Jan 162012
 

It’s that dreaded dead time again.

No, not in that annoying, overrated Jerry Garcia kind of way.

It’s the post-holiday malaise where it’s the waiting game. Last year, that empty space was filled with a trade (Gorzelanny). Well, we’ve already had that trade (G. Gonzalez) and the next one might simply be the unloading of spare parts, should a free-agent signing occur.

The takeaway I have from the GG extension is that the Nationals have locked down their Big Three in the DC rotation, so any excess is bound to be trade bait. That could be Lannan or Detwiler now, or Solis or Ray later (it does not escape me that those are all lefties).

Meanwhile, the low-level rumblings from the lower full-season affiliates are registering like last August’s earthquake.

A blog has been established to watch the goings-on from Winchester, a rumored relocation spot for Hagerstown. Kevin Reichard at ballparkdigest.com has yet to weigh in, but my take is that if privately funded efforts in more affluent counties (i.e. The Loudoun Hounds) are having trouble getting off the ground, how will a publicly funded effort possible do better (and faster)? Not to mention, the most likely destination (Bridgeforth Field) would need a massive renovation. I’ve seen it done before, but only at the indy level (Lynn, Nashua, Worcester), where the 1991 NAPBL stadium standards don’t apply.

Meanwhile, in Woodbridge the quest for a new stadium for the Potomac Nationals remains a windmill in the distance continues. The latest dispatch has a county official citing a nonspecific setback over a parking garage of undetermined size is delaying a future announcement for the building of a facility located somewhere along the I-95 or I-66 corridor. Apparently, I’m not the only writer desperate for a news peg.

Of course, now that I’ve done a post-to-keep-the-site-fresh, something else minors-oriented might happen today…

  22 Responses to “All Quiet On The Minor-League Front”

  1. The pre-arb signing of Gio looks like a pretty good deal for both parties, maxing out at $12M/year, and locks up the top-3 in the rotation through 2014 at the least.

    So far as the minor-league park situations go, how would Winchester be a better location than Hagerstown? I haven’t dug deep enough into that situation to fully understand it. The Potomac kerfluffle will probably continue unresolved for some time, imo. Seems like everytime Silber & the PWCo board get close to a deal, somebody throws a wrench in the works. Also wondering about how repairs are progressing up in Harrisburg; Haven’t read much on that lately.

    • I’ve gotten assurances from Terry Byrom that the MBP field is ready to go.

      As for the PWC, the idea of chaining the site to something that generates revenue year-round is intriguing, provided that parking is assured for games, particularly for STHs and other VIPs, especially if the new facility has luxury boxes or goes for a non-event amenities (think of the setup they have at RFP in So. Maryland). Like you say, PWC has a history of parsimony and myopia, which is a deadly combination. We can only hope that the financing has a third partner, whether that’s a sponsor or state/federal redevelopment monies. This being Virginia, land of the 4-way stop sign, I’d put more stock in getting a sponsorship.

  2. In regards to Hagerstown Suns possibly relocating to Winchester. The information that has been shared is informing me that this is a legit effort by city officials as it’s been in the works for nearly a year.

    City officials have identified a location within the city that contains approx 8 acres and is not within Jim Barnett Park where Bridgeforth Field is located.

    Maybe Valley Healthy Systems might be interested in buying the naming rights to such a new stadium? Lewis-Gale Medical did that with Salem City minor league park.

    There is a lot of old money within Winchester, who knows maybe some of the heavy hitters want minor league baseball?

    Time will tell …

    • Rare is the municipal plan that hasn’t been “in the works for quite some time now,” so you’ll forgive my incredulity. I would, however, be interested to know the exact proposed location.

      With Hagerstown’s PDC running through 2012, a new facility would have to be ready by April 2013. It’s possible that the NAPBL would allow an interim season at another facility, but I cannot think of an instance in which a team has moved from one city without moving into a previously occupied and/or NAPBL-compliant facility.

      That was the entire point of that stadium standards agreement: To make cities compete against each other to build new facilities. I don’t see any affiliated team moving into a substandard facility.

      I’m also suspicious of the entire idea of Winchester having the demographics to support full-season minor-league baseball. Frederick County may have a lot of “old money,” but it doesn’t have a lot of people: ~74K vs. 145K in Washington County.

  3. Spike looks like Winston Churchill, even to the red eyes. Good to see the big three in for the long haul. But I must be one of the only Nat’s fan who thinks Detweiler could make it a big four. He along with Desi seem to be the two players that the fans overall sell short.
    Sorry, Luke. I realize this isn’t minor league related, but both players are not far removed from the minors.

    • Detwiler, Lannan, and Desmond are the most “tradeable” assets Rizzo has to work with. From that standpoint, you then look to who might replace them on the farm or in a player back in a trade.

      I’m not saying that’s what ought to happen because trading them means doubling down on doubts… Wang’s durability, Espinosa’s second-half swoon, Lombardozzi’s readiness, etc.

      The two most viable replacements for either “spare” LHP appear to be at least a season away, and should Rizzo decide to deal away Lombardozzi, his replacement is probably closer to two years away.

      I don’t envy Rizzo, et al any of those decisions.

      • Mayhap you are forgetting a guy that the Nats just signed to avoid arbitration: Jesus Flores? He is a very tradable asset … unless of course the FO fears side effects from Ramos narrow escape this year that could affect his play. Otherwise, Solano looks better suited to play the backup role with Flores traded to acquire needed assets.

        Keep in mind what Rizzo said when he first took over. And given the current situation team building/construction wise. Trades/deals/transactions often lead to other possibilities. There is a certain coupling between them.

        If they manage to sign Prince Fielder it many open up some other possibilities that might just lead to acquiring the CF in trade for some of the players you list above and others?

        • The next season in which Jesus Flores plays 100 games will be the first since 2006. He also didn’t exactly tear it up in AAA last year like one might expect he should have (this past VWL season is encouraging, but that’s against pitchers that ranged in caliber anywhere from Low-A to AAA on any given night). He did, however, hit well enough to get a raise, and that also decreases his trade value just a tad.

          • Good point about the raise. Same deal with Lannan. He isn’t a 5 million dollar pitcher. Not even close. He would not be tradable with a multi-year version.

            However, both Lannan’s and Flores’ salaries slice in half around the trade deadline and since they are 1 year only? I suspect they both could still be traded. Bet they get more for Flores than they do for Lannan.

  4. City of Winchester population is approx 26k and is surrounded by Frederick County which is approx 74k.

    Valley Health Systems is headquartered in Winchester and their serve an reg’l community that contains 18 counties with population base of 1.1 million.

    So one would think Winchester would be able to draw from a diverse reg’l community of 1.1 million.

    • You’re double-counting the City of Winchester. The 74K figure for the population of Frederick County includes the City of Winchester. Regardless of that figure, the fact remains that Winchester is smaller and less populous. And one thing that is nearly inarguable is that people will only drive so far to attend a game. You can make the contrarian argument that Winchester may do better because it has less competition from other entertainment options, but that argument looks much better in theory than in practice.

  5. To be more exact, based on 2010 numbers …

    City of Winchester … 26,203
    http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/51/5186720.html

    Frederick County … 78,305
    http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/51/51069.html

    City of Winchester is separate from Frederick County.

    • “Regardless of that figure, the fact remains that Winchester is smaller and less populous.”

      Winchester + Frederick County = 104,508 vs. Washington County = 147,430. The difference (42,992) curiously enough is nearly population of the City of Hagerstown itself (39,662). The point still remains: The current market in which Suns exist is substantially (read: 40%+) larger.

      This is not to crack against Winchester. Them’s just the facts. It would personally be more beneficial to me and this site if they were to relocate there because it would by nearly a half hour closer, one less toll, and no river to cross. But I can’t see any ownership group wanting to move to a significantly smaller market without a brand-new facility. Maybe somebody here can think of a team that has, but I can’t.

  6. From what I am hearing, if the City of Winchester lures a team here, there will be a brand new stadium. One has to assume that has to be part of the deal.

    If no new stadium, I agree, I could not see any team moving here.

    This blogger up in Hagerstown has sources close to the situation … http://thoughtsofrs.blogspot.com/

  7. I can no longer remeber the time frame, but I remember taking my kids to Hagerstown to watch baseball & I think it was a AA team back then. I was living in Braddock Heights (Frederick County, Md.) then, so it was an easy drive and the kids loved being so close to real live baseball stars. (:)
    We’re going back 25+ years, but Hagerstown seemed quite the opposite of Frederick, Md. then.

    We’re not that far away from Winchester being a suburb of Washington

    • The final merger of Baltimore and Washington into a single city? Still quite a bit smaller than some of those huge overnight megalopolis’ in the middle of China.

  8. A note about the Big Board and Draft Tracker: Google, in its infinite wisdom, has decided that those documents are violating its Terms of Service, but has not provided any information about what exactly the purported violation is. I am following up and will not rest until I get my work back.

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