Go prove yourself in the Atlantic League and we might come calling for your services. It's a common theme conversation heard about big league ball clubs and players looking for a contract from them. But it's one former big leaguers Jeff Fiorentino and Matt Fox have in common, although for different reasons.
The York Revolution announced Friday the signings of both Fiorentino, an outfielder, and Fox, a starting pitcher, for the 2013 squad.
For Fiorentino, 29, its sounds like he has to prove he can follow up on a 2012 season with the Revs that included a .320 batting average, four home runs, 27 RBIs and 47 runs scored in just 62 games.
"Jeff lives in Florida so he worked out for a couple (big league) clubs (over the off-season)," Revs baseball operations manager Andrew Ball said. "He said if teams were gonna take a shot on him he needs to have success here."
For Fox, 30, he has to put up solid numbers and prove that he's healthy. The 6-foot, 3-inch, 195-pound right-hander suffered a setback last year when he began the 2012 season with shoulder troubles. He would pitch in just eight combined games at three different minor league levels in the Seattle Mariners' farm system before being released in early August.
"We talked to him at that point about coming out for the last month-and-a-half of the season," Ball said. "He threw for a couple teams this off-season. He had a little bit of an injury during last season so he basically wants to come to York and prove that he's healthy."
The Revs now have 11 players under contract for the 2013 season - five pitchers and six position players.
FOX: Fox has good potential to succeed in the Atlantic League. A first round draft pick of the Minnesota Twins in 2004 out of the University of Central Florida, the righty made his major league debut in 2010 with the Twins. The move seemed to pay off for the Twins, who patiently waited for Fox to move up through the minor league ranks after he missed the entire 2005 season because of Tommy John surgery.
Pitching on three days rest in his big league debut on Sept. 3, 2010, Fox held the Texas Rangers to two runs on four hits in 5.2 innings of work to help the Twins grab a 4-3 victory.
The Twins removed Fox from their 40-man roster two days later and the Boston Red Sox quickly claimed him off waivers. But Fox compiled a 10.30 ERA in three relief appearances with the Red Sox. He hasn't been back to the big leagues since.
He put up a 10-4 record and 3.96 ERA in 2011 with Boston's Class AAA Pawtucket team. He owns a career 3.78 ERA in 181 games (109 starts) at the triple-a level. According to various scouting reports, Fox has a solid repertoire of pitches and mainly relies on his cutter and curveball, something Revs manager Mark Mason likes.
"Starting pitchers especially have to have three to four pitches," Mason said. "Bullpen guys two for sure and maybe a third show-me pitch. But when you're hopefully rolling through that lineup (as a starter) for the second and third time you gotta have a little more something to show hitters."
Fox joins a starting staff that already includes right-hander Corey Thurman and left-hander Chris Cody. Lefty Kris Regas will also get a shot to start after serving as a reliever for the Revs the last two seasons. Ball and Mason said they're looking at signing two more starting pitchers by the time spring training opens April 8.
FIORENTINO RETURNS: Fiorentino's signing is good news for York after former Revs' outfielders Scott Grimes and Brandon Haveman announced their retirement late last week. Fiorentino is the second outfielder York has signed to this point in the off-season, joining former big league center fielder Tyler Graham, who the club signed last week. Revs' manager Mason said Fiorentino will likely play right field.
"Based on what I have right now I would look at him as a two-hole hitter," Mason said. "He handles the bat really well. He can handle the ball all over the plate and put the ball all over the field."
Fiorentino, who stayed with Baltimore Orioles' outfielder Nick Markakis last season while playing for the Revs, joined York in mid-July last year after asking the Athletics for his release from Class AAA Sacramento because he was getting limited action. He he hit just .186 in 16 games at Sacramento.
Drafted in the third round by the Baltimore Orioles out of Florida Atlantic University in 2004, Fiorentino got called up to the big league roster a year later. But he had trouble catching on at the major league level despite getting the call three more times in his career. He has played in a total of 58 games in major league games from 2005 through 2009, split between Baltimore and Oakland. He owns a career .270 batting average in the big leagues.
For more information on the Revs' off-season moves, check out The York Dispatch Revolution Rumblings blog at www.ydtalk.com/revs.
Reach John Walk at firstname.lastname@example.org.