Victor Zambrano’s mother was recovered from kidnappers in Venezuela on Tuesday. That’s good. The threat to anyone connected with Major League Baseball, however, remains the same: if they think you can pay a ransom, your family is subject to kidnappers. That’s bad! So bad that the Mets are considering asking their catching prospect Josh Thole to return home from his winter league team there.
Whether Thole — a young, not-yet-rich American who presumably has no family in Venezuela — faces the kind of threat that rich, native Venezuelan starts like Zambrano and Yorvit Torrealba do is an open question. I mean, it’s my uneducated guess that these kinds of people don’t want to risk the kind of heat that would come down if they started picking up random U.S. citizens, but who the hell knows?
What I do know, though, is that if I were running a Major League team I’d (a) do everything I could to persuade my Venezuelan players to relocate their families; and (b) I’d probably not want anyone playing in the Venezuelan winter leagues. Baseball simply ain’t worth this kind of thing.