C.J. Nitkowski has an interesting article up over at Fox: what it’s like to be on a minor league deal with an invite to the big league camp. The players, a Nitkowski says, who teams “like you” but don’t “like you like you.”
Nitkowski runs through the thought process of the player trying to find the right fit with a minor league invite. Factors include how old the team is. What other players are on the team and whether there’s a theoretical spot for you. And, perhaps most importantly, how trustworthy the general manager is:
That trust is important in these situations because promises are made to non-roster invitees. “We have a spot for you” … “You’ll make our team but we can’t put you on the 40-man roster until spring training ends” … “If you don’t make our team, we’ll let you go to another.” All of that sounds great, but if none of that is in writing the words are only as good as the GM’s reputation.
For a lot of players, spring training is about getting their work in and getting out to the golf course by mid-afternoon. For guys on minor league deals, their future is very much up in the air all spring long.