Some quick hits before heading out for the Winter Meetings in Orlando the next three days.
The last I have seen is that Justin Christian still is a free agent after playing much of 2010 in the New York Yankees system. His presence is going to be known to those scouting the winter leagues because this fleet outfielder is leading the Dominican League with a hefty .383 average (69-for-180) and has been successful in all 22 of his steal attempts. Christian, who started in Independent Baseball with River City (O'Fallon, MO) of the Frontier League and came back to play briefly in the Atlantic League last spring (Southern Maryland at Waldorf), also is showing extra base power with 16 doubles and seven home runs.
THE SIGNINGS SCENARIO
While veteran major league lefty George Sherrill is on the free agent market after being non-tendered by the Los Angeles Dodgers, the big bats of Daryle Ward and Wily Mo Pena are off the market. Ward (Newark, NJ, Atlantic League) has been signed by the Chicago White Sox for their Triple-A Charlotte, NC club and Pena (Bridgeport, CT, Atlantic) is reported to have been signed by Arizona with a major league spring training invitation. Sherrill is one of the best signings ever among players who started in Indy circles. He went all the way from Evansville, IN of the Frontier League and former Northern League cities Winnipeg, CA and Sioux Falls, SD to closing in both Baltimore and with the Dodgers. Winnipeg and Sioux Falls now are in the American Association.
Tampa Bay has once again signed southpaw R. J. Swindle, giving this Northern League (Schaumburg, IL) and Atlantic League (Newark) reliever another chance. Shortstop Ed Rogers (Bridgeport), a steadying influence both on the field and in the clubhouse, has gotten a new contract from Arizona.
Stan Hough is getting another managing opportunity, this time with Fort Worth, TX of the American Association. He spent two years in the Northeast League (Waterbury, CT), then was an affiliated field boss, working as high as Triple-A Ottawa, CA.
Meanwhile, longtime Indy Manager Les Lancaster has departed Sioux City, IA (American Association) after three years to become pitching coach for Philadelphia's Gulf Coast League team in Clearwater, FL.
Monday, December 06, 2010
CHRISTIAN'S BAT HOT WHILE PENA, WARD, ROGERS, SWINDLE AMONG RECENT SIGNEES
Former chief spokesman for Major League Baseball Commissioners Bowie Kuhn and Peter Ueberroth. Six years as publicity director for the Kansas City Royals, and a background in newspaper, radio and television. Started Wirz & Associates, a sports PR and consulting firm, in 1985. Has written extensively on Independent Baseball since 2003.