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Old 02-17-2018, 05:41 PM   #229
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4 February 2048
Magpies swoop for Rookie of the Year Ishii in surprise trade with Indianapolis

Posted by Lou Cistern | Feb 4 | 8:41PM

It had looked like the Des Moines Magpies had got their roster all set for the new season. But GM Billy DePodesta raised eyebrows across the SCL this afternoon with his announcement that Eastern League rookie of the year Iemitsu Ishii was joining the organisation from Indianapolis and would be their starter in right field.

Sources say the wheels were set in motion yesterday, when the Wildcats made a big splash in free agency, signing all-star corner outfielder Marcos Osorio on a 4-year, $86m contract. Osorio’s arrival seemingly left Ishii blocked and without a starting role, and the Magpies moved quickly to take advantage. Ishii, 26, hit .327 with a .821 OPS last season, which he started with Augusta before a late May trade to Indianapolis. The left-hander has good power and hits lefties pretty much as well as he hits righties. He has an excellent throwing arm in the field, but does lack pace. That he is two years away from arbitration eligibility was also an attraction to the cash-strapped Magpies. Minor league starting pitcher José Aguilar, a fringe prospect, also moved to the Magpies in the exchange.

The Wildcats received outfielder Al Elliott and minor league reliever Sergio Cantú in return. Although also an outfielder like Ishii, the Wildcats were keen on Elliott’s elite base running and the flexibility he adds to their roster through his ability to play first base too. Elliott is likely to see game time at first in Indianapolis, with veteran incumbent Sergio Ramos expecting to move into the designated hitter role.

DePodesta said: “This was not a move we had planned, but we realised there was an opportunity to improve the ballclub and we able to to make it happen”. Magpies insiders said DePodesta’s willingness to part with Elliott was to some extent unexpected, but that the front office assessment had been for some time that Elliott would probably experience some regression after enjoying such a terrific 2017 season.
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