With the way the team was using him and the vibes he was getting from upper management, Cory Spangenberg wasn’t exactly surprised when the San Diego Padres released him Nov. 21.
“Was I expecting it? Probably not, but at the same time it wasn’t a real big shock,” Spangenberg said.
The Clarks Summit native and Abington Heights graduate played in 116 games last season, second most in his career. He started just 66, however, fewer than his first full season in the majors with San Diego in 2015.
The season saw him play games at second base, third base, shortstop, left field and, even twice, pitcher. When he got into games, often it was as a pinch hitter against tough, late-inning relievers.
“It was tough,” Spangenberg said. “I really didn’t have a role, a consistent role, with the Padres. I really didn’t have a role that I knew I was going to go into each day when I came to the field. Not knowing is hard in this sport, because it’s hard enough as a sport and I think that just made it more difficult.”
He knows there’s a business side to baseball.
Spangenberg also didn’t have much time to dwell on it. His new team, pending a physical, the Milwaukee Brewers, reached out to him the day he was released. He’d go on to talk to six or eight teams this offseason before agreeing to a deal with the Brewers.
Turning the page would be easy.
“I was excited for a fresh start,” Spangenberg said.
This fresh start comes with a team that had the best record in the National League last season. The Brewers had as many wins (96) as the Padres had losses. Milwaukee tried to shore up its infield during the season, adding Mike Moustakas and Jonathan Schoop via trades. Those spots are open again, as Moustakas became a free agent and the Brewers opted to not tender a contract to Schoop.
“I watched a bunch of the playoffs,” Spangenberg said. “It’s going to be cool to go to a team that had that success last year. When I was with the Padres, we never had a winning season. Just to be able to win some ballgames is going to be a lot of fun. You know, everyone wants to win, and I think that will be a big change this year.”
He also had a connection to the Brewers coach staff. Pat Murphy, Milwaukee’s bench coach, was one of Spangenberg’s managers in the Padres minor leagues, and the two developed a good relationship.
Spangenberg batted just .235 last season. In 21 games and 88 at-bats at Triple-A, however, he raked at a .341 clip and clubbed 14 extra-base hits. Perhaps, this new chapter will foster similar results.
“I think it’s the best team fit for me on paper,” Spangenberg said. “I love the city. I love the stadium. I just think it’s going to be a good time there.”
Contact the writer: