Former Mets Prospect Says 'Celebrity' Signing Made 'Mockery' of Team

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By WFAN Sports Radio 101.9 FM/66AM New York

A former Mets prospect has sounded off about the organization after his recent release.Andrew Church, a second-round pick of the Mets in 2013, took to social media to vent after he became one of hundreds of minor leaguers cut amid the uncertainty caused by the coronavirus crisis.Church, a 25-year-old right-handed pitcher who has spent his entire career to date with the Mets, suggested the organization exploited his competitive spirit and reticence to say no to an assignment, deploying him as an injury replacement across the farm system in such a way that it ultimately led to him getting injured."I have always kept my opinions to myself out of respect for the organization I signed a contract with," Church said on Instagram. "But now that it’s officially over with them I’d like to say some things. One of the main reasons I retired was to keep myself from expressing how I felt."

Church retired in 2018 after suffering an injury, but he later returned to attempt a comeback in 2019.

"I was bitter, frustrated, and angry at the Mets organization," Church said. "I felt my competitive nature was being taken advantage of. They knew I would never say no to competing and would fly me around to fill in for anyone that got injured. I realized this wasn’t in my best interest when my delayed flight finally landed in the 3rd inning, and I was on the mound in a AAA baseball game for the first time, without any warm up throws. My UCL originally tore that night. Instead of seeing a doctors like I asked, they sent me back to High A to pitch in the playoffs. When I told them I couldn’t I was made out to be the bad guy."The Mets are no strangers to accusations of mishandling injuries. In recent years alone, the Amazin's have been accused of botching injuries of stars Yoenis Cespedes, Noah Syndergaard, and Jacob deGrom, among many others.But Church said there was insult added to the mismanagement of injuries, in an apparent shot at Mets celebrity minor leaguer Tim Tebow."Then the next year, they made a mockery of our team by putting a celebrity on it to sell more tickets. I saw players lose their jobs because of it. We weren’t playing to win, we were playing to make everyone else money. Not the players. We never saw a cut. Well, allegedly that one player did."

The Mets have come under criticism for keeping Tebow on their payroll when it's become clear he is unlikely to ever reach the Majors, certainly not as an impact player and probably not even as a competent reserve.

Church has a 4.83 ERA and 308 strikeouts in 454 1/3 career innings in the minors.

Please read to understand my true feelings. Today I got released by the NY Mets organization. The people on the other end of the phone had nothing but good things to say and I appreciated that very much. Anyone that has seen me play and compete knows that I lay it all on the line no matter what. Every practice, every game. I am a competitor, a true warrior. It’s in my DNA. From the outside looking in, my baseball career probably raises a lot of questions. Why did you retire and come back? How come your numbers aren’t very good if you were that dedicated? I have always kept my opinions to myself out of respect for the organization I signed a contract with. But now that it’s officially over with them I’d like to say some things. One of the main reasons I retired was to keep myself from expressing how I felt. I was bitter, frustrated, and angry at the Mets organization. I felt my competitive nature was being taken advantage of. They knew I would never say no to competing and would fly me around to fill in for anyone that got injured. I realized this wasn’t in my best interest when my delayed flight finally landed in the 3rd inning, and I was on the mound in a AAA baseball game for the first time, without any warm up throws. My UCL originally tore that night. Instead of seeing a doctors like I asked, they sent me back to High A to pitch in the playoffs. When I told them I couldn’t I was made out to be the bad guy. Then the next year, they made a mockery of our team by putting a celebrity on it to sell more tickets. I saw players lose their jobs because of it. We weren’t playing to win, we were playing to make everyone else money. Not the players. We never saw a cut. Well, allegedly that one player did. I think people are starting to understand that more now but they didn’t in 2018 when it was happening again. I was fed up. I spent my whole childhood honing in my passion and anger, to not let it get out of control, but it was and I was going to explode. So I took the opposite direction, I bottled it and silenced myself. I took some time away and cleared my head. Continued in comments..

A post shared by Andrew Church (@papachurch36) on May 28, 2020 at 6:29pm PDT