Photo by Associated Press.
Originally Published: March 1, 2018 11:07 p.m.
BRADENTON, Fla. — If a major league team calls with a job offer, Luke Scott intends to be ready.
So do Neil Walker, Nolan Reimold and Travis Snider, also among more than two dozen free agents working out at the IMG Academy.
Scott looks around “Camp Jobless” — as some have dubbed the Major League Baseball Players Association-run spring training workouts for the unemployed — and sees players he thinks should be on big league rosters.
When the 39-year-old, who hasn’t played in the majors since 2013, looks in the mirror, Scott says the guy staring back at him has still got it, too.
“It’s not going to be easy, but I don’t expect things to be easy,” said Scott, a.258 hitter over nine seasons with Houston, Baltimore and Tampa Bay.
“I’m thankful for this opportunity to have this camp here. I think it’s a great idea,” he added. “We’ll see what happens, if someone will give me an opportunity.”
Walker, Reimold and Snider are appreciative of the free agent camp, too.
Former Astros manager Bo Porter has been leading the workouts for two weeks.
Walker is among the latest additions, arriving late Monday. He earned $17.2 million last season, while batting.265 with 14 homers and 49 RBIs in 111 games for the New York Mets and Milwaukee Brewers.
The versatile infielder was in the lineup as a designated hitter during a scrimmage Thursday against an amateur team from Japan.
Tyler Moore hit a first-inning grand slam and Juan Francisco added a solo homer late as the MLBPA held off Japan Railway East 6-5.
“I know there are a lot of guys here that are very capable of helping on the big league level,” Walker said.
“For me in particular, I’m not concerned about being somewhere very shortly,” he said. “But it’s certainly frustrating to a degree to know the production I’ve had for the last eight years in the big leagues — still in my prime as a 32-year-old, it certainly hasn’t played out the way I anticipated.”
Nevertheless, Walker remains confident “I’ll end up in a spot that’s good, and hopefully a winning environment.”
Like Scott, Reimold, 34, and Snider, 30, are trying to get back to the majors.
Reimold, a.246 hitter over parts of eight seasons with Baltimore, Toronto and Arizona, last played in the big leagues with the Orioles in 2016.
Snider, who hasn’t played in the big leagues since 2015, batted.244 with 54 homers and 212 RBIs over parts of eight years with Toronto, Pittsburgh and Baltimore.
“It’s tough to look around and see this many guys that don’t have a job right now. Hopefully it changes. That’s why we’re here,” Reimold said.
“At this point in my career, you know nothing’s guaranteed,” Snider said. “I felt like I had a pretty good year last year in Triple-A and was hoping to get a job, and ultimately get back to the big leagues,” Snider said.
“This is all part of the process we’re going through,” Snider added. “But it’s not just about me. There’s a group of guys who are working hard, making the most of the situation.”
Scott realizes he’s a longshot.
But the former outfielder, first baseman and designated hitter said he’s taken up martial arts while changing his diet since last playing in the majors with the Rays five years ago.
At 39, he believes he’s still capable of being a productive player.
“The way the game is now with the youth movement, actually there’s a lot of players out there who are older in age, but they’re figuring stuff out. The main thing is being able to stay healthy,” Scott said. “I’ve stayed in shape. It’s a lifestyle.... I’ve got a lot left.”