As major-league free agents land multimillion-dollar contracts, future stars are coddled by personal trainers and top prospects wait to be the next great thing, some minor-leaguers are desperately seeking a chance to play.
St. Petersburg High product Joe Jiannetti is among them, mailing off resumes and cold-calling team officials trying to find a job. (So far, the Tigers seem most interested.)
Jiannetti was drafted by the Mets in 2000 and got as high as Double A while playing with big-leaguers such as Scott Kazmir, David Wright and Lastings Milledge, but was released at the end of spring training 2005 and spent the past two years in the independent leagues.
Jiannetti is a waiter at an Outback Steakhouse in St. Petersburg and working out in Tampa, waiting for a chance and convinced he can make it to the big leagues. "Absolutely,'' he said.
Marc Topkin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 893-8801. View his blog at blogs.tampabay.com/rays/
Ht./Wt.: 6-1; 210
Background: St. Petersburg High, Daytona Beach CC, 40th-round draft pick by Mets.
Pro highlights: Hit .348 after promotion to Class A Brooklyn in 2001, including 16-game hitting streak. ... Moved to second base, played on instructional league team with current big-leaguers 3B David Wright, SS Jose Reyes, 1B Mike Jacobs. ... Hit .285 for Class A Capital City in 2003. ... Went 6-for-17 in five-game stint at Double-A Binghamton in 2004. ... Hit .319 with 21 HRs and 79 RBIs for Atlantic City (Atlantic League) in 2006, made league All-Star team, Baseball America all-independent league team.