The Russ Canzler Roller Coaster Ride

It happens at least once every off-season. Players become names on a piece of paper, far removed from the human beings and are thrown into the wind, just waiting to see where they will land. This year's 40 man roster trash is Russ Canzler. A victim of Major League Baseball's minor league option rules, Canzler has bounced back and forth between American League teams who think they might want him, then decide they'd rather have someone else.

Canzler was a late round draft pick (30th) in the 2004 draft by the Chicago Cubs and moved through their minor league system over the next seven seasons. He proved to be incredibly productive for a 30th round pick, especially his 2010 AA season for the Tennessee Smokies when he hit 21 home runs and knocked in 66. The Cubs disagreed and released Canzler at the end of his contract.

His first real chance came with Tampa the next year, when he won the International League MVP in his first year in AAA. He was a September call-up at the end of that year and played in five games for the Rays. At the end of the year, he didn't fit on the Rays 40 man roster and he came to Cleveland for the first time. He spent another year in AAA and was actually used as a September call-up in 2012, playing in 26 games for the Tribe. In fact, he played so well he looked to be a strong contender for the first baseman's job in 2013. With the signing of Mark Reynolds, the Indians decided they didn't have any more use for him, so they removed him from the roster.

The Blue Jays took advantage, thinking they found a diamond in the rough and brought Canzler into the fold. A quick change of mind brought Canzler back to Cleveland when the Jays signed another player and the Indians released Jeanmar Gomez. This strange decision by the Indians to bring Canzler back after already admitting they didn't want him made little sense as they had two more roster moves to make within the next week after adding Nick Swisher and Brett Myers. 

As the low man on the totem pole, Canzler was gone again (although he made it through the Swisher signing). Russ Canzler is currently a member of the New York Yankees 40 man roster, but who knows how long he will stay there. If the Yankees decide they have no use for a 30 round draft pick that has bounced around the Majors, he could easily be somewhere else by next week. The last three moves have occured during the last two weeks, giving him a tour of North East.

The problem with all this is that he is being treated as a rounding error without any consideration to him as a human being. His talent level hasn't changed in the past two weeks. The Indians depth at first base hasn't changed. So why did they bring him back into the fold when they had to have known they were going to release him again? The same is true of the Blue Jays. What could possibly have changed within their organization within that week that made a player they were interested in become disposable?

Canzler is a talented baseball player that has beaten the odds to make it as far as he has, but, as a borderline Major Leaguer is now being treated like dirt. At some point Canzler will find his fit, whether it is with the Yankees or elsewhere. Hopefully, for his sake, he will find it before he becomes a waiver wire frequent flier.

Joseph Coblitz

About Joseph Coblitz

Joseph is the primary writer and editor of BurningRiverBaseball.com and has been since it's inception in 2011. He is a graduate of the University of Akron and currently resides in Goodyear, Arizona the Spring Training home of the Cleveland Indians.

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