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March 29, 2007 March 29, 2007

Posted by atlanticleaguenews in Uncategorized.
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(Make sure you check out today’s comments section, where current Atlantic Leaguers Brad Strauss and Jeremy Todd weigh in on today’s hot stories)

Heading Home?: According to a Slam Sports article, OF Ryan Radmanovich may have played his final game in a Somerset Patriots uniform. According to the piece, the Edmonton Cracker Cats, which signed former teammate Mike Johnson, are interested in signing the former Mariners slugger.

“He should have got a lot more time in the big leagues than he did, but he is just an outstanding ball player,” Cats GM Al Coates told the site.

According to the article, the Cats have a $105,000 US salary cap. Which, assuming that’s an annual number, is less than half of what most Atlantic League teams have budgeted towards player salaries.

The loss of Radmanovich would be a HUGE blow to the Patriots hopes for a championship, regardless of who’s out there to replace him.

BIG UPDATE: AtlanticLeagueBaseball.com has learned that Radmanovich will probably return to the Somerset Patriots in 2007, although there is a distinct possibility that he will not start the season with the team. To be clear though, that isn’t necessarily because he would be on another team or in another league. I’ll have more insight on this in next Thursday’s paper…

Patriots Day: I spoke to new Patriots pitchers Tony Mounce and Sam Marsonek last night, as well as pitching coach and director of player procurement, Brett Jodie.

I’ll have a Patriots article in the 4/5 edition of the Democrat, so I can’t let all my eggs out of the basket, but here’s a sneak peek at what I found out.

Marsonek didn’t pitch last year after June surgery to repair a damaged labrum and rotator cuff. The former Yankee told me he’s been throwing for the past three months and feels great, with no pain.

Mounce admitted he probably came back before he was ready last season, saying his arm was still bothering him at the time. However, he said he expects to feel as good as he normally would coming into Spring Training.

Jodie, who’s played with Marsonek, described his stuff as overpowering. He also liked what he saw from Mounce last season, but that he just couldn’t bounce back fast enough at that time.

Jodie said Mounce will be in the starting rotation and Marsonek will likely come out of the pen, although Marsonek did express an interest in starting when I spoke to him. Jodie also told me that Todd Leathers will be used primarily at designated hitter, with a little bit of first base mixed inbetween.

For quotes from Jodie, Marsonek and Mounce, make sure you check out my article on April 5th.

Dryer Released: 1B Matt Dryer, who went from the last player to make the 2003 Somerset Patriots to one of the most versatile and integral parts of the team, has been released by the St. Louis Cardinals organization, according to the Springfield News Leader.

I remember thinking about how useful the Miami grad could have been to the Patriots last year, where his versatility would have been greatly appreciated. I wonder if a return is possible…

UPDATE: I spoke to BASA’s Adam Gladstone, who brought Dryer to the Patriots in 2003, and he indicated that he has spoken to Dryer regarding a return to the Atlantic League.

However, Gladstone indicated that those dicussions included Dryer possibly playing for a non-BASA club as well – so just because you follow Bridgeport, Camden, Lancaster or York doesn’t mean he’ll be headed there…and that’s assuming he doesn’t land another affiliated gig.

Delgado, Foster, Sobkowiak headline new Barnstormers signees: The Lancaster Barnstormers announced seven more player signings today; headlined by INF Dario Delgado, OF Quincy Foster and P Scott Sobkowiak.

Other players signing were P Eric Ackerman, P Ross Peeples, P Todd Pennington and C Jeremy Dietrick.

Sobkowiak, the pitcher I alluded to a couple of days ago, returns for his third year of play in the Atlantic League. I spoke to him earlier this week, and he’s really excited about the players that have been brought in for a chance to repeat this season.

This will be Delgado’s fifth year in the Atlantic League, and I’m curious to see which Dario Delgado will show up. Will it be the one that hit over 20 home runs in three straight seasons from 2003-05, or the one that struggled through the majority of last season with Newark and the Surf?

Foster returns to Lancaster after being cut very early by the San Francisco Giants this spring. He solidifies the Barnstormers outfield and gives them the element of speed that the current lineup didn’t have.

Ackerman, Peeples and Pennington all pitched for Lancaster last season, and Dietrick last appeared in the Atlantic League in 2003. To be honest, I’d be hard-pressed to find a scenario in which he makes the team, since they already have two very solid backstops in Lance Burkhart and Manny Santana.

UPDATE: I spoke to Adam Gladstone regarding Lancaster’s surplus of players, and he indicated that the team may keep more than 23 players, saying that the final total will depend on salaries.

And despite the ‘Stormers already having 25 guys, he said that you’ll like see a few more inked before the start of Spring Training, emphasizing a lot of competition for jobs will be going on.

Bridgeport Actually Has Players: (PR) Bridgeport, CT (March 28, 2007) – The Bridgeport Bluefish announced that they have signed eleven players for the upcoming 2007 season. Joining the team this year will be pitchers Albie Lopez and Franklin Perez. Also coming to Bridgeport for the first time will be outfielders Jeremy Ware and Shaun Boyd, along with infielders Jesse Hoorelbeke and Milko Jaramillo. The Bluefish also re-signed several members of their 2006 North Division Champion squad. Rejoining the team are pitchers Matt Beech and Sean Fesh, along with infielders John Nathans, Luis Figueroa and outfielder Bobby Darula. The Bluefish also announced that Pitching Coach Brian Warren will be returning to the team in the same capacity.

Lopez, 35, joins the Bluefish after spending 11 seasons in the big leagues with the Indians, Devil Rays, Diamondbacks, Braves and Royals. Lopez had his best season in 1998 with Tampa Bay going 7-4 with a 2.60 ERA in 79.2 innings out of the bullpen. The right-hander also won a World Series with Arizona in 2001.

Perez, 28, is a big, tall right-hander who split last season between AA Altoona and AAA Memphis. The 6-foot, 220 pound native of the Dominican Republic is a veteran of eight professional seasons. During his Altoona stint in 2006, he amassed a 2-1 record and a 2.57 ERA in 16 appearances. Perez had his best professional season in 2005 when he collected 23 saves for AAA Scranton-Wilkes Barre.

Ware, 31, is a veteran of 12 minor league seasons, spending the majority of his career in the Montreal Expos organization. Last year, the Ontario native played for the Edmonton Cracker-Cats of the Northern League and posted a .283 average with 7 homers, 40 RBI and 23 doubles. The six-foot righty was a member of the Canadian baseball team during the 2004 Olympics.

Boyd, 25, was a first round pick (13th overall) by the St. Louis Cardinals in the 2000 amateur draft. The 1st team High School All-American out of Vista, CA split last season between AA Springfield and AAA Memphis. He went a combined .247 with 3 dingers and 28 RBI last season.

Hoorelbeke, 29, joins the Bluefish after a monster season with the Fargo-Moorhead Redhawks where he hit .322 with 21 home runs and 65 RBI. He also spent some time with the AAA Iowa Cubs and hit 5 homers and drove in 9 in only 14 games. The first-baseman was selected to the Baseball America All-Independent team in 2006.

Jaramillo, a 27 year-old native of Caracas, Venezuela has spent parts of 10 seasons with the Dodgers, Cardinals and Brewers organization. Last year, the shortstop split time between Class-A Brevard County, AA Huntsville and AAA Nashville.

Beech, 35, is returning for his second season in a Bluefish uniform. The lefty had a solid season last year, going 7-6 with a 4.34 ERA. Beech an Oakland, CA native is a veteran of three major league stints with the Philadelphia Phillies.

Fesh, a Bethel, Connecticut native is entering his 17th professional season and his third with the Bluefish. Last year, Fesh posted impressive numbers, compiling a 3-3 record with a 3.57 ERA pitching out of the bullpen.

Nathans, 27 returns to the ‘Fish after splitting last season between Bridgeport and the Newark Bears. The C/OF hit .230 during his 39 game stint in Bridgeport.

Figueroa, 30, also returns to Bridgeport after posting a .319 average with 3 homers and 17 RBI in 32 games. He’s a veteran of 12 professional seasons, spending a majority of his time in the Seattle Mariners organization.

Also returning to the Bluefish is Greenwich, CT native Bobby Darula. The 32-year old outfielder split time last year between Bridgeport and AA Mississippi before his year was cut short due to injury. During his brief stint with the ‘Fish, he hit .358 and knocked in 10 in 21 games.

Warren, 39, will be entering his second season as Bluefish Pitching Coach. Warren pitched two seasons for the Bluefish in 2004 and 2005 out of the bullpen. He will assist Field Manager Tommy John with the development of the Bluefish pitching staff.

Lopez is clearly the highest profile player they’ve brought in. He’s pitched for the Indians, Diamondbacks, Devil Rays, Braves and Royals. He also pitched in one game of the 2001 World Series for Arizona.

UPDATE: I spoke to Adam Gladstone about Lopez, and he said that although he’d been primarily used as a reliever over the past few seasons, the 11-year MLB vet will be in Tommy John’s starting rotation.

“He’d like the opportunity to start, and we’re hoping to give that to him,” Gladstone said.

Lopez recently threw a bullpen for an American League team, and the reports were positive.

Ray Of Hope: P Ken Ray, formerly of the Long Island Ducks, was reassigned to minor league camp by the Kansas City Royals.

Mike Johnson Update: Check out this Edmonton Journal article for quotes from the former Patriot.

Quotebook:

“I got to play with the greatest leadoff hitter that ever lived.”

Which one of Rickey Henderson’s former big league teammates said this about him?

“He gave me my first opportunity to play every day in the big leagues.”

Which one of Bud Harrelson’s former Mets players had this to say about his former skipper?

You’ll find out in my May 4th Opening Day coverage. Make sure you keep checking back for sneak previews of what you’ll find, there’s plenty more where that came from.

And yes, neither player has Atlantic League ties. – Mike Ashmore

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Comments»

1. Brad Strauss - March 29, 2007

Hey Mike-

I have made both of these quotes about both of these people how about that for a strange coincidence. Of course I was never in the big leagues so I am not the answer but I still think that is strange. Get out of my head!

2. AtlanticLeagueBaseball.com - March 29, 2007

I think the two “mystery” players are sharing brainwaves with you or something.

Here’s another hint: The one player once played with Dante Bichette and the other actually played with Tom Herr.

3. Amy - March 29, 2007

Good signings by the Barnstormers…looking strong right now…

4. AtlanticLeagueBaseball.com - March 29, 2007

I wonder if they’ve signed too many players, though. They have two more players than they intend to carry on their roster, and they really have no room when/if any bigger name players are among the last cut in MLB Spring Training.

5. BoosterBabe - March 29, 2007

Good signings for the Bluefish. I am especially happy to see Beech return.

Let’s hope they keep signing, and more importantly, announcing their signings.

6. AtlanticLeagueBaseball.com - March 29, 2007

If you read the site before 1:30, then you haven’t seen the latest updates.

Make sure you read through everything again…

7. JNTODD25 - March 29, 2007

I don’t think that we signed too many players here in Lancaster. I don’t really think we are looking to bring in any bigger names after they are released. We are good to start the season, and we know who are competing for positions and who already are going to start the season. A little competition never hurt anybody. There is a limited number of positions that are set everyone else is going to have to make the team, if you get beat for the job, you probably are not going to get it…

8. Brad Strauss - March 29, 2007

I have to agree with J Todd. If you look at the Championship team last year you don’t need Huge name guys (it usually doesn’t hurt) you need a bunch of guys that go out there and compete day in and day out and all pull together toward the same goal. Lancaster hustled more than any team last year on a daily basis and did the little things better than the other teams. Throw that in with the good pitching and you have the makings of a great team.

9. b-fish fan - March 29, 2007

what exactly is the bluefish gm doing?i havent seen any new marketing or pub about the bluefish and now i see he doesnt even get the players.where is devi cruz where is damian rolls.i getting a bad feeling about the 07 season.

10. Dave - March 29, 2007

The Northern League plays a short season, about a month shorter. I doubt if Radnanovich would be interested in that, even if they could pay as much.

11. Amy - March 29, 2007

I agree with Jeremy about competition among the players for jobs. Its not a bad thing to have these players having some competition to win a job or keep it. I think it helps all the players invlove and keeps them in the game. I think it also helps the team bemore competitive all the way around.
Brad also makes a strong point a bout big names players. You need to have a team that works well together and plays solidly for a common goal. sometimes I think the “big name” guys end up being more of a disruption to the team…(big egos things of that nature). Now I am not saying that is true of all the “bigger names but…the teams that normally get these guys….it seems like they are more of a distraction than an attraction to the teams. Those guys seem to be more focused on themselves and getting back to affiliated ball and not as much being a team player. Nothing against those guys…thats the goal of the league…but I am sure it doesnt fit well in the locker room at times. That’s always something that has to be considered when those players are signed. Chemistry is a big thing in that locker room. Lancaster had it last year and its not bad to bring those guys in again. With the added new faces in key places… and some really nice competition among the team itself..it should bring added excitement to this years team…from the very start. We’ll see how it works. Frank will have some really tough decisions to make but i really feel he will step up and come through. it seems to me that he has plenty of good options to take right now.
And boosterbabe…I see the Bluefish finally found some players willing to play there..haha. Should be another fun season huh? Looking forward to seeing you again sometime this year (peg too)….nice to see your buddy Matt Beech is back…take it easy on him ok?

12. Brad Strauss - March 29, 2007

Ashmore-

My guess is Walt Weiss and Dave Magaden. You can secretly e-mail me if you don’t want to let the cat out of the bag.

13. AtlanticLeagueBaseball.com - March 29, 2007

Brad – the names aren’t that big. Think smaller.

I posted a very significant update to the Radmanovich story that should be comforting to Patriots fans.

Deivi Cruz. One of my favorite Atlantic Leaguers. I have a picture of him on my wall next to my degree in sarcasm.

14. BoosterBabe - March 30, 2007

Whaddya mean “take it easy on him”? It’s NOT like that! I’m not like that!!! You know it’s not about ~that~ for me!!!!

He is one of the few who likes nuts in his brownies though. 🙂


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