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January 23, 2008 January 23, 2008

Posted by atlanticleaguenews in Uncategorized.
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Affiliated Signings: Former Bridgeport Bluefish INF Junior Spivey, certainly one of the more interesting interviews of my career, has re-signed with the Boston Red Sox.

Meanwhile, Newark’s Harold Eckert is now a member of the Houston Astros organization.

Even former Nashua Pride skipper Mike Easler is getting in on the action, having been named the new hitting coach of the Los Angeles Dodgers.

SomerSpeculation: The Somerset Patriots used 42 players last season, but which of those players could be coming back for 2008?

With Somerset very likely to start announcing a few signings possibly as early as this week, here’s an educated guess at which players you might see back in Patriots uniforms this year.

BRIAN ADAMS

It is nothing short of ridiculous this guy wasn’t able to land an affiliated deal this year. All 30 teams should be embarassed for not giving him a shot. I think he’ll be back this year…but if he didn’t get picked up after last year, that could be enough for someone to hang it up as well.

LUKE ALLEN

Allen is just 29 years old, and still has some hits left in his bat. Would it surprise me to see him come back? Somewhat. Would it surprise me to see him return as a pitcher? Not at all. He seemed to be rather intrigued by his relief appearance last year, and was recruited as a pitcher by some teams when he was younger.

HECTOR ALMONTE

Almonte and his stinky cheese just weren’t as good as it had been in the past. I’m kind of thinking that might be the end of the line for the former Red Sox reliever.

JASON ANDERSON

Doubting you’ll see him in independent baseball again…

TRAVIS ANDERSON

I’d be very surprised if Travis didn’t return for the 2008 season. He easily had his best season as a Patriot last year, and always seemed to come up with some relatively clutch hits and walks.

ELLIOTT AYALA

Ayala had a much better season than expected, and was able to play multiple positions. I’m pretty sure he’ll be back as well.

JASON BELCHER

Not sure on this one. I could see a scenario in which he returns, as he is only 26 years old. However, there’s pretty much no way he could be the everyday catcher, as his arm behind the plate leaves a lot to be desired. He’d be an ideal designated hitter or an option at first base to give someone a day off…

PAT BORAN

I’m pretty sure Boran retired following the season, so one of the longest tenured Pats won’t be back for 2008.

CASEY CAHILL

He’s a local guy, and that may play a small role in his return. I’d like to see him come back as a starter. If he can’t succeed there, then he can’t succeed in the Atlantic League, as he had a pretty rough 2007 for the most part. But will he come back? I kind of doubt it…

JON CANNON

Guys who leave for foreign countries unannounced are about as popular as a fart in a spacesuit. However, Cannon was in talks to return to the Patriots at one point after he left last season, but that ultimately never materialized.

DAVID ELDER

I’m fairly convinced that Dave Elder could run against God for mayor of Somerset and come out on top. If the guy wants to pitch in 2008, trust me…they’d take him back in a heartbeat.

ANTON FRENCH

Frenchy has joined the Phillies organization as a coach, so his playing days are over.

DANNY GARCIA

Late season injuries may have ultimately prevented Garcia from getting a well-deserved second chance in affiliated baseball. Early indications are that he’ll likely return this year.

BRYAN GOELZ

I was more than a little surprised when he showed up in the Pats clubhouse in 2007, and I’d be just as surprised to see him back this year…

NOAH HALL

Considering the nice run he had in the Yankees organization, I’d be pretty surprised to see him return…although he did say he wouldn’t rule it out if he needed to do it.

MICHEL HERNANDEZ

Hernandez is back in affiliated ball. He never belonged in the Atlantic League in the first place.

MIKE KINKADE

He’ll turn 35 right around Opening Day. It’s not entirely impossible that he’d come back, but he’s another guy who probably never should have played in the Atlantic League.

BRANDON KNIGHT

He never really struck me as someone who was a big fan of some of the political things in the league. He was inconsistent at times, lights out at others. It would be a shame to see him sitting at home in 2008, so I could see him coming back.

BRANDON LARSON

Larson played pretty well in the second half of 2007, and would be a pretty good option at the hot corner in 2008…

TODD LEATHERS

Leathers was on the chopping block for the majority of the year, it seemed. He also didn’t get the playing time that it was expected he might get, too. I’d be surprised to see him back.

MIKE LOCKWOOD

If he plays in the Atlantic League, it would be for Southern Maryland. But that’s if he plays at all…and if he does play at all, he’s indicated it won’t be in the United States.

SAM MARSONEK

No. There’s just no way.

LINCOLN MIKKELSEN

The way he went out last year would be a real crappy way for a pretty nice career to end, but at 40 years old, that might just be the case.

JOSE MORBAN

If you were giving the gift of Jose Morban for the holidays, and needed to ship him, you probably stamped “FRAGILE” on the box about 80 times. Nice player and a friendly guy, but frequently injured to the point of annoyance.

JEFF NETTLES

I’m pretty sure Nettles was protected in the expansion draft, but that’s not an indication that the team expects him to return. You’re not really supposed to root for guys, but I hope he sticks with the Royals this year.

PHIL NORTON

I’m not even sure he’s pitching anymore, to be honest. He was probably Somerset’s biggest disappointment last year, and that’s too bad.

TEURIS OLIVARES

I’d say he was a pleasant surprise, but I think everyone around the league knew he was a pretty solid player. One of the better pure hitters in the league, I’d bet he’s back in 2008.

TONY PERALTA

He had quite a few chances to prove he deserved a shot to stay on the team last year, but could never really capitalize on them.

JOSH PRESSLEY

The organization is really high on Pressley, and I could see him becoming the new face of the franchise. With that said, I obviously think he’ll be back…but I also think he’s a prime candidate to put up the kind of numbers that can get him out of the Atlantic League.

KEITH RAMSEY

Ramsey was a little undecided on returning last season, so I can only imagine what’s going on in his head this off-season after drawing the short straw in the postseason last year. There’s no question he was inconsistent at times, but he would have been a much better option than some of the pitchers that were ultimately used.

BRIAN REITH

Again, while things have been different with Brett Jodie putting together the roster instead of Adam Gladstone, players who leave for foreign countries are generally not well received league wide.

JASON RICHARDSON

He didn’t have a great 2007, but he also wasn’t as bad as some people might have thought as well. I could see him at least getting an opportunity to return in 2008.

CHRIS ROJAS

He pitched well in the brief time he spent in Somerset, but for some reason I don’t suspect you’ll see him back for 2008.

JASON ROMANO

It’s interesting, because he’s only 28. This one’s pretty hard to say…I’d guess no, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see him back.

MANNY SANTANA

Pretty much no chance of this happening.

SAUL SOLVESON

Maybe he’d be better off with a change of scenery, I don’t know. He had a real solid year last season, but it wasn’t his best. I’d bet he’s back, but I could see a scenario in which he’s pitching elsewhere.

R.D. SPIEHS

I’m pretty sure he’ll be back. Easily one of the more solid stoppers in the league.

PAUL THORP

Thorp pitched very well for Somerset last season, but again was one of those guys who I felt was a little underused in the postseason. But I’m pretty sure that they’d want him back.

JEFF URBAN

I’ve seen weirder things before, but I’d be very, very surprised to see him back.

ANDY VAN HEKKEN

Van Hekken is kind of an exception to the leaving to go elsewhere rule, as he made it a point to do it the right way. Not to say the others didn’t, but Van Hekken went the extra mile and gave the Patriots one last start after signing his deal to go overseas. I think he earned a lot of respect with that move, and could easily come back in 2008.

SCOTT WIGGINS

Early indications are that Wiggins is likely to return this season. He pitched pretty well last year, and would likely fit somewhere in the middle of the rotation in 2008.

ALAN ZINTER

Zinter has taken a position with the Diamondbacks, and has played his last game.

Dryer Q&A: Head on over to The Hot Corner for a postseason Q&A with former Somerset Patriot Matt Dryer. One of the more engaging personalities in the league, the current York infielder talks about off-season surgery that could make his return to the AL in 2008 a difficult one.

Where’s Ashmore: I’ve been getting a lot of questions wondering why I haven’t posted as much as I usually do in the off-season. I’m fine, but am also spending a lot of time on another venture that I started up several weeks ago. Scott has done a great job keeping everyone updated and providing original content for the site, and we will both continue to do that through the 2008 season and beyond. – Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

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Comments»

1. Pretty Ricky - January 23, 2008

Sweet update. Looks like Somerset is leading the “Who Will Win It All” poll, too.

2. barnstormer1 - January 23, 2008

Nah, I think York is looking pretty strong if they can sign the guys they are talking about!

3. revengeofchrisenglish - January 23, 2008

See the Dodgers new hitting coach? Mike Easler!
Taking over for Donny Baseball, who was voluntarily re-assigned.

4. RevsFan - January 25, 2008

York is bringing back Wayne Franklin. There’s more info on yorkrevolution.com


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