December 2010

Rattlers Alumni Report: Games of December 7, 2010

Venezuela:

@LaGuaira 4, Lara 2

Lara:
Luis Valbuena (’06): 1-for-2, RUN, RBI, HR #3
Oswaldo Navarro (’05): 1-for-3

Puerto Rico:

@Carolina 2, Mayaguez 0

Carolina:
Jeffrey Dominguez (’06): 0-for-2

Mayaguez:
Johan Limonta (’06): 0-for-4
Hiram Burgos (’10): IP, 0H, 0R, K
Mumba Rivera (’05): IP, H, 0R, BB

Dominican Republic:

Aguilas 3 @Escogido 2

Aguilas:
Edward Paredes (’08): 0IP, H, 0R

@Gigantes 5, Estrellas 1

Estrellas:
Bryan LaHair (’04): 1-for-2

JJ to AZ

JJ Putz, a Timber Rattlers starting pitcher in 2000, is heading to the Arizona Diamondbacks for 2011..apparently.

It appears the D-backs have found their closer.

The team has agreed with free agent J.J. Putz on a two-year deal with a club option for 2013, pending a physical and a medical review.

Putz, who will be 34 in February, was 7-5 with three saves and a 2.83 ERA in 60 games for the White Sox in 2010.

D-backs GM Kevin Towers has said improving the bullpen was his main priority since taking over for Josh Byrnes in September. He would not confirm the Putz agreement, but did indicate that he should have something to announce with regards to a closer possibly as soon as Tuesday.

“I’m not going to mention anybody who is not already here,” Towers said when asked about Putz.

Putz was mainly a setup man for the White Sox last year and for the Mets in 2009.

Winter Meetings

The Baseball Winter Meetings are going on down in Orlando this week.  There is a major league side, which includes the deals and all that fun stuff we wrote about yesterday.  There is also a minor league side.

Friend of the blog Ben Hill has a the straight news writeup on Day One.

[T]he remainder of Day 1 of the Winter Meetings was largely dominated by the Bob Freitas Business Seminar, an annual idea-sharing extravaganza. Twenty-five presenters covering five distinct areas of operation spoke throughout the day. A brief sampling:

? As the originators of “Star Wars” Night and (more recently) Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd theme promotions, the West Michigan Whitecaps have long been leaders when it comes to theme jerseys. In “Maximizing Specialty Jersey Nights,” Whitecaps execs Jim Jarecki and Steve McCarthy unveiled their thorough corporate philosophy regarding this ever-growing ballpark promotion. The Whitecaps currently do 10 specialty jerseys a year, five related to a cause and five for fun.

Then, Ben has his blog take on Day One.  Click through for pictures of a couple of the West Michigan Whitecaps specialty jerseys as modeled by members of their front office.

There is also a slideshow at MiLB.com. Click through and see if you can spot any members of the Timber Rattlers front office at the Business Seminar.

DeShields in Dayton

The Dayton Dragons have a new manager.

New Dayton Dragons manager Delino DeShields stopped short of predicting a Midwest League championship — or even a playoff appearance — next season for the low-Class A team.

There was no mistaking his enthusiasm, however, shortly after the Dragons and parent Cincinnati Reds confirmed his appointment Monday.

“This group we’re going to start with is definitely going to be a good baseball team,” said DeShields, reached at his home in Atlanta. “I know things can happen, but it’s not going to be like last season. We’re going to get it poppin’ at Fifth Third Field right from the start.”

This will not be the first rodeo for DeShields.

DeShields, 41, managed for the first time in 2010, guiding the Reds’ rookie-league team in Billings, Mont. He emerged from a short list that included Ken Griffey Sr., the Dragons’ hitting coach last season. The Reds granted Griffey’s wish to manage, but are assigning him to Bakersfield, Calif., new home of their high-Class A affiliate.

Billings went 38-37 under DeShields in the Pioneer League last season.  The Timber Rattlers are down in Dayton June 3-5.

Rattlers Alumni Report: Games of December 6, 2010

Only one completed game yesterday in the Winter Leagues that included ex-Rattlers.

Puerto Rico:

Mayaguez 3 @San Juan 1

Mayaguez:
Johan Limonta (’06): 0-for-3

San Juan:
Efrain Nieves (’10): 3.2IP, 4H, 3R, 2ER, 4BB, K, loss

Trading Lawrie

This story hit Twitter and the internet around 9:30 last night and there are plenty of reactions this morning.

This story:

After arriving a day early in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., for baseball’s
winter meetings, Milwaukee Brewers general manager Doug Melvin wasted no
time addressing his team’s need for starting pitching.

Melvin worked out a trade with Toronto for right-hander Shaun Marcum
on Sunday night, not waiting for the official start of the meetings
Monday. Marcum, who turns 29 on Dec. 14, was 13-8 with a 3.64 earned run
average in 31 starts for the Blue Jays in 2010.

Because physical examinations are required to complete major-league trades, Melvin could not confirm the deal.

“I can’t say anything about it, really,” said Melvin when contacted via telephone. “It’s not completed yet.”

Marcum came
at a steep price. A source in Canada confirmed that the Brewers’ top
minor-league prospect, second baseman Brett Lawrie, was sent to Toronto
in exchange for the pitcher.

It was not known if the Brewers were sending any other players to Toronto.

Lawrie, who
will be 21 in January, was the Brewers’ first-round draft pick in 2008.
He is from British Columbia and it was no secret that the Blue Jays were
interested for some time in acquiring the Canadian native.

I saw a post that mentioned Nick Bucci (’10) was heading to Toronto, too.  But, an update at the top of the post at that link mentions that Bucci is not included and that it will just be Lawrie for Marcum.

A few reactions.  First, here is Drew Olson of ESPN540 in Milwaukee with a reaction that was up about an hour after the story broke.

Marcum, who missed the 2009 season while recovering from reconstructive
elbow surgery, took Roy Halladay’s spot at the top of the Blue Jays’
rotation and pitched well in 31 games. To check out Marcum’s big-league
stats, click here.

In 195 1/3 innings, he allowed 181 hits and 43 walks. He recorded 165
strikeouts and limited opponents to a .242 batting average. More
important, he recorded 22 quality starts in 31 outings.

Many pitchers who move from the American League to the National League
experience a drop in their earned run average. The Brewers are
undoubtedly banking on that with Marcum, a Kansas City native who made
$850,000 last year and will be eligible for free agency after 2012.

With Marcum in the mix behind Yovani Gallardo and lefty Randy Wolf, the
Brewers appear to have solidified the top of their rotation. But, there
is work to be done and Melvin and his staff will be working this week at
the Winter Meetings, which open Monday, to get more pitching depth.

Okay.  What about Jim over at Bernie’s Crew?

twitter exploded last night with various reactions to the trade.  They
ranged from being giddy over acquiring an above-average pitcher to
being enraged over trading the prospect that Baseball America ranked the best in the system last season.

This trade was very difficult for me to wrap my head around.  I found
myself being tugged from “in favor” of the trade to “highly skeptical”
of the trade almost minute to minute.  The gut feeling one normally gets
when learning of a trade was strangely absent, and I detemined that I
was firmly straddling the fence on this Marcum/Lawrie trade.

But why?

Neither player come to their new team without significant question
marks.  Risk is present when analyzing the deal from either side of the
equation, which makes the “winner” of this trade extremely difficult to
pinpoint — not that a winner can truly be determined until years later.

Click through for all of it, but…Here are the top good and bad possibilities for the Brewers according to Jim:

Good:
Shaun Marcum threw 195.1 innings last season and compiled a 3.64 ERA
with a 3.74 FIP, which suggests his ERA is sustainable based upon his
pitching performance.  The Brewers need that type of production in their
rotation.

Bad:
Shaun Marcum underwent Tommy John surgery and missed all of 2009 to
rehab the elbow.  He is a legitimate injury risk, and his delivery still
puts a high amount of stress on his elbow.  Glance at a few pictures,
and you will quickly see the dreaded “inverted W” that likely put him on
the DL in the first place.

There is much more.

Tom Haudricourt has a blog post titled Prospects can be currency.

For the second time in 2 1/2 years, the Brewers have traded their No. 1 minor-league prospect for badly needed pitching help.

In July 2008, the Brewers traded outfielder/first baseman Matt
LaPorta, their first-round draft pick in ’07, to Cleveland in a deal for
left-hander CC Sabathia. The deal worked exactly as the Brewers hoped,
with Sabathia leading them to their first playoff berth in 26 years.

On Sunday night, the Brewers traded second baseman Brett Lawrie,
their first-round draft pick in 2008, to Toronto for right-hander
Shaun Marcum. Soon to be 29, Marcum probably will plug into the Brewers’
rotation in the third spot behind Yovani Gallardo and Randy Wolf.

I know many folks think the Brewers gave up too much by trading
Lawrie for Marcum. But I think we can all agree that the team is going
nowhere in 2011 without upgrading its starting rotation after two dismal
seasons on that front.

Lawrie undeniably is an offensive talent, having done quite well at
age 20 in the Class AA Southern League in 2010. But he is still a
developing second baseman and needs considerable work defensively before
being big-league ready.

And the Brewers may not be done trading prospects.  Here is this from MLB Fanhouse.

Even after acquiring Shaun Marcum from the Blue Jays for their top prospect, the Brewers are still looking for starting pitching, and their top trade chip appears to be outfielder Lorenzo Cain.

A major league source said Milwaukee is interested in moving the
24-year-old Cain to help its rotation, which last season had a 4.65 ERA,
second-worst in the National League.

Cain may be moved for a major league starter.  We’ll see where this goes.

For a very complete roundup of the links with reaction to the Lawrie for Marcum trade head over to Brew Crew Ball for Monday’s Frosty Mug.

Pat Gillick, Hall of Famer

It was announced this morning that Pat Gillick has been elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Pat
Gillick, who built three World Series champions and has served baseball
for nearly 50 years, has been elected to the National Baseball Hall of
Fame by the Expansion Era Committee, it was announced today.

“We
are thrilled to have Pat as the newest member of the Baseball Hall of
Fame, and we welcome him into the Hall of Fame family,” said Hall of
Fame Chairman of the Board Jane Forbes Clark. “Pat’s consistent
excellence as a talent evaluator and team builder has been evident at
every step throughout his brilliant career, constructing three World
Series champions with his teams making 11 postseason appearances.”

Gillick, who was inducted into the Appleton Professional Baseball Hall of Fame back in 2002, was a major league General Manager for the Toronto Blue Jays, Baltimore Orioles, Seattle Mariners, and Philadelphia Phillies.  The Blue Jays won a pair of World Series and the Phillies won the 2008 Fall Classic with Gillick as the GM.

In 1960, Gillick was a big-time ‘bonus baby’ for the Orioles out of USC.  He was in his second season as a professional when he came to Appleton to pitch for the Fox Cities Foxes.

How good was Gillick?

Here are some excerpts from The Post-Crescent in 1960 about Gillick:

John L. Paustian’s game story after a June 6, 1960 victory over Lincoln: Pat Gillick, an artistic southpaw, starred in a Goodland Field production as he logged the Foxes’ first shutout of the season with a crackling curve and a humming fastball.

Gillick pitched a complete game shutout, allowed seven hits, and struck out 13 in that game.

On August 2, 1960 Gillick was promoted out of the Three-I League.  Paustian’s story:

Fox Cities’ Pat Gillick, the leading southpaw pitcher in the Three-I League, has been assigned outright to Vancouver of the Pacific Coast League Foxes and Baltimore officials announced Tuesday.  Gillick was due to make his first appearance after his promotion against Salt Lake on Thursday night.

Gillick’s outstanding record here included an 11-2 won-loss record, a 1.91 earned run average, and 135 strikeouts in 132 innings.

Gillick would later be named a Three-I League post-season All-Star.

One final excerpt from the PC in 1960 that should tell you about the off-the-field Pat Gillick.  It is from the Time Out with Mike Drew column of September 9:

In a recent letter here from Vancouver (of the Pacific Coast League) former Fox pitcher Pat Gillick reported that “my control is just as good as it was with the Foxes but these triple-A batters won’t bite on my outside pitch as they did in the Three-I.” Pat sent greetings to his Fox Cities friends.

Writing letters to sportswriters.  Awesome.

Congratulations to Pat Gillick!

Rattlers Alumni Report: Games of December 5, 2010

Venezuela:

Caracas 8 @Magallanes 4

Caracas:
Asdrubal Cabrera (’05): 2-for-5, RUN, RBI

@Lara 6, Margarita 3 (Game one)

Lara:
Oswaldo Navarro (’05): 2-for-3, 2 RUNS< RBI
Edilio Colina (’08): 1-for-3, RUN

Margarita:
BOBBY!!! Livingston (’03): IP, H, 0R, BB, 2K

@Lara 3, Margarita 1 (Game two)

Lara:
Navarro: 0-for-1, RUN
Colina: defensive replacement

Puerto Rico:

Mayaguez 2 @Ponce 0

Mayaguez:
Johan Limonta (’06): 1-for-4, RUN

San Juan 9 @Carolina 0

Carolina:
Jeffrey Dominguez (’06): 1-for-4

Dominican Republic:

@Aguilas 2, Gigantes 1

Aguilas:
Edward Paredes (’08): .2IP, 0H, 0R, 2K

@Estrellas 8, Toros 7

Estrellas:
Bryan LaHair (’04): 0-for-3, 2RBI
Ryan Ketchner (’03): 4IP, 6H, 3R, 2ER, 2BB, 4K

Escogido 6 @Licey 5

Licey:
Carlos Peguero (’07): 0-for-1

Stadium project photos

The new plaza in front of the stadium is almost done.

Here is a shot of the ticket window side.

1203005.JPG

And a shot of the Snake Pit Team Store side.  There is to be some new lighting and some new electrical work that still needs to be put in before this project is complete.

This plaza will make the front of the stadium look a lot nicer.  The alternative was to keep those grassy areas that usually turn brown by July.

1203006.JPGThere is a crew doing work on the expansion of the hitting background, too.

1203001.JPGWelding!  They are welding!!

1203002.JPG

What non-tender means

Late last night, Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times had this news regarding ex-Rattlers pitcher Ryan Rowland-Smith.

Ryan Rowland-Smith’s career is now in limbo after the Mariners declined to tender him a contract tonight. David Aardsma, Brandon League and Jason Vargas, as expected, were offered deals as part of the arbitration process.

Rowland-Smith becomes a free agent. The Mariners could opt to re-sign him at a lesser deal, but will have to compete with other clubs.

That is what non-tendered means.

RRS was a Timber Rattlers pitcher in 2002 as a starter and 2003 as a reliever.  His 2003 went much better.  After some wild starts in 2002, he was sent down to Everett.  After some very good relief appearances, RRS was promoted to

About an hour later, Baker had this.

Zduriencik said Rowland-Smith would have had to come back to the Mariners “on our terms.”

Not sure exactly what that means, but [Mariners General Manager Jack] Zduriencik said he offered the Aussie a major league contract.

“We talked to Rowland-Smith and we had our parameters set out,” he said. “And talked about giving Rowland-Smit a chance to come back and be a part of the organziation. But it would have to be on our terms. And as they thought though it, at the end, Ryan decided that what our terms were were not necessarily what his terms were and there was a parting of ways.”

The discussions involved Rowland-Smith “trying to stay on the 25-man roster out of spring training.”

Zduriencik said the team feels Rowland-Smith has a lot to overcome after last year’s dismal 1-10 season. He’s shown flashes of doing that, he added, but at the end of the day, the two sides could not come together.

For now, he’s not closing the door on Rowland-Smith for good, since he is a free agent and can be be negotiated with. But it’s clear Rowland-Smith will be looking elsewhere first.

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