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Old 11-18-2018, 07:31 PM   #21
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Following this. Love the format.

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Old 11-18-2018, 08:58 PM   #22
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Rip’s Notes - 10/26

Slept on it and decided that just not ready to pull that trigger… While I like Noyola, I am not sure he’s worth Navarro. I feel like if we move him, we can move him for something a little better. But if that doesn’t change might circle back and see if OKC is still open to this sorta deal...

Around the League

Campbell Stays in Charlotte
The top free agent on the market is officially gone. Aidan Campbell rejected Charlotte’s qualifying offer in order to test the waters of free agency but quickly found that no one had a better offer than the Devils. The 29-year-old agreed to a 7 year $70.9 million dollar deal with the two time NCS champs on November 2nd. It included player options for the final two seasons. The Devils will continue to be nasty with the combination of Campbell and Francisquo Fariseu lurking in the middle of the order.

Racers Nab Veteran Starter
Indianapolis signed 3x All Star and 2x champion SP Nick Kline to a one year deal worth $4,560,000 on November 5th. There was a time Kline was one of the best in the NBL but the now 35 year old appears to be trending downwards. Still, only a year ago he had a 4.5 WAR worthy year so maybe the Racers can get a little more mileage out of his arm in 2005. Indy is trying hard to get back to the playoffs having missed it the last 4 seasons.
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Old 11-18-2018, 08:59 PM   #23
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Rip’s Notes - 11/4

Another trade deal sent my way. Louisville’s GM Nick De Jager wants pitching prospects John Baker and Cris Gutierrez in exchange for their 30-year-old LF Kevin Dimick. It’s a ridiculous offer. I tried to see if maybe we could use this tandem to steal any of their prospects but the conversation ended with me yelling “Well **** you too De Jagoff” so you can guess that our conversations did not bear any fruit.

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Old 11-18-2018, 09:33 PM   #24
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Meet the Team: San Jose Sea Dogs

Owner: Brian Norris (1998 - present)
Overall Record: 414-636 (.394)
General Managers: Sean Doiron (1998-2002), Jeremy Tilley (2003-present)
Managers: Adam Monaco (1998-2002), Nathan Seymore (2003-2004), Aaron Weadon
Ballpark: San Jose Ballpark
Playoffs: N/A
Championships: N/A


There is zero debate over which franchise has been the biggest failure in the National Baseball League's short history. It's the San Jose Sea Dogs.

Despite having one of the largest markets in the NBL, the 7th biggest budget and one of the strongest fanbases, San Jose has consistently produced poor season after poor season. Their one "good" year came in 1998 when they went 76-74. That was the one and only time they have ever finished with a winning record. Since then, six straight losing seasons including the worst year in NBL history in 2002 when they went 46-104.

But San Jose fans believe things are changing. They made possibly the biggest move of the offseason already stealing away 2x NCS champion Aaron Weadon from Charlotte. Weadon spent 1999 and 2000 as a bench coach for the competitive Chattanooga Choo Choos. He was then hired as manager for the Charlotte Devils in 2001 where after missing the playoffs his first season, lead the Devils to 3 straight NCS appearances and took two rings home. The roster he's working with out west does not come close to what had been assembled to the one out east but the money and willpower is there to change that. We will see if in the coming years this San Jose franchise can finally live up to it's potential.

Best Hitter

It's hard to find a nominee for this category. Only one player in San Jose's brief history has compiled a double digit WAR and it's center fielder Mitch Baker who ironically filed for free agency this offseason.

Baker has a solid but not spectacular career and the fact that he leads all hitters in San Jose franchise history in WAR is a testament to just how bad the Sea Dogs have been. Baker's best year came in 2002 when he slashed .297/.336/.416/.751 hit 6 home runs and drove in 30 runs. Yes, that's seriously his best year.

Best Pitcher

It's not much better on the mound either. Josh Westphal earns the honor for career WAR in San Jose history at 9.0 which is less than what Jaime Ryan had this season for Portland. Westphal, like Baker, has also recently hit the free agency pool too meaning San Jose's leaders in WAR will more than likely not be on the team next fall.

Westphal was a decent starter with his best year coming in 2002 when he went 11-17 with a 3.92 FIP. He led the WL in games started in 2002 and 2003 which I guess is something. The 31-year-old might end up in the bullpen at his next landing place.

There's at least some hope for the future on this current San Jose rotation. Former 1998 Louisville #4 overall pick Brandon Bonds is the ace of the staff and has the potential to be a solid frontline starter. 2002 #2 overall pick Eric Jones made his NBL debut last season and there is hope he will take over as the ace in the very near future though he looks far from ready for the show right now. Bottom line, San Jose might be a bigger rebuild job than Billings right now but they at least have some money to spend.

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Old 11-18-2018, 09:54 PM   #25
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Rip’s Notes - 11/7

As we gear up for Winter Meetings tomorrow, I got a call from San Jose's general manager Jeremy Tilley about wanting to discuss a move in person tomorrow. The deal? 30-year-old RF Gus Maiz for prospects RF Francisco Castro and 1B Aaron Ash. I laughed and immediately hung up the phone…

As for these meetings, the focus for us is to see if we can find any future 3B or C this weekend. We won’t make a desperate move but if someone, say like Columbus with Phil McDonald, were open to making a reasonable swap, we would listen. Also, some free agency things to discuss. We’ve been in talks with starter Andrew Bono, a 29-year-old who one won the EL PItcher of the Year in 2001 but has declined in recent seasons. I kinda like the idea of having a veteran type of player in our rotation to help lead this new young arms but doesn’t cost much and could be useful himself down the road.

Just have to get his wet haired agent to shut the **** up and agree to terms already…..

Around the League

Oklahoma City Sign Davis
One of the most valued free agents on the market has made his decision. 3B Justin Davis and OKC announced today that they had come to terms on a 3 year $8,040,000 deal. Davis is one of the best defensive 3B in the league that can also give you a little something with the bat. He plugs into a lineup with Ivan Noyola, Ricky Garcia and Grant Arnold that is young and dangerous.

David Capablanca on the Move Again
For the 3rd time in his career, closer David Capablanca is the central piece of a major transaction. A 4x All-Star and 1998 champion with the Indianapolis Racers, Capablanca has been all over the NBL after signing with Chattanooga in 2001. Louisville will be his 5th club in 8 seasons. He’s 7th in saves among active closers in the NBL. The deal involves sending Capablanca to the Redbirds in exchange for three youngsters in #64 prospect RP Bill McCann, SS Alex Angulo, and RP Jeremy Showalter.

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Old 11-26-2018, 11:12 AM   #26
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Winter Meetings

Rip awoke to a loud banging on his hotel door.

Can’t a man get some decent sleep?

He looked at the clock by his bedside table. It said it was 10:08 AM in the morning.


Rip stumbled out of bed in only his boxers and answered the door.


Standing at Rip’s door was an irate Blake Madson. He and Rip had flown out to Los Angeles for this years Winter Meetings two days ago. Yesterday, the two had attended the first day to bump elbows with the other top members of front offices and representatives of the premier free agents. Rip’s night, however, had ended a bit later in the evening than Blake’s.

“Blake my good fellow, no need for such vulgarities!”

The former OKC GM was not amused.

“I don’t have time for your stupid humor Rip! The meetings started 2 hours ago! And for the love of Pete! Put on some dang clothes!”

The straight laced exec was correct. The second day of the meetings had begun just over 2 hours ago.

“I am well aware of the time B minor but I must first recover my senses before I battle wits with the top minds of baseball once again.” Rip said while diving back into bed. “Plus I already accomplished most of what I wanted to do last night anyway.”

“Oh really? Your goal this weekend was to get insanely drunk and sleep through all of the meetings?”

Rip chuckled.

“I wish! No, my dear Blakeson, my top goals were to improve our infield depth in the farm system, see if any of our top trade targets can be realistically made and close on a top free agent pitcher. Unhappily, I was only able to complete one of those goals but got answers to the other two.”

Blake looked very confused.

“What are you talking about? All I saw was you do was make a fool out of yourself at the open bar?”

“That is because you see naught but the surface dear man! Look deeper!”

Blake sat down in one of the chairs beside the bed and rubbed his hands through his hair.

“Rip, I’m not in the mood for your word puzzles. Just tell me what the sam hill you did last night!”

Rip let out a long sigh then rolled over to face his assistant GM.

“Alright, here’s what ACTUALLY happened outside of me getting **** faced. First, I had a quick chat with Jim Dimich of Columbus to see if maybe he was dumb enough to move Phil McDonald like he had been with Turnipseed. He basically told me to go **** myself so it was pretty easy to see that deal wasn’t happening. I then had a quick a quick pow wow with Portland’s GM Gabe Johnson about Manny Andrew and he seemed to have the same feelings towards me that Dimich did.”

“So you basically went and asked two GMs you have already made deals with to see if they would give you more? That seems a little over ambitious.”

Rip laughed.

“Blake, how the **** do you think I got this job?”

Blake conceded the point.

“Ok, so you couldn’t land either of our top 3B targets which isn’t a huge surprise. So then you got really drunk after?”

“Nah my dear padawan! That was but the start of the party!” Grunting, Rip slowly sat up to continue his story. “That is when I hit the open bar because my good friend De Jager had already beaten me to the spot.”

“You mean the Louisville GM that you called De Jagoff?” Blake asked skeptically.

“The exact one! Turns out, he thought that line was HILARIOUS and offered to buy me a drink.”

“It was an open bar?”

“THAT’S THE GOD DAMNED JOKE BLAKE!” Rip said roaring with laughter. He quickly composed himself and continued. “Well we started by chatting about that stud catcher prospect of his Scot Bartels and understandably he told me to shove it. Would take moving one of Lopez or Alpizar for him to even consider such a move. From there we proceeded to get **** faced.”

His assistant GM shook his head.

“So you inquired after 3 trades, got told no and then got really drunk? That was your productive day?”

“You are an impatient man aren’t ya there Blakey? This is when things REALLY got interesting.” Rip said with a smile. “You see turns out De Jager is EXACTLY how this man operates and after a few of his namesakes were in him, he opened up a bit on some other moves he might be interested in making. Talk turned of course to that 3B prospect of theirs we like.”

“John Sainsbury?”

“The one and only!”

Sainsbury was a 23 year old 3B prospect out of New York City. He had been a 3rd round pick by the Indianapolis Racers back in 2003 but was moved only a month later to Santa Fe in a deal that involved stud closer Raul Vasquez. The following year he was bumped to AA where he had his strongest year to date and earned an All-Star bid. A month later, he was on the move again this time dealt to Louisville in a 4 way move that also involved new free agent Jared Gittens.

The 6’3” 220 lb infielder has an ok bat but is an elite defender at the hot corner. He could also develop into a decent 2B as well if needed. 3B prospects that can both hit AND field are hard to find so Sainsbury offers at least the option of a Best Glove winner at 3B in the near future. He’s gonna strike out a ton but might be able to at least be average at the plate.

“Those talks turned fruitful. Turns out de Jagermeister really loves Mike Osborne.”

Osborne was a 4th round pick by Billings in 2002. His overall performance in the minors though has been dreadful with a career line of .185/.264/.327/.591 with 13 HR and 86 RBI good for a -1.1 WAR in his 3 seasons of A ball. Not exactly a guy that screams high upside.

“Really?” Blake asked surprised. “He’s an Osborne fan?”

“Apparently bigger than even his momma as I was able to coax him to hand over Jordan Ramirez as well.”

A 5th round pick by Louisville last year, Ramirez is a defensive stud that can play either corner OF spots and 3 IF areas as well. His bat wasn’t great in Single-A last year but he’s got the tools to develop into a very solid utility weapon.

“Huh.” The former OKC GM said with genuine surprise.

“Huh, indeed my dear man! That’s not all either! Our late night escapades took us to, um, well a less than reputable establishment where I ran into wet hair.”

“Todd White? Andrew Bono’s agent?”

“Yup and Jared Gittens agent as well! I greeted the slimy bitch with a pleasant `when the **** are you going to agree to our deal?` which was promplty met with a `**** you`.” Rip smiled again. “Things devolved from there. I’m not 100% sure what happened outside of maybe a little violence, lots of alcohol and my permanent banishment from the Glitter Lounge.”

“Oh god….”

“Now, now Blake, it’s all good. There are plenty of other fine establishments I can frequent throughout the week.”

“That’s not what I’m worried about Rip! Though the fact you were thrown out of a strip club does concern me some.”

Rip held up a finger, “Dance club Blake. These women are professionals, show some respect.”

“I don’t really care about that Rip, what I care about is PISSING OFF THE TOP AGENT IN THE NBL!”

It appeared Rip had finally pressed all the buttons he needed to tip Blake Madson over the edge. It was a game Rip very much loved to play.

“Calm down there Wild Man. Just because we threw a few punches, got tossed outta da club and called each other horrible names does not mean we cannot do future business! In fact,” Rip flipped open his phone. “I got myself a text from wet hair himself asking if I’m down to party again tonight!”

Blake shook his head in asperation.

“So to recap. We couldn’t land any of our top 3 trade targets but you were able to make a small deal for IF depth and then also found out that we will not be signing Bono or Gittens.”

“You have it right on the nose my good man!”

Sighing, Blake stood up.

“I don’t really know why I’m surprised but I guess your ridiculous night turned out to be a somewhat productive one after all. So what’s the plan for today?”

Rip gave Blake a sly grin.

“To get absolutely **** faced and thrown out of another fine Las Vegas establishment!”
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Old 11-26-2018, 11:14 AM   #27
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Winter Meetings Trade Recap

Billings gets:
3B John Sainsbury
SS Jordan Ramirez

Louisville gets:
RF Mike Osborne

One of my big goals this offseason was to improve IF depth in our farm system. This definitely helps accomplish that goal. Sainsbury can at least be a placeholder 3B in the near future while we try to acquire via the draft, trade, international free agency or regular free agency a future piece at that spot. Ramirez is someone that my scout is MUCH higher on than OOTP which is why he was able to slip in as a throw in. I see no future for Osborne

Overall this is a low risk trade for both sides getting guys they each like more than the other.
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Old 11-26-2018, 11:36 AM   #28
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Rip’s Notes - 11/20

My day got started with a WHAT THE **** moment when Rochester’s GM called me to ask how I would feel about a deal involving their stud 3B Matt Fishman. Fishman is a 27-year-old switch hitting 3B that has hit 30+ HRs the last three seasons and is an above average defender at the hot corner. **** YA I WANT HIM!

But Tom Haug wanted Richard Turnipseed in return which was a no go but our discussions quickly became fruitful. Turns out they are high on Lorenzo Navarro and would agree to a move that sends Fishman to us in exchange for Navarro and closer Justin Burke. This would be a deal that greatly pleases me…

However, this felt like a deal too good to be true so I did a little digging before giving the final ok. Turns out, that ****er was trying to screw us. Fishman has a player option that kicks in after next season. So even tho he’s got a manageable enough deal until 2009, he can get out of it any time he wants starting next year. I can’t take that kind of risk.

I kindly told Haug to **** right the hell off but I won’t lie, it hurt a little…. Fishman woulda been the exact solution to one of my biggest problems in this rebuild. Oh well….
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Old 11-26-2018, 08:28 PM   #29
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Around the NBL - 11/21/2004

Drillers Land Short
One of the biggest free agents is off the board as LF Cory Short agreed to terms on a 4 year $24,440,000 contract with Oklahoma City. The Drillers giving him only 4 years makes a lot of sense given the fact he’s 29 years old. That means they should get some of the best left in him before he goes back on the market again at age 33. Short is coming off his least productive season since his debut in 1998 but should be a nice complement to Grant Arnold in the center of that OKC lineup.

Kim Is A Devil
Charlotte is adding another nasty arm to its pen. South Korean import Min-Soo Kim agreed to a 3-year deal worth $3,840,000 with the Devils today. Min-Soo becomes the 6th South Korean native to play in the NBL. He’s listed as a relief pitcher but could also see time in the Devils rotation if needed.

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Old 11-26-2018, 08:31 PM   #30
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Rip’s notes - 12/1

Rule 5 Draft day so had to make some final roster moves to protect some key guys like Danny Rivera, Cris Guitierrez, Marco Mendoza, and Gene Olson. All four have been added to the 40 man roster.

There were some interesting options in the Rule 5 that I considered. A few infielders but none that seemed exciting enough that is worth trying out on ML roster. So I instead went ahead and took the top-rated option on the board which was CL Ramiro Medrano of Indianapolis.

He was a scouting discovery back in 1999 and since then has slowly become a well-regarded relief prospect. He’s got a rocket fastball that sits between 98-100 along with a sick curve he can throw after it. However, I got big concerns about his changeup and the overall movement of his pitches. Worth a risk tho.

We did lose a guy as the Racers got back at us for taking Medrano by selecting Brent Stevens a relief pitcher in our org recovering from a torn flexor tendon. They are betting on him bouncing back in time for early next season and must like his 4 pitch arsenal. He’s a solid player but not one all that sad about losing.

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Old 11-26-2018, 09:26 PM   #31
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Around the NBL

When healthy Tom White is an Alcalibercalibre type of pitcher but staying healthy has been a problem. That issue didn’t scare the Racers away though as Indy signed the southpaw to a 2 year $10,240,000 deal. He’s still recovering from a bone chip in his elbow that’s kept him out for 4 months but he’s expected to be good to go by Opening Day. Looks like he will slot in at the #2 spot in their rotation.

OKC is spending big this offseason. First, they snagged 3B Justin Davis. Then they landed LF Cory Short. Today it’s one of the top closers in the league as OKC and Tomas Alejandre agreed to terms on a 3 year deal worth $23,700,000. The 5 time All-Star and 1998 WL Reliever of the Year started his career in Billings before one season in Santa Fe, followed by 3 in Chattanooga and one last year in Las Vegas. Among active relievers, Alejandre is 6th in the NBL in total saves with 129. It seems clear that the Drillers are gearing up for a WL run in 2004.

It’s clear 2nd year GM Chris Jones is ready to win now in OKC. The Drillers followed up their signing of Alejandre yesterday by snagging one of the best young starting arms on the market in Andrew Bono. A torn rotator cuff stole his 2004 season but before that, he’s proven to be a very reliable starter including his EL Pitcher of the Year campaign in 2001. He signed a 4 year deal for $6,640,000 a season.

The other outstanding young arm on the market is now gone as well. 2x All-Star Jared Gittens agreed to a 4 year $10,720,000 deal with Las Vegas today. Gittens was one of the league’s most reliable starters from 1998-2002 but has hit a slid recently. The Gamblers are hoping he can regain some of his form as he’s only 28.

It’s been far from secret that Columbus has wanted to move catcher Tim Spurlock this offseason but the’ve had trouble finding a partner. Important word in that sentence “had” as today the Giants and Sharks came to an agreement that would send the 4x All-Star and 1998 Newcomer of the Year to Jacksonville in exchange for two top 150 prospects in SP Chris Dossey and SP Asa DiGirolamo. Spurlock’s production dipped some in 2004 and with his contract ending next season, it’s clear GM Jim Dimich wanted to move him for something before losing him forever. The Sharks meanwhile are looking to make a run at the playoffs in 2005 and Spurlock fills an important hole in their lineup.

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Old 11-26-2018, 09:34 PM   #32
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Rip’s Notes - 1/17

Officially signed Bil Silander today which really doesn’t mean much of anything. Silander is a 40-year-old former fireballer still trying to hang around. Hale was very confused about why I wanted to go after him but it’s simple. This team needs a leader in the clubhouse for all these young kids and he’s just that. He knows that’s part of this gig too. I don’t expect much from him production wise but hopefully, his body does not shatter into bits when he runs onto the field.

Ya know, cuz he’s old….
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Old 11-27-2018, 01:08 PM   #33
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Rip's Notes - Spring Training Recap

Hey, actual baseball!

Spring training has come & gone & surprisingly we did decently. I mean 10-14 ain't nuttin to get excited about but it's not like we went out on the field and just laid a **** every day as I expected.

Don't tell Hale but I'll be honest, I didn't have much of a strategy for this spring. Meaning I wasn't really looking to see if certain people could win certain jobs. This year is a lost cause anyway as we gear up for hopefully a run in 2007 which is 2 years from now. But hey! Maybe we won't completely suck!

Doubt it...

Anyway, here's a look at how our hitters did over this past month

Francisco Castro put on quite a show over spring training. Which is good cuz he's the guy I got penciled in as our RF of the near future. He was an international amateur free agent signing out of Venezuela back in 2001. He finally got out of the international complex this past year and made his way quickly up to AA after raking in A. I'm not sure he's ready for the jump just yet so will probably move him to AAA to start but as .421 wOBA & 143 wRC+ ain't' nuttin to sniff at.

The biggest surprise though was probably Robby Santos. He's bounced around the ML & AAA the last 2 seasons. He put on quite a show trying to prove he deserved a spot on the Opening Day roster but we will have to see about #'s.

Continuing discussions of OFers impressing, the guy I really wanted to see was Lorenzo Alpizar. He needs to be a future All-Star for us and he looked the part this month. Lead the team in HRs with 4 while slashing .317/.353/.571/.924. He strikes out a bunch, refuses to walk but he's got the potential to be a 30+ HR guy in the middle of our order. Gonna have to really think about keeping him on Opening Day roster.

As for pitching....

Scott Bacher was the NBL's #97 prospect last season and showed this past month he MIGHT be ready for the big time. The 24-year-old lefty out of Navarre, FL has a solid 4 pitch arsenal that he can use with equal effectiveness. He's been outstanding at every level of the minors and after putting up a 2.42 FIP over 16.2 IP is giving us plenty to think about.

Gem of the offseason Richard Turnipseed didn't exactly have the greatest of debuts tho that 18.00 ERA is a bit inflated when considering his 4.80 FIP, .480 BABIP & well of course only throwing 5 innings. He will start out in Boise which was always the plan. But look at his buddy Jason James who came over as part of that deal as well! 1.86 ERA with a 1.9 BB/9 over a very short 9.2 innings. I really think he's gonna be crucial for us moving forward.

Well, now it's time to sort out the active roster & where we want our top prospects to play as Opening Day is just a few days away. Despite all my protestations we will, in fact, have to play baseball this season. Maybe we shock the world?

LOL JK but can't wait until that sexy #1 draft pick!
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Old 11-29-2018, 11:42 AM   #34
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Opening Day Eve

“Handedness is something we valued HIGHLY at my time in OKC,” stated Blake Madson five hours into this infuriating meeting.

Rip couldn’t help himself.

“We are all VERY aware of your passion for handedness in the evening my dear Madson.”

“RIP!” barked John Hale for probably the 300th time on the day.

Everyone was assembled in the conference room of the Sky Center. Tomorrow was Opening Day and Billings needed to cut down its 45 man spring roster to 25 by the end of the day. Most of those decisions had been pretty easy but they had reached the final few cuts and things had come to an impasse.

Hale sat at the end of the table visibly exhausted not only from all the debate but more than likely also from trying to prevent his loud-mouthed GM from being TOO inappropriate to everyone else in attendance.

Well, I warned him.

Also around the table were assistant GM Blake Madson, manager Jody Moncrief, scouting director Derrick Dunn, bench coach Cody Plumb, pitching coach Ryan Stanley, hitting coach Justin Mobley and team doctor Chris Baird. All but Madson and Moncrief were holdovers from the previous administration. Billings lack of funds made whole staff changes difficult. Rip had agreed to keep everyone else in place for at least 2005 before dropping the ax. After today, Rip WISHED he had an ax.

“What I obviously mean” Madson continued after shooting Rip a glare, “is that we are VERY left-hand heavy in this lineup and Luke Macaluso gives us a decent right-hand bench bat to stick in OF with Rodriguez, Lopez, and Alpizar.”

“DECENT?” Rip roared with laughter. “More like utter ****.”

“RIP! Language please!”

“My apologies once again minister.” Rip said with his hand over his heart feigning embarrassment. “I do believe I forgot my senses there for a moment because I thought this hand obsessed man across from me called a man by the name of Luke Macaluso decent. We must know different Macaluso’s.”

“He’s had three different 3+ WAR years in the minors,” Blake shot back. “In his limited work last year in the NBL he slashed .368/.368/.421/.789. The only thing I would call poop is your analysis of Macaluso’s ability.”

Hale attempted to step in.

“Jody? Can you give us your opinion? Are you concerned with all the lefties?”

The veteran manager had said very little during the meeting. The more Rip was around the man, the more he realized that silence was is favorite music. When he did speak, however, he rarely held back.

“I don’t really give a crap about that this year,” Moncrief answered. “I mean, yes, moving forward it would be nice if we had some righties that could hit worth a crap too. But this year I’m more concerned about keeping Lopez and Alpizar both healthy. My concern with Macaluso is that he’s a poor defender limited to basically right field. I do think I have to agree with Rip here and say that Robby Santos makes more sense to me. But honestly, I don’t like the idea of carrying 5 outfielders on the roster.”

“The real issue,” Rip quickly said in response. “Is that Victor Rodriguez is still on the roster.”

From 2000 to 2002, Rodriguez was a 2x All-Star who put together 4.6, 4.8 and 3.1 WAR campaigns. A broken elbow in 2002 robbed him of his final few months and apparently of his bat as well. In 2004, Xavier Robinson apparently thought the young man could somehow right the ship and signed him to a 3-year deal worth $6,280,000.

His gamble proved wrong. Rodriguez slashed .259/.304/.422 while only slugging 10 HRs. A far cry from his .332/.391/.537 line in 2002 with 22 HRs. To make matter worse, his defense didn’t really make up for his poor offense either. It had become clear that injuries had robbed the Venezuelan native of his above-average talents at the plate.

“You’ve tried to move him all offseason,” Blake said with exasperation. “We’re stuck with him so let’s focus instead on what we can do with the current roster.”

Rip smiled.

“That’s where you are wrong B-daddy. I have tried to move him but purely just to see what the market might be. It’s been pretty shi-, I mean crappy. That doesn’t mean I can’t move him. There are some other teams with pricy players they want off the payroll I bet we could swing if we want.”

Hale seemed intrigued.

“Like whom?”

“Like Justin Kroemer.”

Kroemer was a 6x All-Star, 2x Reliever of the Year winner who was currently recovering from a torn rotator cuff on San Antonio’s DL. The 32 year old through a nasty slider off a vicious cutter and had consistently been one of the league’s best closer. He led the NBL in saves with 42 in 1998 and until injury cut his 2004 campaign short, had recorded at least 30 saves all but one year.

“Let me get this straight,” Madson said confused. “We traded away our controllable, cheap, dominant closer and now you wanna go trade for a 32-year-old one with an $8.4 million salary? How does that make ANY sense Rip?”

“Well Maddy boy, it’s actually quite simple. Victor Rodriguez is not part of our plans for the future but is our priciest player with his $2 million salary. Kroener would come off the books after 2005 while Rodriguez still has another year on his contract. We send Rodriguez to San Antonio in exchange for Kroener for what’s basically a salary dump. They get his $8.4 off the books for this year, freeing up some cash flow, while we eat that big chunk of change for more financial freedom this offseason. Also maybe fans will be happier with me for a bit because we add another well-known closer to the roster. This fanbase seems obsessed with closers.”

The room pondered Rip’s suggestion.

“I like it. “ Hale finally said. “I mean I don’t like paying that much money but if you think it frees us up for the future then let’s do it. So we move Victor for Kroener and then keep Santos on the roster?”

Moncrief nodded.

“Makes sense to me”

“Alright Rip,” Hale said turning to his wild GM. “Make it happen.”

“Making things happen is my ****ing purpose on this earth chief!”
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Old 11-29-2018, 11:58 AM   #35
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2005 Season Preview - Billings Sky

It’s been an odd offseason up in Montana. No one was surprised when owner John Hale finally made the call to remove general manager Xavier Robinson and manager Hugh Daly after six straight losing seasons. What was a surprise was who were tabbed as successors for very different reasons.

Hale elected to promote a relatively unknown scout on the payroll to general manager in Rip Bucknor. That’s a bizarre move in itself but then having seen Mr. Bucknor speak in public and from conversations with sources around the league, the decision becomes even more puzzling. He’s already earned the nickname “Wild Man” for both his free wheeling and dealing mentality along with his overall strange behavior.

On the other end, there’s Jody Moncrief. A 2x NCS champion who piloted the Omaha Storm for their first 7 years of existence before being pushed out last season after back to back disappointing years. Many thought with Charlotte having moved on from their once well renowned manager Aaron Weadon that Moncrief would land there but instead he decided to jump on board with Bucknor. Throw in former OKC GM Blake Madson being hired as assistant GM and you have a strange mixture of well respected veterans of the NBL and insanity.

It’s also clear that Billings has no intention of competing this season. Bucknor made a number of moves over the past few months, most involving shipping off usable talent for prospects. That’s not exactly a shocking strategy given the inability for the Sky to compete much at all the past few seasons but it does have leave fans wondering when this long nightmare of rebuilding might actually end?

* All stats below are career numbers in the NBL. If not available then AAA is used and is noted

Starting Rotation

RHP David Harden - 25-36 581.2 IP 4.12 ERA 1.3 HR/9 3.3 BB/9 7.7 K/9 4.25 FIP 8.2 WAR 9.1 rWAR
LHP Jim Vernon - 15-20 308.1 IP 4.90 ERA 1.0 HR/9 3.0 BB/9 5.1 K/9 4.46 FIP 3.4 WAR 2.3 rWAR
RHP Nick Treleven - 16-11 2992. IP 5.32 ERA 1.4 HR/9 4.0 BB/9 5.0 K/9 5.02 FIP -1.1 WAR -2.3 rWAR
RHP Jacob Conner - 16-34 491. IP 5.18 ERA 1.2 HR/9 3.9 BB/9 5.8 K/9 4.85 FIP 2.4 WAR 1.4 rWAR
LHP Sam Goodwin - 2-0 15.1 IP 1.76 ERA 0.0 HR/9 6.5 BB/9 4.7 K/9 3.94 FIP 0.2 WAR 0.6 rWAR

Outside the absence of Kevin Borst, this should look like a very familiar rotation to Billings fans. That’s probably not a great comfort. Somehow ace David Harden has so far survived the purge and is back for another year as the top arm on the staff. Harden was an All-Star in 2002 but has come down to earth a little the past two seasons though still very effective. However, the fact that he’s the ace for the Sky gives a hint where this organization is at right now.

Sam Goodwin is the new face to the group. He was a late addition to the bullpen last year but new manager Jody Moncrief has elected to slide him into the rotation in 2005. The 25 year old was once a 2nd round pick for Santa Fe before being moved to Billings in 2000. It will be interesting to see how many innings he can chew up as that was concern for him in the minors.

This is a young rotation with every starter being 30 or younger. I’m not sure though if I would call this a talented rotation. More than likely, with guys like Richard Turnipseed, Jason James and Scott Bacher waiting in AAA, this group is more in a tryout phase to either prove they belong in the rotation long term or be cast aside for the new wave.


LHP Ruark Leahy - 0-2 9 HLD 17.0 IP 9.00 ERA 5.24 FIP -0.1 WAR -0.7 rWAR
RHP Chad Owens - 1-4 42.0 IP 4.71 ERA 0.4 WAR 0.4 rWAR
RHP Joe Varnell - 9-8 SV 12 HLD 123.2 IP 4.58 ERA 3.84 FIP 1.2 WAR 0.1 rWAR
RHP Chris Oswald - 5-13 3 HLD 220.1 IP 5.80 ERA 4.99 FIP 1.5 WAR -0.1 rWAR
LHP Ramiro Medrano - 2-2 12 SV 22.0 IP 3.68 ERA 4.52 FIP -0.1 WAR 0.5 rWAR (AAA)
RHP Kyle Harper - 2-4 2 SV 3 HLD 71.0 IP 3.93 ERA 5.08 FIP -0.4 WAR 0.6 rWAR
LHP Bill Silander - 34-27 85 SV 64 HLD 367.1 IP 2.89 ERA 2.95 FIP 10.0 WAR 10.4 rWAR
RHP Justin Burke - 4-7 SV 19 HLD 90.2 IP 5.36 ERA 4.40 FIP 0.3 WAR -0.8 rWAR

Funny enough, the one part of the active roster it appears Bucknor attempted to fix was the bullpen. The Sky signed veteran Silander this offseason to serve as setup man and grandpa in the bullpen while just a few days ago they acquired 6x All-Star and 2x Reliever of the Year Justin Kroemer from San Antonio. He will be out for at least 5 weeks as he recovers from a torn rotator cuff but when he does return expect him to slot in as the shutdown man in the 9th. A role once held by fan favorite Ramon Bracamontes.

As for who will be available to start the year, a name to watch is Chad Owens. He was part of the major move Billings made early this past offseason when they acquired 3 of Columbus’s top young arms in exchange for Kevin Borst and 2 other prospects. Owens looks like someone that could see himself in the rotation in the future but Moncrief has elected to start him in the bullpen.

Medrano was Billings lone Rule 5 pick and will get a chance to prove whether or not he belongs on a major league roster. Burke has the unenviable task of filling in for former fan favorite Bracamontes while big time acquisition Kroemer recovers. Talk about two elite arms to be judged against.


RF Justin Laskowski (switch) - 292 PA .323/.400/.492/.892 5 HR 29 RBI 146 wRC+ 2.3 WAR
CF Dan Lopez (left) - 408 PA .238/.277/.366/.643 6 HR 39 RBI 72 wRC+ -0.4 WAR
1B Marco Mendoza (left) - 696 PA .290/.368/.433/.801 11 HR 83 RBI 120 wRC+ 4.1 WAR (AAA)
LF Lorenzo Alpizar (left) - 206 PA .250/.340/.478/.818 11 HR 32 RBI 124 wRC+ 0.7 WAR
2B Juan Sanchez (right) - 1097 PA .256/.294/.352/.646 14 HR 124 RBI 68 wRC+ -0.1 WAR
3B Joe Smart (left) - 102 PA .207/.363/.280/.643 HR 12 RBI 10 wRC+ 0.0 WAR
C Nate Allen (right) - 581 PA .212/.287/.306/.593 9 HR 60 RBI 60 wRC+ 0.3 WAR
SS Dave Martinez (righ) - 132 PA .183/.240/.225/.465 11 RBI 19 wRC+ -0.9 WAR

When Bucknor talks about this Billings team he always speaks in the future tense. When pressed, 2007 is always the year he mentions as when he expects things to really click. For that to happen, he’s really gonna need stud prospects Dan Lopez and Lorenzo Alpizar to breakout this fall. For Lopez, his debut season in 2003 was not what had been hoped. A 72 wRC+ from your supposed future superstar ain’t gonna cut it. The man they call “Heartthrob” will need to MUCH better in 2005. Meanwhile, Alpizar in half the plate appearances made a MUCH stronger impact smacking 11 HRs and putting up a 124 wRC+. He looks like a future 30+ HR slugger in that 4 hole but we will find out for sure this coming season.

After those two, there are a lot of question marks. Justin Laskowski had a fantastic debut in 2003 and has earned a spot leading off in 2004. The Sky have a ton of young talent in the minors in the OF so that RF position will be hotly contested moving forward. But continue to hit .323 with decent power and he could find himself there full time.

The real interesting name to follow will be Marco Mendoza who replaced 15 HR hitter Josh Harding in the starting lineup this season. Mendoza is a guy who has seen his stock steadily climb in recent seasons and is coming off a 4.1 WAR year in AAA last season. Many believe that Aaron Ash is the 1B of the future for the Sky but Mendoza will have a chance to prove them wrong.


C Joe Bickings (right) - 81 PA .121/.259/.227/.487 2 HR 9 RBI 37 wRC+ -0.1 WAR
1B Josh Harding (left) - 602 PA .216/.311/.373/.683 21 HR 71 RBI 85 wRC+ 0.2 WAR
SS Luke Gruen (right) - 330 PA .228/.265/.298/.563 3 HR 26 RBI 45 wRC+ -0.9 WAR
LF Robby Santos (left) - 328 PA .222/.284/.434/.718 15 HR 55 RBI 90 wRC+ 0.4 WAR

Unsurprisingly, this is a weak bench for Billings. Harding could provide some interesting power as a pinch hitter and Santos is coming off a very strong spring but overall it’s doubtful to see any of these guys make a major impact.


We here at the BNN have Billings projected to go 59-91 which shockingly would not be the worst record in the Western League. That belongs to San Jose at 53-91. But the message is still the same. This is probably not going to be a good team in 2005 unless some guys overachieve or there’s an earlier than expected youth takeover who all play at a high level. What will be interesting to watch this year is how the young bats at the top of the lineup perform and when do some of the big time arms waiting in AAA make their debut. Oh and there’s the new eccentric GM to monitor as well. So while the W/L won’t be impressive and Billings more than likely won’t be making their first postseason appearance this year, they should still provide plenty of drama in the upcoming campaign.
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Old 11-29-2018, 12:04 PM   #36
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2005 NBL Season Preview

Western League

Eastern League

Top 10 Prospects

RHP Taylor Bob | 21 | Portland Pioneers
CF Marcus Simms | 21 | Columbus Giants
RF Ysmael Liberato | 20 | Louisville Redbirds
SS Marco Roybal | 17 | Oklahoma City Drillers
1B Mike Vaaraniemi | 21 | Las Vegas Gamblers
3B Kelvin Flores | 18 | Santa Fe Bandits
SS Javier Castillo | 19 | Santa Fe Bandits
1B Joey Bergonia | 18 | Portland Pioneers
RF Gabriel Santellanes | 16 | Rochester Flames
RHP Richard Turnipseed | 21 | Billings Sky

Top Minor League Systems

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Old 12-04-2018, 01:15 PM   #37
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Not sure if I mentioned this before but the way this league is set up is everyone plays everyone else in two 5 game series. My plan is to do reports on a series basis
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Old 12-04-2018, 01:19 PM   #38
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Series 1 - Columbus Giants


We open the year by traveling east to visit my good friend Jim Dimich who gave us all those lovely arms this offseason. They’ve got a solid pitching rotation with Sam Liechti leading the charge who has a career 3.79 FIP over his 429.2 innings of work. Our ole pal Kevin Borst is the #2 guy in the rotation. I’m sure there will be no hard feelings between the two sides though I hope we beat the living **** outta him.

This lineup is, eh, not all that scary. I should know considering what lineup I’m trotting out there to face them. Veteran Kenny Timmer is probably the most proven weapon in the #2 hole though 3B Jerry Mosquera is arguably their best overall position player. SS Kieran Monroe is a rising superstar so keep an eye on him.

Both of these teams are probably gonna be bad in 2005. I’m gonna guess we are gonna be a little worse. My hope is maybe, just maybe we can go 3-2 this week and see what happens

Game 1

Harden only went 5 innings but was strong through all 5. Offensively, it was the 6-8 batters that got the job done as Juan Sanchez, Joe Smart & Dave Martinez combined to go 6-10 at the plate, score 3 runs and drive in 4. Lorenzo Alpizar also slugged his 1st HR of the season. Columbus ace Sam Liechti left with a shoulder injury

Game 2

Kevin Borst did his best to make me look like a dumbass throwing a complete game 2 hit shutout. He even singled and tried to steal a base… Jim Vernon was terrible & I can’t wait to blast his ass into the sun one day

Game 3

Epic collapse… Took a 4-1 lead into the bottom of the 8th and lost 5-4 with a 3 run walk off HR from Andy Kinsey proving the killing blow...Nick Treleven was solid through 8 but Justin Burke literally **** himself in the 9th. Dave Martinez continued his hot start with 2 hit, 2 RBI day

Game 4

This one was a roller coaster. We took an early 2-0 lead in the top of the 2nd thanks to a Joe Smart HR. Gave one back in the 6th before Silander bungled the whole thing in the 8th. Down 3-2 heading into the top 9th, Dan Lopez tied things with a go-aheadt. Then a hit batter drove in the go ahead run and this time Burke shut things down for the save & Sky victory. Let’s see if we can sneak out of The Mountain with a series win….

Game 5

Score’s closer than this game ended up being. A solo shot by Juan Sanchez in the top of the 2nd was our only run… ****ing awesome…. Lee Hardy shut us down going 8 innings and only surrendering one run while Sam Goodwin gave up 8 hits, walked 2 but somehow only surrendered 3 runs. Hey but Ramiro Medrano looked good in his debut

Around the NBL

Chattanooga held strong at home going 3-2
New Orleans stole a game late to prevent a 5 game sweep at the hands of Santa Fe
Charlotte obliterated San Antonio winning all 5 games
The Storm won 3 of 5 in Indianapolis
The defending champs Portland escaped Louisville with a 3-2 series victory
Grant Arnold went wild for the Drillers in a 3-2 series win over Rochester slugging 3 HRs
San Jose won a wild game 5 to leave Jacksonville with a 3-2 record


About what I expected. We aren’t gonna be very good this year but if we can go like 2-3 against most everybody that won’t be absolutely vomiting inducing bad I guess…. Offense has struggled out the gate. Only one batter is hitting over .300 (Joe Smart) and basically all our run producing is coming from 5-8 hitters. Bullpen was also terribad this series but that’s probably gonna be this team which is kinda the point anyway… I wanna see our youngsters get rolling though in the coming weeks

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Old 12-05-2018, 09:52 AM   #39
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Series 2 - Rochester Flames

We stay on the road and out east for series number two facing the Rochester Flames. The Flames are also 2-3 out the gate after getting outslugged by OKC. This might be the most potent lineup we see all season long. The press nicknamed em the “Baby Boomers” because of the youth in the lineup and their propensity for knocking the living **** out of baseballs. Jon Santos is the beast in the middle. He led the Eastern League in home runs the last two seasons and already has 4 to start 2005. Ryan McCulloch is probably the best all-around ballplayer out in CF and earned a Player of the Year Award in 2003. Not sure I understand their lineup though with Luis Quintanilla coming off the bench right now. They have Matt Fishman starting at 3B who is really good and someone we almost traded for until I sniffed out the player option... Anyways, he can also play 2B. Instead, they are starting Dustin Schoenhoffen who is a 2x All-Star but a notch below Fishman and Quintanilla.

The weakness for this organization and the reason they have struggled to consistently make it to the playoffs despite this beastly lineup is their pitching staff. Not really an ace in the rotation though when healthy Tony Soto is pretty good. Given our offensive impotence, I have a feeling it’s gonna be ugly for us over the next five days in American Ballpark.

Game 6

David Harden was again outstanding moving to 2-0 on the year though once again he couldn’t get past the 5th inning. Alpizar crushed his 2nd HR of the year while Nate Allen drove in 3 runs as well. This Rochester pitching staff is not very good… Jody left Medrano in to face righties to start the 9th which was dumb. Chad Owens then walked the bases full with 1 out in an 8-3 ball game so Burke had to come in and earn his 2nd save.

Game 7

**** YA!!!! 17 hits will do the trick most of the time. Most excitedly our two stud youngsters Dan Lopez and Lorenzo Alpizar combined to go 7-11 with 6 runs scored, 6 runs driven in and a HR a piece. Everybody but the pitcher spot had a hit. Vernon sorta bounced back from his dreadful 1st outing. I say sorta cuz he walked 3 & gave up 7 hits but only 1 run will do the trick. Chad Owens got some good work in relief. One more and we take our first series of the year!

Game 8

The Flames finally found their offense in a big way. Fishman crushed 2 HRs while Santos hit his 5th of the season. Juan Sanchez had a great day for us but wasn’t enough to combat the Flames 20 hit outburst. Nick Treleven was VERY bad…

Game 9

So about winning a series… Jon Santos continues to just crush baseballs hitting his 6th HR in only the 9th game of the season. Alpizar got his 4th deep ball which was nice but that was about it.

Game 10

Not sure why I got my hopes up… Another day, another Jon Santos HR. Seriously that dude is ****ing insane. Robby Santos hit a game tying pinch hitting HR in the top of the 9th to send this to extras. Justin Burke tho once again was miserable and took his 2nd loss of the year. Can’t wait until actually get to play Kroemer….

Around the NBL
  • Louisville took 3 of 5 from Omaha
  • The Devils continue to dominate though they did finally lose a game going 4-1 against Santa Fe
  • Jacksonville got a big series win at home against Las Vegas
  • Columbus took their series with OKC on the final day thanks to a 10 hit outing
  • The Pioneers dropped a tough one on the road to the Racers
  • Chattanooga dropped the hammer on San Jose sweeping the Sea Dogs
  • New Orleans bounced back form their 1-4 opening by taking 3 of 5 from San Antonio who is off to a miserable start

- Santa Fe is down their stud 2B Alfredo Herrera for 3-4 weeks with a strained abdomen
- The Choo Choos Nick Whitehead tossed a 3 hit shutout
- Omaha's LF Jordan Toledo had his 24 game hit streak end
- Sharks have lost their starting RF Brian Fisher for basically the season with a hip injury. He had 34 HRs in 2003 but injuries have kept him off the diamond past 2 seasons
- 2x All-Star Ernesto Gallegos announced that he plans to retire at end of the year. Gallegos was one of the top IFs in the NBL's inception but age has caught up to him past few seasons. He will finish his career in San Jose


I foolishly thought for a moment we might actually win that series.... I know I told the old man we would suck this year but it ****ing sucks to watch. Just have to keep reminding myself that's the whole point. Anyway, good to see young bats start to get going. Also, Dave Harden is making himself some nice trade bait down the line if he can keep this up

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Old 12-05-2018, 02:15 PM   #40
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Awesome Start to the Dynasty dude!
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