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Old 06-10-2018, 03:58 PM   #461
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21 September 2050

GM’s notebook - Series 52 and 53

Lansing 8-3 Magpies
Lansing 0-1 Magpies
Lansing 4-5 Magpies
Magpies 4-6 Santa Fe
Magpies 3-4 Santa Fe
Magpies 2-3 Santa Fe

- Wesley Weaver ran into early trouble in the first Lansing game. If we make the division series, he may be in the bullpen, as he has just not reproduced last season’s excellence.
- Despite his great performances with the bat (.852 OPS), Terry Lawrence will have a pinch-hit role during this run-in. Gianni Hagenaars’s defense at CF really helps us, and Enrique Limón and Pedro Soto are unequivocally the starting corner outfielders.
- Ironically, an error by Hagenaars, his first of the entire season, led to 2 unearned runs and left us in a 4-0 hole against Lansing’s ace Carlos Lara in the rubber game. But we made hay against Lara in the 7th, tying it at 4-4, and Ángel Ochoa’s RBI single in the 9th off closer Jorge Cruz won it.
- We remain 3 GB of Madison but our magic number for a wildcard is 2. We need Salem (72-84) to do us an unlikely favour in their upcoming series versus Madison.
- Madison’s Al Harper has a slim shot at the SCL single season ERA record. His is 1.42 currently. The record is 1.33 set by Nashville’s Ryugaro Gato in 2033.
- Salem didn’t help us, and we didn’t help ourselves either. The 4-3 loss to Santa Fe confirmed Madison as North Division champions. But our wildcard magic number is just 1.
- Weaver was much better in the final game of the week (8 IP, 5 H, 2 ER), but the offense was lethargic. However, Bismarck’s crushing 14-4 defeat by Phoenix means we’ve limped over the line into a wildcard spot, our fourth in five years.
- It looks like being an all-North Division wildcard game for a remarkable FIFTH straight season. Lansing lead Bismarck by 1 game. Phoenix are technically not out of it but can only tie with the Sharks - and the Sharks face hopeless 52-win Olympia in their final series.

This week: 2-4
Record: 89-70, 2nd place, 6 GB from Madison
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Old 06-10-2018, 04:00 PM   #462
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Magpies secure wildcard spot but are bang out of form

By Maggie Pye | 22 Sep | 4,719 comments

The Magpies have secured a spot in the SCL postseason for the fifth straight year, making it five times out of five under the reign of GM Billy DePodesta. For many teams with their financial strife and low payroll, this might be seen as a major achievement. But coming off a 108-win season, and having staggered to the finish with 8 defeats from their last 12, it feels rather anticlimactic.

The team need to regain their best form - and quickly. The offense has stumbled over the last three series, and the rotation, so consistently excellent for much of the year, has been leaking runs. A behind-closed-doors team meeting was reportedly held last night to discuss getting back on track. No player or coach has disclosed what was said, but the determined looks on faces as the team arrived for batting practice today suggests strong words were said. DePodesta has said that Kevin Cantrell will be on the mound for the Magpies in the wildcard game.
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Old 06-11-2018, 04:10 PM   #463
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25 September 2050

GM’s notebook - Series 54

Phoenix 1-2 Magpies
Phoenix 1-4 Magpies
Phoenix 6-1 Magpies

- Robinson Ortíz has had a strong finish to the season. 7.2 innings of 1-run ball won the home opener against the Raccoons, and he’s finished 14-8, 3.15.
- It’s been a wonderful year for Israel Padilla, whose first season as a starting pitcher ended with a 14-7 record and 2.98 ERA after 7.1 IP, 1 R, 0 ER in the second game of the week.
- Lansing clinched the second Western League wildcard spot. We faced the Sharks in the wildcard game two years ago - we lost.
- We rested a bunch of key players for the 162nd game of the regular season to avoid the risk of injury. Cory Adams took the start so that Kevin Cantrell would be fit for the wildcard game, and Jeffrey White, Enrique Limón, Ernesto Solís and Ángel Ochoa were all stood down from the lineup.
- Our 91 wins is the lowest total since I became GM. However our 754-563 run differential gives us a Pythagorean record of 104-58 so we have been extremely unlucky.
- In the Eastern League, three teams - Albany, Hartford and Tallahassee - have finished tied for the second wildcard spot on 86-76. We’ll see how the league sorts that one out.
- Montgomery retained the South East Division title with a strong run down the stretch. Their hopes of a third consecutive SCL title are alive and well.
- Al Harper narrowly missed the all-time season ERA record, finishing with a faintly ridiculous 1.37 ERA from 236 innings pitched. He is a shoo-in for the Western League Outstanding Pitcher award - which he also won previously in 2044.
- Cantrell was second in the entire SCL for strikeouts with 220.
- Tallahassee’s Sean Tate tied the all-time single season record of 57 saves. He matched the mark set by Keith Mack on Providence in 2031.
- Rhys Nunn and Mike Howard have returned to the minor league roster to get the active roster back to 25 for the wildcard game.

This week: 2-1
Record: 91-71, 2nd place, 6 GB from Madison
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Old 06-11-2018, 04:12 PM   #464
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27 September 2050

(Reproduced courtesy of SCL At-Bat, the number one app for all the latest SCL news and scores)

Madison and Baton Rouge favourites for SCL crown as playoffs begin
Hartford beat Albany in playoff for final EL wildcard spot; Islanders furious at exclusion

By Buster Oldknee, 9:13AM, 27 Sep 50

We now know the ten teams that will battle out the 2050 State Capitals League playoffs. They are led by Madison and two-time defending Western League champs Baton Rouge, who finished with the joint best record in the SCL, 98-65. The tenth and final team to join the group was Hartford, who tied with Albany on 86-76 and triumphed 9-6 against them in a one-game playoff to claim the second and final Eastern League wildcard.

However, the SCL Commissioner, Roger Baddell, faced huge criticism after Tallahassee, who also finished tied with Hartford and Albany on 86 wins, were excluded from the playoff process for the second EL wildcard. Why the Islanders did not have the opportunity to try and claim the wildcard spot remained shrouded in mystery last night, but the organisation understandably feels hugely aggrieved at the League’s decision.

Western League playoff qualifiers:
North Division: Madison (97-65)
West Coast Division: Carson City (96-66)
South Division: Baton Rouge (97-65)
Wildcard qualifiers: Des Moines (91-71), Lansing (88-74)

Eastern League playoff qualifiers:
North East Division: Boston (89-73)
Central Division: Indianapolis (94-68)
South East Division: Montgomery (94-68)
Wildcard qualifiers: Columbus (93-69), Hartford (86-76)
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Old 06-11-2018, 04:14 PM   #465
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27 September 2050

The SCL Armchair Almanac, 2051 Edition

SCL LEADERS IN EARNED RUN AVERAGE, 2050 SEASON


1.37 - Al Harper (Madison)
2.06 - Melvin Gregory (Providence)
2.06 - Carlos Lara (Lansing)
2.07 - Donnie Lee (Santa Fe)
2.10 - Lorenzo Colón (Raleigh)
2.22 - Luis González (Indianapolis)
2.36 - Lee Cox (Austin)
2.44 - Tony Casas (Madison)
2.44 - José Mendoza (Santa Fe)
2.62 - William Wright (Columbus)
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Old 06-12-2018, 04:19 PM   #466
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Magpies lose wildcard game after 10th inning disaster against Lansing

By Maggie Pye | 28 Sep | 125,041 comments

Rotation leader Kevin Cantrell faced off against Lansing ace Carlos Lara in the wildcard game last night, hoping that it would not be his last appearance in a Magpies uniform. Unfortunately, it looks like Cantrell’s successful time in Des Moines is indeed over.

Lara and Cantrell put on a superb display of pitching. When Lara was forced out of the game with a hamstring strain in the 5th inning, the score remained 0-0 but it looked like the advantage was now with the Magpies. And they duly took the lead in the 6th inning, when Jeffrey White’s single brought home Pedro Soto from second base. However, an RBI single from Sharks catcher Jimmy Howard off Magpies reliever Jesús Benítez levelled the scores in the top of the 8th.

Benítez and former Magpies lefty Jorge Cruz both threw tight 9th innings to keep the score at 1-1, but then in the top of the 10th the wheels truly came off for the Magpies. Benítez and closer Ken James, so excellent all year, had disastrous outings, giving up 7 runs. Yes, 7 runs in the 10th. Benítez walked the first three Lansing batters, and then gave up the go-ahead run on a hit by pitch. Manager Johannes Kepler pulled Benítez then (with no outs and the bases still loaded), but James couldn’t stop the bleeding. He immediately gave up a bases-clearing double to shortstop Thomas Emery to make the score 5-1 to the Sharks. He gave up 3 further runs on two more doubles before the innings was over. A shell-shocked Magpies lineup went down in order in the bottom of the inning. Magpies fans took to the Internet forums after the game to rant about Kepler’s pitching substitutions, or lack of them, in the 10th.

Lansing progress to meet Baton Rouge in the division series. Hartford comfortably beat Columbus 10-3 in the EL wildcard game, after scoring 8 runs in the top of the 1st inning.
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Old 06-12-2018, 04:21 PM   #467
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29 September 2050

Hank Blunt
@isayitlikeitis

Inept #KeplerOut
8:04AM - 29 Sep 2050

Zebedee Stethoscope
@glasshalfempty

With Cantrell & Limón leaving ths winter that’s r chance gon 4 a few yrs now #KeplerOut #doldrums #toldyouso
8:06AM - 29 Sep 2050

Severino Guadalajara-Smith
@sabermetricjedi

Benítez (2.42 FIP, 3.6 K/BB) and James (2.17 FIP, 3.7 K/BB) have been amazing all year, but in a 1-game eliminator you have to recognise when a guy doesn’t quite have it and make a pitching change before it’s too late #sodisappointing #TaxiForKepler
8:07AM - 29 Sep 2050

Genghis Troll
@nothingbettertodo

@isayitlikeitis @sabermetricjedi @glasshalfempty ha ha losers!!! #sofunny #myachingsides #guffaw
8:10AM - 29 Sep 2050

Mannix Glowstone
@rayoflight

@sabermetricjedi just trying to see a positive side of this. I guess it was an exciting game and we did reach the postseason for a 5th straight year technically, despite having no money #perspective
8:14AM - 29 Sep 2050
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Old 06-12-2018, 04:23 PM   #468
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30 September 2050

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DePodesta defends under-fire Kepler after wildcard debacle

By Maggie Pye | 30 Sep | 23 comments

Magpies general manager Billy DePodesta has come to the defense of his much-criticised rookie field manager, Johannes Kepler, following the extra innings calamity against Lansing in the Western League wildcard game. Speaking to reporters last night, DePodesta said that the Sharks’ 7-run 10th inning was “just how it goes in baseball sometimes” and that he backed Kepler’s decision to stick with relievers Jesús Benítez and Ken James in that situation.

DePodesta said: “Kepler has had an excellent first season as Magpies manager, and has successfully led a very young and inexperienced roster into a playoff berth. It is unfair to judge him entirely on one game which did not go our way. Benítez and James have been absolutely magnificent for this ballclub all season, and it was certainly the percentage play to back them to get us out of the 10th inning jam. It is all too easy to look back in hindsight and say we should have done things differently.”

Kepler’s detractors, however, point to how he inherited largely intact a roster which accumulated 108 wins in the previous season, and achieved only 91 wins this year. They suggest the club’s far superior Pythagorean record was a reflection of a manager not able to make good and effective decisions frequently enough in the tight games. And some fans are even extending the questions to DePodesta himself, and whether it was a sensible decision when operating under such strict budgetary conditions to put the team under the charge of a man with no previous managerial experience at any level of baseball.
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Old 06-12-2018, 04:25 PM   #469
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Taken from “The Big Book of Baseball Bywords” by BooBoo Berra:

“That’s baseball.”

- Johannes Kepler
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Old 06-13-2018, 04:19 PM   #470
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2 October 2050

FANGRAPHICS
Magpies end of season review: September stumble spoils strong season

For a team that scored so many runs, and conceded so few, the season limped to a sad conclusion. For much of the year, the Magpies looked like a really well balanced team. They had a consistent and deep rotation headed by Kevin Cantrell (12-8, 2.65) and boosted by the unexpectedly high standard of play from former top prospect Israel Padilla (14-7, 2.98). The bullpen was also excellent with no weak links. Sufficiently excellent, in fact that GM Billy DePodesta felt confident enough to trade closer Gabe Copeland to bring in Tom Hart (14-4, 3.44) to upgrade the rotation for this year and the future. Veteran free agent reliever Jack Morris (4-3, 1.43) was another unexpected star performer.

The offense were second in the Western League in runs scored with 754. Jeffrey White (.353 wOBA), Enrique Limón (.358), new all-star Pedro Soto (.341) and second baseman Ángel Ochoa (.318) all had very good years, and back-up outfielder Terry Lawrence (.370) provided outstanding production. Add in the league-leading defense, and you have a team that challenged for the playoff places all year.

But two factors proved the Magpies undoing in the end. First, the offense had a habit of delivering that high production in fits and starts rather than consistently and relentlessly. They were capable of putting up big innings, and recording blowout victories, but could then struggle to score for a couple of games. This led to them finishing fully 13 wins below their Pythagorean record. Second, the whole young team simply ran out of steam at the end of September, finishing poorly over the last couple of weeks of the regular season to lose the North Division pennant to Madison, and then the wildcard game to Lansing.

After five straight years of postseason appearances, is this the end of the Magpies’ current playoff window? Key players Cantrell and Limón, plus the impressive Morris, are all leaving to free agency, and with the club’s financial pressures DePodesta is likely to turn to the Magpies’ well-stocked farm system to plug the gaps with youth.
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Old 06-13-2018, 04:20 PM   #471
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Montgomery and Baton Rouge advance to championship series
Teams remain on course for third Cup Final Series battle

By Tim Curtain, 11:30AM, 7 Oct 50

The Montgomery Cruisers and Baton Rouge Deltas have both progressed to their respect league championship series, keeping alive their hopes of a third straight head-to-head match-up in the SCL Cup Final Series. Two-time defending SCL champions Montgomery were taken to a deciding fifth game in their division series against Boston, but easily won 10-2 to advance. They will face Indianapolis, who won a game five decider of their own against wildcard Hartford.

Baton Rouge had an easier time in their division series, against Lansing, winning by three games to one. They will meet the Carson City Rattlesnakes, who beat the in-form Madison Brown Bears by the same scoreline.
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Old 06-13-2018, 04:23 PM   #472
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From: Agamemnon Profitloss, Chief Finance Officer
To: Billy DePodesta

Des Moines Magpies Finance Department
FINANCIAL OUTLOOK REPORT


With no Magpies players heading for salary arbitration at the end of this season, we are able to give an early reliable projection for next year and the year after.

This winter there will not be a financial imperative for you to trade away any players on expensive contracts. Our current contractual commitments for next season, 2051, total $91.6m. This figure does not include our three impending free agents, Kevin Cantrell, Enrique Limón and Jack Morris. Should you fill these three roster spots with young players from our minor league roster on league minimum salaries, as I know is your intention, our annualised spending next year will reach up to £93.1. This leaves a headroom of $6.9m that could in principle be spent on free agents to strengthen the roster.

Should you wish to pursue such a course of action, I would strongly recommend against entering into any contractual commitments of longer than a year, as our projection for the following year, 2052, already looks extremely difficult as it stands. In that year, Tom Hart, Gonzalo Torralda and Jesús Benítez will all have reached salary arbitration for the first time. Being key players, they are likely to attract high salaries, and our current best estimate is a cumulative total arbitration award for the threesome of $29.8m per year. Even without a free agent acquisition this offseason, this gives a payroll projection of about $123m for 2052, $23m over the owner’s permitted maximum level. And the projected overspend could become even larger if you wish to retain Robinson Ortíz and António Fernández (who will become free agents at the end of 2051) and they demand a higher salary than their current $9.5m and $1.9m.

I expect us to acquire at least two supplementary round draft picks next June in the player draft, as compensation for losing Cantrell and Limón. Morris may also have compensation attached, but is less likely to be signed by a team before the new season begins. As ever, a key to our continued success in these times of relative financial hardship is the importance of using those draft picks to bring more quality young talent into our farm system.

Agamemnon Profitloss
Chief Finance Officer
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Old 06-14-2018, 04:05 PM   #473
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(Reproduced courtesy of SCL At-Bat, the number one app for all the latest SCL news and scores)

Montgomery and Baton Rouge to meet in Cup Final Series for third consecutive season
Deltas out to avenge defeats the past two years

By Buster Oldknee, 10:44AM, 17 Oct 50

Montgomery have the chance to become the first team to win a third straight SCL championship since Atlanta won four in a row between 2025 and 2028. They have won the Eastern League championship again, after beating the Indianapolis Wildcats 4-2.

To win three straight, the Cruisers will have to overcome Baton Rouge in the Cup Final Series... yet again. The Deltas retained the Western League championship after beating Carson City 5-2 in a tense game seven. They will be desperate to avoid falling at the final hurdle yet again.
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Old 06-14-2018, 04:08 PM   #474
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Famous three-peat for fabulous Cruisers
Heartbreak for Deltas with third consecutive loss in Cup Final Series

By Tim Curtain, 7:12AM, 26 Oct 50

The Montgomery Cruisers are the State Capitals League champions once again, after last night’s come-from-behind victory over the Baton Rouge Deltas secured a 4-2 series win. The team has become only the second in the history of the SCL to win three titles in three successive years. Trailing 3-2 after 4 innings last night, Cruisers designated hitter Dan Harrington’s solo HR tied the scores in the 6th inning, and then an RBI single from catcher Bill Morris in the 8th earned the winning run.

But glory for Montgomery meant agony for the Deltas, who have been the beaten team in all three of the Cruisers’ consecutive triumphs. The Deltas have been the dominant team in the Western League playoffs the last three seasons, but have been unable to convert that into an SCL trophy. The bad news for the rest of the WL is that their window of opportunity has not yet gone. All the key men in their young team remain under contract for next year, and will return to Baton Rouge in 2051 for another crack at finally getting over the final hurdle.
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Old 06-14-2018, 04:11 PM   #475
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Emery retains Western League Outstanding Hitter Award
Madison team-mate Harper wins Outstanding Pitcher

By Buster Oldknee, 6:13PM, 3 Nov 50

Madison superstar Julián Emery has been named as the Western League Outstanding Hitter for the second consecutive year. The left-handed first baseman put up a 1.018 OPS mark, the only qualified batter in the SCL to surpass the magic 1.000 mark. And Madison were celebrating a double triumph after their ace Al Harper was given the Outstanding Pitcher gong in recognition of his superb season. It’s Harper’s second OP award, having previously won in 2044.

Outstanding Hitter
Western League: Julián Emery (Madison) .353/.424/.594, 40 HR
Eastern League: Bob Bryant (Hartford) .297/.381/.532, 31 HR

Outstanding Pitcher
Western League: Al Harper (Madison) 20-6, 1.37
Eastern League: Melvin Gregory (Providence) 22-3, 2.06

Rookie of the Year
Western League: Steven Moore (Baton Rouge) .266/.311/.439, 18 HR
Eastern League: Ángel Leyva (Augusta) .286/.345/.436, 14 HR

Des Moines’ pitcher Wesley Weaver was named among the Glove Wizard award winners.
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Old 06-14-2018, 04:14 PM   #476
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11 November 2050

From: Billy DePodesta
To: Chris Rueda

Des Moines Magpies General Manager’s Office
2051 ROSTER PROJECTION


Chris, as requested I am providing you with a detailed outline of my plans for the coming offseason and my expectations for the makeup of our roster at the start of the new season. I am anticipating a quieter offseason than in the last couple of winters.

Rotation: Kevin Cantrell will shortly be leaving to free agency, so Tom Hart will step up to take over as rotation lead and likely opening day starter. Although Hart faded over the last month or so of the season, he showed outstanding talent. Israel Padilla, Robinson Ortíz and Wesley Weaver will all return. Cory Adams was excellent in the bullpen and in a couple of spot starts this season, and will join the rotation full-time.

Bullpen: Ken James has a contract that is very good for us and will be our closer for the foreseeable future. Jack Morris is leaving to free agency, so the impressive David Gaines will step up to the lefty setup role. Marv Lewis had a difficult couple of starts in his brief spell in the majors this season, but will begin next season in the pen as LOOGY. Despite his wildcard game collapse, Jesús Benítez had a terrific season and returns in the righty setup position. Bernardo Merrado and Walt Davidson will be in middle relief again. Rhys Nunn and Robert Terry are leading the competition for the final bullpen spot.

Catcher: Ernesto Solís was less effective at the plate than in 2049, but is consistently excellent behind the plate and unquestionably the number one starter. José Pereira has bags of promise and will be the backup. Blair Cunningham, acquired from Sacramento in 2049, has developed a lot over the last 12 months and is our third catcher.

Infield: Gonzalo Torralda has taken over at first base from Jeffrey White, who will switch to play as designated hitter. The rest of the infield is really strong wth great depth. The certain starters are Ángel Ochoa at 2B and Ángel Márquez at 3B. Eric Warner did well at SS last season but I would ideally like a more elite defender at the position and will look at potential options over the winter. The fast-improving Reynaldo González is expected to win the infield backup role from incumbent Nick Baker in spring training. Alex Becker, Yoshino Kubota, Juan MacNamara and Zacharie Garneau are excellent reserves.

Outfield: Our top position prospect, Rob Crawford, who joined by trade from Lansing a year ago tomorrow, will step up to fill the left field position vacated by Enrique Limón’s free agency. Gianni Hagenaars offers us superb defense at centre field, and Pedro Soto was an all-star in right field last year. Terry Lawrence and António Fernández are formally the backup outfielders, but both had terrific seasons in 2050 and will see plenty of action. Dave Plummer is a good minor league backup.

Financial position: With Cantrell and Limón’s contracts coming off the books, and minimum salary players replacing them, we will be comfortably under budget, with a payroll of approximately $92m. Our main need is a defensive upgrade at SS, and I will be exploring the free agent market using some of that headroom. However, I will only invest (a) on a one-year contract, given the budget pressures coming at us in 2052 with several players due to reach arbitration eligibility, (b) if the free agent market can provide a compensation-free player who is better than our existing internal options.

I hope this note provides all the information you were seeking at this stage.

Billy DePodesta
General Manager
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Old 06-16-2018, 06:56 AM   #477
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GM’s notebook

- Kevin Cantrell, Enrique Limón and Jack Morris have become free agents today. All are Type A free agents, so I hope to gain several compensation picks.
- Cantrell is the best free agent pitcher under the age of 30. Along with our former player Michael O’Quinn, Limón is one of the top available position players.
- The free agent market for shortstops is disappointing. Virtually all the players are either elite defenders but with well below replacement level hitting, or average hitters that don’t give the defensive upgrade I’d like. The best option in the former category is probably 32-year-old Curt Cox (not to be confused with former Magpies outfielder Cy Cox), who has a career OPS+ mark of 90. He wants 1 year and $1.1m, so is affordable.
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Old 06-16-2018, 06:57 AM   #478
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GM’s notebook

- I’ve been working the phones with other GMs, trying to find a trade for a good, young, elite defensive shortstop. But I cannot find a player I feel is an upgrade on Eric Warner without having to give up an unacceptably large package of my prospects.
- Looking deeper into Warner’s 2050 stats, maybe he was close to elite defensively at SS in any case. He had a .990 fielding percentage, +4.1 zone rating (from 89 starts) and 1.022 defensive efficiency. And of course overall we had the WL’s best defense.
- I have decided to stick as we are, but try and sign Curt Cox as a backup. I’ll then have an absolute glut of infielders in the organisation, but a couple of them could form useful trade chips later on.
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Old 06-16-2018, 06:59 AM   #479
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Benítez agrees three-year contract extension with Magpies

By Maggie Pye | 06 Dec | 530 comments

Magpies setup reliever Jesús Benítez has received a huge vote of confidence from general manager Billy DePodesta by agreeing to a contract extension worth $3.2m per year. Benítez, who suffered a terrible 10th inning during the Magpies’ calamitous extra innings defeat to Lansing in the WL wildcard game but otherwise had an excellent season with a 2.00 ERA from 70 appearances, was expected to reach arbitration after the coming season. He is now under contract through to the end of the 2054 campaign. He will become a free agent at the expiry of the deal. The agreement is also good news for the club. It will help alleviate the payroll pressure for 2052 that they are facing, as the annual value is significantly below what their front office analysts were expecting Benítez would have been awarded had his case gone to salary arbitration.

Magpies front office sources confirmed that the club were also in negotiation with the representatives of ace Tom Hart and first baseman Gonzalo Torralda, who will also become arbitration-eligible for the first time at the end of next season.
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Old 06-16-2018, 07:00 AM   #480
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Magpies ink pitcher Hart to contract extension through to 2054

By Maggie Pye | 13 Dec | 6,969 comments

Tom Hart said last night that he was “absolutely delighted” after agreeing a 3-year contract extension with the Magpies for the 2052 to 2054 seasons. Starting pitcher Hart, 25, joined the Magpies in May from Baton Rouge, and put up a 3.44 ERA over 164 innings for a 14-4 record. He did fall away from his best form over the closing weeks of the season, but has been stencilled in by general manager Billy DePodesta to be the team’s rotation leader next year.

The deal is valued at what looks like an extremely club-friendly $9m per year. Hart was due to become eligible for salary arbitration at the end of the coming season, but will instead now become a free agent at the expiry of his new agreement. Hart’s agent told reporters that his client has enjoyed his time in Des Moines immensely, and was happy to agree a below market value deal in order to stay with the club and lead their next postseason push. Magpies fans were said to be ecstatic at the news. An online fan survey scored their current interest in club matter at 100%.
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