McALLEN, Texas – During three years in the low minors, John Odom never really made a name for himself until he got 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.
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 when he was 17. Although he thought it had been expunged from his record, it popped up during immigration.
Originally from Atlanta, Odom was drafted late by the San Francisco Giants in 2003. He pitched 38 games in Class A from 2004-06 and was released by the organization this spring.
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.