Esposito excited to be an Oriole, put Yankees rooting behind him
Jason Esposito passed up a reported $1.5 million offer from the Kansas City Royals after they drafted him in the seventh round out of high school in 2008.
Last night, he agreed to a $600,000 deal with the Orioles, who made him the 64th overall pick in the 2011 draft. But what happened in between allows Esposito to say, “I wouldn’t change anything I’ve done.”
This June, Esposito, a sure-handed and strong-armed third baseman, helped lead Vanderbilt to the College World Series in Omaha, Neb.
“There are no regrets,” Esposito said. “At some point, you need to make a decision. First and foremost, it was important for my family and me to have a Vanderbilt education. Growing up near Yale [in Connecticut], I know the value of a good degree. That was something I couldn’t pass up from the beginning. Making it to Omaha was the ultimate high. It’s something you dream about as a little kid. That’s why you go and play college baseball. It was the pinnacle. That’s what it’s all about, and of course, it led me to the Baltimore Orioles, which is very exciting.
“I’m going to move on to the next phase of my life, the life that I’ve always wanted and the dreams that could possibly follow this. I’m very excited to move on. I spent three great years at Vanderbilt. But I’m excited to be part of the Orioles’ organization.”
Esposito isn’t sure what’s next for him, whether he’ll report to the team’s spring training complex in Sarasota, Fla., or one of the Orioles’ affiliates. However, he can hardly wait. He acknowledged that not being able to play in games the past couple of months has been tough.
“The toughest thing for me is I haven’t had a month off in probably the past three or four years,” Esposito said. “That was the toughest part, not having the competition of facing a pitcher or diving [for] a ground ball or trying to steal a base or score from second. That was the biggest problem I had in waiting this draft procedure. … If I’m going to be down in Sarasota, I’m going to enjoy my time down there. In any event, just do what I need to do. I’m going to be really energized and enthusiastic about what I’m going to be doing.”
Esposito grew up in Connecticut. He said that he has plenty of family and friends who are Orioles fans. However, he acknowledged that he was a New York Yankees fan.
“That just changed,” he said.
Asked whether he was looking forward to facing the Yankees, he said: “I’m looking forward to playing against any team at this point. Anything that gets me out on the field.”
Esposito batted .341 with nine homers and 59 RBIs in 65 games for Vanderbilt this past year. But his best tool is his glove as he is considered an above-average defender at third base.
“It’s not so much personally taking pride in your defense,” Esposito said. “It’s more about having your teammates back. In some cases, it’s the pitcher’s back; in some cases, it’s the second baseman who made an error. It’s my turn to help him out and turn a double play and make sure we get out of the inning.”