Baldelli’s Career is in Jeopardy

March 12, 2008 at 11:41 am 16 comments

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The sweet, balanced swing of Rays outfielder Rocco Baldelli may never grace the batter’s box again. Baldelli made it clear that he is not retiring but this is a reality that brought the young outfielder to near tears today when he was talking about his most recent health scare and his crontic fatigue. The doctors haven’t given it a true diagnosis yet but told Baldelli it is “some type of metabolic and/or mitochondrial abnormalities.”

“When I say ‘fatigued,’ my body is literally spent after a very short amount of time out on the field, which makes it extremely frustrating and difficult, but it’s kind of a reality right now,” he said during a 13-minute session with reporters before Wednesday’s game.

“I feel like I’ve done a serious workout after a very short period of time, and it’s a very odd feeling. … I try not to be too dramatic when I explain what’s going on, but it’s not easy when you’re out on the field for a very short period of time and you’re done, and you’re not really worth anything else out there. That’s a tough thing to handle because you wonder why. You wonder why this is how your body feels.”

Another sad reality is that even if/when Baldelli plays again it may not be in a Rays uni. Rays executive vice president Andrew Friedman said the team likely will not be picking up Baldelli’s 2009 contract option by the April 1 deadline, but told reporters the Rays would do what it could to help him out. If the Rays do indeed decline to pick up Baldelli’s $6 million option for 2009, they would owe him $4 million, and Baldelli would become a free agent after the 2008 season, according to MLB.com. The Rays may try to sign him, if healthy, at that time but it’s a wait-and-see scenario.

Baldelli will begin the 2008 campaign on the disabled list. I will be praying for a full recovery for one of my favorite players and persons in the game.

-Jonathan C. Mitchell
Information from the AP and ESPN.com was used in this article

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16 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Joi  |  March 12, 2008 at 12:04 pm

    This truly breaks my heart! When I moved from Indianapolis to Tampa, I was first attracted to the Rays because of Rocco Baldelli and have been a fan ever since! He has a young career and I loved watching him in Centerfield. He looked like Superman out there making leaps, dives,and slides, whatever he could do to get the incoming baseball into his glove, always being able to give up his body for that! Now his body gives up on him! It’s not fair! If he can’t play anymore, which I truly hope that he can however if it’s not possible, I personally think he would make a great coaching staff memeber on the Rays team. The Rays need Rocco, the fans need Rocco, rookies need Rocco around them. He is a posative role model for ALL. He is not a old horse that should be put out to pasture! We need Rocco! I sincerely hope and pray this is not the end for Rocco. If not with the Rays, then perhaps with another team, because baseball needs him along with 100’s more like him! Bless Rocco! I will always be a fan of #5!

    Reply
  • 2. Jonathan C. Mitchell  |  March 12, 2008 at 12:16 pm

    Thanks Joi! I couldn’t agree with you more. This is a blow to a lot of people, especially Rays fans. He has always been a fan favorite and for those who have met him they will all tell you that he is a stand-up guy as well. It’s not over but one has to think these injuries aren’t fluke.

    Reply
  • 3. John Cloutman  |  March 12, 2008 at 12:35 pm

    It is sad to see a player with the potential to be great go through this kind of bad luck. I thought the same thing when Jon Lester went down, and like Lester, I think that an athlete of this calibur will be able to bounce back.

    Reply
  • 4. Jonathan C. Mitchell  |  March 12, 2008 at 12:40 pm

    I hope you are right. Lester’s story is such a great one. I hope Baldelli’s becomes one in the same.

    Reply
  • 5. Erik  |  March 12, 2008 at 12:40 pm

    Ok I’m not saying we should take Baldelli out back and put him out of his misery. And I am definitely not taking away Baldelli’s talent when Healthy. But unfortunately he has been injury prone and I for one think the Rays are handling this pretty well. First and foremost Baldelli needs to get healthy! Baldelli hasn’t played a full season since 2004, we are now in 2008. As unfortunate as it sounds and this is why I said what I did about your fantasy team Jonathan, is at this stage it is more about winning and if you are constantly sidelined you are becoming expendable. I take nothing away from Baldelli but honestly I think the Rays have moved on years ago and are holding onto a fantasy of a healthy Baldelli. I am really sorry to say that cause I didn’t like moving on from the game myself.

    Reply
  • 6. Jonathan C. Mitchell  |  March 12, 2008 at 12:45 pm

    I totally understand Erik and I agree that the Rays are doing a fantastic job with this whole situation. The time was going to come soon enough even if he had a minor injury. Fernando Perez and the potential superstar Desmond Jennings are waiting in the wings. But it is still sad to see the man battle like this. I have a feeling he will recover and move on and perform well somewhere else.

    Reply
  • 7. Erik  |  March 12, 2008 at 12:53 pm

    Jonathan, if Baldelli gets healthy and other teams are interested they will probably make him either a DH or Pinch Hitter. If a team decides to take a flyer on him it would be as a part timer. Would Baldelli do that? Maybe depends on the situation. Should the Rays do that? The answer I would say is NO. But then again all of this is new so it is speculation should he be out the entire season. This seems a lot harder a route than Josh Hamilton had to go through to make it despite it being different circumstances but who knows. I hope he gets healthy and he makes me look like a fool for writing this about him but for me I think he is done as a full time player.

    Reply
  • 8. Jonathan C. Mitchell  |  March 12, 2008 at 1:04 pm

    You sound like a man that speaks of injuries like they are from experience! Haha! I think if he is healthy he has the talent to be a full-time player and even if not he would be a fine platoon guy against lefties.

    Reply
  • 9. Erik  |  March 12, 2008 at 1:14 pm

    Um yeah I am speaking from experience with injuries forced me to retire from it it

    Reply
  • 10. Erik  |  March 12, 2008 at 1:14 pm

    Um yeah I am speaking from experience with injuries forced me to retire from it.

    Reply
  • 11. Erik  |  March 12, 2008 at 1:14 pm

    sorry definitely didn’t mean to post it twice.

    Reply
  • 12. Jonathan C. Mitchell  |  March 12, 2008 at 1:20 pm

    It’s all good. I figured you were. I thought I remember talking to you about your career being cut short.

    Reply
  • 13. Ashley  |  March 14, 2008 at 1:52 pm

    I heard about this a few days ago and it’s still so sad! I love Rocco and I’m going to miss him in the MLB! Lucky for me, I can still play him in the MLB 08 The Show on my PS2 so he’s not totally gone but in real life it is so sad. He is such a great talent and it’s tough to hear that his body just gives out on him like this. I hope it’s not a major illness. Maybe he’ll pick up a position like Gabe Kapler did with the Red Sox and coach in their minors? I’ll really miss him. 😦

    Reply
  • 14. Ashley  |  March 14, 2008 at 1:52 pm

    I heard about this a few days ago and it’s still so sad! I love Rocco and I’m going to miss him in the MLB! Lucky for me, I can still play him in the MLB 08 The Show on my PS2 so he’s not totally gone but in real life it is so sad. He is such a great talent and it’s tough to hear that his body just gives out on him like this. I hope it’s not a major illness. Maybe he’ll pick up a position like Gabe Kapler did with the Red Sox and coach in their minors? I’ll really miss him. 😦

    Reply
  • 15. Jonathan C. Mitchell  |  March 14, 2008 at 7:22 pm

    Funny thing Ashley, I actually thought of Gabe Kapler when this happened to Baldelli. Kapler is actually trying to make the Brewers club as a 4th/5th OF.

    Reply
  • 16. Danno  |  March 15, 2008 at 4:16 am

    Well, I wouldn’t give up hope on Baldelli just yet. Though it was a different health issue, I remember when the docs said that Jim Eisenreich would have to retire due to a nerve disorder, and they were able to come up with a rehab and meds to help him. Hopefully some one is working on a solution for him. I wish him well. Great job Jonathan…sent you an email. Thanks!

    Reply

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