So much of the focus during the MLB free agency period is on what the teams are doing, it's easy to lose sight of the players' perspective. Fans, quite naturally, want to hear all about their team's priorities, who they're targeting and how much they're willing to spend. But the process is a complicated one for the players as well, and there's usually a lot more to consider than just dollar signs.
Former Phillies center fielder Doug Glanville, in a guest column posted online by the New York Times last night, provides a window into how -- and why -- he left Philadelphia via free agency after the 2002 season.
Glanville, whose blue-collar worth ethic made him a fan favorite during his years with the Phillies, recalls the difficulty he had leaving the city where he played both collegiately (at Penn) and professionally. He roamed center for the Phillies for five seasons, setting career highs with a .325 batting average, 204 hits, 73 RBI and 34 stolen bases in 1999.
The column reveals the angst that the average player can feel over changing teams. Glanville, who was struggling with a career slump and the death of his father at the time, even sought out Phillies great Garry Maddox for advice before ultimately signing with the Texas Rangers.
Especially interesting is Glanville's description of offseason conversations with ex-Phils GM Ed Wade and former manager Larry Bowa, including a phone conversation with the hard-nosed Bowa in which the manager tried to persuade the veteran outfielder to stay.
"A couple weeks before Christmas, Larry called me," Glanville writes. "He made his best pitch to get me to stay. I appreciated that call, but I realized right after I hung up that I was leaving."
If you have a few minutes, give Glanville's column a read. With all the talk of "hot stove" rumors and big-money contracts, it's worth taking some time to think about what free agent castoffs like Pedro Feliz and Eric Bruntlett might be struggling with right about now.