Former Evans High School baseball star Todd Greene will be in the big leagues again in 2004.
The slugging catcher last week signed a one-year, $550,000 contract with the Colorado Rockies. In two of the past three seasons, Greene has been released at the end of training camp, leaving him without a team. The reason? Most teams already had solidified their rosters and didn't need an extra catcher.
That won't happen this time around. Greene took a pay cut of more than a quarter-million dollars to make sure he received a guaranteed contract, meaning Greene will be playing on Coors Field this spring.
The thin air in Denver leads to elevated offensive numbers, especially with home runs. Greene, of course, has never had a problem with the long ball. But in the Rockies camp, what is enticing to Greene is playing time. Although the team has one of the league's top defensive catchers in Charles Johnson (who will pull in $9 million in 2004), Rockies management let Greene and his agent know that he can expect plenty of time on the field. Because of the high altitude, the team would like to limit Johnson to around 100 starts behind the plate.
The Rockies' management was especially impressed with Greene's work ethic and baseball I.Q. Greene also has developed quite a reputation for his ability to work with pitchers.
I'm sure the fact that Greene averaged one home run for every 15 at-bats over the past two seasons didn't hurt, either. So he continues to plug away at his dream, and thankfully this spring he has a guaranteed professional home.
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