Welcome back. I appreciate you all following along with me on Twitter, Facebook, and my MLBlog. Many of you might have heard the news regarding my free agency for this season. If you haven’t heard yet, here you go. I have signed a 2011 contract with the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs of the independent Atlantic League. As I wrote in a previous blog entry, independent ball is great for guys who want to prove their health, abilities, or that just love the game. Since day 1, I’ve heard nothing but positive things about the Atlantic League. Many former MLB players are in the league, and the competition is said to be the best in all of indy ball. I am blessed to have signed a contract in that league and I look forward to the season.
Just so that you know, signing with an independent league team doesn’t mean that I can’t sign with a MLB team. If a MLB team approaches me and wants me to sign before I’ve thrown my first pitch in Southern Maryland, the contract just voids without any stipulations. If the Atlantic League season has begun, a MLB team will have to buy me out of the Southern Maryland contract. This of course is not totally confirmed, it’s just my understanding.
I’ll attach a few links for you guys to read up on my new team, and check out the stadium I’ll be playing in for this season. It looks like a wonderful place to call home, and I know some guys that have played there that say you just can’t beat it. Thanks for all the well wishes and kind words from you guys. As you’ve followed my free agency and injury journey, it’s been very comforting to know that so many people are supporting me. I thank each and every one of you sincerely, and I hope to see you at a ballpark this summer!
Many people have been asking me what I’m going to do if a MLB team doesn’t pick me up. I wanted to write a short entry that will hopefully let you guys in on the decision making that a free agent has to make. There are many factors that go in to a team being hesitant to sign a pitcher. Stats, history, character, surgeries, etc. In my case, teams have been hesitant to pick me up because of my 2009 shoulder surgery. I missed most of 2009 and more than half of 2010 because of it, and my comeback wasn’t exactly strong. Granted, I had some great outings. However, towards the end of the season, when my innings started adding up, arm fatigue set in and I got hit around a little bit. All of that is to be expected with shoulder surgery. Ups, downs, highs, lows. So, with very little consistency and not much time to prove my health, you can imagine why teams would be hesitant to sign me. There is a way for me to prove to teams that I am healthy. That I can throw a lot of innings. That I can be consistent. That’s independent league baseball.