Monday, December 16, 2013

The Verlander Trade

It's not often when a future BRASS hall-of-famer becomes available on the market. Sure, some teams will wait for free agency to sign a perennial all-star caliber player, but why wait. Hot off the heals of signing Felix Hernandez to a seven-year mega-contract, the California Roadrunners continued to surprise as they announced the acquisition of Justin Verlander from Latrobe in exchange for four players.

California's Justin Verlander
This deal was quite a shock to the fans and even several members of the front office. Verlander was signed by the Steel after the 2012 BRASSBall season to a very similar and familiar seven-year mega-contract. So what exactly was the motivation by the Roadrunners to trade for Verlander?

"The reasoning behind the deal is pretty simple," answered Roadrunners' GM Brendan Conrad. "Santa Barbara. There really was no other justification we needed to be aggressive on the market than trying to beat our Southern California rivals." The California GM went on to explain that while the deal itself moved pretty quickly with Latrobe, the delicate announcement of the trade had to be timed just right.

Santa Barbara had matching rights to Hernandez, but opted to pass on signing The King because of the length and total dollars tied up in the deal. What Santa Barbara didn't know is that when the Roadrunners announced that they wished to pursue Hernandez, they had already acquired Verlander from Latrobe. This is where things became dicey; the Outlaws could decide to match the offer, but the Roadrunners knew that Santa Barbara typically does not invest large amounts of money in free agents. However, if Santa Barbara moved forward with Hernandez, they had a backup plan in place by bringing in Verlander.

"We knew that if Santa Barbara knew about the deal for Justin that they would have signed Felix," explained GM Conrad. "We also knew that we were technically under a trade freeze so any announcements of deals needed to wait until free agency was over. We decided to let things play out on their own and reconnect with Latrobe after the free agency period was officially over and then formally announced the deal to the Commissioner's office."

As it turned out, Santa Barbara passed on the opportunity to match the offer, and California proudly announced to the league that they had added another ace to their staff. The Roadrunners are now set with one of the top rotations in the AL with Felix Hernandez, Justin Verlander, John Lackey, Hyun-Jin Ryu, and Gerrit Cole. Although California will have to manage the size of these contracts, their rotation is set and under control with these five pitchers for the next three seasons. Time will tell if paying for pitching stability and reliability will be worthwhile, or if it will handcuff the team for the next six to seven seasons.

Friday, November 29, 2013

2013 BRASS Free Agency - Hail to the King

In somewhat of a surprise move, the California Roadrunners signed the top free agent starting pitcher, Felix Hernandez, to an epic, seven-year, $58M deal this off season. The contract signed by Hernandez is the largest in California history, and is second to only Justin Verlander's seven-year, $60M deal in the league. Hernandez finished the 2013 season as a Santa Barbara Outlaw after being traded from Superior in July in a package deal that sent top prospect Bubba Starling from the Outlaws to the Blues. Overall, Hernandez posted a 14-10 record with a 3.53 ERA and 203 strikeouts in 217 innings. He was somewhat of a disappointment for Santa Barbara in the regular season, but did manage to contribute a 4-3 record and 49 strikeouts in 8 starts for the Outlaws.

It's quite possible that Santa Barbara management became soured over the idea of signing The King for the long-term after his less-than-stellar performance during the last third of the season. Without knowing how much Yukon the Outlaw front office had consumed, the Roadrunners knew they had to step it up in order to acquire one of the best pitchers in the game. "We are all very happily surprised when we found out that our brothers from the AL West decided not to match our offer for The King," explained the team's GM, Brendan Conrad. "We knew we were either going to have to pay top dollar for one of the game's best, or make the Outlaws open up and take it all."

The deal for California changes the landscape in the AL West. Once overlooked as a team rebuilding, the Roadrunners now find themselves in a position to once again challenge for the division. In an earlier trade with the Cook County Maulers, the team made amends with right-handed starter, John Lackey, and traded away J.J. Hardy to get him back. California now boasts a competitive rotation that is now anchored by Hernandez. When asked about California being done in free agency, the Roadrunner GM replied, "Well, of course you never know; we do have a few bucks left to spend even after we put Felix on the payroll. I would say this: never count us out... especially if it involves weakening our rivals in the wild West."

Sunday, March 24, 2013

BRASSball Opening Day 2013 - Springfield at California

The 2013 BRASSball season has begun! The California Roadrunners look to kickoff the season with a fresh start and new attitude. The ending of the 2012 was what you might call a disaster, and the Roadrunners hope that this will be the year they can finally contend for the AL West division title.

The first step toward their goal was a home-opening series showdown with Springfield. Erik Bedard got the nod for California, while Nathan Eovaldi started for Springfield. The hot dogs were warm, the beer was cold, and the evening was crisp. It was time for some Roadrunner Baseball!

The Roadrunners were on the board early and struck in the bottom of the first. Jarrod Dyson led off the game with a double, advancing to third on a Josh Hamilton ground out. With two outs, Paul Konerko hit a shot to Springfield third baseman Brandon Inge. Inge couldn't handle it and was charged with the error. Dyson crossed home plate to give California an early 1-0 advantage.

California's Jarrod Dyson Steals his First Base of 2013

In the bottom of the fifth, the Roadrunners looked poised for a big inning. Ryan Doumit singled to right, and Kelly Johnson beat out a slow grounder to second. With first and second and no outs, J.J. Hardy stepped up. Instead of busting the game open, he grounded into a 6-4-3 double play. Doumit, however, advanced to third and scored when Dyson doubled down the left field line. Eovaldi was relieved by Heath Bell, but that move proved to be costly for the Isotopes. Ryan Braun singled but Dyson was held at third. Braun stole second and Josh Hamilton stood up at the plate. Springfield decided to pitch to the Calfornia slugger, and Hamilton stroked one to left-center. Dyson and Braun scored to make it 4-0 in favor of the home team. Konerko grounded out to end the inning, but the damage had been done.

In the bottom of the seventh, Ryan Braun laced a solo shot over the left field wall just out of the reach of Jason Bay. That was all the noise California could make and was now up 5-0. 

In the bottom of the eighth, the Roadrunners kept their offense going with a Torii Hunter single, an Aramis Ramirez walk, and a pinch-hit, RBI single from John Mayberry, Jr. Springfield reliever Esmil Rogers was finished, and was yanked in favor of Frank Francisco. Francisco, although fun to say, threw his first ball right in the dirt for a wild pitch which allowed Ramirez and Mayberry, Jr. to advance. Johnson singled to right which scored both runners and padded California's lead up to 8-0. All torn up, Francisco allowed the runner to get a huge jump from first and Johnson was in there safely. Francisco then stepped on the mound but was mouthing something to the umpire using his native tongue. The English-speaking umpire was confused and called a balk on the pitcher. Johnson moved to third and then all the way to home when Dyson was thrown out at first on a fielder's choice. Francisco then started walking toward the home umpire and his coaches and teammates rushed the field to hold him back. Clearly, he was upset, although no one understood what he was saying. Veteran Freddy Garcia was brought in to get out of the mess. After allowing a single to Braun, Garcia was able to get Hamilton to fly out to deep center to end the inning. After way too much drama from grown men, California was up 9-0.

Antonio Bastardo was able to finish off the Isotopes in the ninth to give California their first victory of the season. The California GM was quoted after the game, "Hey, this was an impressive first win, but we have a long way to go. It was truly a team effort out there as everyone put it all together. Now we need to build on this momentum and move forward."

BOXSCORE: 2013 Springfield Isotopes At 2013 California Roadrunners   4/5/2013
  Isotopes           AB  R  H RBI AVG     Roadrunners        AB  R  H RBI AVG
  R.Andino 2B         4  0  0  0 .000     J.Dyson DH          5  2  3  2 .600  
  H.Pence RF          3  0  0  0 .000     R.Braun LF          5  2  3  1 .600  
  C.Lee DH            4  0  0  0 .000     J.Hamilton CF       5  0  1  2 .200  
  J.Bay LF            3  0  0  0 .000   B-H.Sanchez C         0  0  0  0 ----  
  B.Inge 3B           3  0  1  0 .333     P.Konerko 1B        4  0  0  0 .000  
  J.Donaldson C       3  0  0  0 .000     T.Hunter RF         3  1  0  0 .000  
  J.Smoak 1B          3  0  0  0 .000     A.Ramirez 3B        3  1  0  0 .000  
  C.Barmes SS         2  0  2  01.000     R.Doumit C          3  1  1  0 .333  
  B.Bogusevic CF      3  0  0  0 .000   A-J.Mayberry Jr PH,CF 1  1  1  11.000  
                                          K.Johnson 2B        4  1  3  2 .750  
                                          J.Hardy SS          4  0  0  0 .000  
                     -- -- -- ---                            -- -- -- ---      
         Totals      28  0  3  0                 Totals      37  9 12  8
A-Pinch Hit For Doumit In 8th Inning
B-Subbed Defensively (C ) For Hamilton In 9th Inning
Isotopes........ 0 0 0  0 0 0  0 0 0  -  0  3  3
Roadrunners..... 1 0 0  0 3 0  1 4    -  9 12  0
Isotopes (0-1)           IP       H   R  ER  BB  SO  HR    ERA
N.Eovaldi LOSS(0-1)       4 2/3   5   3   2   0   3   0   3.86
H.Bell                    0 1/3   2   1   1   1   0   0  27.00
E.Rogers                  2       3   4   3   1   5   1  13.50
F.Francisco               0 2/3   1   1   1   0   0   0  13.50
F.Garcia                  0 1/3   1   0   0   0   0   0   0.00
Totals                    8      12   9   6   2   8   1
Roadrunners (1-0)        IP       H   R  ER  BB  SO  HR    ERA
E.Bedard WIN(1-0)         6 2/3   2   0   0   2   6   0   0.00
J.Veras HOLD(1st)         0 2/3   1   0   0   0   1   0   0.00
A.Bastardo                1 2/3   0   0   0   0   0   0   0.00
Totals                    9       3   0   0   2   7   0
ATTENDANCE- 48,337 DATE- Sunday, April 5th 2013 TIME- Night WEATHER- Good
UMPIRES- Tim McClelland, Larry Vanover, Mike Everitt, Mike Dimuro
T- 3:09
LEFT ON BASE- Isotopes: 4  Roadrunners: 6
DOUBLE PLAYS- Isotopes: 1  Roadrunners: 2
ERRORS- B.Inge-2, J.Donaldson
DOUBLES- J.Dyson-2(2nd), J.Hamilton(1st)
HOME RUNS- R.Braun(1st)
STOLEN BASES- J.Dyson(1st), R.Braun-2(2nd), K.Johnson(1st)
WALKS- J.Bay, C.Barmes, T.Hunter, A.Ramirez
STRIKE OUTS- R.Andino, H.Pence, J.Bay, B.Inge, J.Donaldson, J.Smoak,
             B.Bogusevic, J.Dyson, R.Braun-2, J.Hamilton, P.Konerko, A.Ramirez,
             R.Doumit, K.Johnson
GIDP- B.Bogusevic-2, J.Hardy
BALKS- F.Francisco
2-out RBI- J.Dyson, J.Hamilton-2
RLISP 2-out- P.Konerko-2, J.Hamilton-3, R.Braun, J.Hardy, J.Donaldson
Jarrod Dyson hit 2 doubles and had 2 RBI at Angel Stadium where the California
Roadrunners beat the Springfield Isotopes 9 to 0.
California took the lead off Nathan Eovaldi in the first inning scoring one
runner.  Dyson doubled.  Ryan Braun was next to the plate, but was promptly
struck out.  One out later, Paul Konerko came to the plate and reached on an
error.  That was all the offense they were to need.  California had 12 hits
overall, while Springfield had 3.  
Erik Bedard(1-0) was the winner allowing no runs in 6 and 2/3 innings.
Eovaldi(0-1) absorbed the loss.  He gave up 5 hits and no walks in 4 and 2/3

Saturday, November 17, 2012

BRASSball - 2013 Draft Lottery - The Results

Welcome to the first annual BRASSball Draft Lottery ceremonies! The inaugural event is hosted by Maury Povich and sponsored by Popov Vodka. Popov Vodka is the official vodka of BRASSball and solo practitioner lawyers.

Ladies and gentlemen... it's Maury! Maury has stepped to the podium with a giant envelope. "Hello, everyone and welcome to the first BRASSball Draft Lottery ceremony. I'm honored to be your host. With me in my hand are the results from the lottery. Fellow BRASSballers... The results of the 2013 BRASSball Draft Lottery are in!"

#6 - Salt Lake
#5 - Brew City
#4 - Sacramento
#3 - Butte County
#2 - North Georgia
#1 - Parkland

Parkland... You ARE the father of the 2013 BRASSball Draft! Congratulations to the Parkland Green!  Until next time, BRASSball!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

BRASSball - 2013 Draft Lottery

The BRASSball draft lottery for the 2013 draft will take place on Friday, November 16th, 2012. Six BRASSball teams will be participating in the draft:

Brew City Warriors
Sacramento Senators
Salt Lake Bees
North Georgia Yellow Jackets
Butte County Hop Heads
Parkland Green

Each team will be awarded one ping pong ball using This process replaces the old version of using some combination of NFL games, dice, shots of whiskey, and undocumented commissioner fees.

For this year, the process is very straight-forward. As the administrator of the draft lottery, each team will be entered and awarded a weight of "1." The site will then randomly select teams and set the order for the top six selection spots in the upcoming 2013 BRASSball draft.

In the past two seasons, we've seen some rule changes that have had a significant impact on the draft itself, as well as the strategies that managers use to select their future all-stars. I think the biggest change was the increase in the number of amateurs we are allowed to carry on our roster.

Prior to last season, BRASSball teams could only carry seven amateurs. This increased to eight in 2012, which resulted in more amateurs drafted (an obvious change), but also more players not yet affiliated with a major league club. College players such as Mark Appel were drafted early as general managers speculated that these potential first-round draft picks would make the jump to the bigs sooner than a top prospect out of high school.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

BRASSball Post-Season 2012: Superior at California - Game 7

Game 7: Superior (Felix Hernandez 7-13, 3.71) at California (Roy Halladay 18-13, 2.98)

Ah yes, a game seven. Can you feel the tension in the air? Summer has ended, but things are heating up in California as the final game of the AL Wild Card series is at hand. The last time King Felix threw for the Blues, the Roadrunners didn't manage to get a single hit. Doc Halladay is 0-2 this post-season, while Hernandez is 2-0. Which team will keep their hopes alive for a BRASSball championship and which team will go home wondering where it all went wrong? It's time to find out.

After getting a hit and making a spectacular play in center field in game six, Torii Hunter was rewarded with another start. With one out in the bottom of the first, he wanted his teammates to know that everyone was capable of hitting King Felix this time around. He took Hernandez deep out to center field and gave California a 1-0 lead.

In the top of the second, Halladay began to unravel early like he has all post-season. Justin Upton and Evan Longoria singled, putting runners at first and third with no outs. Mark Trumbo grounded out to the pitcher, advancing Longoria to second. Ryan Roberts then hit a deep fly to right field, sending Kosuke Fukudome back to the warning track. Fukudome made the catch, but both runners advanced, and the Blues tied the game at one each. Cliff Pennington then struck out to end the inning.

A walk is as good as a hit, right? It's especially true if you're facing Felix Hernandez. With back-to-back walks by Hunter and Ryan Braun in the bottom of the third, the Roadrunners were able to take a 2-1 lead. With runners at first and second, Josh Hamilton singled in Hunter, moving Braun to third. With one out, Aramis Ramirez then walked to load the bases. Mitch Moreland hit a big fly to right, but it was caught. It was deep enough, however, to score Braun from third, giving California a 3-1 lead. Hamilton was thrown out trying to advance to third, but the damage had been done.

In the top of the fourth, Longoria hit a long fly ball to deep center field that cleared the wall and cut the Roadrunner lead down to one. Halladay was able to finish off the inning, but the Blues were keeping the home crowd on pins and needles, reminding everyone that they would fight back.

Fight back the Blues did, by scratching out yet another run in the top of the fifth. Pennington singled and Ichiro followed him up with an infield single. A balk was called while Halladay was busy trying to keep track of the runners on an attempted double steal. With runners on second and third and two outs, Adam Jones singled to center, scoring Pennington, and tying the game 3-3. Superior then took the lead when Justin Upton singled to right to score Ichiro. Longoria struck out to end the inning, but the Blues were in business and up 4-3.

In the bottom of the sixth, it was time to work on the knockout punch against Hernandez. Ramirez singled to right to start the inning, and Moreland moved him to second with a single of his own. With runners on first and second, J.J. Hardy was given the green light to swing away, and he went oppo to drive in Ramirez from second. The game was now tied 4-4, and California had runners on first and third with no outs. Superior yanked Hernandez and replaced him with Brad Ziegler. After getting pinch-hitter Bobby Abreu to pop out, Mark Ellis tapped a ball in front of home plate and was safe after some confusion between Ziegler and catcher Kurt Suzuki. Neither of them appeared to want the ball, and Ellis beat out the throw from Suzuki by a step. Moreland scored on a head's up play to give the home team the lead, 5-4. Ziegler then struck out Fukudome to end the inning.

In the top of the seventh, Halladay trotted out to the mound. In one of the more interesting decisions, the Roadrunners opted to leave the starter in there, possibly to give him some confidence in the chance the team would advance. Instead, the plan backfired, and the Blues capitalized on the mistake. Big time. Jose Tabata launched a two-run home run deep into the rocks in left-center, giving the Blues the lead once again. Finally, a dejected Halladay was relieved from the game in favor of lefty Sean Marshall. Marshall was relieved by Jason Motte after Motte allowed two baserunners. Yorvit Torrealba then threw the ball into center field when Longoria attempted to steal second. This allowed Upton to score on the error, and Superior was now up by two runs, taking a 7-5 lead into the bottom of the seventh.

In the bottom of the seventh, Ryan Braun cut the lead in half with a solo shot, changing the score to 7-6 in favor of Superior. Sergio Romo was called on to relieve Ziegler and faced the lefty Josh Hamilton. Hamilton flied out to right for the second out. Ramirez hit a two-out single to keep things going and that brought Moreland to the plate. Moreland hit a line drive to left-center just out of the reach of Ichiro. The ball was hit hard enough, though, that Ramirez couldn't score from first. Hardy then struck out, stranding the tying and go-ahead runs on base to end the inning.

The final two innings were quiet for both teams and the Blues finished off an amazing two-game ride at California. Superior now moves on to face Santa Barbara in the ALDS.

BRASSball Post-Season 2012: Superior at California - Game 6

Game 6: Superior (Javier Vazquez 12-4, 2.43) at California (Dan Haren 17-13, 3.68)

The series returned to California after the Roadrunners took two-out-of-three games from the Blues at Superior. Javier Vazquez got the call after he lost game two, while Dan Haren started his second game of the series as well. Haren was knocked around in game three, but was pulled after three innings and took a no-decision in the team victory.

Haren appeared as if he couldn't handle the short rest from the very first pitch. After a lead-off walk to Jose Tabata, Adam Jones blasted a two-run home run that just cleared the wall in left-center. Superior was out in front, 2-0. Then, with two outs, Evan Longoria hit a long ball to almost the exact same spot that Jones did and the Blues added to their lead, 3-0. Mark Trumbo struck out to end the inning, but the damage was done, and the Roadrunners were now in catch-up mode.

In the bottom of the first, the top half of the California lineup was called on to pick Haren up. Torii Hunter was given the start over the struggling Bobby Abreu and responded with a one-out single to center. Ryan Braun then singled, and both runners advanced a base when Josh Hamilton grounded out to the pitcher. With two outs and first base open, Vazquez fired a 2-2 fastball and Aramis Ramirez smacked it into the rocks to tie the game at three apiece. Mitch Moreland struck out, but not before the home team reset the game at 3-3.

In the bottom of the second, the Roadrunners got power from an unlikely source in Mark Ellis. With two outs and the bases empty, Ellis took some high cheese and sliced it over the center field wall, giving California a 4-3 lead.

Everything was quiet until the top of the sixth. Adam Jones singled off Haren and stole second. Justin Upton was then hit by a pitch, and it appeared as if Haren had run out of gas. With the right-handed Longoria due up next, California called on Jason Motte to clean up Haren's mess. Longoria wasted no time and hit a double off the wall in left-center. Jones scored to tie the game, but Upton was held at third. The game was now tied 4-4 with no outs.

Mark Trumbo stepped in with first base open, and the Roadrunners had their biggest decision of the game: issue the free pass to Trumbo, or try and strike him out. The intentional walk was chosen, and Ryan Roberts was given a chance to make the Roadrunners pay. And pay they did as Roberts hit a hard ground ball between Ellis and Moreland to score both Upton and Longoria. The Blues had a 6-4 lead with runners on first and third and nobody out. Chad Pennington grounded out to Ellis for the first out, but Roberts advanced to second. Kurt Suzuki was up next and tried to get under one, hoping for a sacrifice fly. He hit a lazy fly ball into right that Fukudome was able to charge. Superior picked the wrong time to get aggressive on the base paths and decided to send Trumbo. Fukudome's throw was right on the money and Trumbo was out at home. The damage was done, though, as the Blues led by two heading into the bottom of the sixth.

California could not do anything against the Blues' bullpen, and the game ended 6-4 in favor of Superior. The AL Wild Card series now moves on to a game seven with the winner advancing, and the season ending for the loser.