Evaluations moving forward in Portland monitoring development seem to be still on the uptick as the off season comes to a close. We lost 5 players but gained 6 over the winter and as the graphic showed amongst teams sorted by WAR gained we were #8 at 0.8.
Here is a quick glance at our comings and goings.
Gone from last years squad is:
SP Jose Nieto (9-7 W-L, 4.76 ERA), SS Sergio Ramirez (.187 BA, 8 HRs, 57 RBI’s), 3B Steve Handlin (.298 BA, 1 HR, 6 RBI’s), RP Manny Rodriguez (3-2 W-L, 7.36 ERA), and SP/RP Sandy Anderson (1-0 W-L, 4.50 ERA)
New additions are:
C Andre Galvan (.238 BA, 39 HRs, 110 RBI’s), RF Brad Stanley (.267 BA, 13 HRs, 52 RBI’s), SP Victor Zuniga (5-6 W-L, 4.63), RP Austin Hoffman (7-3 W-L, 2.67 ERA), and Rule 5 Draft picks RF Jose Lopez from Minneapolis (.250, 0 HR, 11 RBI’s in AAA Colorado), CF Ernesto Diaz from St. Louis (.283 BA, 12 HRs, 74 RBI’s in AAA Newcomerstown)
Our losses were huge in losing innings eater Nieto and sure handed Ramirez, but losing Handlin and Rodriguez weren’t nearly as severe. Sandy Anderson retired from Portland after 12 seasons in the CBL (10 season in Portland and 2 in Erie). He retires with a 48-38 win loss record, 124 saves, 3.16 ERA, and struck out 849 in 810.2 IP. Anderson was one of Moore’s first acquistions as GM. Moore not being in CBL very long and noticed Anderson’s history in Portland and felt like it would be good to have him return to the Portland fans in his final days as a Panther. It was pretty cool have the Panthers go to the playoffs and Anderson be in uniform.
Now, to our additions where we felt like we made some gains more than what the 0.8 would imply. Galvan, Stanley, Zuniga, and Hoffman will all fill nicely in their respective positions. Very pleased with the acquisition of Galvan will slide in the starting catcher’s position and will bat fifth. Stanley will play backup to Waters in right. We were fortunate to get 147 games out of Waters last season, but based on his health in the past Stanley will be an insurance policy for the future and will give Waters a break every once in a while to keep him healthy longer. We were pretty satisfied with being able to get a starting pitcher the quality of Victor Zuniga. Zuniga being an Iron Man starter with a nice little sticker price we felt we need to get better in our rotation which he filled all of our needs and be our #2 starter. He is two years removed from the Manchester Marauders, aka Cambridge Pilgrims where he had a 14-6 win loss record and a 3.12 ERA. We are so hoping for lightning in a bottle for returns on this guy. Our bullpen got a little stronger with Hoffman where we lacked strength in middle relief. He will be used quite frequently and be first out of the bullpen. Lopez and Diaz were selected in Rule 5 with Diaz being the more desirable player to be kept in the long term. Diaz is a durable good fielder and has some nice gap ratings where the man had 53 doubles last season in AAA and 36 in AA the year before. He could make a jump this season.
Our owner Geoff Brown is currently “happy” and his goals achieve a winning record, increase attendance, improve my draft record, and win the Cup. I believe all doable targets with the exception of the Cup. We would have to get very lucky. Improving the draft record is something Moore would have to get creative with. His record seems pretty good currently as he drafted #20 2B Jonathan Pontecorvo, #31 SS Mauro Arrey, and #63 3B Dirk Gently in Moore’s short tenure. Offensively and defensively seemed to be getting stronger in the farm. Meanwhile, pitching is the achilles for now in hopes of improving in the future. Moore may have to trade some of those 4 and 5 star players to get some more draft picks and more pitching. It is definitely a problem and doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon. Moore can only hope for some good pitching in free agency or through the draft. Clearly, the Panthers are improving in all directions and Moore will see fit to make changes to keep Portland on the uptick and a force to reckon with in the CBL.