10:30 pm Erie,Pa.
All but one light, a desk lamp, is turned on in the executive offices of the Erie Seawolves. Given to the team by a local Erie,PA manufacturing firm congratulating the team for moving to Erie. On the walls in the hallway, that leads to this dimly light office, hangs visual reminders of what this team and this organization means to the city. In that office sits three men as the cold winter night rages on outside. GM Trojanowski, Assistant GM Morales and special adviser of baseball personnel Primo Sparazza sit discussing the past, present and future of the ball club.
This past season was just like the one before it, ending in letdown. As competition grew in the division and the league, the Seawolves seem to be stuck unable to grab momentum. Its the job of the three men to show something, some kind of improvement, but for every up there is a deep dip down along the way. We spoke to GM Trojanowski after one of these long nights.
What do you expect the direction you will go in the offseason?
“We expect to get better, it is a long process to try to climb up in this league. We have some really good competition and some teams really making the climb this year. I think its a mistake to think that over a course of one season you can go from bottom to top easily without a lot of outside help from other teams struggling. Our main goal is to stay competitive while growing our farm system and that has been a challenge in the past.
This year we really love our AAA and A system and how that is filling out for us. Our CBL team is in transition, we thought some additions we had last year would boost us up to close to .500 but injuries and under performing parts of our team really hurt us. We have some really good pieces like our bullpen in Taillon, Brown and Hudson, who have proven that they are our core pieces to build around. We love Diaz,Skinner,Garrett and Szczasny they are also a strong core of solid young players in the field. The problem for us was, we would get on base but not drive them in, we couldn’t get to our bullpen with the lead. The list of areas just goes on and on and when you lose key players it starts snowballing. We never recovered and it turned into a long season.
So this offseason its more of a growth year for us. Lets build off what we saw last year, lets get the guys to the spots to be ready for the call. We need to rebuild our fan base and our brand while doing this, so I expect some trades or free agent signings to help do that. We had some surprises last year Stan Flory played great for us and Pablo Sandoval really help between 1b,3b and DH. Nick Ciuffo rebounded and Jordan Baker got off to an amazing start. So we will continue to piece this process together so we can get a product that we can win a lot more.”
What is the one area you think you need to greatly improve next season?
“That would have to be our starting pitching, it must go longer into games. We lead the league in bullpen innings and our starters went 31-70 this year. So we were always behind the eight ball all season.”
Last question, biggest surprise of the past season?
He laughs,”At the beginning when Charlotte Knights were struggling we thought, wait can we really compete for division? That lasted all of like 3 weeks and then they were off to the races.”