Trade is no minor shift for Stafford's Titus

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Apr. 26—Jimmy Titus went to Bryant University to learn about business.

The Stafford native is getting a real-life education in the business of baseball.

Titus, a 2019 22nd-round draft pick of the Los Angeles Dodgers, was sold by the reigning World Series champions to the Mets on Wednesday and is now at the Mets' minor league facility in Port St. Lucie, Florida.

"We played last Wednesday and after the game the player development director came over and said he had good news for me," Titus said Sunday. "I thought, 'OK, since it's good news I'm not getting released.' He told me that I was traded to the Mets.

"You know it can always happen but it was crazy to me. Baseball is a business and it's part of the game. I just didn't expect it to be me and I went through a whole bunch of emotions. I didn't what to say. I walked back to the clubhouse and some of my teammates said, 'Did you get traded?' "

Titus, who was primarily a third baseman since being drafted, was dealt with shortstop Albert Suarez. The Dodgers did not receive any players in return.

Titus, who played with Rookie League Ogden in 2019, is hoping to land with the Mets' High-Class A affiliate in Brooklyn when minor league play begins next Tuesday.

"The Mets were looking for more infielders for their organization," Titus said. "It's always good to be desired and it's a good feeling they decided to seek me out.

"I was sad at first and it's hard leaving my teammates and friends. The Dodgers treated me with respect and I was honored to be part of their organization. And I understand this is a business. But I also understand that the Dodgers have a lot of other good players in their organization so this is going to be a better opportunity to progress in my career instead of maybe getting stuck behind other good players. I see it as a good move for them and for me. I'm thankful that they gave me my first opportunity and I'm looking forward to the next one."

Titus, 23, was a two-time Gatorade state Player of the Year at East Catholic before moving on to Bryant. He was the 2017 Northeast Conference Rookie of the Year but missed all but two games the following with a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee. He rebounded in 2019 and hit .343 with 13 doubles, 12 home runs, 63 RBIs, and 50 runs scored in 59 games to earn all-New England honors.

Titus, 23, was selected on the third day of the draft with the 671st overall pick and signed with the Dodgers instead of returning to Bryant. He was assigned to the Ogden Raptors of the Pioneer League and made his professional debut on June 18, 2019. He finished the short-season hitting .296 with six home runs, 23 RBIs and 27 runs scored. He had an on-base percentage of .365 and a slugging percentage of .500.

He was at the Dodgers' minor league facility in March 2020 when it was shut down due to COVID-19. The minor league season was later canceled. Titus spent part of his summer coaching the Manchester Eagles of the Connecticut Collegiate Baseball League. In the fall, he took classes at Bryant and is now one semester from his degree in finance. He also trained at ATI in Cromwell before heading to Arizona for the Dodgers' camp.

"Not playing last year was a similar situation for me like 2018 when I hurt my knee," Titus said. "Then I waited around till I was able to get back on the field. This year felt different and I feel better than ever. I feel like I've fully recovered for the first time.

"I had a good time in Arizona. I already feel the difference with the humidity in Florida. But I'm happy to be here."

Titus hopes his versatility — he can play all four infield positions — will aid his development and get him more playing time.

Where he'll be playing he doesn't know. He could stay in Port St. Lucie but would love to join Brooklyn.

"That would be great because it would make it a lot easier for my friends and family to watch me play," Titus said. "But whatever the Mets have planned for me I'll go with it and I'm looking forward to the opportunity and a full season of baseball."

For coverage of all sports in the JI's 18-town coverage area, plus updates on the UConn women's basketball team and head coach Geno Auriemma, follow Carl Adamec on Twitter: @CarlAdamec, Facebook: Carl Adamec, and Instagram: @CarlAdamec.