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January 23, 2007 January 23, 2007

Posted by atlanticleaguenews in Uncategorized.
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Several Ink Deals: P Joe Gannon, who pitched primarily in the Atlantic League with the Newark Bears, has agreed to a minor league deal with the Chicago White Sox.

Gannon spun the second no-hitter in AL history in 2004 against the Patriots in Bridgewater. He pitched for Nashua during their run to the ALCS in 2005, as well as a brief stint with Somerset.

Also, bringing things full circle for the embattled pitcher, the Atlanta Braves have signed P Joe Winkelsas. Wink, who pitched for the Patriots briefly in 2004, came up with the Atlanta Braves but was eventually released after pitching in just one big league game.

He made an improbable comeback with the Milwaukee Brewers this season after performing a bunch of odd jobs, including serving as a garbageman.

P Cory Bailey, as lights out as it gets for the Ducks last season, has signed a minor league deal with the Chicago Cubs. Bailey is a good guy, and always spoke positively about the Atlantic League.

“The level of play here, especially with our team, is at a Triple-A or big league level,” said Bailey last year. “I think this is a pretty good league.”

Bailey made his big league debut for Boston on September 1, 1993. His first batter?

His teammate, Juan Gonzalez.

“You always remember your first hitter,” Bailey said. “I remember coming in from the bullpen, running to the pitcher’s mound and not even being able to feel my legs.”

“At the time, Juan had something like 47 or 48 home runs. Tony Pena was my catcher at the time, and he put down fastball, so I threw a fastball for a strike. He called another fastball. I shook, but he called it again, so I threw another fastball for a strike. He called a fastball up, so I threw that for a ball.”

“He called another fastball, and I shook my head. He called it again, and I shook my head. So he calls timeout, comes up to the mound and goes, ‘Hey, how many years you got in the big leagues?'”

“I said, ‘Tony, this is my first game.’ And he goes, ‘I’ve been around this game a long time, I know these guys. You might want to listen to me.'”

“So I threw him another fastball, and it was a line drive to shortstop for a double play. It was a great feeling, I couldn’t believe it. Just being able to pitch at Fenway in my first game, it was unbelievable. Roger Clemens was the first guy out of the dugout, shaking my hand. It was just a great feeling.”

P Benito Baez, perhaps the best Road Warrior in the history of the franchise, inked a deal with the Milwaukee Brewers. Baez makes his home in the northern part of the country, so it was a logical choice for the friendly former Marlin.

Who’s Signed So Far: I was having a conversation with a player today about how it seems like more players than usual have been signing affiliated deals this year. I’m sure I’m missing a few names, but here’s my list of AL alums that have headed to affiliated ball.

Erick Almonte – Colorado Rockies
Benito Baez – Milwaukee Brewers
Cory Bailey – Chicago Cubs
Joe Borowski – Cleveland Indians
Gary Burnham – Philadelphia Phillies
Jim Crowell – Philadelphia Phillies
Eric Crozier – Boston Red Sox
Kane Davis – Philadelphia Phillies
Tomas de la Rosa – San Francisco Giants
Leo Estrella – Kansas City Royals
Quincy Foster – San Francisco Giants
Joe Gannon – Chicago White Sox
Mike Huggins – Milwaukee Brewers
Brad King – Minnesota Twins
Fernando Lunar – Atlanta Braves
Damian Moss – San Francisco Giants
Jeremy Owens – Tampa Bay Devil Rays
Curtis Pride – Los Angeles Angels
Tommy Rojas – Washington Nationals
Jared Sandberg – Texas Rangers
Jason Shiell – Kansas City Royals
Jason Simontacchi – Washington Nationals
Pedro Swann – Philadelphia Phillies
Steve Torrealba – Detroit Tigers
Jeff Urban – San Francisco Giants
Charlie Weatherby – Philadelphia Phillies
Justin Wechsler – Chicago White Sox
Joe Winkelsas – Atlanta Braves

Almonte Dealt; My Take: You might have missed it amongst that giant sea of words that was my Erick Almonte story yesterday, but Scott Stanchak reported Almonte was traded by the Long Island Ducks to the Newark Bears for Travis Wade.

Odd deal.

The ink is barely dry on a deal Almonte signed with the Colorado Rockies, and it’s hard to imagine he wouldn’t get a long look considering his numbers from last season and his prior experience in the organization. I’d put the odds at 50-50 that he never suits up for the Bears.

If he does, then they clearly got the better end of the deal, but it’s somewhat of a gamble.

Wade struggled last season, but the entire Bears pitching staff more or less sucked last year, so it isn’t like he was the sore thumb of the bunch. He was 2-7 with a 5.08 ERA on a staff that posted an incredibly awful 5.85 ERA last season.

How awful? It was the worst ERA that a team with a home has put up since Aberdeen (6.05) in 2000. That bad.

What’s interesting about the deal from the Ducks side of it, is that he doesn’t seem like a Ducks kind of player. When you think of the Ducks, you think of guys with some name value, and Wade doesn’t necessarily have that. Almonte did, but he also didn’t get picked up last year, either.

Perhaps the Ducks are gambling as well, hoping that Wade returns to the form that got him picked up in 2004. However, his ERA has gone up substantially since then. His 2.45 ERA that year was hardly matched by a 4.21 ERA the following season, followed by it going up nearly another run in 2006.

A Wise Man Once Said: According to Jason Guarente of the Lancaster New Era, Rick Wise will return to the Lancaster Barnstormers for a third season as their pitching coach.

Wise’s return ensures that at least one half of the famed potato chip duo (Tom “Make Herr’s Yours” and Rick “Wise Potato Chips”) will have spent all three seasons with the club. It also ensures that I won’t be up for any comedy writing jobs anytime soon.

Pendergrass To Northern League: OF Tyrone Pendergrass, who about three of you might remember as having spent Spring Training with Somerset in 2005, was traded to Schaumburg of the Northern League from San Angelo of the United League. – Mike Ashmore, mashmore@patriotsbaseball.com

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Comments»

1. BoosterBabe - January 23, 2007

Congrats to Joe Gannon!
I met him during the All-Star festivities in Bridgeport last season and enjoyed talking with him.

2. Amy - January 23, 2007

And Rick Wise will be returning to the Barnstormers as pitching coach after having off season back surgery. Now all we need is a thirdbase/hitting coach!

3. AtlanticLeagueBaseball.com - January 24, 2007

I know you’re all following this Tyrone Pendergrass story very carefully, so I’ll add that his contract was “assigned” to the Grays of the Can-Am League yesterday.

-M-

4. SouthernALFan - January 24, 2007

Can-Am League
NORTH SHORE SPIRIT-Agreed to terms with OF Shaun Lehmann.

SUSSEX SKYHAWKS-Agreed to terms with LHP Bart Braun and INF Brian Spottsville.

Northern League
GARY SOUTHSHORE RAILCATS-Agreed to terms with OF Dale Mueller.

SCHAUMBURG FLYERS-Assigned the contract of OF Tyrone Pendergrass to the Grays of the Can-Am League for a player to be named.


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