What an interesting hiring by the Chicago White Sox right before the holidays.
They gave 41-year-old Pete Rose, Jr., who spent virtually all of the last eight years of his playing career in Independent leagues, the job of managing their advanced rookie team in Bristol, VA (Appalachian League).
The Chisox only had the son of the major league hit king in their minor league system for two stints early in his career (1991-96)so they deserve credit for not holding anything his dad did against him. After all, Rose, Jr., played professionally for 21 seasons and only got 14 major league at-bats, all with Cincinnati in 1997.
The Rose hiring is the most intriguing transaction of late even though we can point to other Indy players who have gotten new contracts.
Rose first stepped onto an Independent diamond with the New Jersey Jackals (Little Falls), then of the Northeast League and now in the Can-Am, to hit a non-affiliated career high of 15 home runs in 1998. It has been a steady diet of play in Indy leagues since 2002 with Winnipeg, Joliet, IL and Lincoln, NE, followed by Atlantic League play exclusively between 2005 and 2009 with Long Island, NY (three times), Bridgeport, CT, Newark, NJ and York, PA. The left-handed hitter became a hitting coach at Florence, KY of the Frontier League last season.
'SURPRISING' BARTON GETS NEW AFFILIATED OPPORTUNITY
When Brian Barton was playing for Bridgeport, CT in the Atlantic League early last season, the 28-year-old gave this typist the impression he was a strikeout machine. That is not good for an outfielder hopeful of returning to the major leagues. He fanned 34 times in 91 at-bats with only seven runs batted in (.264, three homers).
But Barton ended up in a Newark, NJ uniform, and although the Bears were struggling he caught fire to hit .375 with 24 doubles, 16 homers and 65 RBI in 77 games. He did fan another 72 times in his 277 times at bat, but the production was sufficient that Cincinnati has signed him and placed Barton on their Louisville (Triple A) roster. He has seen limited duty in Venezuela this winter (5-for-17) in trying to be ready to shoot for the majors once more. He already has played for St. Louis and very briefly for Atlanta.
Among other recent signings of former Independent players:
**Minnesota inked catcher Rene Rivera to a Triple-A pact after he started last season with Camden, NJ of the Atlantic League and finished in Class AA with the New York Yankees.
**Baltimore gave former major league receiver Michel Hernandez (Somerset, NJ, Atlantic) another Class AAA contract. It certainly gives him the continued opportunity to be ready if the Orioles need help in the American League East.
**The Yankees re-signed third baseman Myron Leslie (New Jersey, Can-Am League) and elevated him one level to Double-A.