Making something out of nothingApril 14, 2010
On Tuesday, Twins second baseman Orlando Hudson (the player I begged the Mets to sign) recited his best Torii Hunter impression, implying in an interview with Yahoo Sports that MLB teams turn their back on ageing black free-agent players. Hudson used Jermaine Dye as an example, who has still not signed with a team despite hitting 27 homers last season.
“You see guys like Jermaine Dye without a job,” Hudson told Yahoo. “Guy with [good numbers] and can’t get a job. Pretty much sums it up right there, no? You’ve got some guys who miss a year who can come back and get $5 [million], $6 million, and a guy like Jermaine Dye can’t get a job. A guy like Gary Sheffield, a first-ballot Hall of Famer, can’t get a job.”
“We both know what it is. You’ll get it right. You’ll figure it out. I’m not gonna say it because then I’ll be in [trouble],” Hudson said.
What Hudson failed to mention is that Jermaine Dye already has turned down three offers from three different teams. Furthermore, Dye was horrendous the second-half of last season batting a whopping .179 with 7 HR’s after mid-July. Baseball is a game of “what have you done lately?” and aging veterans are scrutinized even further. It becomes a guessing game of slump vs diminishing skills and unfortunately Dye performed poorly at a crucial time. There are plenty of teams who could use a Jermaine Dye but they are not going to overpay for a 36 year-old DH.
Oh yeah, and the White Sox GM, who didn’t re-sign Jermaine Dye, is black.
I won’t even address Gary Sheffield as it’s pretty obvious why nobody wants him on their team. It comes to a certain point where your lack of production won’t allow you to disrupt club-houses anymore.
Kenny Lofton, Ray Durham, and Frank Thomas are recent examples of older African-American players who left the game prematurely rather than settle for offers they deemed inferior. But I’d like to ask Mr. Hudson if black players receive less interest in free-agency, then how come the 37 year-old Mike Cameron received a two-year contract from the Red Sox? Didn’t Ken Griffey Jr. just sign on for another year as well? Or what about yourself, who at age 33 just received a contract from the Twins?
The same “phenomenon” that Hudson alludes to is occurring with older white players as well.
Last season, Brewers outfielder Jim Edmonds and Indians infielder Mark Grudzielanek both sat out when they did not receive suitable offers — and returned in 2010 only after agreeing to minor-league deals. Jarrod Washburn, a 36 year-old pitcher who had a sub four ERA last season, is currently without a contract and will likely sit out or retire.
Class acts of any color will thrive in baseball- Tony Gwynn, Dave Winfield, Kirby Puckett, Rod Carew, Griffey, etc……I could go on forever. Old declining players and clubhouse/team cancers will not.
There are so many idiotic racists in this world that we don’t need a fabricated racial issue. So, shut the f*ck up Orlando Hudson and attempt to earn the contract you signed this past off-season. Because so far, your .229 batting average is not cutting it.