In my initial review of the transactions from last week's Winter Meetings in Las Vegas, I was thinking the Independent leagues had been shut out. Certainly, no one showed up in the draft (Rule 5) of players left unprotected by major league organizations.
But one interesting signing did take place.
Oakland inked right-handed pitcher Jerome Williams, who started last season with Long Beach, CA of the Golden League, then saw his contract sold in late June to the Los Angeles Dodgers. Williams found himself in the Independent ranks after nearly three years of major league service, and he had a torrid finish pitching in Las Vegas, the Dodgers' top farm club. The Athletics obviously were impressed since they have invited him to their major league spring training camp.
We intend to examine the Williams signing in more detail in this week's subscriber-based Independent Baseball Insider column. This story has various implications, ranging from the Golden League's strong record of getting players signed by major league organizations to the fact if the 27-year-old Williams can make it back to the big time in any significant way the Athletics would have resurrected the career of a onetime No. 1 draft choice of the Bay Area's San Francisco Giants and picked up someone the Dodgers did not think enough of to keep, despite a 2.08 earned run average in Las Vegas.
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
OAKLAND COULD BE THE FINAL STEP FOR GOLDEN LEAGUE FIND JEROME WILLIAMS
Former chief spokesman for Major League Baseball Commissioners Bowie Kuhn and Peter Ueberroth. Six years as publicity director for the Kansas City Royals, and a background in newspaper, radio and television. Started Wirz & Associates, a sports PR and consulting firm, in 1985. Has written extensively on Independent Baseball since 2003.