general and was always fun to pick his brain. He had a ton of stories from his playing days. It was also fun to play golf with him on the road. I wish LP the best, and I’m very excited to play for Phil Nevin hopefully. I have only heard rave reviews of his style of play and the way he manages. All the guys in Erie loved his passion for the game.

I can’t really remember the oldest guys I’ve played with, but we have Timo Perez in camp with us this season if that gives you any hint of the age some of these guys are here.

thanks for the questions via Twitter

Camp has been going well. We had live BP with pitchers the past two days. Hitters are starting to get their timing back. There has been a good feeling around camp with the new regime. We are getting a lot of work done and going about it the right way. Very excited for 2011.

Go Tigers!

Turn your head and cough

So the first day of spring training is in the books. We had physicals a couple days ago which sometimes can be a drag, but this year they went pretty smoothly. Detroit does an amazing job with physicals. They cover ever part of our bodies including dental which is very nice to know that we are completely healthy prior to taking the field.

Today opened up with a 9:30am meeting outside with the entire minor league staff and front office. Mike Rojas and Kevin Bradshaw are leading the way for this years spring training. Pitchers and catchers are broken up into 4-5 groups. We covered bullpens, pick offs, bunt defense, and ground balls. Tomorrow is the dreaded running test. I say dreaded because no one enjoys being timed to do a 300 yard shuttle 3 times at 8am.

I’m very excited for the new regime here in Detroit. There are a ton of new faces for players as well as coaches. Wish me luck. As always thanks for reading and feel free to ask questions or leave comments.

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Can you smell the fresh cut grass?

Spring training 2011 is upon us and I’m sure everyone is just as excited for another amazing baseball season as I am. This off season was not much of an off season because I was playing winterball all over Latin America. Although I think it did physically and mentally prepare me for this upcoming season. I have done all the work I needed in the gym and on the field and I’m ready to throw the pill.

I will be headed up to Lakeland, Florida by the end of this week to join the pitchers and catchers for the start of minor league camp. We have physicals Sunday morning and are full swing into bullpens and PFP on Monday.

Thanks for all the continued support and welcome all new twitter followers. Please use this blog to ask me questions and make comments. I plan to keep a blog once a week while at camp. I love the feedback and want to give back to the fans.