You Gotta Do What You Gotta Do

     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.

     The independent leagues are not affiliated with any MLB team, thus the name Independent Leagues. It’s still considered professional baseball because you are getting paid to play, and many former major league and minor league players try their hand at indy ball in order to prove to MLB teams that they still have the ability, health, or whatever it takes to play affiliated baseball. This is an option I am more than willing to explore. As I’ve said throughout this entire free agency process, I love the game too much to just give up. I have more to offer, and more to prove. My ultimate goal is to play in the Major Leagues, and this could be the stepping stone I’ll need to get there. Throughout the indy ball season, MLB scouts frequent the games. They are looking for guys to sign, and knowing that the independent leagues are home to mostly former affiliated ball guys with good experience, that’s where they’ll look to find it. 
     If indy ball is the route that I take in my career, I’ll embrace every opportunity that I have. I’m going to make each outing count. I’ll go out there with the intent of showing anyone who’s watching that I still have what it takes to come back, and that I’d be a valuable asset to their organization. Baseball is baseball, no matter where it’s played. I’m blessed to still have the ability to play this game, and I’ll be blessed to put on any uniform that’s given to me. The rest is out of my control. 
     Thanks for all of your continued support throughout this process. I sincerely appreciate all the kind words that are sent my way daily. As always, I’ll keep everyone updated on what’s going on. Hope everyone has a great weekend!
                                                                                          Michael Schlact

7 Comments

My pitching coach, Marc Deschenes, wound up playing indy ball after 11 years in Minors. He then got signed by the Red Sox http://www.baseball-reference.com/minors/player.cgi?id=desche001mar and http://www.kensavage.com/archives/repost-of-marc-deschenes-interview-from-redsox-nationnet/
Something good is going to happen for you.

I’m happy to hear that you are willing to take the path. I really believe that you are going to have things go right for you. I’ve been anxiously following on Twitter waiting for good news. If you’re looking to play independent ball, I would love to see you play for my local team, the Washington Wild Things, although PA isn’t that close to your home in Atlanta.

While I know an independent league isn’t the ideal it can be a good step towards getting back to affiliated ball. One of your former teammates Salomon Manriquez went from an open tryout for the York Revolution last season to a spot on the NY Mets AAA affiliate. And former MLB pitcher Justin Hampson pitched for York after having shoulder surgery as well & is also with the Mets organization now. Tike Redman in one season made the jump from the York Revolution all the way to playing for the Orioles. I can think of countless other stories from within the Atlantic League. So don’t give up & please exhaust every opportunity that you can get! You never know what will happen. :)

Michael,

I don’t know if you remember me but I coached Jonathan at Eastside. Hang in there. As you know there are many stories of players who went the Indy route and made it back! For instance, Mark Prior is in Yankees camp and is doing well.

We believe in you!

Scott Cipinko

“Son”: I am happy you are back in baseball! You have the talent to make it! Stay healthy and David and I will be keeping up with you through the season. Mark

Don’t give up your dream. There are many more stories of guys who made it to the bigs on their drive and work ethic. Very few players can make it solely based on talent. You obviously have talent, but it sounds like you have the other intangibles it takes to make it. Keep on going. If it doesn’t work out in the end, you will have enjoyed the adventure of pursuing your dream and you will know that you gave it your best shot. You will have no regrets. Best wishes to you and I hope you make it. (Don’t forget our Ft. Worth Cats. Ft. Worth is a long way from Atlanta, but if you want to play in a historic ballpark and be embraced by a community, come on out. I would love to come see you in a Cats’ uniform.)

hi??

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