By Joe Stiglich
Tuesday, September 9th, 2008 at 3:44 pm in Uncategorized.
One of the classier players in major league baseball walked out of the A’s clubhouse for good today, as Mike Sweeney was released to make room on the 40-man roster for third baseman Jeff Baisley, who was called up from Triple-A. Sweeney was hobbled by bad knees this season but was activated last week and has been saying he’s 100 percent.
This likely brings his impressive career to a close, since Sweeney said last week that he needs more surgery on his knees and that 2008 could very well be his final season. Doesn’t seem like the right way for this career to end, does it? He’s a five-time All-Star, to say nothing of the fact he’s stuck on 199 homers and a .299 career batting average. Sweeney hardly says a bad word about anybody, but he made it clear — in his polite manner, of course — that he didn’t agree with the A’s decision. He also took the time to address the team as a group when the news came down, just to reiterate how much he enjoyed playing with them. When the A’s signed him after he played 13 seasons with Kansas City, a Royals writer told me Sweeney was one of the 10 nicest people he had come across in his life. Having known the guy for just one season, I can’t really argue that point.
From the A’s perspective, they want to give Baisley a shot considering third base is such a question mark right now (with Chavez’s health troubles and Hannahan’s hitting struggles.) They didn’t want to bump a valued prospect off the 40-man roster, expose him to waivers and have him get claimed by another team. Just seems to me that Sweeney deserves a better send-off if this is the end of the line …