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Old 06-08-2012, 05:51 PM   #18
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How to better start the off season but with the notice that two players had become arbitration eligible via the Super 2 rule. However, these were outfielders Luis Hernandez and David Correa. Hernandez was an average bench player, while Correa had gone 0-17 in the majors at the plate. Ben Green had not been resigned by the team. The lefty had gone 2-2 with 9 SV and 3.96 ERA during the season and was too expensive for what he had delivered.

(And the game … welcomed me on October 19 with the messages that the schedule would be shortened to 156 games and the DH rule had been implemented. What the?? No!? These were instantly reversed by me… I’m some godlike creature after all.)

We had also finished the 1977 season with a $1.8M profit. The Raccoons’ owner was happy and took the money to by some new jet … or jetski … or whatever. New budget was set to $5.8M, still smallest in the league. Penny-pinching bas…….eball.

October 25 – The Buffaloes harress me with the first trade proposal for the off season. They offer LF Michinaga Yamada, who had 20 HR and 90 RBI last season, for Ben Simon (who had the same numbers) PLUS three minor leaguers. The weather in Kansas must make these people insane. Rejected.
October 29 – Samuel Serra is traded back to the Stars by the Gold Sox, who had acquired him only during the 1977 season from the Stars. The Gold Sox get a pair of minor leaguers in the deal.
October 29 – The Titans acquire corner infielder Lino Zagallo from Los Angeles for two minor leaguers. Zagallo could be a big hitter in the next years.
October 29 – Wyatt Johnston is the only Raccoon among the Gold Glove winners for his 1B work.
November 1 – The Crusaders ship Zak Bodenham to the Aces for starting pitcher Tom Moulds (8-6, 3.82).
November 1 – Jack Pennington (Cyclones) and Juan Correa (Bayhawks) are pitchers of the year. Correa put up a 34-4 season with an 1.27 ERA.
November 2 – Christian Hampton (Buffaloes) and Hector Atilano (Crusaders) are presented with their batting title trophies. Hampton had a .375 season!
November 4 – The Gold Sox continue to be active and deal Manny Negrón to the Condors for two prospects. Negrón had a 16 HR-season.
November 4 – The Miners acquire pitching prospect Roberto Carillo from the Indians in a deal for a reliever Mario Valentín (2-1, 4.20).
November 7 – The Raccoons claim reliever Jerome Weeks off waivers from the Indianapolis Indians. Weeks spent only limited time on the majors roster in 1977 with an ERA over five, but our scouting departments thinks we found money in him. Weeks is 22 and has already good stuff that needs some seasoning in AAA, also to iron out some control struggles. He could be a key to the pen by 1979.
November 9 – In the arbitration hearings both the cases of Hernandez and Correa were decided in favor of the Raccoons and both were awarded new 1-year contracts.
November 10 – And he’s gone: the Raccoons trade outfielder David Correa (famously 0-17 in the majors in ’77) to the Vancouver Canadiens for pitching prospect John Hyde. Hyde had a fair season in AA in ’77 and should improve this season and maybe even get to AAA already.
Novmeber 12 – Players with expiring contracts file for free agency, including our Ben Green. Four teams have already jumped on him. I will pursue elsewhere.

November 13 – The Canadiens put former Raccoon David Correa on waivers.

There are a couple of free agents on the market I would like to hire, especially in the starting pitcher department. Juan Correa is also among them. How much come 34 wins per season? Apparently roughly $600k a year, for many years.

There was something to consider though, although I had budget room to sign one big guy. The Raccoons would pick either second or third in the 1978 draft. Signing any top starter now would lose them their pick. Of course we could gain one if Ben Green was signed, since he was a type A free agent, but that one would most likely come further down in the order.

November 25 – The Aces send Rob Dawson to the Wolves, primarily to grab pitching prospect Pedro Durán.
November 26 – We acquire C Kieran Lawson from the Pacifics in return for C Sam Moran and minor league reliever Carlos Marrero. Lawson is a solid .200+ hitter and will play backup behind Darryl Maloney. This fixes one of the most glaring issues with the team last year. Starting pitching is still not done, but we’re cooking something there…
November 27 – Bang! The Raccoons trade their #1 starter from last season, Alex Miranda, to the Tijuana Condors for two minor leaguers and starter Jorge Romero. The latter was 15-13 in 1977 with an ERA just under three, while Miranda led the league in walks.

December 1 – Rule 5 Draft; three players are picked, but the Raccoons are not effected.
December 3 – The Rebels re-sign free agent closer Stanley Holman, who racked up 28 saves for the team in ’77.

Now, the winter meetings went by uneventful for the Raccoons, but in mid-December we were leading in off season WAR improvement with 3.7 – mostly responsible for that was the Romero trade. Now there were still two or three things I wanted to get right. I wanted a centerfielder with better batting. Dolder and Anderson were fine defensively, but their offense was troubled. I could easily trade one of them away to achieve that goal, I just had to find a team willing to pick one up. If that would work, it would most likely be Dolder because of his much smaller contract. Dropping Anderson on someone would be hard.

One thing was the bullpen. I wanted seven guys again. Hatfield was the designated closer, with Gaston as setup. The remaining guys were lefties Padilla and Wright, plus righties Jenkins and Vazquez. One spot was currently open, but we had to keep in mind that Brett Justice was still on the DL. Calculating a full minors rehab assignment for him, he would not join the team before June, most likely at the end of the month.

What I had in mind was the following: trade Padilla away (he was struggling more often than not at the end of the season), move Ray as lefty to the pen, and get a new lefty starter. I was also on the heels of a Cuban defector, a 28 yr old right handed reliever.

I had an AAA starter with promising development, Logan Evans. He was actually a left handed pitcher, but he was not ready for the majors, he’d be most likely the next walk machine, and we had just shipped Miranda away. Evans could make the move to the majors, but not this year.

December 13 – The Falcons sign 1B Bill Peterson, who was .293 with 21 HR and 93 RBI for Topeka in 1977.
December 13 – The Raccoons ink Cuban international free agent reliever Tony Lopez and Mexican outfield prospect Juan Martinez. Perez is moved to the majors roster, and Martinez assigned to the A level.
December 14 – The Titans sign 21-game winner Sean Critch to a 3-year contract worth almost $1.3M.
December 31 – Free agent closer Bernardo Reyes signs with the Indians. He was 3-8 with 24 SV in 1977, with a 3.27 ERA. The Raccoons made an offer, but didn’t want to dig that deep in their pockets.
January 1 – The Raccoons trade minors outfielder Guy Mawson to Atlanta for pitching prospect David Castillo.
January 8 – Armando Padilla is sent to the Rebels for fellow lefty reliever Bill Baker, who had an 3.86 ERA in 1977.

Baker was not the starter I was looking for, but no top notch left handed starter was to be had. And also none from the second row. Still, Baker is much more consistent and walks much less batters than Padilla. The roster is more or less set now, with the exception of the centerfield problem.
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