We chuckled at Shawn Estes. We laughed at Eric Milton. We were entertained by Jeff Weaver. We were slightly leery of Pedro Martinez. Oh, sure, non-roster invites all (and in Pedro’s case, not even an offer yet), and it’s all well and good to see what sticks to the wall with no strings attached. But now? This? If this is where we are…
Remember Mac Suzuki? According to MLB.com’s Dick Kaegel, the Royals’ first Japanese pitcher worked out for Kansas City and Cleveland and will audition for the Dodgers as well. He’s spent the last three years in the Mexican League. (via MLBTR)
Again, I get it – it’s just a workout and his best hope is a non-roster invite. Accepting that, MAC SUZUKI? Really? You’d think that the fact that not only was he an awful major league pitcher (in his three full years in the bigs, he never once managed to get his WHIP below 1.532, which is 0.158 higher than favorite whipping boy Brett Tomko’s career mark), not only was he an awful minor league pitcher (4.65 ERA and 1.52 WHIP in parts of 9 seasons), but also was a mediocre Mexican League pitcher (4.00 ERA in 34 games last year) would be enough to get his career over with. You might also think the fact that he got cut from a Taiwanese team in 2007 would do it for him. I mean, he hasn’t even seen the majors since 2002. But no, that’s not even the kicker for me.
No, the topper is that all of those leagues, lousy as he was in them, are still several steps above his 2008 low: pitching for the Calgary Vipers of the independent “Golden League“. With such stalwart franchises as the “Harlingen WhiteWings” and the “Edmonton Cracker-Cats”, the Golden League – also known as “where hope goes to die” – is best known as where the corpses of Rickey Henderson and Jose Canseco landed in recent years to promote themselves and their book deals, respectively.
Again, I get that it’s just a throwing session, but now we’re pulling guys out of glorified softball leagues? I mean, I’d almost rather get “Mac” from Punch-Out or just go listen to the Mooney Suzuki.
Or… well hell, if that’s where we’re looking for talent now, do I dare to dream? Perhaps my MLB 2K9 fantasies could come true in real life. Let’s see… he’s a washed-up has-been pitcher looking for a 2nd (or 3rd, or 8th chance). Sounds like he’d fit right in with this crew. He might be fictional, but I’d still take him over Shawn Estes.
Kenny Powers, come on down!