If I were Adam Melhuse, I'd be doing more than "grumbling" about being sent to the minors. I'd be pulling a full-fledged Brad Halsey, or worse.
I suppose if you're like Melhuse, and you don't make a major league roster until you're 28 years old, you're grateful for any opportunity to spend time on a 25-man roster, even if you're stuck behind an iron man catcher like Jason Kendall. But Melhuse has talent, and I find it terribly unfair that he's hardly had any chance to see what he can do with it. He's only had one year (2004) where he was given over 200 at-bats; he put up an OPS of .772. For a catcher, that's damn good. Production like that could get you a starting job on probably 10 teams in any given year. The following year, however, Kendall shows up, and ever since, Melhuse has only gotten a handful of at-bats a week. It's hard to keep your timing with that kind of playing time. Maybe Melhuse is washed up now at age 35, but how could anyone tell?
There's something terribly wrong with a system that allows a team to send a 35-year-old man to the minor leagues, without giving him any choice about how to manage his career. The MLBPA needs to do something about this in their next collective bargaining agreement; all minor league options should expire once a player hits a certain age, say 31 or 32. Every player should get at least one shot during his peak free-agent years to avoid falling into the Hall of Could Have Been by mere circumstance.
There are plenty of teams (the Yankees come to mind) that could use a solid backup catcher like Adam Melhuse. He deserves a chance to play, and a chance to cash in on his talent, and the opportunity to find a team willing to give him that chance. He deserves to be a free agent.