Manny Barreda is a right-handed pitcher in the Milwaukee Brewers organization. How he came to be a part of that club this year is one of the strangest stories of my career.
I met Manny when he was a fresh-faced 18-year-old with the Yankees’ rookie team in Tampa back in 2008. We were close to starting a business relationship back then, but we eventually lost touch and I never heard from him again. Flash-forward to 2013 in Jupiter. My client David Herndon, who you probably remember pitching for the Phillies, was rehabbing with the Yankees’ High-A team in Tampa and he asked me if I had any interest in signing his roommate. Who was that roommate? It was Manny Barreda, of course.
Manny is considered by scouts to be on the small side, but I always loved his stuff and makeup. He had incurred a lot of injury issues since I had first met him, but the day I saw him in 2013 he was back throwing 94-95 again. I immediately got reacquainted with him and signed him the next day.
So 2014 rolls around, and while Manny was a six-year free agent he decided to stay with the only organization he'd ever known, the Yankees. They were very fair to him and made it quite clear they wanted to retain him, despite not putting him on the 40-man roster. He had a good enough spring to earn a bullpen spot in Double-A Trenton, and was having a very good season when he was suddenly released. It was a shock, but I told him not to worry. I got to work immediately. I called the Brewers and within literally five minutes of him being a free agent he signed with Milwaukee. He went to Double-A Huntsville, where he finished the year with a sub-2 ERA.
The 2015 offseason starts and Manny decides to re-sign with the Brewers in lieu of testing free agency. He has a great spring and is poised to start in Double-A, but then a Triple-A spot opens up. Here is where things get weird. A Mexican club, Monterrey, started courting him while he was still under contract with the Brewers. This pissed me off to no end. The rules in the Mexican League are evidently quite lax, which isn’t to say it’s a bad league, but I am always suspicious of people wantonly breaking rules—I’ve personally never sent a player there. But Manny ended up agreeing to terms with Monterrey and requested his release from Milwaukee, which was granted.
I was leery from the start, and when Manny got to Monterrey to sign his contract the terms were vastly different from what was promised. Manny politely declined to sign the contract and left the club, despite having posed for team photos and attended a team function. He later found a club in Tijuana and signed to more favorable terms. But after three strong outings, the Mexican League suspended Manny for the entire season for breach of contract, though he had never signed the paperwork he was accused of breaching. I’m no Mexican lawyer—or any kind of lawyer at all—but this seemed totally insane to me.
So while Manny sat in limbo I got to work. Despite having left the Brewers, he fortunately hadn’t burned too many bridges. I called the club to see if they would take Manny back, given that the club was most interested in winning. Much to my relief they wanted to bring Manny back. He recently re-signed with the club and is now Brewers property again. Manny was sent to High-A Brevard County and, after working hard to re-establish himself in the organization, has been promoted to the Brewers' Double-A affiliate; he has thrown 7 2/3 scoreless innings across the two levels this year. He’s back where he was, but only after by far the strangest contract situation I have ever been a part of.
Thankfully this ended well and could have ended horribly. Manny has been released twice and hasn’t spent a day in Indy ball. I have worked hard to keep him afloat on the business end and all he has to do on his end is focus on baseball. I firmly believe Manny has a bright future and am looking forward to seeing how he does the rest of the season. Also I am looking forward to not ever having to go through a situation like this ever again. Released, signed, Mexico, suspended, re-signed. Also let this be a lesson kids: Do not become an agent. Res Ipsa Loquitor
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