If you're not a superstar caliber player, one way you can make yourself more valuable is to show a bunch of versatility. Chase Lambin has done just that and has played at seven different positions on the field, missing just the catcher's and pitcher's positions on the field. Lambin knows that as a .273 career hitter in the minors, his numbers aren't all that bad, but his added versatility makes him much more valuable to the Nationals or any other team that Lambin might wind up playing for in the future.
"I actually kind of enjoy it [playing a number of positions]. I guess it's nice to come to the park and know where you'll be playing, but I just try to stay sharp and do a good job no matter where I'm playing," explained Lambin.
The 31 year-old has been kicking around in the minors for eight years now, with another year in the Japanese Professional League. Most of his time in the minors was spent in the Mets organization, with two more seasons in the Marlins system and he's now is in his first year with the Nationals. Lambin is hoping that this time, he's found a home that will allow him a chance to make his major league debut. "I'm like everyone else in the minors, I obviously want to play in the majors and I think that I can help a club and it would be great if it was in Washington," said Lambin as he prepared for the Triple-A All-Star Game last week.
Lambin truly is like a lot of other minor leaguers, who don't necessarily put up huge minor league numbers, they don't hit for a ton of power and they don't have a ton of speed or play Ozzie Smith-like defense. They're just good players who do a lot of things well, although don't necessarily do any of them well enough to get enough attention for themselves. Some players spend an entire career in the minors, putting up decent numbers, bouncing from club-to-club and in the end, don't have a day in the majors to show for any of their efforts.
At Syracuse this season, Lambin has played first, second, third, left and right and is hitting .280 with 11 home runs and 47 RBI.
Lambin is going through the struggles that many minor league players go through and many fans refuse to realize. Outside of baseball, Lambin has a personal life that needs some of his attention. Lambin has been married just over a year-and-a-half and within a week after he was married, was headed to Japan to start a career with the Chiba Lotte Marines and manager Bobby Valentine. His season in Japan didn't go well on the field, but Lambin admits that he enjoyed the experience and enjoyed his time in Japan, but perhaps the biggest thing that it did was to give him a new perspective on minor league ball.
"It really was a unique experience and it sort of re-charged me to play back here in the states again," said Lambin. "Now, I think I have an even greater respect for the game and just what it means to me."
For now, Lambin continues to fight for enough respect to get himself a shot in the majors. If there is anything right with the world, guys like Lambin deserve at least one shot at spending some time in the majors.