The first interesting note was the retirement of Rocco Baldelli at the ripe old age of 29. Raise your hand if at some point you thought he would be a super star. He broke into the majors at 21 in 2003 and looked so good. Then came the injuries. To top it all off he was diagnosed with a muscle fatigue condition. He played all but one season in his career with the Rays, but after turning 26 he was never the same. The final straw came last season when the former 0.280- 0.300 hitter hit just 0.208 in very limited time with the Rays.
Baldelli’s cards at one point were very hot. When he first broke into the league at 21 and finished 3rd in Rookie of the Year voting, his autographed cards were fetching between $50 – $75 a piece. Not they can be found for $1 easily. I have two of them just because I really liked the guy and always felt that he was just a tough luck case. For now, he will be involved with scouting and player development for the Rays.
The second interesting story came out of the Bronx or Tampa depending on how you look at it. The Yankees signed former Cy Young award winner Bartolo Colon to a minor league deal. I am always curious as to late addition Spring Training non roster invitees. In Colon’s case, he hasn’t pitched since 2009 and has been a non factor since his Cy Young award winning year in 2005. His chances of making the team are short, but with CC as the staff ace at this point, it would be interesting to see his former teammate pitching after him in the rotation. Plus, if he makes the rotation, the Yankees could possibly have one of the heaviest rotations in baseball.
Like Baldelli, Colon was a heavy hitter in the world of autographed cards as well. He value even lasted until he won his Cy Young award. His autograph which was also in the $50 range at one point can be had in the dollar bin at this point.
Two player, one who never lived up to his hype and one who lived up to the hype only to falter quickly afterwards I wish these two the best of luck with their new teams / careers.