It was announced in the last day or so that the Diamondbacks resigned one of my favorite marginal major leaguers Cody Ransom. It was a minor league deal (which makes sense since Cody is a classic 4-A player) probably calling for $500,000 to $600,000 per year for time spent in the majors and around $85,000 per year for time spent at AAA.
I like Cody because once upon a time he was Giants prospect. Also, he has the dubious distinction of being the only position player I am aware of who has managed to play parts of nine different major league seasons without ever once getting 100 plate appearances in one year.
If anyone is a aware of any other position player who played in the majors nine or more years without ever reaching 100 plate appearances in a season, I’d love to hear about it. The player I’m most reminded of is Charlie “Swede” Silvera, a San Francisco native who was Yogi Berra’s back-up at catcher for the Yankees from the late 1940′s until well into the 1950′s. He played in ten major league seasons, and topped 100 plate appearances only in 1949, when he had came up to the dish with wood in his hands 149 times.
The Swede was a pretty good hitter, with a career .282 major league batting average and a .356 OBP. However, he had no power at all, so as long as Yogi Berra was healthy enough to play, Silvera sat.
I’ve written about Cody Ransom before, at length here. He is that rare player who learned how to hit around age 30.
When Cody was young and had the defensive range to play shortstop, he couldn’t hit. When he finally learned how to hit, he no longer had the range to play SS. This is one way 4-A players are made.
Cody hit .317 with a 1.034 OPS last year at AAA Reno in the Pacific Coast League. Reno is a great, great place to hit, but 27 HRs in 372 ABs at the AAA level is still impressive. However, he hit a lousy .152 with a .546 in 37 late season plate appearances with the D-Backs.
Cody turns 36 this coming February, so I think it’s better than even money we’ll never see him in the majors again, even for his annual cup of coffee. Still, anything is possible, and now that the D-Backs have rewarded him for his terrific 2011 campaign with one more season at AAA, Cody is only one or two injuries and a hot streak away from evening things up with Charlie Silvera.