The end of spring training can bring the best or the worst of news for baseball players.
There was great news for 2013 Legend Raul Mondesi, who was named by manager Ned Yost as the Kansas City Royals’ starting second baseman. Mondesi batted .367 (18 hits in 49 at bats) with three doubles, three home runs and six runs batted in in 21 spring training games for Kansas City. Despite those numbers, Mondesi wasn’t thinking about winning the starting job. In fact, MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan reports Mondesi was just hoping he could hang on in the major league camp for an extra few days for a reason all minor league players can appreciate: “I could really use the meal money,” he told a teammate.
The bad news is that as spring training comes to an end, some players are released. Final rosters for minor league affiliates are determined at about this time, and some players are left without a spot. With new draftees coming in every year, there are always more players competing for roster spots than there are spots available. Former Legends Brian Bayliss, Matt Ditman, Mark McCoy, Austin Bailey, Brian Bien, David Edwards and Michael Hill were released by the Royals this week.
Of those players, Hill spent the most time with the Legends, playing in a total of 151 games for Lexington in 2015 and 2016. He hit a walk-off home run in the 10th inning of a game against Rome at Whitaker Bank Ballpark on June 19, 2015.
In between his two seasons with the Legends, he played in the Australian Baseball League, and early in the 2016 season recalled that the 15-hour flight in economy made a nine-hour bus ride “cake.”
Some players who are released will get an opportunity with another organization, some will sign on with an independent team (not affiliated with a major league organization), but most will go on to the next chapter in their lives. Good luck and best wishes to all.