All Things Bubba

Because how can you not love a baseball player named "Bubba"?

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Bronson Kiheimahanaomauiakeo Sardinha

While poking around the Internets the other day, I was bemused to find that former Yankee outfielder Bronson Sardinha was playing for the Akron Aeros. The Akron Aeros? What the heck happened?

The Aeros are the Cleveland Indians' Double-A team. Yup, Sardinha has been sent down to AA. The Akron Beacon-Journal has the story:

Seeking a new path to majors

A first-round pick in '01 draft, Sardinha joins Aeros' outfield

He was looking for a change of scenery, a different baseball organization to see what he could do.

What outfielder Bronson Sardinha has gotten instead is released, unemployed and now, sent back to Double-A.

When Sardinha figured a little change would do him some good, he didn't mean playing for three organizations at two minor-league levels in a matter of two months.

Yet, that is how the former New York Yankees' first-round pick (34th overall in the 2001 draft) ended up in Akron on Friday, as his newest team opened a weekend series against the Bowie Baysox.

"It's not been a good year." said the Aeros' new right fielder, who made his major-league debut in Yankees pinstripes last year, batting .333 (3-for-9) in 10 games. "Nothing has gone the way I planned."

It all began with the decision to leave the safety net of the Yankees, for whom Sardinha initially began as a strong-armed shortstop before being moved to the outfield.

"One of their main priorities was to get me signed in the offseason," said Sardinha, 25. "But they had to take me off the 40-man roster for Andy Pettitte. But they said they still wanted me, and offered me a pretty good contract. But at the last minute, I decided to go for a change."

His first stop at the Seattle Mariners' Triple-A Tacoma team didn't last long, even though he batted .323 (10-for-31) in seven games. He conceded that what got him released was his own fault, even if he's not willing to share the details.

"It was something off the field," Sardinha said. "A silly mistake on my part."

After an unwelcomed three-week vacation in Fresno, Calif., (where the Rainiers had been playing when he was suddenly released), the Indians signed Sardinha and sent him to Triple-A Buffalo.

That stint was also short, 10 games, in which he batted .300 (9-for-30) with two home runs and five RBI before being demoted to the Double-A Aeros this week.

"I was getting some playing time (in Buffalo), but they had so many outfielders, especially with (Shin-Soo) Choo there on rehab," Sardinha said. "When they called me in, I'd had a real good game the day before and actually thought maybe they were going to call me up (to Cleveland). I wasn't expecting coming down here."

Sardinha's first thought was that he should just ask for his release. But having just played that waiting game, he reconsidered.

"I like the Indians' organization," said Sardinha, who is batting .143 (2-for-14) with three RBI in three games for the Aeros. "They seem like real good people who care about their players. They advised me not to ask for my release, and told me I'm in a good situation. I just need to relax, get my at-bats and you never know what can happen."

Interesting that the Yankees apparently really wanted to re-sign him. (I'd heard that from other sources as well.) Can't really blame him for wanting a change. The Yankees are well-stocked with outfielders, and Sardinha wouldn't have had much of a chance of cracking the big league roster. But given how it turned have to wonder if he regrets turning down the Yanks.

Also interesting is the part where he admits the Mariners released him because of a mistake he made "off the field." I kind of figured it had to be something like that. He'd been playing really well for the Rainiers. And I noted earlier that he had been put on the suspended list before being released. I'm not really sure what all those different lists are, but I think you only end up on the suspended list if you've been a bad boy. Not sure what he did. DWI? Barroom brawl? Drug use? Attacking a teammate with a baseball bat?

Even though he brought it on himself, you have to feel sorry for him. What a punch in the gut it must have been, to think he was being called up to the big club, only to find out he's being sent down to Double-A instead.

To add salt to the wound...his family was coming up from Hawai`i that day, to see him play against his brother, Dane Sardinha. The demotion to Akron pretty much ruined the family reunion.

This year has been pretty lousy for him; as he said, nothing turned out like he planned. But hey, he's playing. I bet Bubba would love to be in his shoes right now.

posted by BubbaFan, 6:35 PM


And less than a year ago, Torre took Damon out postseason mid-inning to put in Sardinha in a key spot.
commented by Anonymous Anonymous, June 06, 2008 3:19 AM  
Partly, this is something Sardinha brought on himself. I don't know what he did to get released by the Mariners, but I figure it must be pretty bad for them to just dump him in Fresno like that.

But partly, this is the new economics of baseball. What would be called the "midlist" in the publishing business has disappeared. Now, you either have to be a superstar, making ridiculous amounts of money, or a newcomer, getting paid peanuts. The players in the middle, who used to be the backbone of the league, are finding themselves out of work.
commented by Blogger BubbaFan, June 06, 2008 5:26 PM  

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