On Olympic duty for Team USA in Tokyo, Simeon Woods Richardson dealt at MLB trade deadline

·3 min read

YOKOHAMA, Japan — Just by being here, the Olympics were going to be memorable for Simeon Woods Richardson. It would be for any 20-year-old first-time Olympian.

After Friday's Major League Baseball deadline, he'll also look back on it as the place he found out he was being traded from the Toronto Blue Jays to the Minnesota Twins as part of the package for Jose Berrios.

"Well, I got the call at 2 a.m. last night," he told USA TODAY Sports in the mixed zone following Team USA's win over South Korea on Saturday.

On the other line was Toronto general manager Ross Atkins informing him he was being traded for the second time in his young professional baseball career. One year after selecting him as a 17-year-old high school senior in 2018, the New York Mets sent him to the Blue Jays in exchange for Marcus Stroman.

"We've been down this road before, understand that it's a business," the Texas native said. "Like I said when I got traded from the Mets to the Blue Jays, yeah it's a little emotional, but realize it's a business.

"So when I got this phone call I was like 'OK, let's move on to the next chapter.' That's kind of where we're at right now. We're excited. We're happy to move on. Can't wait to see where the journey takes us."

Simeon Woods Richardson during Olympic qualifying.
Simeon Woods Richardson during Olympic qualifying.

As a top prospect – MLB pipeline rates him as the 68th overall and No. 3 in the Twins system – he obviously knew being dealt again was a possibility. But given the travel and the United States' first game taking place Friday night in Japan, Woods Richardson had little inkling of a swap.

"It just popped up on me at 2 a.m. I don't think it was a possibility," he said. "When I got the call it was like, 'Hey, anything can happen in this game.' Just knowing that, and being mature enough to know that, it just put me in a good headspace."

The right-hander, who possesses a legitimate four-pitch mix, has yet to appear in a game for Team USA, which will play host Japan on Monday. He's embraced manager Mike Scioscia's "all-hands-on-deck mentality" and will be ready when his number is called, he said.

Even without playing time, the experience of hanging around various ex-MLB veterans has been fruitful.

"You get to pick their brains a little bit," he said. "You get to be a sponge."

Woods Richardson recalled two years ago driving with his parents on a two-lane road in central Florida – en route to making a spot start for the Port St. Lucie Mets, the organization's Class A Advanced affiliate – the last time he was traded.

This time, circumstances were a little different. But at least in the latest move he's making the move with a Double-A teammate, Austin Martin, the No. 5 overall pick in last year's draft.

"That's my guy," Woods Richardson said. "I texted him last night, said 'Let's get to work.'"

Follow Chris Bumbaca on Twitter @BOOMbaca.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Simeon Woods Richardson traded to Twins while at Tokyo Olympics

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