When he signed a minor-league contract with the Red Sox during spring training Alan Embree had the right to opt out of the deal if he wasn’t on the major-league roster by April 15. Once that date arrived and the Red Sox had no plans to promote him Embree extended the deadline to April 30, saying that he needed a bit more time to get ready anyway.
However, yesterday the 40-year-old reliever told Dan Barbarisi of the Providence Journal that he will not extend the opt-out deadline again and plans to become a free agent if not called up to Boston by Friday.
There’s not going to be any extending of the deadline anymore. I’ve been a good soldier, I did whatever’s asked, and I did what it took to get ready. If something hasn’t happened by the 30th, I think they know that I’m not going to consider staying. So it’s pretty much cut-and-dried. If I don’t hear anything, I get on a plane and head home until I have a new job.
I feel like I’m ready, I feel like I can help the team, but ultimately that’s not my decision. I can respect that. I’m a player, they’re in charge. The way I look at it is that they either take me, or I go somewhere else, or I go home. At this point in my career, I’m pretty comfortable with it. I’m sure there’ll be work out there for me, and I’m sure it’ll be good work. But that’s not what was intended when I signed over here. I wanted to be a Red Sox and retire a Red Sox.
Tim Wakefield getting bumped from the rotation makes the Red Sox’s bullpen even more crowded, but realistically Embree is simply competing with fellow southpaw Scott Schoeneweis for the situational left-hander role anyway. Hideki Okajimi clearly isn’t going anywhere as the left-handed setup man and it seems unlikely that the Red Sox would keep three lefties in the bullpen right now.
In other words, unless Boston feels like dumping Schoeneweis my guess is that Embree will indeed be getting on a plane and heading home at the end of this week.
Nathan Fenno of the Los Angeles Times has an outstanding profile of former Rays prospect Brandon Martin, who is currently in jail for allegedly murdering three men nearly two years ago.
Fenno describes Martin’s erratic personality as he became a highly-touted baseball prospect who then descends into drug use. Friends described Martin has having completely changed into an unrecognizable person. Martin had repeated conflicts with friends and family such that police reports became common and he was placed in a psychiatric facility. Sadly, the facility only held him for less than 48 hours. He would allegedly murder three people upon returning home: his father, his brother-in-law, and a home security system contractor. Martin fled from police, who eventually caught up to him and subdued him with the help of a police dog.
Fenno’s profile is really worth a read, so click here to check it out.
Martin, 23, was selected by the Rays in the first round (38th overall) of the 2011 draft. He spent three years in the Rays’ system, reaching as high as Single-A Bowling Green.
On Sunday, Red Sox reliever Matt Barnes was ejected for throwing at Orioles third baseman Manny Machado‘s head. It was revenge for a slide of Machado’s which ended up injuring Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia. Barnes was suspended four games.
Hall of Famer and former Red Sox pitcher Pedro Martinez said that if he were in Barnes’ shoes, he would have also thrown at Machado, although not necessarily at his head. Via ESPN’s Scott Lauber:
If I was pitching, I was going to drill Machado, as much as I love him. The only thing I would’ve done differently is probably bring the ball a little bit lower.
Martinez added that Machado “did not intend to hurt Pedroia. And I know that because I know Machado.” And he doesn’t think Barnes meant to throw at Machado’s head.
Martinez, of course, was certainly a pitcher who wasn’t afraid to pitch inside to batters and even hit a few of them when he felt he or his teammates had been wronged. This is an unfortunate part of baseball’s culture and the fact that it continues means that it will eventually result in someone being seriously hurt. It’s disappointing that Martinez isn’t willing to be a better role model now that his playing days are over. Martinez could have set an example for today’s pitchers by saying what Barnes did crossed a line. Getting a Hall of Famer’s seal of approval will only embolden players now when they feel they must defend their teammates’ honor.
The “tradition” of beaning batters to defend one’s teammates is anachronistic in today’s game, especially when Major League Baseball has made strides in so many other ways recently to protect players’ safety.