Spring training is about a month away, and Park Hill South graduate Tommy Hottovy can’t wait.
Thing is, he’s not exactly sure where he’ll be when camp opens. Since the start of the offseason, Hottovy has been on the roster of three teams and, unfortunately, has gained insight into the intricacies of baseball’s waiver wire along the way.
“If I ever, down the road, want to get into any sort of front-office role or with a sports agency, I’ll have a much better idea of what’s going on and how things work,” said Hottovy. “I was designated (for assignment), then traded, then designated and put on waivers and then claimed off waivers and now put back on waivers again. I’ve had a lot of things happen and learned a lot of terminology with what’s going on.”
Here is what has transpired since the end of last season, when Hottovy had a 2.89 ERA in nine games with the Royals:
He was designated for assignment by the Royals on Nov. 2, and was traded six days later to Texas for cash or a player to be named later. Last Monday, Texas signed Lance Berkman and bumped Hottovy from its 40-man roster, designating him for assignment.
On Thursday, the Blue Jays claimed Hottovy off waivers. The next day, Toronto signed 41-year-old catcher Henry Blanco, so Hottovy was again moved off the 40-man roster and designated for assignment.
“So far this offseason, I’ve been a part of three teams’ 40-man rosters,” said Hottovy, who spent his first eight seasons in baseball with the Red Sox organization before signing after the 2011 season with the Royals. “In two weeks, we could be talking about another couple. You never know.”
Hottovy, 31, is enticing to teams because he’s a left-hander who has pitched with two major-league teams, and he still has an option. That means he could be sent to the minor leagues during the season without being claimed by another team.
Despite the interest in his services, Hottovy seems to end up being the 41st player on some teams’ 40-man rosters.
“It’s hard not to read into all the moves,” said Hottovy, who was 2-2 with seven saves and a 2.52 ERA in 41 games at Class AAA Omaha. “But then again, a lot of that stuff is out of my control. If I worried about everything that was going on and the moves and stuff like that, I could just be going stir crazy the whole offseason and not enjoy the time that I actually have off.
“But it does show where my value is. Teams obviously see what I can do and like what I can do. It’s just to the point of finding someone who is going to say, ‘We want him on our 40-man, we want to give him a legit shot to come into spring training to compete for a spot.’ ”
Determining his spring training home is important, because Hottovy’s wife, Andrea, and their 18-month-old son will join him in, well, whatever state that may be.
The Rangers train in Arizona, but the Blue Jays’ spring home is Florida, so Hottovy’s search for housing is on hold as he waits to see if he clears waivers or joins his fourth team in roughly two months.
For now, Hottovy is spending time with his family. Over the weekend, he was in Nebraska for his grandmother’s 88th birthday party. But he’s always got one eye on his phone in case his agent, Ryan Gleichowski of Sports One Athlete Management, calls.
“In this last week, it’s been pretty crazy,” Hottovy said. “I think I’ve talked with him every day. I told him every time I see his name come up on my phone, I just kind of start chuckling, because I know something is going on, wondering what it is.”