Chase Lambin’s baseball journey has taken him from northwest Houston and Cypress Falls High School to various collegiate and professional outposts from Brooklyn, New York, to Chiba City, Japan.
This season, at age 33, Lambin’s journey brought him back to the Houston area to play with the Sugar Land Skeeters in the independent Atlantic League.
This week, he learned it was just a temporary layover instead of a permanent return.
Lambin, an infielder who has played second base this season with the Skeeters, was signed to a minor league contract by the Kansas City Royals. Sugar Land manager Gary Gaetti and director of operations Michael Kirk made the announcement Thursday before the Skeeters’ game against the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs.
When Lambin takes the field for AAA Omaha, where he has been assigned, the Royals will become the fifth major league organization that he will have played for, joining the New York Mets, Florida/Miami Marlins, Washington Nationals and Minnesota Twins.
Lambin played 24 games with Sugar Land this year and hit .305 in 95 at-bats with five home runs and 13 RBI.
Originally a 34th-round pick of the New York Mets in the June 2002 draft out of the University of Louisiana-Lafayette, the switch-hitter played 89 games with Miami’s AAA New Orleans Zephyrs last year. He hit .253 (in 249 at-bats) with eight home runs and 32 RBI.
In his 11 previous professional seasons, he has never spent time on a major league roster but owns a career .270 batting average with 224 doubles, 121 homers and 528 RBI in 1,193 minor league games.
Lambin provides the Royals with some organizational depth with experience, but if he continues to hit as well as he has for the Skeeters, Kansas City has the potential to offer him a good shot at making it to the majors.
He can play anywhere in the infield and the Royals’ (21-29) current roster of infielders includes Chris Getz (.204), Mike Moustakas (.187) and Eliot Johnson (.247) and none of the infielders on the Omaha roster are among the organization’s top prospects.
Whether the potential turns into a reality remains to be seen, but all indications point to the fact that Lambin will take a philosophical approach no matter what happens.
Two years ago, while he was with the Twins’ AAA Rochester Red Wings and a teammate of current Skeeters first baseman Aaron Bates, Lambin was asked about why he continued to pursue his baseball dream.
“If I could take care of my family and play until I’m 40, and never play in the big leagues, I’d do it,” he told reporter Michael Kruse in September 2011. “I think I’m grateful for what I have and not bitter about what I don’t have.”
Lambin is the third member of Sugar Land’s 2013 club and 13th overall to be signed by a Major League organization, following pitcher Sean Gallagher and outfielder Dustin Martin.