The Orlando Calrissians, mired in a season-long slump and stuck at the bottom of the Eastern Division, shook up their roster with two big moves today. First, they acquired DH Erasmo Crofoot from the Jackson Hammerheads to bolster their feeble-hitting lineup. Next, they signed veteran starter Charles McNally to add experience to their rotation.
“It was time for us to make a change on both sides of the ball,” said Calrissians owner/GM Brian Aufmuth. “The way we’ve been playing this year is not acceptable.”
The 30-year-old Crofoot has been a pleasant surprise for the Hammerheads. Claimed off the waiver wire during spring training, Crofoot slugged his way near the top of the league leaderboard with 14 home runs. He also became a fan favorite in Jackson for his all-or-nothing swing and the lifelong globetrotting journey that brought him to the league. But the Hammerheads’ team concept de-emphasizes raw power, and the front office was reportedly concerned that the slugger was too one-dimensional a player to succeed in the long term. Crofoot batted a mere .220 for Jackson, he has had no doubles or triples, and he had more strikeouts (35) than hits (29).
But for the Calrissians, who have hit only 28 home runs as a team, Crofoot’s power would be a blessing. He is expected to play second base, his natural position, in Orlando.
“Well, I’m used to moving around, so what’s one more stop?” said Crofoot. “It’s good to know that there’s somebody that wants me enough to trade for me. I want to thank the Hammerheads organization for giving me a shot to chase my dream.”
The Calrissians did not acquire Crofoot cheaply, giving up relief pitcher Hilton Sircy in exchange. The 23-year-old Sircy, who came to Orlando via the Polynesian League, was the Calrissians’ most effective pitcher by far, posting an 0.96 ERA. He appeared in only 5 games for the Calrissians, however, and some scouts have raised questions about his durability.
“While we appreciate everything Erasmo Crofoot has done for this team, we felt we had to make this deal,” said Hammerheads owner/GM Steven Butler. “A reliever of Sircy’s caliber is hard to find, and we could really use another lockdown arm in our bullpen.”
Shortly after striking the deal to acquire Crofoot, the Calrissians claimed McNally off the waiver wire. The 37-year-old is best known in Patriot League circles for the locker-destroying tirade he went on after being released by the Jacksonville Dragons in spring training. The Calrissians hope that he can bring some veteran experience to a rotation that is long on potential but short on results. McNally replaces Steve Gardner, a 21-year-old right-hander who has shown flashes of great promise along with serious inconsistency. Gardner compiled a 2-4 record and a 6.30 ERA with the Calrissians. In his last start before being sent down, he allowed 10 runs to California, including 8 in the first inning.
“I’ve been sitting at home waiting for the phone to ring,” said McNally, who reportedly turned down coaching offers. “I know I’ve still got some gas left in the tank, and I’m gonna show the rest of the league that they were wrong to pass me over. Especially Jacksonville. I can’t wait to pitch against them.”
In an unrelated move, the Calrissians placed left-hander Tom Trane on the disabled list with a strained oblique. Trane injured himself during Wednesday’s game against Milwaukee. Orlando called up 21-year-old lefty Aron Filippi to replace Trane.