Minor league deal with a spring training invite: “They like you, they just don’t like you, like you”

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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.

Brewers have 3 positive COVID tests at alternate site

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
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MILWAUKEE — The Brewers had two players and a staff member test positive for the coronavirus at their alternate training site in Appleton, Wisconsin.

Milwaukee president of baseball operations David Stearns confirmed the positive results Saturday and said they shouldn’t impact the major league team. Teams are using alternate training sites this season to keep reserve players sharp because the minor league season was canceled due to the pandemic.

Stearns said the positive tests came Monday and did not name the two players or the staff member. Players must give their permission for their names to be revealed after positive tests.

The entire camp was placed in quarantine.

“We have gone through contact tracing,” Stearns said. “We do not believe it will have any impact at all on our major league team. We’ve been fortunate to get through this season relatively unscathed in this area. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to get all the way there at our alternate site.”

Milwaukee entered Saturday one game behind the Reds and Cardinals for second place in the NL Central, with the top two teams qualifying for the postseason.

The Brewers still will be able to take taxi squad players with them on the team’s trip to Cincinnati and St. Louis in the final week of the season. He said those players have had repeated negative tests and the team is “confident” there would be no possible spread of the virus.

“Because of the nature of who these individuals were, it’s really not going to affect the quarantine group at all,” Stearns said. “We’re very fortunate that the group of players who could potentially be on a postseason roster for us aren’t interacting all that much with the individuals that tested positive.”