The realities of professional baseball hit Waterford’s Aaron Easton over the winter. But he’s not ready to give up his dream.
Easton, a 29th-round selection of the Florida Marlins in the 2004 draft, was released just before Christmas. The Marlins gutted their Major League roster during the off-season, and the ripple effect was felt throughout the organization.
The 6-foot-10 right-handed pitcher was discouraged, but hasn’t hung up his glove yet.
“I definitely contemplated getting out of (baseball) for awhile after it happened because it definitely doesn’t pay well. Heck, I could be making more money bagging groceries at Hannaford,” he said. “I tossed and turned with whether I wanted to do it or not. I kept lifting and training and I finally said, I’ll do it.'”
He is working out with the pitching coach of his former college team, Flagler College of St. Augustine, Fla. and is hoping to latch on with the Worcester Tornadoes of the independent Can-Am League, whose season begins in late May.
“It’s not official yet, but my agent is working on getting a contract,” he said.
Last year, Easton pitched in 17 games, all in relief, for the Jamestown Jammers, the Marlins’ low A affiliate in the New York-Penn League. He had a strong start but had to sit out a month in the latter part of the season with bicep tendinitis. He finished with no decisions, a 5.16 ERA and fanned 25 while walking 13 in 29.2 innings,
Easton feels he was a victim of a numbers game in the Florida system. The Marlins acquired 17 minor league pitchers through off-season trades, meaning a number of pitchers would get nudged out of the organization.
He went into the spring healthy again and had try-outs with the Red Sox and Indians, but wasn’t signed.
“It’s really tough to get signed right before or right after spring training,” he said. “I think I just need a place to go and play, get some innings and work on some things.”