The Twins finally cut the cord and released long-time martyr Anthony Slama. Ok, he's not really a martyr, I just like that word. However, he has been a long-time favorite of Twins fans and someone who hasn't really been given a lengthy chance for MLB success, despite relatively impressive Minor League numbers. In the end, we may just simply have another Joe Benson situation where a player is talented, likely deserves more patience or opportunity, but ultimately isn't going to get a shot with the Twins. If that is the case, I am happy that the Twins have allowed him to pursue greener pastures.
This is even more true when you take a look at the time line of events that Anthony Slama has experienced in his time with the Minnesota Twins organization:
- June 7, 2006 - The Minnesota Twins draft Anthony Slama with their 39th round selection. Slama does not sign with the Twins and instead returns to the University of San Diego for the 2007 season. Twins' General Manager Terry Ryan is not pleased.
- June 4, 2007 - Just three days prior to the 2007 MLB draft, Slama signs with the Twins. At his introduction to the local media, Slama is assigned a jersey with a middle finger instead of a number. In addition, as he poses for photographs, Terry Ryan sneaks behind Slama, and Ryan and Twins' Manager Ron Gardenhire successfully tabletop Slama.
- June 5, 2007 - Slama is assigned to the Twins' little-known Rookie Ball affiliate at Guantanamo Bay.
- July 2007 - Slama is re-assigned to Elizabethton, where he pitches well enough to earn a quick promotion to Low A Beloit.
- August 2007 - The Twins apply to move their Low A affiliate to Cedar Rapids, in an effort to "ditch" Slama. This poor plan did not come to fruition.
- September 13, 2007 - Terry Ryan steps down as GM of the Twins. In his final statement to new GM Bill Smith, Ryan reminds Smith that Anthony Slama is public enemy number one.
- 2008 - Slama achieves great success with the Fort Myers Miracle. He goes 4-1, with an ERA of 1.01 in 71 innings. He strikes out 110 batters and only walks 24. He is presented with the Jim Rantz Award for the Twins' Minor League Pitcher of the Year. His name is deliberately spelled Anthonie Salma on the award.
- May 5, 2009 - New Britain teammates Brian Dinkelman and Luke Hughes pin Slama to the ground, while Danny Valencia performs spitty-slurpy over Slama's face.
- Late 2009 - Slama finishes his season with AAA Rochester, recording 4 saves for the club down the stretch.
- July 21, 2010 - Anthony Slama makes his MLB debut. Michael Cuddyer runs up to him after the game as if to celebrate but just kicks Slama in the shins.
- July 23, 2010 - Slama gives up two earned runs in one inning and takes a loss in a game against the Orioles. Slama is forced to spend the evening in solitary confinement.
- July 2010 - As is customary for all rookies, Slama is given a pink backpack to carry around. He is also given a second pink backpack to carry, filled with scorpions.
- February 2011 - Slama is forced to produce and record Joe Mauer's debut hip-hop album.
- May/June 2011 - Slama gets a brief two-game stint with the Twins. This event is what many consider the beginning of the end of the Bill Smith era.
- July 2011 - Slama's season ends due to an elbow injury. He posts great numbers at AAA prior to his injury.
- October 14, 2011 - Slama is removed from the 40-man roster. He is also told that if they could, the Twins would remove him from the 400-man roster.
- November 7, 2011 - Terry Ryan takes over as GM once more.
- November 21, 2011 - Terry Ryan invites Slama to a meeting to "bury the hatchet." After a chat where Ryan expresses regret for how he has treated Slama, Ryan extends his hand to shake Slama's. As Slama considers it, he looks around to the crowd, to see if he should trust Ryan. He looks to his left, then to his right. As he decides to shake Ryan's hand, assistant GM Rob Antony blasts Slama in the back with a steel chair. They then spray paint "NWO" on his back. No one is really sure what this means.
- January 2012 - Terry Ryan volunteers Slama to help build the light rail expansion.
- 2012 - Slama pitches well for a 4th time in Rochester, prompting many to wonder why he is not being given a chance with the Twins.
- June 2012 - Slama suffers a broken fibula that ends his season.
- February 2013 - Slama is invited to Spring Training, but only as a joke.
- June 13, 2013 - The Twins release Anthony Slama. On his way out, Slama is pants'd by Terry Ryan.
With a timeline like that, I think we should all be happy that Slama is heading to a new organization. I certainly wish him all of the best.