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CBL Insider / Minneapolis Millers

One Afternoon in August

One Afternoon in August

Frisco, TX – It was trade deadline day. The Frisco front office had held countless internal meetings over the past few weeks, listing players the team would target. There were prospects and veterans discussed. Flexibility was important to make a good deal.

They had decided weeks ago they would wait as long as possible before making any serious moves. Today was as long as possible.

With several teams willing to concede the season at this point, solid veterans were available.

“Our starting rotation needed some fresh arms,” manager Steve Bourgeous told reporters. “I would’ve been happy with one of the three guys we got!”

Frisco spent the day pounding out trades, squeezing in new money and sending out just enough, and even received an extension on the deadline by  a few minutes to land Justin Verlander from Bowling Green.

When all the smoke had cleared, the RoughRiders had landed three big-name starting pitchers: Justin Verlander, Jordan Zimmerman and Gio Gonzalez.

In total, the RoughRiders sent out 7 prospects scattered throughout their minor league system, including former first round pick and top pitching prospect Ken Holman. Frisco also sent out Kyle Seager, Corey Kluber and Robbie Erlin from the big league squad. They acquired the previously mentioned 3 starting pitchers, as well as a minor league prospect they liked, Luis Ascunsion. 10 for 4 was the total haul.

“All three of the pitchers we got have had some bad luck this year, and they’re still doing well enough. All have solid FIP’s, and we think our defense will help their BABIP improve too,” Frisco’s Jack Smith told me, the team’s analytics head.

The team’s best ranked offense wasn’t in need of any upgrades, but the starting rotation was. Upgrading three rotation spots cost the team some good young talent, but Frisco believes it’s worth the risk. If the team can remain healthy, and fight off what will undoubtedly be a very tough fight from divisional foes Vallejo and Austin, their playoff rotation could be impressive. But getting there remains the team’s only focus.

Verlander is signed through the 2018 season, and Frisco envisions him eating innings even beyond that season.

“His stamina is a huge asset. He can keep our bullpen fresh, and we like his strikeout mentality. Strikeouts are important in our launching pad of a stadium,” Frisco GM Erik said. “If he’s still wanting to pitch and he’s healthy, I think he could pitch another 6 years. We’re happy to have him.”

Gio Gonzalez is a free agent to be, and the team remained non-committal on his future beyond this season. Zimmerman, like Verlander, is locked up through 2018.

“Our payroll is pretty set for the next few years, but we don’t really have any huge needs either,” Erik continued, knocking on wood. “We’re going to see how this year goes first though.”

If the pennant race is half as exciting as today’s deadline was, it should be an entertaining stretch run.

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Erik Voldness
Erik Voldness | General Manager - Minneapolis Millers

6 Comments

  1. Imran

    Jack Smith is rumored to be heading south to Richardson, just saying. He likes the strip clubs, if rumors are to be believed (which they are).

    Nice article. I like that you weren’t a wuss like some GM’s *cough* If you have a chance to make a big splash in the post-season, you aught to go for it. It’s hard to duplicate the same kind of performances every year, no matter the talent you have.

  2. Avatar

    Hmm…maybe not? I have sat back all three years and look where I am now…worked out well, didn’t it? 🙂

    • Erik Voldness

      If by “sat back” you mean “stopped paying attention and got lucky to have Strasburg” I agree completely.

      • Avatar

        Not sure what you mean by “got lucky…” I picked him haha.

        And I was trying to make a trade, but it fell through.

        • Erik Voldness

          Getting the second pick in the draft when there are two clear superstars is lucky.

          And your trade that fell through, with Vancouver maybe? I can’t remember who it was exactly, but whoever it was was trying to find you all day on deadline day. You weren’t around.

          No problem at all with you not paying attention at all times, this league is meant for fun… but let’s not act like you “decided to stand pat” at least this season. You just weren’t around to make any moves at the deadline. (And of course, by admitting that you had a trade fall through, you’re kind of disproving that you “decided to stand pat” since a decision to stand pat wouldn’t have resulted in advanced trade discussions with other teams…)

          Sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good.

          • Erik Voldness

            That came off a bit harsher than I intended–you’ve certainly done a great job building a team over three years, including the draft. Best of luck in the Premier Cup.

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