Here’s an idea I had never considered: a “three-day mixer” called the Professional Free Agent
Showcase where unemployed baseball players work out for and scouts for teams
looking for talent. The inaugural one kicks off today and lasts through Thursday at Al Lang Field in
St. Petersburg, Fla.
It’s not for Major League free agents. According to the article it’s for “the six-year, fringe-type ballplayer.” Minor league free agents mostly, though there are a couple of guys with some big league experience like Tim Raines, Jr. and Nick Beirbrodt. It’s set up by former ballplayer Rob Ducey and former ballplayers such as Cecil Fielder and Heathcliff Slocumb are helping to run it. It costs each free agent $500 to attend, and basically works like one of those private, Ben Sheets-style private workouts, only for 20 dudes instead of one.
Kind of sounds like a meat market. Kind of sounds depressing. Then again, that describes all manner of things any of the rest of us who have ever been unemployed have had to go through, so it’s really hard to find fault.
At least six teams are interested in free agent shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, according to a recent report from Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle. Known suitors include the Cubs, who will reportedly be in attendance during one of the shortstop’s offseason workouts as they decide whether or not to press forward with a deal.
The Blue Jays released Tulowitzki on Tuesday as general manager Ross Atkins admitted he couldn’t rely on the 34-year-old to bounce back from season-ending bone spur removal surgery and be the kind of consistent presence the club needed going forward. Toronto is expected to absorb the remaining $38 million on Tulowitzki’s contract, which includes the $20 million he’s due in 2019, another $14 million in 2020 and a $4 million buyout in 2021.
The veteran slugger will be available to any interested team at a minimum $600,000, an undeniably attractive bargain if he recovers in advance of the 2019 season. He last appeared in the majors in 2017 and slashed .249/.300/.378 with 17 extra-base hits and a .678 OPS through 260 PA. Per Slusser, Tulowitzki appears to be angling for a job with the Athletics — even going so far as to say he’d be willing to switch positions in order to play for a winning team — though they have yet to reach out about a potential deal this winter.