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Old 01-09-2018, 08:08 PM   #101
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League Championship Series, Game 7: Magpies stun Rockets to win Western League championship and advance to SCL Cup Final Series

By Maggie Pye | 16 October | 109,770 comments

Aces Mal Brown and Ferdinando Bosio faced off in the winner-takes-all game in front of just under 40,000 screaming fans at the St. Paul City Arena. Both teams put singles on the board in the 1st inning, Bob Miller scoring on a wild pitch for the Magpies, and Sam Jordan hitting an RBI single for the Rockets. Brown and Bosio both gave little away after that. St. Paul edged ahead on an outfield error in the bottom of the 5th, but Fernando Martínez’s single levelled the scores in the top of the 6th.

The Magpies nudged in front 3-2 in the top of the 8th when Miller’s line drive single scored Rubén Merced, and the Rockets fans went quiet. St. Paul went down in order in the bottom of the 8th, and then it came down to Jorge Cruz, installed as closer in place of the injured Júlio Martínez, to see the Magpies home. The home crowd was on its feet as Cruz allowed 2 singles, and put runners on first and second base with 2 outs. Outfielder Tony Whitaker, batting 9th in the Rockets lineup, stepped up to the plate. He got a piece of the 4th pitch he faced, but not enough of it. The ball went high straight to Miller in right field. He took the simple catch to send the Magpies through to their second Cup Final Series, and first in twenty years.
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Old 01-09-2018, 08:09 PM   #102
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16 October 2046

Graham Waterspout
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Oh my word! What were the odds on this at the start of the season?! #noway #Magpies
11:08PM - 16 Oct 2046

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In Billy I trust! #keepthefaith #Magpies
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@gray i def dint expect this, gonna be tuff vs #Islanders tho
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@glasshalfempty I know you’re smiling inside buddy!
11:20PM - 16 Oct 2046
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Old 01-09-2018, 08:11 PM   #103
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(Reproduced courtesy of SCL At-Bat, the number one app for all the latest SCL news and scores)

Islanders and Magpies reach 2046 SCL Cup Final Series
Both teams seeking first SCL championship

By Buster Oldknee, 11:48AM, 17 Oct 46

So 28 teams have been eliminated, and just two remain. It’ll be the Islanders against the Magpies in the SCL Cup Final Series.

Tallahassee beat the Annapolis Mustangs 4-2 to claim their first Eastern League championship crown. The EL’s number one seed finished the regular season 100-62 and will have the home-field advantage. They reached this stage on the back of their outstanding rotation. All-stars Tyler Willis, Kevin Cantrell, Ernesto Tavárez and Brad Robertson form arguably the best starting quartet in the SCL.

The Magpies have made a habit of winning one-game shootouts, triumphing in the wildcard game, the fifth game against Salem in the division series, and yesterday in the seventh game of the league championship series. Their only previous Western League championship came back in 2026, when they went on to lose the Cup Final Series to Atlanta in the second year of their famous four-in-a-row dynasty. Outstanding defense has been the winning recipe for the Magpies all year.

The bookmakers have the Islanders as strong favourites. But the Magpies have confounded expectations at every step on what has turned into a fairytale season, and only a fool would count them out. Maybe new GM Billy DePodesta’s magic wand has just one more trick up its sleeve. Closer Júlio Martínez will miss the first three games of the season through injury, but remains on the 25-man roster and will play in the second half of the series.
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Old 01-10-2018, 04:10 PM   #104
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SCL CUP FINAL SERIES, GAME 1: Islanders off to terrific start with thumping win

By Maggie Pye | 18 October | 7,238 comments

Philip Givens (18-9) faced Tallahassee starlet Tyler Willis (17-8) at Island Stadium, hoping to return to form after a some sub-par outings this postseason. It didn’t work out for him. The Islanders offense jumped on him right from the start, plucking him for home runs in both the 1st and 2nd innings and a 5-0 lead. Givens was pulled for Don Rich, but Rich fared no better, giving up a 3-run homer that extended the Islanders’ lead to 8-1 after just 3 innings.

The Magpies’ big opportunity to get back in the game came in the top of the 4th. Orlando Gonzáles’s 2-run shot narrowed the deficit to 8-3. Then, with 2 outs, an erratic Willis gave up two walks and a single to load the bases. Bob Miller stepped into the batters box with the chance to reduce the Islanders’ lead to just a single run, but struck out swinging. The Magpies couldn’t get anything going after that, and the Islanders cantered to a 10-3 victory and a 1-0 lead in the series.
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Old 01-10-2018, 04:11 PM   #105
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SCL CUP FINAL SERIES, GAME 2: Islanders take charge of series after dramatic 9th inning

By Maggie Pye | 19 October | 31,582 comments

It looked like being another walk in the park for the Islanders. Their hot offense got off to another scorching start, smashing themselves to a 5-0 lead in the 2nd inning, and shunting Magpies starter Tommaso Chigi out of the game. Like in Game 1, Don Rich entered the game in relief, but this time kept things tight. Still, it remained 5-0 Tallahassee heading into the 7th inning, and there was no sign of the drama to come.

The 44,000 fans inside Island Stadium barely murmured when Fernando Martínez smacked a solo home run into the seats behind left field in the 7th. But they became audibly nervous in the 8th when Bob Miller’s 2-run homer cut the lead to 5-3. And you could have heard a pin drop in the top of the 9th when the Magpies tied the game on Jim Dillman’s RBI single and a wild pitch. The Magpies still at that point had runners on first and third with no outs, but reliever Mikael Klomp induced a flyout and double play to keep the match all square. The Islanders were reeling, but baseball is a game of fine margins. In the bottom of the 9th, lead-off hitter Miguel Gómes put a 2-1 pitch from Magpies closer Jorge Cruz into the stands for the win. The teams head for Des Moines with the Islanders leading 2-0.
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Old 01-10-2018, 04:13 PM   #106
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SCL CUP FINAL SERIES, GAME 3: Huge win gives Magpies hope

By Maggie Pye | 21 October | 20,066 comments

Rocked by news that left fielder Guillermo Díaz would be out for a couple of days with a sore back, the Magpies opted to put in-form lefty P.J. Hendrickson on the mound for this must-win game. Hendrickson wasn’t great, but the offense came alive to earn an 11-4 win and keep the team in the series. This time it was the Magpies who got off to the fast start, hitting all-star starter Kevin Cantrell for three doubles, a single, and three runs. The Islanders’ Diego Flores hit back in the 2nd with a 2-run monster hit off a Hendrickson changeup to cut the lead to 3-2.

The game was effectively ended as a contest in the 5th, when Cantrell successively hit António Fernández and Bob Miller with pitches, and Fernando Martínez, who had 5 RBI on the day, brought them all home with a deep shot that just cleared the right field fence. For good measure, the Magpies then milked the Tallahassee bullpen for 5 more runs in the 6th. The Islanders scored 2 consolation runs in the top of the 8th, but a comeback was never on the cards.
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Old 01-11-2018, 05:32 PM   #107
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SCL CUP FINAL SERIES, GAME 4: Harvey’s magical pinch-hit grand slam ties series at 2-2

By Maggie Pye | 22 October | 187,307 comments

Needing to win again to avoid slipping 3-1 behind, the Magpies started well, establishing a welcome 2-0 lead in the bottom of the 2nd. Number one starter Mal Brown has had a difficult postseason campaign, however, and the Islanders quickly rallied against him. They pulled a run back in the 3rd, took the lead with 2 more runs in the 4th, and when Diego Flores put Brown’s attempted sinker deep for 2 more, the score was 5-2 and Tallahassee seemed set for victory.

In the 8th, the Islanders bullpen walked Carlos Zúñiga, Jim Dillman and Enrique Limón to load the bases. Matt Anderson was due up, but the Magpies chose to send Jeremiah Harvey to pinch-hit. Harvey has endured a difficult first season in Des Moines. But he’ll forever have a place in Magpies folklore after today. He swung hard at the very first pitch he saw, connected right on the sweet spot of the barrel, and sent it high and long into the left-field bleachers for a grand slam and a 6-5 lead. Júlio Martínez, returning to action from his forearm injury, got the crowd’s nerves jangling when he gave up a double and a walk with 2 out in the 9th. But the collective sigh of relief around Iowa Ballpark was palpable when he induced a routine groundball out to bag the save.
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Old 01-11-2018, 05:33 PM   #108
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SCL CUP FINAL SERIES, GAME 5: Givens returns to form to put Magpies on brink of glory

By Maggie Pye | 23 October | 230,431 comments

The out-of-form Philip Givens faced Tyler Willis for the second time in the series, desperately needing to give his team a performance. Oh, how he delivered. The Magpies took an early lead in the 1st. Fully-fit Guillermo Díaz singled, then stole both 2nd and 3rd, then scored on Enrique Limón’s sacrifice fly. Willis was driven from the game in the 2nd, when the Magpies produced two singles, a double, and a wonderful triple from shortstop Matt Anderson to score 4 runs and take a 5-0 lead. The Des Moines crowd was on its feet and the noise was deafening.

Givens was determined to hold the lead he’d been given and pitched beautifully. He finally gave up 2 runs in the top of the 7th, but his line of 8.1 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 6 K reflected how well he played. The crowd were soon back up on their feet when Bob Miller’s single and Jim Dillman’s double took the 2 runs straight back in the bottom of the inning. Don Rich replaced the tired Givens and required only 7 pitches to retire the Islanders’ final two batters.
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Old 01-11-2018, 05:34 PM   #109
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SCL CUP FINAL SERIES, GAME 6: Islanders set up Game 7 showdown

By Maggie Pye | 25 October | 304,926 comments

Well, it wouldn’t be the 2046 Magpies unless the series went to a decider, now would it? A 45,000 capacity crowd packed inside the Island Stadium for a game the home team had to win. But it was the Magpies who took an early 2-0 lead in the top of the 1st on Jim Dillman’s home run. Tallahassee catcher Dominic Law took Magpies starter P.J. Hendrickson long in the 2nd inning to cut the deficit to 2-1.

All-star starter Ernesto Tavárez settled down for the Islanders after his difficult 1st inning, and shut out the Magpies after that. The Islanders, meanwhile, chipped away at Hendrickson, taking the lead with 2 runs in the 5th, and wrapped up the 4-2 win with a further run off the Magpies bullpen in the bottom of the 8th. The two sets of players will return to the ballpark tomorrow for the biggest game of their lives.
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Old 01-13-2018, 04:29 PM   #110
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SCL CUP FINAL SERIES, GAME 7: The 9th Inning Miracle! Stunning late rally breaks Islanders hearts and seals first SCL Cup Final Series triumph for Magpies

By Maggie Pye | 26 October | 1,775,520 comments

Before the season started, most observers - well, most sensible observers anyway - predicted a difficult season for new Magpies GM Billy DePodesta. Instead, the crazy predictions have been proved right. Despite having to go the distance and play the maximum possible 20 postseason games, the Magpies have ended the year as SCL champions for the first time in franchise history after a sensational 9th inning comeback victory in Game 7 against the Islanders.

Tommaso Chigi spent the whole of last year pitching in the Magpies’ minor league rotation. Tonight, he lined up on the mound for the most important game the club has ever played. The game started well for the Magpies. For the second night running they took a 2-0 lead in the top of the first, thanks to Fernando Martínez’s RBI double, and then Orlando Gonzáles’s single plating Martínez. But after opening with two 1-2-3 innings, Chigi started to struggle with his control in the 3rd. He left two pitches over the heart of the plate in the 3rd, which both got punished for solo home runs to tie the game, and then another in the 4th which gave the Islanders a 3-2 lead.

The Magpies offense found it hard to create scoring chances against Tallahassee starter Kevin Cantrell, but Chigi dug in well and prevented the Islanders getting further in front. However, the 8th inning came and went without any further scoring, and it looked like the game and the SCL championship had slipped away from the Magpies. Then came the miraculous 9th inning that will live forever in Magpies folklore.

Enrique Limón opened against Islanders closer Glenn Stanley by drawing a walk, and moved into scoring position on Bob Miller’s single. Jim Dillman, making possibly his late plate appearance for the club, stepped up, and smoked a triple to score both Limón and Miller. It was 4-3 Magpies, and there were still no outs in the 9th. After Martínez was intentionally walked, Dave Dodd’s double scored Dillman. 5-3. Gonzáles was then intentionally walked too, before pinch hitter Valentín Ortíz’s sac fly scored Martínez from third base. 6-3, and still no outs. Carlos Zúñiga’s double brought home Dodd for 7-3 before Guillermo Díaz finally became the first out. But Limón got on base for the second time in the inning with a single which scored Gonzáles. 2-3 had become 8-3. The crowd had become stunned and silent.

Chigi was left in for the 9th to try and throw a complete game, but was tiring fast and gave up 2 runs, meaning his final stat line showed an undeserved 5 runs against. Closer Júlio Martínez took over, and needed just 2 pitches to snare the final out and bring glory to Des Moines.
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Old 01-13-2018, 04:33 PM   #111
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Dietmar Uberfan
@magpiesobsessive

YEEEEEEEEEEEESSSSSSSSS! What a 9th inning! #Magpies #SCLchamps
10:47PM - 26 Oct 2046

Mannix Glowstone
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Oh. My. Word!!!!!! #Magpies #niceonebilly
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I always knew the boys cud do it #SCLchamps! not looking 4wd to next yr tho w/out Dillman & Hill #freeagencysucks
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In Billy I trust! #keepthefaith #Magpies
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Old 01-13-2018, 04:39 PM   #112
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(Extract from “Des Moines Dreams: A History Of The Magpies” by Lewis Michael)

Chapter 10

Billy took an early morning flight back from Florida, and reached the Magpies front offices shortly after lunchtime. The party there was in full swing. There were fives and bear hugs aplenty when Billy walked in. He gave an impromptu speech to the staff, and then made sure over the next couple of hours that he spoke to and thanked each one of them individually.

Eventually, Billy headed for the peace and quiet of his office. What an incredible and unbelievable season it had been, he reflected. 99 wins. Victory in four winner-takes-all postseason games. And all with a much-reduced payroll. On a personal note, his legacy was assured. Even a decade of last-place finishes wouldn’t take away his achievement of bringing the organisation its first ever SCL championship.

But, in many respects, his job had just become much more difficult. At the start of the year, few people, least of all himself, expected the team to break .500, let alone reach the playoffs, let alone WIN the whole damn thing. The team looked some way away from being a contender, with lots of work to do to rebuild the roster, and in particular the sparse prospect landscape in their minor league roster. One sensational season couldn’t change that underlying picture. But now expectations were raised: expectations that would be exceptionally difficult to meet.

Billy could still hear the muffled sound of laughter drifting out of the main office area. But mentally he had now parked the 2046 season in the ‘done’ drawer, and was thinking about 2047 and beyond. And 2047 was worrying him. He was losing his best hitter, Dillman, and best pitcher this season, Hill, to free agency, but he had no good prospects ready to step up and replace them. He would have to patch up the holes from free agency. At least he did have some money to spend. When Dillman and Hill has gone, the team’s expected salary commitments for 2047 were $125m. That left $55m to spend - assuming Rueda didn’t slash the budget further. And high quality free agents meant giving up draft picks. Draft picks that he needed to build the club long-term.

“Come here, you bleedin’ genius!” Rueda shouted as he marched through Billy’s office door and gave him a hearty handshake. “I knew from the start I’d made the right decision appointing you, but jeez I didn’t expect this. Marvellous!”

“I can’t quite believe it either”, said Billy. “You know I thought this year would be a struggle. But that’s baseball for you.”

“Listen, we need to talk money”, said Rueda, sitting down in a chair facing Billy’s desk and suddenly with a serious look on his face. “The company’s financial position is even more precarious than last year. We’re being hit hard. People just aren’t spending their cash as they used to.”

“Okay...”, said Billy.

“Playing so many postseason games was an absolute bonanza for the ballclub”, Rueda went on. “And you came in well under budget. We’ll need to work through the numbers, but I’m confident that as a result, you can keep the $180m payroll budget you had this year. But no promises for future years, I’m afraid. We’ll have to review the situation season by season.”

He rose to his feet, and smiled again. “Listen, Billy, I know this was a bit of a freak season, and there’s a lot of work still to do to build this team for the future. And I appreciate that it’s hard working with such budgetary uncertainty. But I know there’s no-one better suited to the task of getting us back in the postseason than you. I’ll tell you now: this job’s yours as long as you want it. And I hope that’s for a long time.”

“Thanks Will, that means a lot”, said Billy. “Really”.

Billy slumped down in his chair a little after Rueda had left the room. So even after all those postseason revenues, there was no additional budget available for next year. Realistically, it looked like another budget cut could be coming, possibly as early as next year. His job had just got a bit more difficult still.
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Old 01-14-2018, 05:20 PM   #113
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28 October 2046

From: Agamemnon Profitloss, Chief Finance Officer
To: Billy DePodesta

Des Moines Magpies Finance Department
BUDGET SUMMARY REPORT


You requested my annual summary report on the budgetary position of the Magpies for the coming calendar year, 2047, and the next two years.

We are in a sound position for 2047. We have five players who will be departing as free agents in a couple of weeks’ time: Jim Dillman, Del Hill, Carlos Ríos, Rubén Merced and Bob Wilson. When their salaries are removed from the books, it means our committed payroll for the year is expected to be approximately $125m. This estimate incorporates expected high arbitration awards for Fernando Martínez and Philip Givens, which we estimate will be $12.9m and $9.5m respectively. You will want to replace Dillman, Hill and Merced on the active roster, and if free agency is your preferred route for this then you have up to $55m available to remain under the owner’s $180m payroll limit for the year.

The picture for 2048, however, is more uncertain. The biggest upward pressure on payroll for that year is Enrique Limón reaching arbitration eligibility, and on current form he will probably attract at or close to $15m. Another uncertainty is that Mal Brown will reach free agency at the end of the coming season; he currently earns over $22m annually. Prudent spending on free agents this winter would ensure you are not facing a need to cut payroll for the 2048 season, assuming a continuation of your current budget limit.

The picture for two seasons ahead, 2049, remains too unclear at this stage to be meaningful.

Agamemnon Profitloss
Chief Finance Officer
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Old 01-14-2018, 05:24 PM   #114
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GM’s notebook

This winter will be busy. I want to acquire a bunch of free agents. These fall into two categories: (1) guys to plug the key roster holes created by departing free agents (Dillman, Hill, Merced), for whom we have no minor league talent ready to be promoted; (2) other much cheaper guys to bolster our depth on the minor league roster. We were fortunate not to suffer many injuries in the lineup this year, and we are unlikely to be so lucky a second year in succession.

Replacing my clean-up hitter Dillman is the main need. If both he and Hill are confirmed as Type A free agents and attract compensatory draft picks, then I’m prepared to go after a Type A myself. The other guys will all need to be compensation-free.

In terms of trades, I will investigate trades for Jeremiah Harvey and/or Orlando Gonzáles, to try and get a younger infielder and younger starting pitcher in return. The championship win might be the best time to maximise their value. Gonzáles turns 33 in December, and while cheap, I’m not sure Harvey will ever be consistent enough at the plate to be a trusted regular starter. However, other teams seem to think he still has a value. However the trading will have to wait: the free agents are the priority.

The full list of players I want to acquire is:

- Clean-up hitter to replace Dillman (defensive ability not a requirement as the DH position is now available)
- Starting pitcher to replace Hill
- 5th outfielder (LHB) to replace Merced
- Backup catcher to replace Wilson and challenge Valentín Ortíz for the second active roster spot
- Backup infielder (LHB) who is better than Joe Sanders
- Backup starting pitcher, infielder and outfielder purely to strengthen the minor league roster
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Old 01-15-2018, 05:15 PM   #115
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SCL legend Baba elected to Hall of Fame

By Maggie Pye | 28 October | 2,804 comments

Former Magpies DH Tsugahara Baba has been elected to the SCL Hall of Fame. The 7-time Outstanding Hitter enjoyed a 22-year career in the SCL, playing one year for the Magpies in 2044, his age 40 season. He spent the peak years of his career playing for the Olympia Wolfhounds and Boston Adventurers, earning 13 all-star selections. He retires with a remarkable career .906 OPS mark, and in 2030 set the SCL’s best ever single season mark of 1.138. He is the SCL all-time leader in RBI (1935) and runs scored (2011), and is second all-time in home runs (640), hits (3376), walks (2417) and at-bats (11969).
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Old 01-15-2018, 05:17 PM   #116
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onlytheboxscore.com/Magpies
DePodesta wins Western League manager of the year award
Posted by Belinda Aquamarine, @belaqua

Des Moines Magpies GM Billy DePodesta has been named WL manager of the year at the SCL’s end of season awards gala. It’s hard to argue with giving the prize to the man who led his team to the SCL championship. Shortstop Matt Anderson and right fielder Bob Miller both won Glove Wizard awards.

The player awards were as follows. The awards committee have been heavily criticised for seemingly picking the rookies of the year on talent and potential rather than on-field production.

Outstanding Hitter
WL: Armando Rodríguez (Salem), 41 HR, .937 OPS
EL: Kevin King (Augusta), 40 HR, .926 OPS

Outstanding Pitcher
WL: Ferdinando Bosio (St. Paul), 23-5, 2.65
EL: Donnie Lee (Atlanta), 16-6, 1.56

Rookie of the Year
WL: A.J. Davis (Santa Fe), 6 HR, .676 OPS
EL: Mike Noble (Nashville), 9 HR, .658 OPS
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Old 01-15-2018, 05:19 PM   #117
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Magpies salary arbitration panel decisions released

By Maggie Pye | 11 November | 9 comments

The SCL arbitration panel has made 2047 salary awards to three Magpies players:

- RP Alfonso Carranza: $6.4m - final year of arbitration
- SP Philip Givens: $9.0m - second year
- C Fernando Martínez: $12.9m - first year

Sources say that the Givens salary decision was about half a million dollars below the team’s internal estimates.
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Old 01-15-2018, 05:21 PM   #118
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GM’s notebook

- Free agents Jim Dillman, Del Hill, Rubén Merced, Carlos Ríos and Bob Wilson have all left the club.
- As hoped, both Dillman and Hill are Type A free agents. I expect both to be in demand from other clubs.
- Both have tempered their salary demands from my discussions with them during the season, but both want much lengthier contracts than I’m prepared to offer guys of their age. Hill wants $6m and I would consider bringing him back for that on a one-year deal at that sort of level if he’s still on the board come February.
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Old 01-16-2018, 06:37 PM   #119
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19 November 2046

SCLhotstove.com/tittletattle
Sources: Magpies interested in all-stars O’Quinn and Williams

Posted by Linus Betelgeuse | Nov 19 | 3:19PM

November’s here, and the hot stove is heating up nicely. And it’s in Des Moines where the warmth seems to be greatest so far. Rumours abound that the reigning SCL champions are planning to move quickly to fill the roster gaps left by the departures of Jim Dillman and Del Hill. The word from sources inside the Iowa Ballpark is that the Magpies have had preliminary discussions with the representatives of catcher Michael O’Quinn and starting pitcher Jeremy Williams.

O’Quinn would be a good match for the Magpies. At age 28, he perfectly fits GM Billy DePodesta’s modus operandi of targeting younger members of a free agent class. He is not the stellar hitter that Dillman was at his peak, but the Magpies won the Cup Final Series with Dillman putting up a season OPS of .788 and would reasonably expect plate disciplinarian O’Quinn to surpass that mark next season. O’Quinn’s defensive skills behind the plate have always been questionable, but the Magpies would clearly put him in Dillman’s DH role. O’Quinn would cost the Magpies their 2047 first round draft pick, but they will expect to get high picks back from whichever clubs sign Dillman and Hill. The noise around Williams suggests the Magpies believe he could be another interesting Hill-esque reclamation project.
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Old 01-16-2018, 06:40 PM   #120
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Magpies acquire outfielder Lawrence and pitching prospect Terry from Concord

By Maggie Pye | 26 November | 31 comments

Billy DePodesta has today made his first roster move of the offseason, a trade with the Jackals which sent infielder Joe Sanders to Concord, with 1B/OF Terry Lawrence and young starting pitcher Robert Terry joining the SCL champions. Sanders, 27, showed glimpses of talent in his very limited opportunities coming of the Magpies bench, posting a .721 OPS. The Jackals were seeking to boost their infield after a disappointing campaign, and will hope Sanders can repeat that production or better if given more opportunities. He remains under club control for four more years.

Lawrence, 25, will contend for the Magpies’ fifth outfielder spot this season. The lefty lacks power but got on base this season at a .338 rate in a bench role this season. Sources with knowledge of the deal say DePodesta only warmed to the trade when the Jackals included the 19-year-old Terry, the SCL #59 prospect at the start of the year. Scouts project him to become a solid fourth or fifth starter in time, but he is probably 3 years at least away from making a major league roster. The Jackals coaching staff are reported to have disliked his limited stamina and viewed him as a prospective middle reliever at best.
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