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Old 02-11-2018, 04:13 PM   #201
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1 October 2047

OFFICE OF THE STATE CAPITALS LEAGUE COMMISSIONER

NOTICE OF SUSPENSION: AL ELLIOTT


This notice provides official confirmation from the Office of the State Capitals League Commissioner of the six-game suspension that has been issued to Des Moines Magpies player Al Elliott, following his ejection from yesterday’s division series game against the Austin Tycoons. The suspension will apply with immediate effect, meaning that Mr Elliott may not be selected for the remaining games of the division series contest. As per SCL regulation 5.12.38(a)(revised), Mr Elliott has no right of appeal against this decision.

The Commissioner expects all SCL players, coaches and club officials to behave with courtesy and respect towards one another at all times, and recognise their position as role-models to young and aspiring baseball players across the country. I recognise that Mr Elliott was struck hard on the shoulder by Mr Smith’s pitch, the intent of which remains unclear, but this does not excuse his subsequent violent and intimidatory behaviour, which fell far below the standard expected of SCL players.

The Commissioner takes an extremely dim view of these events, which he feels reflect poorly on both the clubs and the SCL as a whole. The lengths of the suspensions imposed on both Mr Elliott and Mr Smith do take into account both players’ previous exemplary behaviour, but also reflect both the severity of the incident in question and the high-profile nature of the nationally televised playoff game.

The Commissioner trusts that such behaviour will not be repeated by Mr Elliott.

Yours sincerely,

Johnson P. Throbstick
State Capitals League Deputy Commissioner
1 October 2047
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Old 02-11-2018, 04:15 PM   #202
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Division Series, Game 3: Impressive Magpies cruise into Western League Championship Series after crushing win

By Maggie Pye | 02 Oct | 28,400 comments

Fresh from his victory in the Western League wildcard game, lefty Robinson Ortíz took the mound for the Magpies, aiming to get the win that would see his team through to the WLCS for the second straight year. The youngster was the team’s most consistent starter over the second half of the regular season, and he was excellent again tonight.

The Tycoons had the chance to score first, loading the bases against Ortíz in the 3rd inning with 2 outs, but Ortíz induced a flyout from Joel Tizzard to end the threat. They would soon regret that wasted opportunity. The Magpies broke the deadlock the following inning on Michael O’Quinn’s 2-run homer, his second long shot in as many games, which also scored catcher Fernando Martínez. Things looked ominous for Austin in the 6th when Enrique Limón’s double brought home O’Quinn for 3-0 lead, and the game was up in the 7th when the Magpies added on 2 more runs. Another 2 runs in the 8th made it 7-0.

O’Quinn and Martínez were the standouts for the Magpies, both hitting 4-5 and scoring twice. They’ll face North Division rivals Lansing in the championship series; Lansing’s offense was in typically impressive form after they eased past Salem 3-0 in their division series matchup.
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Old 02-12-2018, 05:41 PM   #203
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Teams prepare to do battle In Championship Series
All-North Division tussle in WLCS as Lansing play defending champs Des Moines

By Buster Oldknee, 9:13AM, 6 Oct 47

The division series are over, and the last four teams standing are preparing to duke it out in the championship series which commence tomorrow evening. You can follow all the live pitch-by-pitch updates here at SCL At-Bat. A re-match of last year’s Cup Final Series between the Magpies and the Islanders remains a possibility. Lansing, however, are the bookmakers’ hot favourites.

Western League:
Lansing Sharks 3-0 Salem Ironclads
Des Moines Magpies 3-0 Austin Tycoons

Eastern League:
Tallahassee Islanders 3-2 Augusta Romans
Richmond Eagles 3-0 Nashville Kings
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Old 02-12-2018, 05:42 PM   #204
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League Championship Series, Game 1: Lara on top form as Sharks dominate Magpies in series opener

By Maggie Pye | 07 Oct | 41,274 comments

Lansing ace Carlos Lara had a fine season, posting the SCL’s second-best FIP mark of just 2.44 over 34 starts. He has been a particular nemesis of the Magpies in recent years, and gave their lineup little to bite on today.

The Sharks started quickly, grabbing an early lead against Magpies rotation leader Kevin Cantrell with 2 runs in the 1st inning and another in the 2nd. Cantrell dug in after that, but when former Magpies slugger Jim Dillman smacked a 2-run home run in the 6th to make the score 5-0, that was that. Lansing added a further run before the end of the inning, and that was the end of the night’s scoring. Lara eventually allowed just 2 hits and 1 walk from his 8.2 excellent innings.

Magpies GM Billy DePodesta had put disabled list returnees Bob Miller and Roberto Caro on the active roster for the series, in place of Floyd Tipton and the suspended Al Elliott. Both had nights to forget. Caro left the game with a mild shoulder strain just 4 innings into his return, and will miss a week. Miller went 0-3.
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Old 02-12-2018, 05:43 PM   #205
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League Championship Series, Game 2: Lansing outclass Magpies to record another thumping win

By Maggie Pye | 08 Oct | 15,040 comments

Lansing finished just 2 games ahead of the Magpies over the regular season, and trailed 5-7 in the two teams’ head-to-head fixtures, but there has been a huge gulf in class between them during the Western League Championship Series so far. Inspired by gem from young Dutch starter Maikel Mud, the Sharks romped home 8-1. The teams now head for Iowa for the next 3 games, with the Magpies needing to improve drastically to avoid elimination.

Outfielder Yasunari Yamamoto put the Sharks on the board with a solo homer off Philip Givens in the 3rd inning. Catcher Bill Morris then put the Magpies in a hole with a 3-run home run in the 4th. The Magpies lineup, however, had no answer to Mud. Lansing tacked on 3 more in the 7th, before Morris smashed his second home run of the night in the 8th. Only Carlos Zúñiga’s home run with 1 out in the 9th, after Mud had been taken out of the game to a standing ovation from the Oceanic Stadium crowd, prevented the Magpies suffering a second consecutive shutout.
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Old 02-12-2018, 05:46 PM   #206
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League Championship Series, Game 3: Magpies on the brink after catalogue of fielding errors gift Sharks a 3-0 series lead

By Maggie Pye | 10 Oct | 21,992 comments

Defense has been one of the defining characteristics of the Magpies during GM Billy DePodesta’s two years at the helm. They have led the league in defensive efficiency both years; their .738 figure this season put them comfortably ahead of the next best in the Western League, the .716 mark put up by Sacramento. It summed up the disaster that this championship series has turned into for them, that all 5 of Lansing’s runs were unearned after the team committing 4 fielding errors.

An error on a pick-off throw by Robinson Ortíz started the shambolic night, and led to 2 unearned runs in the top of the 1st inning. It got even worse the following inning, when Enrique Limón and Carlos Zúñiga both failed to handle routine ground balls hit into the infield, allowing a further 2 runs to score. The ignominy was complete in the 8th inning when Fernando Martínez’s error allowed the fifth and final unearned run to cross home plate. That Bob Miller’s RBI double in the 9th drove in the only earned run of the game somehow made the result even harder for the Magpies to take. They now must win 4 straight or their championship defense is over.
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Old 02-13-2018, 05:42 PM   #207
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League Championship Series, Game 4: Huge 8th inning gives Magpies glimmer of hope

By Maggie Pye | 11 Oct | 41,892 comments

Carlos Lara took the mound again for the Sharks for the second time in the series, hoping to put in another fine display and take his team back to their first Cup Final Series since 2039. And Lara was excellent again, throwing 6.1 innings without allowing a run. He had visibly tired by the 7th inning, however, in part a consequence of the much-criticised decision to leave him in the game for over 8 innings in the the comfortable win in the series opener. As soon as he left the mound, things went badly wrong for the Sharks.

Jim Dillman’s 2-run home run in the 4th inning off Magpies starter Jeremy Williams had given Lansing the lead, which they still held when Lara came out of the game. The Sharks looks well set to advance, and there was no indication of the 8th inning chaos that was to come. Jeremiah Harvey got the Magpies moving with a lead-off home run to cut the Sharks’ lead to 2-1. The key moment came three batters later, when a fielding error allowed Guillermo Díaz to load the bases. Carlos Zúñiga was then hit by a pitch, allowing António Fernández to score the tying run. Then, a wild pitch allowed Walton White to get home and put the Magpies 3-2 ahead. Michael O’Quinn was then intentionally walked to reload the bases, before Enrique Limón’s double scored all 3 base runners for a 6-2 lead. Fernández’s double scored the 7th and 8th runs of the inning.

The Sharks grabbed 2 consolation runs in the 9th, but they were well beaten.
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Old 02-13-2018, 05:44 PM   #208
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League Championship Series, Game 5: Magpies eliminated despite Martínez heroics

By Maggie Pye | 12 Oct | 191,361 comments

The Magpies’ sterling defense of their SCL championship came to an end this evening with a 5-3 defeat to Lansing. The result means the Sharks advance to the Cup Final Series after a convincing 4-1 victory in a largely one-sided League Championship Series.

Magpies rotation leader Kevin Cantrell has had a difficult postseason, and that continued in the 3rd inning when he gave up a bases-loaded triple to designated hitter Eric Nicholas in the 3rd, to give the Sharks a 3-0 advantage. Magpies catcher Fernando Martínez capped a 4th inning rally with a 2-run homer to cut Lansing’s lead to 3-2. The rest of the offense, which has struggled all series, couldn’t get anything more going, and when Cantrell gave up a 2-run HR to pinch-hitter James Fox, the veteran who is the SCL all-time HR leader with 675, the writing was on the wall. Martínez led off the 9th inning with his second homer of the game to give his team hope, but the Sharks closed out the game and the series.
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Old 02-13-2018, 05:46 PM   #209
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12 October 2047

Zebedee Stethoscope
@glasshalfempty

Just as I said, we woz rubbish #toldyouso
11:42PM - 12 Oct 2047

Julian Dubious
@sarcasmisfunny

@glasshalfempty yeah over the last 2 seasons we’ve only had 197 wins, claimed our first ever SCL title and made a WLCS appearance - rubbish! #plank
11:44PM - 12 Oct 2047

Mannix Glowstone
@rayoflight

I’m well proud of the team. Disappointing exit but an exciting season and great attempt to retain the title. Go #Magpies
11:46PM - 12 Oct 2047

Ted Bells
@twitterfail

Ted Bells
11:50PM - 12 Oct 2047
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Old 02-13-2018, 05:48 PM   #210
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Tallahassee to face Lansing in Cup Final Series
Islanders aim to avenge defeat by Magpies in last year’s classic contest

By Buster Oldknee, 9:51AM, 15 Oct 47

The Tallahassee Islanders have beaten the Richmond Eagles to win the Eastern League Championship Series and advance to their second consecutive SCL Cup Final Series. There they will face the Western League champions, Lansing, who comfortably defeated Des Moines. The Sharks are many people’s favourites due to their excellent form in the playoffs so far, where they are now 7-1. The Islanders will be trying to avoid meeting the fate of EL counterparts Augusta in 2044 and 2045 and losing back-to-back Cup Final Series.

Lansing Sharks 4-1 Des Moines Magpies
Tallahassee Islanders 4-2 Richmond Eagles
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Old 02-14-2018, 04:49 PM   #211
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Tallahassee claim first Cup Final Series crown
Memories of last year’s agonising defeat forgotten amid jubilant scenes

By Tim Curtain, 11:03PM, 22 Oct 47

The Tallahassee Islanders have won the SCL Cup Final Series for the first time, after last night’s victory secured a 4-1 series win over the Lansing Sharks. After losing the series opener 3-1, the Eastern League champions won the next four games by an aggregate score of 25-3. The Islanders rotation were the key to the win, shutting down the Sharks’ formidable lineup.
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Old 02-14-2018, 04:50 PM   #212
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Taken from “The Big Book of Baseball Bywords” by BooBoo Berra:

“You gotta be tough in this league. He hit me, so I hit him back. I caught him real sweetly on the jaw, too.”

- Al Elliott
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Old 02-14-2018, 04:52 PM   #213
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Former Magpies first baseman Marín inducted into SCL Hall of Fame

By Maggie Pye | 23 Oct | 71 comments

Roberto Marín, who played first base for the Magpies in 2045 and 2046, has ended his glittering 16-year SCL career by being inducted into the Hall of Fame. Marín was picked 9th overall in the 2027 draft by Sacramento and went on to star for them for over a decade. But he enjoyed his most productive seasons in his mid-30s after signing for Columbus in 2042, where in three years he earned half of his 6 all-star selections. He was consistently one of the league’s best defensive first baseman, earning 6 Glove Wizard awards at the position. He retires with 515 home runs, equal 9th all time, and a .823 OPS mark.

Carlos González, who is the man tied with Marín on 515 career homers, was also inducted into the Hall of Fame today. González was a walk machine the likes of which the SCL has never seen, and will probably never see again. Easily Providence’s best ever player, he is the SCL career walks leader with 2747. No-one else is close: Tsugahara Baba is second all-time with 2417 and Curt Hogan third with 1958. González led the SCL in walks in a ridiculous 15 seasons, including for 12 years in a row from 2026 to 2037. His season tally of 181 walks in 2027 may never be beaten. He also won 5 Outstanding Hitter awards and earned 15 all-star game call-ups.
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Old 02-14-2018, 04:54 PM   #214
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Brown and Xú retire

By Maggie Pye | 24 Oct | 17,519 comments

Magpies starting pitcher Mal Brown and reserve catch Wang Xú have announced their retirement from professional baseball.

Brown had a 144-121 won-lost record and 3.03 career ERA. He was a 6-time all-star. He had not been expected to resume playing after suffering a torn flexor tendon early this season, but the news nevertheless came as a shock to many Magpies fans, for whom Brown was a long-time favourite. GM Billy DePodesta said: “We are obviously extremely disappointed to hear this news, but we fully understand and respect Mal’s decision. He will go down as one of the best pitchers in this club’s history, and remembered as the rotation leader in our first ever SCL championship victory. We thank him for his immense contribution during his time in Des Moines and warmly wish him all the very best for the future”. Brown was expected to take up an offer to join the Magpies coaching staff at the minor league level next season.
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Old 02-14-2018, 04:56 PM   #215
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Player of the season awards announced
Lansing slugger White recognised for fabulous performances

By Buster Oldknee, 10:35AM, 30 Oct 47

The 2047 State Capitals League player awards were announced last night at the league’s annual ceremony in Atlanta. All are first time winners.

Outstanding Hitter
WL: Jeffrey White (Lansing), 45 HR, 1.033 OPS
EL: Alfonso García (Columbus), 24 HR, .930 OPS

Outstanding Pitcher
WL: Philip Givens (Des Moines), 19-6, 2.45 ERA
EL: Brad Robertson (Tallahassee), 18-5, 2.16 ERA

Rookie of the Year
WL: Héctor Báez (Austin), 23 HR, .715 OPS
EL: Iemitsu Ishii (Indianapolis), 30 HR, .821 OPS
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Old 02-14-2018, 04:57 PM   #216
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GM’s notebook

- Way to go Philip! His Outstanding Pitcher award is as fantastic as it was unexpected. He’ll take over from Kevin Cantrell as rotation leader next season, and will be on the mound for us on opening day.
- Matt Anderson retained the Western League Glove Wizard Award at shortstop.
- We have no players awaiting arbitration panel decisions this year.
- Jack Morris, Júlio Pérez and Alfonso Carranza will all be leaving as free agents in a week’s time. Coupled with the retirements of Mal Brown and Wang Xú, this takes our projected payroll expenditure for 2048 down to about $156m. That includes all the players currently on the active roster with the exception of Morris.
- Before I can firm up my offseason plans and consider my financial plans in more detail, I need clarity from the owner about our payroll budget. He has dropped hints that it will need to be reduced from last year’s $180m, but I don’t know by how much. I would like to pursue free agent replacements for some of the departed guys. We’re meeting in a couple of days.
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Old 02-15-2018, 05:06 PM   #217
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From: Agamemnon Profitloss, Chief Finance Officer
To: Billy DePodesta

Des Moines Magpies Finance Department
MEETING MEMORANDUM


I am writing to confirm the club’s financial position for 2048 and beyond, following our meeting with owner Will Rueda yesterday morning.

As you are now fully aware, the club’s finances are in a perilous position. Poor investment decisions over many years, escalating payrolls in past seasons, significant levels of debt repayments (most notably in regard to borrowing to finance the stadium expansion some ten years ago), high interest rates on loans, and a failure to follow industry best practice in financial governance and oversight, have combined to put the organisation under severe financial pressure.

The revenues from the four home games in our playoff run this season have brought much-needed additional revenue and avoided a more severe restructuring over the coming twelve months. Nevertheless, we must make significant reductions in our expenditure next year as a first step in returning the club to a healthy financial position that will allow it to grow and deliver success on the field in future years.

As you know, in recent weeks I have been carefully reviewing all aspects of the club’s income sources and departmental budgets. We are seeking to maximise our turnover through a range of measures including implementing an increase to ticket prices at the Iowa Ballpark and adopting a more aggressive pricing strategy on sales of merchandise. You, Will and I have agreed the strategic decision to maintain our current expenditure on player development and analysis. We view these as ‘invest to save’ budgets which will form a crucial part of optimising our probability of success on the field relative to our level of outgoings.

However, this decision does mean that larger cuts will be required to other lines of organisational expenditure. This, by necessity, must include the payroll for players on the active roster, by far our single biggest budget. On the non-playing side, tomorrow we will be consulting on a voluntary redundancy scheme for front office, coaching, stadium and corporate services staff. We will unfortunately lose a number of valuable and experienced member of staff through this process, but expect to make significant reductions in our administrative spend.

But a substantial saving must still be made on player salaries, and so, in consultation with the club’s financial advisers, we agreed yesterday that the 2048 payroll must be capped at an absolute maximum of $160m, a $20m reduction on last year. This will be kept under review during the course of the season. When the salaries of our three impending free agents come off our books, the player payroll in 2048 for the remaining playing staff will total $156m, leaving a headroom of $4m. I am aware that you have several free agent targets you wish to pursue, but if you wish to offer annual salaries to new players of greater than $4m, you will need to trade to remove payroll first.

I must also warn you to expect further significant player payroll reductions for the following season and beyond. I cannot provide a meaningful figure at this stage, but there is a strong likelihood of a reduction at least as big as this year.

Thank you for your constructive and engaged approach to dealing with this difficult situation. I wish you the best of luck for the coming season.

Agamemnon Profitloss
Chief Finance Officer
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Old 02-15-2018, 05:08 PM   #218
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GM’s notebook

- I can’t pretend the meeting about the club’s challenging financial situation didn’t come as a shock. Things are much worse than I was under the impression they were.
- Fortunately the payroll position isn’t too bad for the coming year. I haven’t any budget headroom to strengthen the roster, but I can retain the existing group and make another postseason push. Jack Morris is leaving to free agency but I can cover his spot by moving P.J. Hendrickson (who struggled at times this year) into Morris’s lefty middle relief spot, put Wesley Weaver into the rotation, and promote Gabe Copeland into the pen.
- I have $4m of my $160m payroll budget available for spending on free agents. Top priority is a veteran lefty reliever, to primarily go on the minor league roster but also to compete with Hendrickson and Jorge Cruz for the 25-man. Ordinarily I’d also seek other veteran hitters for depth, and pursue any opportunities to just generally upgrade the team, but I’m going to have to cut my cloth accordingly.
- The REAL concern is the prospect of further reductions the year after next (2049). That is evitably going to mean moving out some of the top players on expensive contracts. The payroll of the current squad is projected to increase to $172m, with Robinson Ortíz and António Fernández reaching arbitration eligibility for the first time next October. The earlier I have some idea exactly what the degree of budget reduction will be, the earlier I can plan and prepare.
- Unfortunately Agamemnon isn’t in a position to tell me that yet. He wants to assess the club’s income levels over the early part of the season, and apparently is seeking to renegotiate the terms of some of the club’s debt repayment profiles.
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Old 02-15-2018, 05:09 PM   #219
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GM’s notebook

- Jack Morris, Júlio Pérez and Alfonso Carranza have all departed the club.
- Morris has been designated a Type A free agent again. There was no interest in him a year ago when he also had that status, but he’s still only 27 and hopefully his consistent performances since we signed him (2-0, 2.84, albeit from only 19 innings) will tempt someone to take a chance on him this time round - and give me extra draft picks.
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Old 02-16-2018, 07:13 PM   #220
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15 November 2047

onlytheboxscore.com/Magpies
Magpies’ window of contention could be about to close
Posted by Claude Le Tabac, @striketrois

The Magpies have been one of the SCL’s unexpected success stories of the last couple of years. In 2046, of course, under the leadership of new GM Billy DePodesta they bounced back from a sub-.500 year to win their first SCL championship. Then, this year, they produced another strong run deep into the playoffs, falling only in the Western League Championship Series. But as rumours of financial strife continue to swirl round the organisation, could their window of contention be about to close?

Sources with knowledge of the Magpies’ financial position tell me that owner Will Rueda has imposed a significant payroll budget reduction for the coming season. The result is that DePodesta has enough flexibility to retain his current roster, but is unable to reinvest the savings realised by the departures of retired pitcher Mal Brown and free agent reliever Alfonso Carranza. And worse still for Magpies fans, is the allegation that further, possibly even more substantial, reductions in payroll expenditure will be imposed on the front office the year after, 2049.

Those same sources say that DePodesta plans to essentially retain the current roster for another playoff run this next season, possibly with the addition of a left-handed relief pitcher. There will almost certainly be no repeat of the last two offseasons, which saw large numbers of free agent signings. Carson City’s part-starter, part-closer Bill Lewis is reported to be the Magpies’ top target, but it is believed they must hope there is a limited market for his services and his contractual demands come down to something they can afford. Former Sacramento hurler Greg Dickson and ex-Austin reliever Matt Hawkins, with his unusual fastball-screwball combination, are also on the club’s radar.

This year looks like being the team’s last as a contender for the foreseeable future. Recent reports indicate their player payroll budget for the coming season is $160m, which would already be the smallest in the North Division (Madison: $180m, Bismarck: $200m, St. Paul: $210m, Lansing: $240m). If there is indeed a further substantial reduction in 2049, a number of the club’s highly-paid stars will surely need to be moved on and the roster rebuilt with younger and cheaper players, and it is difficult to see how the Magpies will have the resources to compete.

The coming season could be an exciting one for Magpies fans. Beyond that, the future looks decidedly bleak.
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