Johnny Manziel can't escape the headlines these days, but the latest one is simply a fun gesture by a Major League Baseball organization. On Saturday, the San Diego Padres selected Manziel with the 837th pick in the 28th round of the 2014 MLB Draft. Yes, it's a far cry from where he was selected by the Cleveland Browns in the 2014 NFL Draft (No. 22 overall), but he got a kick out of it, nonetheless:
"Big thank you to the Padres and [President and CEO] Mike Dee for selecting me in the MLB draft," tweeted Manziel following the news of him being selected. "What a great day!"
The Browns are just coming off of having a first-round quarterback (also selected No. 22 overall in the NFL Draft) in Brandon Weeden. Weeden was actually a second-round pick in the 2002 MLB Draft, but never made enough of a dent as an MLB pitcher, so he returned to college football. Manziel was listed as a shortstop for Texas A&M's baseball team, but he never actually played for them.
"It was kind of, ‘Why not?"’ Padres general manager Josh Byrnes said Saturday before the Padres hosted the Washington Nationals. In May 2013, Manziel visited the Padres when he was in San Diego to work with a quarterbacks coach.
"He certainly loves baseball," Byrnes said. "We kind of talked about it at that time, ‘Do you want us to draft you?’ He said, ‘Yeah, absolutely."’ Why in the 28th round? "We really liked our 27th-rounder," Byrnes said. Asked the odds of actually signing Manziel, Byrnes, a big football fan, just smiled.
We might end up seeing Manziel have some fun next offseason in baseball. For example, Russell Wilson of the Seahawks was a fourth-round pick back in 2010, and a few weeks after winning the Super Bowl, he fielded ground balls in spring training with the Texas Rangers.