Tuesday, November 24, 2015
A couple of marquee names have been re-signed for 2016 in the AA: the St. Paul Saints secured the services of All-Star and Player of the Year Vinny DiFazio for another year, while the Kansas City T-Bones have re-signed Nate Tenbrink. Both players put up big numbers for their respective clubs so that's welcome news for fans.
Sunday, November 22, 2015
The Sioux City Explorers made the record books in 2015, with a 74 win season; a crucial element of that success was Patrick Johnson, who logged an impressive 15-1 record with a 2.08 ERA. No surprise that several major league teams gave the RHP a second look. On Friday (Nov. 20), the Pittsburgh Pirates bought Johnson's contract, so it looks like the Xs have a huge hole to fill in their 2016 roster.
When the Can-Am League released their schedule a few weeks ago, there were no inter league games lined up with American Association teams. For those of us who follow indy ball, it immediately created a flurry of speculation regarding the impact on the AA. Thirteen teams simply doesn't work for scheduling purposes--so would we lose a team, or create a road team similar to the Can-Ams now-defunct Garden State Grays? Turns out we were wrong on both counts: the American Association 2016 schedule was released this week, along with the announcement of a 2016 merger between the Amarillo Thunderheads and Grand Prairie AirHogs. The team, known right now simply as Texas (merging the team names to ThunderHogs or AirHeads seems unlikely!) will play 25 home games at QuikTrip Park in Grand Prairie, Texas, and 25 at Potter County Memorial Stadium in Amarillo. Commish Miles Wolff said: “With 13 clubs and no interleague play, a schedule with an odd number of teams became unbalanced and difficult. We appreciate that Southern Independent Baseball, owner of the Amarillo and Grand Prairie clubs, agreed to the league’s request to operate its two teams as one in 2016. We fully expect that both teams will return in 2017 as individual entities with a full schedule in their respective markets.” Still a lot of questions to be answered, such as the team name, where players will reside, etc. Hats off regardless for a creative solution to a tough scheduling problem.
Big news from the Winnipeg Goldeyes clubhouse this week: 1B Casey Haerther has signed to play for The Fish once again in 2016. Haerther, who was an American Association All-Star for the second time this past season, is a leader on and off the field and signing him was an obvious priority. One of the foundational building blocks the Goldeyes roster starts to take shape.