Independent team deals pitcher for 10 maple bats
McALLEN, Texas -- During three years in the low minors, John Odom never really made a name for himself.
That sure changed this week -- he's the guy who was traded for a bunch of bats.
"I don't really care," he said Friday. "It'll make a better story if I make it to the big leagues."
For now, Odom is headed to the Laredo Broncos of the United League. They got him Tuesday from the Calgary Vipers of the Golden Baseball League for a most unlikely price: 10 Prairie Sticks Maple Bats, double-dipped black, 34-inch, C243 style.
"They just wanted some bats, good bats -- maple bats," Broncos general manager Jose Melendez said.
According to the Prairie Sticks Web site, their maple bats retail for $69 each, discounted to $65.50 for purchases of six to 11 bats.
"It will be interesting to see what 10 bats gets us," Melendez said.
The Canadian team signed Odom about a month ago, but couldn't get the 26-year-old righty into the country. It seems Odom had a minor but unspecified criminal record that wasn't revealed to immigration officials before they scanned his passport, Vipers president Peter Young said.
Odom said the charge stemmed from a fight he was in at age 17. Although he thought it had been expunged from his record, it popped up during immigration.
Odom spent hundreds of dollars driving to the Canadian border and staying at a Montana hotel while the matter was sorted out. He then drove to Laredo after the trade.
Originally from Atlanta, Odom was drafted late by the San Francisco Giants in 2003. He pitched 38 games, all in Class A, from 2004-06, and was released by the organization this spring.
Laredo intends to activate Odom on Monday and have him make his first start Wednesday.
Odom said he was supposed to be traded for Laredo's best hitter. But when that player balked at moving to Calgary, the bats entered the deal.
Laredo offered cash for Odom, but Young said that was "an insult."
The bat trade wasn't the first time Calgary came up with some creative dealmaking. The Vipers once tried to acquire a pitcher for 1,500 blue seats when they were renovating their stadium, Young said.
Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press