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The Champ has been designated; walking through Chris Bootcheck’s options

All hail the side hop

All hail the side hop

My updates of our James Mungro Memorial Award sponsored by (believe it or not, sponsor still pending) have gone from every two weeks to every two days.  Things happen when the fate of your career belongs to other people, ones who look at you as an object with a singular purpose.

Despite my claims that The Champ is here to stay, The Champ, Chris Bootcheck was designated for assignment on Tuesday. It’s possible this was preordained before he came up and pitched his single inning for the Yankees, completing his baseball circle of life. It’s possible that this is a result of that fitful inning. Either way, it leaves Bootcheck with a decision.

A few things can happen with a player designated for assignment. He can be added back to the 40-man roster within 10 days, he can be traded, or he can be placed on waivers. Bootcheck is headed for waivers.

If he’s claimed by another team, the Yankees can either arrange a trade, rescind Bootcheck from waivers and put him on the major league roster, or let him go to the other team, which also must put him on its major league roster. New York would assuredly let him go for nothing. There’s a chance that the single inning in Los Angeles of Anaheim won’t be Bootcheck’s last in the majors this season. But there’s a better chance he will clear waivers, leaving him with a choice: go back to triple-A or become a free agent.

Triple-A is the safe route. He’ll likely have his spot back, he can finish the season, and his contract, and be in the same position he was last year. Heck, we might even still be able to get him into the triple-A All-Star game, though we both know you and I have been slacking in stuffing the ballot box since all these promotions and demotions. If he chooses the bus back to Scranton, though, there’s no hope for another call up.

Or, he can become a free agent and possibly have a chance somewhere else, whether that’s in the minors, majors or with his beloved Lotte Giants of the Korea Baseball Organization. There’s no stability there, though. It’s possible his baseball career ended with Albert Pujols popping out to the shortstop. (Which isn’t a bad way to go out.)

So what will he do? You know by now there is the only one place to look in these situations: Bootcheck’s Twitter account.

It certainly sounds like he’s done. Even the way the tweet is constructed tells me he was feeling retrospective. He harkened back to his old Tweet playbook, where he shortens things like an eighth grader when he doesn’t need to just because he’s Chris Bootcheck, James Mungro Memorial Award winner and he does whatever he wants, back to a time when it was just me and him sparring, and significantly less of you were reading. I mean, he left 10 characters floating. The tweet could have read: “Want to thank the #Yankees organization for giving me an opp to play when no one else would, & the reward of seeing the bright lights again.”

But it didn’t, and if that tweet is the last act of Bootcheck’s professional career, at least we’ll always have that.

Whatever happens next, just realize that The Champ has already had a good run.

Side hop for life.

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