April 23, 2007 April 23, 2007Posted by atlanticleaguenews in Uncategorized.
Road Warriors Roster News: I just got off the phone with Atlantic League Executive Director Joe Klein and Road Warriors manager Jeff Scott, and I was able to get some insight on who you’ll be seeing on the team this year.
Along with the names that have already been announced, you can expect Jason Bryan, David Housel, Derek Barrows, Manny Mejia, and Bernie Gonzalez will all be returning to the team.
However, both Barrows and Gonzalez will be trying their hand on the mound. Barrows has been throwing this off-season, while Gonzalez was a pitcher in Puerto Rican winter ball.
Another returning player who has previously been discussed is Benito Baez, the hard throwing reliever with big league time. According to Scott, he wanted to return to the Road Warriors this year after being released by the Brewers.
“Everyone’s goal is to get picked up by an affiliated club,” Scott said. “If he can do that on the Road Warriors, then it doesn’t make a difference whether he’s here or on another team.”
Scott also said that Baez threw three innings for the Brewers, “got everybody out” and then got released, the result of a numbers game.
One player you won’t see back is 1B Mike Huggins, who a player on another team recently told me has retired. If he were to return, however, there are at least two teams that had expressed interest in his services this off-season.
Courtesy: Newark Bears
Bears (Officially) Sign Brownlie, Smith: The Bears will have some serious local flavor this year after announcing the signings of P Bobby Brownlie and INF Corey Smith.
We’ve already told you about Brownie, but it’s worth reiterating that this is a huge signing in the Bears eyes. They’ve gotten a lot of positive publicity about the signing, and I expect there to be a few reporters there following his progress when I stop by Newark on Wednesday to check things out.
Smith is making his second attempt to wear a Bears uniform after getting picked up in Spring Training after signing with them several years ago. He’s a Piscataway grad who was drafted 26th overall in the 2000 draft. He also makes an absolutely ungodly amount of errors, with seasons of 32, 45, 34, 45 and 35 errors at third base before being moved to first by the White Sox last year.
If he gets his glove in order, he can really be an attractive player to affiliated teams. He’s a career .254 minor league hitter and has an above average amount of pop — with five seasons of double-digit longballs.
Bluefish Sign Five: The Bridgeport Bluefish have signed five players, including two former Mets farmhands.
P Eddy Ramos, C Tommy Rojas, INF Jay Caligiuri, INF Nick Ortiz and OF Bobby Malek will round out the Bridgeport roster. Caligiuri and Malek were recently cut by the Mets, while Rojas did not make it out of camp with the Nationals.
Ramos is an Atlantic League All-Star reliever, but also tends to take a yearly vacation to pitch in Mexico.
Rojas spent the end of last season with Somerset after being released by the Yankees organization midway through 2006.
Caligiuri is someone I’ve seen play a lot, as Binghamton comes into Trenton something like 14 times a year. A 27-year-old first/third baseman, he came out of the gate hot after being drafted by the Mets in 2001, hitting .328 for Single-A Brooklyn. Since then, he’s kind of stalled out. He spent two full seasons at Double-A last year and hit 33 home runs over that span, but didn’t hit over .240 in either season.
Ortiz played for the Ducks, Road Warriors and Patriots and probably had his best Atlantic League season while doing so. You have to wonder whether he can replicate that, though.
Malek is another guy I’ve seen in person, and he’s a pretty solid player. He won’t do anything spectacular, but he’ll probably hit around .250 with 10 home runs or so if he gets regular playing time.
Pats Take a Gamble: While I haven’t personally confirmed that he’s actually signed yet — since it’s already out there, I can tell you that the Patriots have likely signed OF Sean Gamble by now. Gamble, who has a few years of experience in the Phillies organization, is the son of ex-Yankee Oscar Gamble.
Update: I spoke to a Patriots official today and was able to confirm this.
I spoke to Brett Jodie this weekend, and he said that the roster is pretty much set, so I wouldn’t expect anything else in terms of player signings. Jodie expects to carry 12 pitchers and 24 players overall, but stressed that everyone has a chance to make the team and that he wouldn’t bring anyone in to waste their time. – Mike Ashmore