Braves One Year Wanker: Raul Mondesi

2005 Topps #631 Raul Mondesi Braves 8 - NM/MT | eBay

Starting with 2 posts from the past:

January 14, 2005 at 4:00 pm: I think we are fixing to miss Reggie Sanders’ esteemed tenure as an Atlanta Brave.

Matt Davis

Amen Brother! And for a different take…

January 14, 2005 at 5:36 pm: i’m going out on a limb here and say that this move is great for raul and great for the braves. i feel with the positive dominican influence the braves have in the clubhouse, it could be a life changing (not just a career changing) year for raul. maybe raul has had some time to humble himself and realize his position. please, raul, for the love of all things holy, don’t make me eat these words later.

ryan c

That one will leave a mark.

Braves One Year Wanker: Raul Mondesi, How did we get him?

Signed to a 1 year free agent contract for $1M. Money well spent!

Braves One Year Wanker: Raul Mondesi, Why we hate him

In 2005 he appeared in 41 games before earning his release with a .211, .271, .359 line that hardly told the whole story. His outfield play was grotesque. For example, in one early season contest with a runner on second, the batter hits one toward the gap. Raul cuts it off and throws an absolute seed — to third base. He had a play on the runner at home or the guy legging it into second and he threw…to third. Missed the cutoff man too.

“Missed the cutoff guy” may as well have been his Braves Journal nickname. Did Bobby notice? Yeah, Bobby noticed. He was not one to show up the players except for that 1 time with Andruw, but I remember at least 3 instances of Raul being met at the end of the dugout for a discussion. I don’t believe polite language was employed. The inevitable release came at the end of a grueling road trip where he actually hit as well as he had all year but just completely alienated everybody in the clubhouse from Chipper to the towel boy. Langerhans came in mid-inning as a defensive replacement and he was never seen again.

Braves One Year Wanker: Raul Mondesi, The Head Case

Mondesi earned the reputation of being a “colorful” teammate while still a teenager in his home country of the Dominican Republic. He disappeared from the Dodger’s Academy for a week at one point and was rumored to have other issues. For this reason the Dodgers signed him 11 months into the J2 signing period for an undisclosed small sum. They, at least, got their money’s worth.

After reupping with the Dodgers after his arbitration years for a 5/$55M contract, the team soured on his (unspecified) anti-social behavior and traded him to Toronto for Shawn Green, where he was largely injured or ineffective although he did manage a 27 homer/30 steal campaign in 2000. It was in 2004 in Pittsburgh that things came to a head. Raul took a week off during spring training for unspecified personal reasons before leaving the team entirely in May claiming his family had been kidnapped/were threatened to be kidnapped/were having a bad day or something (he told multiple accounts…)

Somehow and unbelievably, this got him released and put on the MLB Restricted List before the Angels unaccountably decided they couldn’t continue without somebody to miss the cutoff man and gave him another contract. That brings us full circle to Atlanta in 2005.

I’m beginning to enjoy this guy — what came next?

Would you believe politics? Mondesi was elected to the DR’s Chamber of Deputies (parliament) in May 2006. Continuing his unpredictable ways, he switched political parties the next year over charges of corruption in his old party. He then served a 6 year term as mayor of San Cristobal which ended when he was charged with corruption in 2017 and received an 8 year prison sentence. He is currently out on parole. Does it say something about me that I get to write up all the criminals?

Thanks for reading Braves One Year Wanker, Raul Mondesi. Our entire wankers and wonders series can be found here.

60 thoughts on “Braves One Year Wanker: Raul Mondesi”

  1. I just slapped 2005 ryan c. What a wanker he was…I mean, who did he think he was with his refusal to capitalize ANYTHING?!

    Seriously though…I think I just typed out things that I wanted to believe in. I think I finally learned my lesson with Matt Young about 5 years later.

  2. In general, I have no problem with the team taking cheap flyers on veterans to see if they have anything left in the tank. Sometimes that pans out incredibly well, like Jaret Wright and Julio Franco; sometimes kinda well, like Ben Sheets; sometimes kinda eh, like Troy Glaus; sometimes kinda badly, like our second-go-arounds with Tom Glavine and Mike Remlinger; and sometimes incredibly badly, like Ken Caminiti and Raul Mondesi.

    As long as they get a short leash, I think it’s a great way to bulk out the end of the 25-man roster. There was no excuse for Mondesi to get 155 plate appearances, but that’s entirely on Schuerholz. He probably should have been cut after a couple of weeks, and he got a full two months.

  3. I think that’s what gets them on these lists; they play for so long when they are clearly done that they’re remembered as millstones.

    Even now, when $1M really isn’t worth all that much, are there examples of guys getting cut in Spring Training being paid as much as a guaranteed $1M? It shouldn’t have been hard to see in Spring Training that a guy like Mondesi was cooked, so you have to add that onto the unnecessary body of evidence that it took to determine he shouldn’t be on the roster.

    One recent example would be Jose Bautista, and he only got 40 PAs, though he was only on a minor league deal. Legend Only In My Mind Sean Rodriguez got 47 PAs after his car accident. Ryan Flaherty, who was never good, got 182 PAs of a .590 OPS because he had a .964 OPS through a nice 69 PA stretch followed by a stretch of 113 PAs and a .371 OPS. But he played decent, versatile infield defense. After Rafael Ortega’s grand slam last year against the Dodgers, he had 86 PAs of a .524 OPS. But like Flaherty, he’s another example of at least providing good defense. So, there are a few recent examples of some clunkers, but none of them as egregious as these wankers that played unimportant defense positions, poorly at that, and could barely outhit Ryan Flaherty.

  4. Not all the criminals, Ryan… I took Caminiti.

    The problem with Mondesi is that he wouldn’t even make (based even on his entire career) an all-Felon team. At least Caminiti could make that team. I’m not sure whether that says more about Mondesi or about the felonious population of baseball players through history.

  5. @6
    Your comment made me catch an error on this post. Snowshine (aka Karl Ehrsam) is the author to this piece, I just forgot to change the name in the editing phase.

    Fixed now…and sorry Snowshine!

  6. @6, who you got on that team? Nails Dykstra would be a really solid leadoff man, and the pre-Atlanta Denny McLain would be a solid innings eater. Who would you put at the corners?

  7. @ 8,

    Ugueth Urbina would be a great closer for the felon team, but then, does a Chavez government conviction seem legit? I think it was for ordering petty thieves (who he said were kidnappers) be hacked to death with machetes.

  8. @8: Caminiti plays third, despite the groundswell of opinion that first is his natural position. Orlando Cepeda at first. Pete Rose could back them both up, but I’ll give him left field, I guess. Here’s the list from which to make a full team, though you need at least a one year sentence to count as a felony (Rose only served 5 months, but got a two year sentence, I think): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_professional_sportspeople_convicted_of_crimes#Baseball

    Anyway, a team with Darryl Strawberry, Jose Canseco, and Dykstra in the outfield is going to be hard-pressed to find a spot for Raul Mondesi. (I’m moving Rose to second base)

  9. I think it makes sense for the felon team to employ a DH, and I think that’s Jose’s natural position, as warning track fly balls can attest.

  10. I’ll take Milton Bradley over Mondesi, then.

    My team is short a catcher. I’ll go with Ray Schalk, who, while completely blameless, has guilt by association with the Black Sox, who were themselves acquitted at trial.

    Wow… that’s really weak. OK, in a different move, I’m going with Mike Tyson, who I think would have been a terrific catcher. Or we can just assume that AJ Pierzinski hotwired a car in his youth or something.

  11. I know of:
    Doug DeCinces, 3b — insider trading
    Matt Bush, 3b/rhp — drunk driving (and almost killing a pedestrian)
    Orlando Cepeda, 1b — possession
    Nails, cf — money laundering, grand theft, general douchbaggery
    Hank Thompson (2nd negro league player to play in NL after Jackie), 3b — armed robbery
    Julio Machado, rhp — murder
    Urbina, rhp — attempted murder. Chavez had not yet had time to subvert the judiciary.
    Ron Leflore, cf — in a change, served time for armed robbery before his MLB career.
    Chad Curtis, OF — sexual assault
    Denny has been mentioned, rhp
    Willie Mays Aikens, dh — cocaine
    Mel Hall, cf — multiple sex crimes (45 years!)
    Mike Balus, rhp — concientious objector (WW2)
    Rick Camp, home run king — breaking and entering, conspiracy
    Pierce Chiles, of, Treason. Really, the guy left the Phillies to join the Boers in their war Vs the UK (he was from an irish family). Released after 6 weeks of public furor.
    Alex Cole, ut — heroin distribution
    John D’Aquisto, rhp, white coller fraud
    Every member of the Delahanty family, of — illegal production and transport of alcohol
    Farriss Fain, 1b — mary jane growing (at age 65!)
    Doc Gooden, monster — drug possession, firearm possession
    Mark Grace, 1b — DUI (multiple, last was felony)
    Pinky Higgins, 3b — homicide
    La Marr Hoyt, rhp — narcotics
    Jerry Koosman, rhp — tax evasion
    Pete Rose, ut — officially served time for tax evasion
    Sammy Stewart, rhp — every drug known to man. He used to be my neighbor. good times…
    Darryl Strawberry, rf — weapons violation triggered sentence for possession
    Farmer Weaver, of — rape (at age 66. Do not mess with retired MLB’ers)
    Willie Wilson, cf — cocaine possession
    Bill Wilson, ut — theft. His was the final case heard by Judge Kennesaw mountain Landis before that worthy moved up from the GA state court system to the Federal bench.

  12. There is a catcher on the Wikipedia list: the ridiculously famous Charlie Hoover who played two years for the Kansas City Cowboys in in the 1880s. I’m sticking with Tyson (or Pierzynski.)

  13. So my all-felons:
    c Bill Wilson
    1b Cepeda
    2b Pete Rose
    ss going with Hank Thompson as he was a ss in negro league. Else Matt Bush
    3b Pinky Higgins
    lf Eddie Delahanty
    cf Willie Wilson, although Pierce Chiles gets a shout out
    rf Straw
    rhp Doc
    rhp Denny
    rhp Koos
    rhp La Marr Hoyt
    relief Rick Camp
    relief Urbina

    We’re woefully short on lefties and don’t have much relief depth. Oh well

  14. Steve Howe and Urbina are pretty good relievers, and D’Acquisto won’t do you any harm out of the pen either. And don’t forget The Little Bulldog: Pat Jarvis. He’s another starter.

  15. now I learn that Pierce Chiles also served time for theft and escaped prison, never to be seen again. Can we make him an honorary wanker?

  16. @ 13,

    Landis was never a Georgia Judge (or even resident, so far as I know). His judicial career was mainly as a federal district court judge in Chicago. The name comes from his dad being a hero of the battle for the Union side (although that wasn’t a very good day for the Union forces).

  17. I never knew about Raul’s political career! The best part about Raul Mondesi was Rich Eisen (or was it Stuart Scott?) saying his name in a homerun nightlight. “Raul…MMMON!-desi”. Man I miss when SportsCenter (and ESPN in general) was good.

    See also: “Delgado del-GAAT-it”

  18. Well, that is certainly a winnable division with only the Twinks, Cards and Cubbies as good teams. Just spitballing it looks like a cumulative .480 winning percentage whereas the other two divisions are over .500

  19. I love the realignment situation for the Braves, and the plan overall seems solid. It’s the most plausible one I’ve seen yet.

    This is also a great way for them to backdoor in the NL DH and minimize the fuss over it.

  20. @27

    I’m very confused as to why they put the Braves in the Central and the Pirates in the East in their proposed setup, and I’m almost positive they would flip that if they did this in real life. I believe those are the only two teams not geographically lined up with where they normally are (NL or AL East to East, NL or AL Central to Central, etc.) in this article.

  21. They are keeping all the “natural” rivals together, the the pirates need to be with the phils

  22. I know we avoid politics here (for very good reasons) but may I put in a good word for Pierce Chiles? An Irish guy who fought the Brits in South Africa is viewed in some quarters as a patriot, not a traitor. Yes, I see the conviction for thieving, but given his past that is suspect also—or at least forgivable.

  23. @26: sansho1, that is outstanding. Well, not the worst mass murder in MLB history… That’s bad… (and I commend the link to those who skipped over it) but the ability to get Tyson out from behind the plate. Bergen it is…

  24. @32

    If that rivalry wasn’t important enough to put the Pirates in the NL East and us in the NL Central in the first place, I don’t see why it would be important enough now. Perhaps that was once a rivalry that mattered, but it certainly isn’t now.

    UPDATE: Additionally, to save that one kinda sorta rivalry, you’re putting us in a division with no natural rivals whatsoever and taking the Pirates away from all of their rivals save the Phillies. Doesn’t make any sense.

  25. I like my idea of 5 divisions of 6 teams better. You could keep all the divisions intact, apart from one you’d have to cannibalize. Play the other 5 teams in your division 20 times (current is 19) then start whatever kind of playoffs you can dream up. (5 team divisions don’t work well scheduling wise.)

    The 2020 Micro-Season

  26. It’s nice of the Pentagon to finally reveal how Ronald Acuna Jr. got here.

    Thread will stay up for today.

  27. @34 The SABR bio doesn’t mention it as a possibility, but the arc of Bergen’s mental illness would sound familiar to anyone who has studied the effects of CTE on football players. Bergen was an early proponent of catcher’s masks (surely he’d taken a few pitches to the noggin), but the early masks were designed mainly to prevent broken bones or lacerations — they would have had little to no effect on the concussive impact of a pitch to the head. Bergen also arrived in the NL around the time of a rule change stating that a foul tip had to be caught on the fly in order to count as an out, which caused catchers to set up closer behind the hitter, bringing the bat into play. His mental decline sounds like nothing so much as the Mike Webster story.

  28. I think having a truly wacky regular season and even playoff format where teams are not playing in their own cities, not in their own leagues, and against teams they never play is a great way of making this season as interesting as humanly possible. My only concern is that it would heavily devalue the World Series winner this year, which could conceivably be our Braves. Do we really want the rest of the league saying the Braves won a fake World Series in which the game as we know it wasn’t played?

  29. Ok…I’ve fooled around with it and just can’t wrap my head around what a playoff race would look like with 3 divisions. Here’s my start:
    1. Division winner for each division (3)
    2. 3 WC for each division (9)

    A 12 team postseason is wonky, especially with 3 division winners. Even if they put in place the lovely outlandish idea of tops seeds picking opponents then go down, you’d still get a weird setup and at some point, someone would be getting a bye. Would there be a round robin of sorts?

  30. You could have 5 wildcards with each division guaranteed 2 spots and the final 2 up for grabs like the world cup used to do. Or have 1st and 2nd guaranteed spots and 8 wildcards playing a pair of one-and-done games

  31. Do we really want the rest of the league saying the Braves won a fake World Series in which the game as we know it wasn’t played?

    HELL, YES!

  32. I don’t particularly care why the other 29 teams are wailing and gnashing their teeth about a Braves World Series win. Let ’em call it a moral victory. As long as the t-shirt says World Champions, I’ll manage just fine.

  33. I just want to have baseball. I’m so excited.

    9th inning of 1992 NLCS Game 7 is on MLB Network right now.

  34. Here’s how every one of these MLB maybe-there’s-a-season articles go:

    Major League Baseball is growing increasingly confident about the possiblity of staging a season in the summer of 2020, according to sources with knowledge of the ongoing discussions. […] But here’s a list of fifteen potential obstacles which could foil the plans.

    -_-

  35. @49–that’s right, there are a world of unknowns that could keep this strange potential season from happening. The most obvious is illness of a player or coach or anyone else in the clubhouse. I assume if anyone gets sick that team must quit play immediately.

    But that means one way to handle the thorny playoff eligibility and format questions is to see who is left standing come September.

    I’m not really serious; it anyone in any clubhouse gets symptomatic they will have to cancel the whole season, won’t they?

  36. There are enough medical professionals involved in this decision-making process that they know that SOMEONE will test positive. A GM, a towel boy, the trainer, a player, etc. And I would imagine that they’ve reached the point where they’ve decided that they won’t shut the whole thing down because someone inevitably tests positive. If that’s their criteria, then don’t even play the damn season. Someone’s going to get it, so all of our hope’s are being raised in order to completely deject us over something everyone knew is going to happen.

    With that said, while I know the line ought not be “one case and we shut it down”, I don’t know what the line should be. Brian Snitker tests positive and he’s on a ventilator. Do they shut it down? Mike Trout tests positive, and he’s on the 14-day quarantine IL. What happens? HEAVEN FORBID, someone tests positive as a result of baseball activities, and they pass away. People much, much smarter than me are having to make some really, really hard decisions.

  37. Something that is being missed by much of the news coverage is that (a) the disease is vastly more widespread than the numbers show ( I know of 5 studies, 3 in U. S. and two in Germany that estimate 30 to 50 times as many infected as reported cases), (b) therefore, the deadliness is much less than thought, and (c) the deadliness is VERY confined as to the upper age group and those with significant medical issues.

    The NHL and the NBA have operated in flu season for years and years. Michael Jordan played a game in which he was affected by flu symptoms. That means everybody in his clubhouse was VERY at risk and the starters on the other team were at risk. They don’t stop the regular season. They don’t stop the playoffs.

    And yes, flu is a good comparison. Actually, the flu mortality by age table is J shaped. High in infancy and early childhood, increasing even higher in old age, and almost unheard of in 15 to 50 year olds. The “Spanish” (more accurately called “West Kansas”) flu had a camel’s hump curve. Low death rates at the end and highest in the otherwise healthiest people in the middle. COVID 19 is a hockey stick curve. Almost nothing for a long way and then a strong upward movement.

    There is no certainty of ever having a vaccine. They have been working on a SARS vaccine (a related virus) since 2003 and have not got one.

    So, if your personal standard is that if baseball starts and one person dies or several get sick, that is bad, then you should be against reopening. That WILL happen.

  38. @39

    This is Atlanta sports, so I’m just assuming this would happen. If you’re gonna be a fan of an Atlanta sports team, you’re just gonna have to make your peace with goofy stuff like this taking place.

    Atlanta sports titles (that I cared about YMMV) in my lifetime:
    1995: Braves win the World Series of a strike-shortened season that saw vast quantities of baseball fans not paying attention because they were still pissed about the strike
    2018: Atlanta United wins MLS Cup, but half the city’s sports fans claim it doesn’t count because “it’s just soccer”

    This is our cross to bear, I’m afraid.

    UPDATE: I kind of agree with Cliff insofar as the numbers in the We Must Wait for a Vaccine crowd will quickly dwindle if the 12 to 18 month timeline comes and goes and there doesn’t appear to be a whole lot on the horizon. I think having a contingency for what happens if the search for a vaccine just isn’t going as well as hoped would be a good idea.

  39. If the We Must Wait for a Vaccine crowd actually knew what it was asking for, then they wouldn’t be seeing any movies, watching any comedy shows, watching any sports in person, or going to Disney World for a very, very, very long time. They have to be thinking that a vaccine is much closer than it actually is.

    College football seems to be the hardest thing to predict because of the facade that these are amateur athletes, but it even looks like there’s enough of a financial need for college football to happen that they’ll end up steamrolling it through.

  40. Yeah, I think we’ll wind up seeing most sports without fans in the stands within the next couple of months. What the NBA and NHL do, I don’t know (I’m assuming they’ll try to complete their season in some way, but they might not), but the rest of it will start back up.

  41. And if ultimately my contribution to this thing we call the human condition is that I did naught but raise the people’s knowledge and appreciation of MLB clubhouse towel boys, I can gain gratification in the fact that at my funeral people will stand at discrete 6 foot intervals and repeat as one, “Here was a man!”

  42. A lot more Braves fans will toast you at your wake than welcomed you at your birth, and if that’s not a measure of a life well lived, what is?

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