Chris Coste is sad:
Coste was optioned back to Triple A over the weekend. Yesterday he played his first game for the Lynx against the Buffalo Bisons.
“It’s easily the lowest moment of my career. Easily,” he said quietly, sitting in a room off the visitors’ clubhouse after Ottawa lost, 5-3. Coste started at first base, batted cleanup and went 0-for-3 with two walks. “I’ll tell you what, when I got sent down at the end of last year’s spring training [after batting .463], it hurt. But I had never been in the big leagues. I hadn’t proven anything. Didn’t necessarily deserve anything.
“This year, without playing a game in the offseason, out. Frustrating. Disappointing. Heartbreaking. You name it.
“I want so badly not to be bitter and in time I guess it will wear off. But the thing that alarms me is that I’m 34. I mean, I may never get back. I may get back. I have no idea. But to say I’m still on the radar, that I might get back is a minuscule consolation at this point. It feels like I was given a lottery ticket and someone stole it right out of my hands.”
Poor Coste. Seriously. He hit well during his callup last season, proved himself to be a valuable asset to a Major League ballclub, and was unceremoniously booted from the 25 man roster because….? He has his ideas:
“The signings of Rod Barajas and Jayson Werth pretty much sealed my fate. There will be theories that it was because I hurt my hamstring and didn’t get to play much in spring training. But, honestly, once those two guys were signed, I became totally obsolete.
“There was no need. I wasn’t going to play third. I wasn’t going to play first. So my only option was to catch. Well, they got Jayson Werth. Pat Gillick said on many occasions, with me sitting right next to him at different functions and the Fanfest in January that Werth can be the third catcher, no problem. So when I heard him say that with me sitting right next to him, that was writing on the wall.”
What made that particularly tough to take is that so many pitchers – Jamie Moyer and Randy Wolf and Cory Lidle and Cole Hamels – had gone into manager Charlie Manuel’s office to say how much they liked throwing to him.
“My whole career has been that way,” he said. “I guess if I’m a GM, I’d want Rod Barajas. He’s a very good catcher and a great teammate. But when they signed him that just proved right there they weren’t confident in my catching.
Putting aside his comment about Rod Barajas being a good baseball player, he’s completely right. The writing was on the wall all offseason that the Phils weren’t satisfied with just him and Carlos Ruiz behind the plate, and they were determined to fill that slot however they could. Which is sad, considering Coste hit well and seemed to develop a rapport with several of the starting pitchers.
And is it just me or did I completely miss the company line that Jayson Werth could be a 3rd string catcher? Was this one of the reasons we decided to go get him, because we could use him on those rare occasions where a 3rd string catcher was actually needed? If this was a determining factor, then that’s just crap and Chris Coste deserved better.
Now, do I think Coste would’ve put up a 320 average with decent power again? Not really. But should he have at least been given a chance to prove/disprove this? Most certainly. Gregg Dobbs has performed well thus far, but the rest of the bench has largelly sucked. Are we to actually believe that Coste wouldn’t have been a decent option over the likes of Abe Nunez or Michael Bourn or Rod Barajas?
However, Ruben Amaro is always there to give us a peek into how this franchise works:
“I think he did a very good job for us last year, but a couple things happened,” Amaro said. “We acquired another catcher. And the makeup of our club gave us an excess in that area. He didn’t necessarily do anything to lose the job. It was just the makeup of our club and the fact that he had options.”
BUT WHY BOTHER SIGNING BARAJAS FOR MULTIPLE MILLIONS?!?!?! It was a gross missallocation of resources. Period. You had a fairly able-bodied backup in Chris Coste and another guy in Carlos Ruiz that could blossom into a reliable starter. Why get a hack like Barajas?
Coste deserved better, and so did the fans. Sometimes baseball moves are done with little to no regard to on-the-field play. Unfortunately that seems to occur way too much with this