(After stints with the Rockies and Marlins, ex-Mariner Jose Lopez is now a non-roster player with the Indians. Associated Press photo).
If you’re the type of person who finds it interesting that Dioner Navarro is in Reds camp, Rob Johnson has landed with the Mets, and Brandon Wood is now with the Colorado Rockies, this is the post for you.
Every spring, one of my favorite activities (because I am a twisted and single-minded individual) is to peruse the list of non-roster invitees to see who has ended up where. Baseball is an unforgiving, transient business. One minute, you can be a highly touted prospect like Wood, with all eyes on you, and the next, you’re jumping from camp to camp, desperately trying to forge some semblance of a career. There is an undeniable poignancy to spring training, because for many of these non-roster guys, it is truly a final chance to keep playing a game for a living. Each and every year, a bunch are ushered out the door, never to return.
There are really three types of non-roster players in every camp. There are young, upcoming guys like Taijuan Walker in Mariners camp, viewed as an integral part of their team’s future and brought in to get a taste of big-league life before heading off to the minors.
Second are veterans like Kevin Millwood, who are on the downside of decorated careers but are viewed as likely candidates to still contribute. They’re not a lock, but if they show they haven’t completely fallen apart, they have a good chance of making the team.
The third, and most heartrending, category, is the guy desperately trying to hang on. Maybe he had a little success in the bigs and then had an injury or personal issue that torched his career. Maybe he was a highly touted rookie who never panned out, but teams still can’t quite get it out of their head that they can be the ones to bring out the latent talent. Or maybe he’s just a journeyman fringe guy who can’t bear to hang up the cleats. I’m talking Oliver Perez (Mariners camp), Jeff Clement (Pirates camp) and Corky Miller (Reds camp).
And in a separate category unto himself is Jamie Moyer, who is trying to make the Rockies at age 49 after missing an entire season to Tommy John Surgery.
I take perverse pleasure in finding out (or remembering) that Manny Corpas and Rodrigo Lopez are now with the Cubs, Dallas McPherson and Delwyn Young are with the White Sox, Ron Mahay and Jeff Francis are with the Reds, Kevin Kouzmanoff is with the Royals, Travis Ishikawa is with the Brewers, Jeff Suppan is with the Padres, Brad Hawpe and Conor Jackson are with the Rangers, Dennys Reyes, Armando Galarraga and Nick Johnson are with the Orioles, Aaron Cook, Brandon Duckworth and Jason Repko are with the Red Sox, Livan Hernandez and Travis Buck are with the Astros, Aaron Rowand and Austin Kearns are with the Marlins, Adam Loewen is with the Mets (as an outfielder), Manny Banuelos, Manny Delcarmen and Jayson Nix are with the Yankees, Dave Bush, Scott Elarton, Tuffy Gosewisch, Kevin Frandsen and Juan Pierre are with the Phillies, Scott Linebrink, Koyie Hill and Alex Cora are with the Cardinals, and Chad Tracy is with the Nationals.
Of course, there’s always a morbid fascination in seeing which ex-Mariners wound up in what camps. Here’s what I found after a perusal of the non-roster list:
Chris Jakubauskas: Diamondbacks
Ryan Langerhans, Angels
Josh Bard, Dodgers
Jamey Wright, Dodgers
Chris Ray, Indians
Chris Seddon, Indians
Jose Lopez, Indians
Sean Green, Rangers
Josh Wilson, Braves
Carlos Silva, Red Sox
Rob Johnson, Mets
Garrett Olson, Mets
Miguel Batista, Mets
Bill Hall, Yankees
Russell Branyan, Yankees
Joel Pineiro, Phillies
Scott Podsednik, Phillies
Matt Mangini, Rays
Aaron Laffey, Blue Jays
Chris Woodward, Blue Jays