Ricky Romero and Chris Colabello: The tale of two careers

05/16/2015 2:36 PM - Devo

Ricky Romero and Chris Colabello are two athletes at the opposite end of the spectrum.

Romero, a former Ace and once a potential CY Young candidate, was given his walking papers by the Toronto Blue Jays with $7.5 million remaining on the last year of his contract. His release also ignited a $600,000 buyout of a club option for next year.

Colabello, a superb independent league and minor league player, has finally made his way back to the Major Leagues. His road ins't necessarily the best route, but he did what he had to do to make it back.

Why focus on two athletes that aren't impact players? Because Romero and Colabello are at a crossroads with endless potential.

Colabello has 11 years in the game at this point. At 31 years of age, his stint with the Blue Jays could be his best and last opportunity to make a name for himself. He's proven countless times that he's a master at his craft. A career .313 career batting average over the span over 3,300 at-bats is proof of that. Currently batting .474, that number will come back down to earth in the coming weeks. However, injuries and underperformers may keep him in the line-up longer than expected, obviously not the worst thing in the world. Journeyman ballplayers should look to guys like Colabello. Without a doubt, he's an inspiration to hundreds of players who went undrafted, yet still have the dream to compete at the next level, Colabello is quiet and carries a big stick.

Romero has been given a second chance by the San Francisco Giants. And why wouldn't they? They Jays are paying his salary. The Giants have nothing to lose and everything to gain. The former first-round pick hasn't become a terrible player overnight. It's a combination of injuries, confidence and mechanics that resulted in underwhelming numbers. Romero really does have to regroup and start from scratch, very similar to what Scott Kazmir did. Expectations will be minimal as he begins his Giants career after signing a minor league deal. Just as Colabello has flew under the radar until a spectacular International League season earned him his first call-up in 2013, Romero needs to fly under the radar for the time being, while showing the promise that once made him one of the most promising young left-handers in the game.

Colabello has been at the bottom and clawed his way up from obscurity. Romero is at the point in his career where all the doubters have been proven right. He has to prove them wrong. While bother players resumes contrast, a closer look finds more similarities than you might think.

Devon is the Founder and Executive Director of The GM's Perspective. He is a former professional baseball player with the River City Rascals & Gateway Grizzlies. Currently, Devon is a Manager at a financial institution in Northern Ontario Canada, and can be reached at devon@thegmsperspective.com. You can follow The GM's Perspective on twitter and Facebook. His full bio can be seen here

 

Jays' Colabello making the most of his opportunity

05/09/2015 6:13 AM - Devo

Whenever Chris Colabello drives the ball into the gap I can't help but smile. The long-time Indy standout is back on the radar, this time as a member of the Toronto Blue Jays. 

For years Colabello put up numbers, numbers that would make any manager proud. Unfortunately, those numbers were in the Independent Baseball leagues. Indy ball is getting more recognition now than ever, but back in 2005 at the age of 21, no one really understood what he could provide.

While attending Assumption College, Colabello became one of the most prolific hitters the school has ever seen. He was a career .350 hitter who also hit for power (24 home runs and 40 doubles) in his four collegiate seasons. When no one signed him upon graduation, he began a seven-year journey to the Major Leagues. 

After signing a minor league deal with the Minnesota Twins organization, Colabello continued to prove naysayers wrong and went on to have one of the best overall minor league seasons one could ever hope for. In 2013, only his second affiliated season, he was unanimously voted the International League MVP after hitting .352 with 24 home runs and driving in 76.

Enter the 2014 season and Colabello was named the starting first baseman for the Twins. He started off on a torrid clip batting .346. An unfortunate undisclosed injury hamstrung the current Jay, resulting in 7-83 slump and a demotion to Triple A.

After the Jays claimed him off waivers from the Twins this past December, he was vying for a job with the big club, however, since first base has enough qualified participants, (Edwin Encarnacion, Justin Smoak, Danny Valencia), the Jays designated him for assignment.

A bump in the road isn't the worst thing in the world. In 23 games for the Jays' Triple A affiliate, Buffalo, he is currently leading the club with five homers and 18 RBI. His call-up is another highlight in his strange, but otherwise successful career. For someone undrafted to put 11 professional seasons on his resume, any opportunity to produce at the Major League level is full of opportunity.

“Enjoy the moment as much as possible, try to help this team win,” he said Wednesday before making his second straight start in left field. “At the end of the day I’ve been very blessed to have the opportunity to get to the big leagues. Every day is about embracing moments for me. You can get caught up in thinking about what’s in the future, what’s in the past. It wears on you and I’m tired of doing that.”

Since the call-up, Colabello has performed exactly as the Jays wanted and provided a huge spark to a sporadic offense. In three games, he's hit .583 in three games collecting seven hits, three of which are for extra bases.

Devon is the Founder and Executive Director of The GM's Perspective. He is a former professional baseball player with the River City Rascals & Gateway Grizzlies. Currently, Devon is a Manager at a financial institution in Northern Ontario Canada, and can be reached at devon@thegmsperspective.com. You can follow The GM's Perspective on twitter and Facebook. His full bio can be seen here

Sugar Land Skeeters loaded for 2015 season

05/05/2015 5:15 AM - Devo

The cream rises to the top.

In a few short years the Sugar Land Skeeters of the Independent Atlantic League have set multiple attendance records, despite being around for only a brief amount of time. In 2012, their first full ATL season, they set a modern day Independent League team record by drawing nearly 470,000 fans to the games (465,511). Sugar Land also topped the Indy leagues in attendance in 2013 and 2014.

The Skeeters have a strong and loyal fan base, no one is doubting that, but they also some very good MLB calibre players who take the field for them on a daily basis.

In their history, three-time All-Star Scott Kazmir began his long road back to the Show with the Skeeters. Roger Clemens and his "comeback" drew enormous ratings. Tracy McGrady, best known for his superb NBA career, lived a dream when he took the mound for them in 2014. McGrady was more of a publicity stunt if you look at it from afar, though he put in the work and legitimately made the team out of Spring Training.

Jason Lane, who has significant MLB experience, mostly with the Houston Astros, used his time in Sugar Land to adapt and improve. Lane, a former 6th round pick of the Houston Astros out of USC in the 1999 MLB June Amateur Draft, once hit 27 home runs for the Astros. Lane was also a standout pitcher in college, flourished on the mound at USC going 9-5 with a 3.17 ERA and led the team in innings pitched with over 110. In three years with the Skeeters, Lane, once again on the bump, became one of the best pitchers in the league. In 36 games he went 17-9 with a 3.06 ERA and a .998 WHIP.

Not household names, but the 2015 roster is filled with guys who have been "there" and are looking to leverage their time in Sugar Land to springboard themselves back into the eyes of scouts everywhere.

Brooks Conrad, a six-year MLB veteran who created a name for himself with the Atlanta Braves, brings a level of experience and versatility that's second to none. Delwyn Young spent five years in the bigs splitting time with the Los Angeles Dodgers and Pittsburgh Pirates. He was named the Skeeters MVP in 2014 after hitting 289 with 20 homers and driving in 88. Denny Almonte has been in the game for a long time. A former second round pick of the Seattle Mariners in the 2nd round of the 2007 MLB June Amateur Draft from Florida Christian School, has over 850 games of minor league experience. His best season came in 2011 when he spent time with the Seattle Mariners High A team and the Australian Baseball League where he clubbed 32 home runs and drove in 132 base runners.

A Coles Notes version of the Skeeters current roster doesn't do them justice. With a plethora of great ballplayers taking the field everyday, it's no wonder they're a success on the field and at the turnstile. The Indy baseball season is fresh out of the gate, but you can bet more than one success story is bound to occur. 

Devon is the Founder and Executive Director of The GM's Perspective. He is a former professional baseball player with the River City Rascals & Gateway Grizzlies. Currently, Devon is a Manager at a financial institution in Northern Ontario Canada, and can be reached at devon@thegmsperspective.com. You can follow The GM's Perspective on twitter and Facebook. His full bio can be seen here

Ricky Romero's release is only the beginning of things to come

04/26/2015 11:46 PM - Devo

Ricky Romero's release as a member of the Toronto Blue Jays is not the end, but only the beginning.

I look at it this way. If Scott Kazmir, who was in dire straits and left for dead by the baseball world, can come back and again be considered one of the most effective left-handed pitchers in the game. Romero, who's had a couple rocky years, is in no way done with the game of baseball.

Alex Anthopoulos said what he should, and in all honesty, was pretty vague on any of the details, but what could you really say. All in all it seems everyone parted ways amicably, this according to The Globe and Mail,

“We made the determination we just didn’t think by the end of the year he was going to be able to factor for us up here,” general manager Alex Anthopoulos said. “We felt it was best just to give him the opportunity to get a head start somewhere else. It was the right thing for him.”

The former All-Star and ace of the Blue Jays staff is really in the best spot possible. With expectations of his return gone, he can regroup, get healthy, and leave Toronto in the rear-view mirror. He's getting paid, as the Jays remain on the hook for his $7.5 million salary, which also includes $600,000 for 2016, so really there is no pressure. Very easy for me to say. I can only imagine what he is dealing with. But, again I look at Scott Kazmir's resurgence. 

Kazmir battled through independent baseball and a stint in Puerto Rico before he even got a sniff of interest. Romero is in the drivers seat right now. At 30 years old, he is now where near done. Yes, his velocity has dipped a few MPH, but chalk that up to injuries. Whether or not he returns to the mound this year, that's not the issue. He can rehab and train at his own pace, regroup mentally, and return for 2016 in the best shape of his life. There is absolutely no way a team doesn't pick up a guy, who has at the very least, five solid years of elite level baseball left.

Confidence breeds success. Once Romero gets back on the mound and has a couple good outings, the swag will return.

Devon is the Founder and Executive Director of The GM's Perspective. He is a former professional baseball player with the River City Rascals & Gateway Grizzlies. Currently, Devon is a Manager at a financial institution in Northern Ontario Canada, and can be reached at devon@thegmsperspective.com. You can follow The GM's Perspective on twitter and Facebook. His full bio can be seen here.

 

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