Take, for example, the sad case of Braves reserve outfielder Jordan Schafer. A former top prospect who blazed his way out of the Braves organization (and yes, that means exactly what you think it means) before returning as a surprisingly useful spare part last year, Mr. Schafer is not entirely happy with his role.
Which, it must be pointed it out, is backup to a guy who hit .184 last year and is hitting .212 this year, with no power. BJ Upton has been the baseball equivalent of an early weeks Bachelorette contestant for a season and a half now, and Schafer, thinking he could perhaps do better, took his case to manager Fredi Gonzalez. Because, yeah, he's hitting terribly this year, but really, how much worse could he do than what Bossman Junior is doing right now, and he certainly did hit a little better, at least, last season.
And Gonzalez said:
"I told him how proud I was of him, of his work ethic - he's ready to play, ready to help the team. Whether he pinch-runs, steals a base, or fills in on defense. And I know it's a tough spot. I said, it's early, and it's hard to take someone out of those spots."In English, that translates to: We're paying the other guy about $74M more to suck than we're paying you, which means that all things being equal (especially your batting averages), you're not going anywhere.
Which isn't funny if you're Jordan Schafer. But it is funny if you think about a guy hitting roughly a buck fifty going to his manager and asking for more merit-based playing time - and having a case for it.