Saturday, August 22, 2009

Hi Everyone! This is Eric Gammons reporting from spring training in Florida!!With the new season just around the corner, let's take a look at one of the biggest trades this off season.

When the Florida Shark Waves found out they had a chance to acquire a player like Zach Charles, they jumped on it. However, Zach isn't on his own. Along with Charles, the Florida Shark Waves acquires RP Raul "Dirty" Sanchez, and RP Luis Gonzales from the Tampa Bay Tankers. Headed to Tampa Bay in return is 3B Joel Clayton, SP Omar Ortiz, and RP Chico Nunez. Now the breakdown.

In season 5, Zach Charles played in 124 games, with 107 starts at 3B. In 478 AB's, Charles hit .282 with 34 HR's, and 83 RBI's. There is no question that Charles is a stud, the only concern is how he will make the adjustment to playing 3B at the ML level.

In season 5, Raul Sanchez pitched in 64 games, equaling 99 innings pitched. Raul was very effective in the set-up role with a record of 7-2 and a 2.55 ERA. Sanchez also set a career low, with a WHIP of 1.07.

In season 5, Luis Gonzales pitched in 53 games, equaling 37 innings pitched. Gonzales was 21-22 in save opportunities and posted an ERA of 2.43. Gonzales' WHIP and OVA were among the best in the league last season with a WHIP of 0.97 and a OVA of .165.

In season 5, Joel Clayton suffered a bad neck injury that landed him on the DL and limited his playing time to 22 games. In those 22 games, Clayton hit .226 with 5 HR's and 15 RBI's. In Season 4, Clayton hit .312 with 47 HR's and 135 RBI's. Only time will tell if he can bounce back.

In season 5, Omar Ortiz started 26 games in AAA going 10-9 with a 3.66 ERA. In 179.2 innings, Ortiz had 147 K's and 72 BB's. At the end of season 5, Ortiz got a "cup of coffee" at the big league level and looked like he had been there all year. In 3 starts Ortiz went 2-1 with a 2.88 ERA. 2 out of 3 of Ortiz's starts were complete games.

In season 5, Chico Nunez pitched in 53 games for a total of 63 innings. In those 63 innings, Nunez went 3-3 with a 4.43 ERA. Tampa expects big things from Nunez in his second ML season.

After suffering a herniated disc in his neck, Joel Clayton has drawn a lot of attention and questions. Will he ever be the great power hitter he once was? After 4 straight seasons with at least 35 HR's. Clayton only played in 22 games last year. One of our field reporters caught up with Joel Clayton at a recent Tanker practice. When asked how he thinks last year's injury will effect him, Clayton replied, "I'm still the great player I've been the last 5 seasons, nothing has changed." When confronted with the reports that he has lost a lot of strength due to the injury, Clayton replied with, "Even if that's true, during the time off my defense got even better. I think I will fit in perfect with this group of players." Only time will tell if the injury bug will come back to haunt Joel Clayton and the Tankers.

After the trade was completed, I was able to sit down with both owners and get their opinion on the trade.

Eric Gammons: " First off, thank you for taking the time to do this interview Rawdk. Okay, lets get started. Be honest with us Rawdk, why did you make this trade?"

Rawdk: " It was very tough giving up Chico and Omar as they were young stars we wanted to build around. The opportunity to acquire someone of Zach's ability, at his age, is quite unique and we had to jump on it. Bringing back Gonzo and adding "Dirty" Sanchez really help us solidify our bullpen. Clayton had worn out his welcome. We felt he was overpaid and had too many years left for us to keep him."

Gammons: "There were reports that Clayton’s attitude had something to do with this trade, any truth to that?"

Rawdk: "His prima donna like attitude isn't what we are looking for within this organization. We still wonder how bad his neck was last year that he couldn't play."

Gammons: " So I'll take that as a yes. Would you have still made this trade if you hadn't traded Jeremi Welsh earlier this off season?"

Rawdk: "I would have definitely gone after Zach even if I didn't trade Welsh earlier in the offseason. I'm sure it would have changed some of the pieces involved but Zach is why we made this trade."

Gammons: " I see. Okay one last questions that your fans are begging to know. Will there be an open competition this spring for the closer role?"

Rawdk: "It's Gonzo's job. He's been here before and did a great job for us. It's his to lose."

Gammons: " Thanks for your time Rawdk!

Now, the "interesting" interview with the GM of the Tampa Bay Tankers, mrploppie.

Eric Gammons: " Thanks for taking time in your busy schedule to do this interview with us Ploppie! After this trade was made, there were a lot of rumors going around to exactly why Zach Charles was traded. Could you further explain that for us?"

Ploppie: "Trading Zach Charles was one of the hardest deals I’ve made in my 42 seasons playing HBD. Charles is a great talent and has a Hall of Fame type career in front of him. If it wasn't for his addictions to crack cocaine and cheap hookers, he would have been a Tanker for life. It's not that I object to crack and hookers, but the cheap bastid wouldn't share. That's not team spirit, and I like team players, damn it !"

Gammons: " Interesting answer, thanks for the truth Ploppie. Thanks for your time."

You heard it yourself! Is the real reason Charles was dealt to Florida, a drug addiction? We will never know for sure.

Looking for a expert opinion on the deal, I recently sat down with the GM of the reigning World Series Champion, NY Pride of the Yankees.

Eric Gammons: "Domi, thanks for taking time out of your busy schedule to sit down with us for this interview. Being an owner that always has an opinion on everything, what’s your opinion on the Zach Charles trade?"

Domi: "I think Florida, led by annoying but Shrewd owner/GM/manager Rawdk pulled a fast one over Tampa and Sir Ploppmeister."

Gammons: "Can you explain what you mean by that Domi? "

Domi: "Florida gave up a solid defensive player in Joel Clayton, but he lost significant rating points coming off that herniated disk that kept him on the DL a lot of last season. and with such a ratings hit to his health, he has to be careful to stay healthy. Offensively, I don’t see him much more than a 6 hole hitter at best. In my lineup, he may not even get on the field....he also has a pretty high salary too....Omar Ortiz may be a dilemma, with his max projected control of 55, he may never quite be a ML allstar...his pitches are strong and with high splits, he can probably overcome the control to be a solid #4 starter, maybe #3 if Plop master is lucky...and the 3rd guy Tampa obtained, Chico, is a solid set up guy, no complaints for the other end of the deal, Florida somehow swindled future perennial all-star and possible MVP of the future candidate Zach Charles. This dude can flat out hit. If I was Ploppie, I wouldn’t have traded Charles by himself for all 3 guys he got back...not to mention Florida landed 2 strong closer/set up types in Gonzalez and Sanchez. I think this trade is a no brainer--Florida and Rawdk made out like a bandit on this one. and that’s too bad cause we here in NY, the home of the DEFENDING WORLD CHAMPS, like seeing Florida lose."

Gammons: " You’re never short on words are you Domi. lol. Thanks for your time!!"

This trade was no doubt one of the biggest trades of the offseason. Only time will tell who truly got the better end of the deal. All we know for sure is this trade will have a huge effect on each team!!!!!!!!!!! Until next time, this was Eric Gammons reporting from spring training in Florida!

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