Jackson Issues Warrant to California for Ortiz

On the eve of this season’s entry draft, the Jackson Hammerheads and California Sharks made a swap that filled holes for both sides.  California acquired right-handed starter Todd Warrant from their fellow cartilage-based club in exchange for 3B Max Ortiz and long reliever Jason Richter.

Max Ortiz

Both teams were dealing from areas of relative strength in order to shore up weaknesses on the roster.  The Hammerheads had a vacancy at the hot corner after losing Kim Fleitas in the expansion draft in a controversial move.  In the 36-year-old Ortiz, Jackson landed a veteran player who is regarded as defensively challenged, but packs a potent bat.  The Sharks acquired him at the trading deadline last season and saw him go on a tear, batting .383 with 6 doubles and 6 RBI over 20 games.

“Hot dog!” exclaimed new Heads manager Bob Henley.  “We got a howitzer brigade in this lineup, and Max only makes us that much deeper.  Our lineup should be rated R with all the violence we’re gonna do to that poor ball.”

Ortiz, who projected to platoon on the corners for California this season, had mixed feelings about the trade.  “I hate to leave California,” he told reporters.  “Even though I was not here long, I made a lot of friends.  And I love the culture and the weather here as well.  But I also want to be playing every day, and I will be doing that in Jackson, which is very good.”

Sharks manager Eduardo Aponte wished Ortiz well in his new home.  “Max is a fine player and a true gentleman,” said the California skipper.  “I know the fans here and his teammates alike will miss him.”

Todd Warrant

The Sharks, meanwhile, were thin in their rotation after losing starters Deke Slater and Brian Goreman in the expansion draft.  They picked up a quality starter in Warrant, a 26-year-old knuckleballer who posted a 13-7 record and a 3.05 ERA.  Like Ortiz, Warrant was a late-season pickup, as Jackson acquired him from the Knoxville Smokies on the eve of the deadline.

“To me, I feel that Todd is the perfect addition to our team,” said Aponte.  “His pitching style is a great contrast to our other hard throwers, and he gives us a fourth high-quality starter.  Our rotation holds great promise this year.”

While some around the league consider the deal a clear win for the Sharks, others point out the inherent unreliability of knuckleballers and point out that two different organizations soured on him over the course of last season.

“Yeah, I’ve dealt with that kind of crap my whole career,” said Warrant.  “Because we don’t throw hard and we look goofy doing it, people don’t trust the knuckler.  I may not be the most impressive-looking player out there, but I’ll get you results.  Now I get to prove everybody wrong, and I get to do it while enjoying good sushi and year-round sunshine.  I’ll take it!”

The 31-year-old Richter spent all of last season in the minors, and is considered a long shot to make Jackson’s Opening Day bullpen.  But relief pitching is always in short supply around the PBL, and Hammerheads owner/whiz-kid GM Steven Butler considers Richter a lottery ticket.

“If I learned one thing last season, it’s that you can’t have too many relievers,” said Butler.  “Richter’s got a live arm, and who knows?”

In a funny coincidence, both principals in the deal (Ortiz and Warrant) spent most of last year with Knoxville.  Smokies owner Jeremiah Mills called the deal “interesting” and likened it to seeing a couple of ex-girlfriends become friends.  “Been there, done that,” said Mills.”

PBL Transactions, 6/1/15 – 6/7/15

The following transactions occurred in the Patriot League over the last week:

California Sharks


California Sharks: Signed free agents 1B Jamal Gerke, SS Grant Knepper, CF Conrad Mojica, SP Kerry Lopez, and RPs Osvaldo Barret and Jason Richter.


Jackson Hammerheads

Jackson Hammerheads: Signed free agents C Carlos Asperzol, 3B Elmo Milliner, LF Monty Walcott, DH Dexter Jester, SP Nico Library, and RF Cortez Petrik.  Waived 1B Coy Tighe. Activated 1B Pete Ciancarulo from the 15-day disabled list.  Placed DH Alex Jaramillo on the 15-day disabled list.  Called up LF Monty Walcott.


Jacksonville Dragons

Jacksonville Dragons: Signed free agents 1B Neal B. Thomas, CF Rondei Isua, DH Isaias Miguel, SP Juan Pascos, and RPs Lauren Gilpatrick and Jamel Janke.



Knoxville Smokies

Knoxville Smokies: Signed free agents 2B Danny Kurland, CF Arnold Carranza, DH Jerome Arch, and RPs Rodolfo Darville, Oscar Madison, and Norman Sater. Claimed 1B Coy Tighe off waivers. Called up CF Arnold Carranza. Demoted SS Lorenzo Arias and RP Edgar Provenza.


Milwaukee Bear Claws

Milwaukee Bear Claws: Signed free agents 2B Quirico Rodriguez, RF Bruce Rew, DH Hans Coghill, and RPs Rodolfo Elmonte, Mike Manigault, and Antonio Schieber.



Orlando Calrissians

Orlando Calrissians: Signed free agents 2B Jeffrey Matter, LF Sang LeLeux, DH Casey Helmers, SP Ali Godari, and RPs Shab Mickolas and Courtney Vanepps.  Activated CF Glen Madden from the 15-day disabled list.


Salt Lake Samurai

Salt Lake Samurai: Signed free agents 1B Lawrence Briski, 2B Gabriel Montalvo, SS Dario Rickard, DH Lazaro Matherne, and RPs Jose Mariata and Bryce Sereno.  Traded RPs Rick Wilkins, Oliver Jones, and Jose Mariata to Knoxville for SP Grant Fore, DH Matthew Weigel, and RP Norman Sater.  (See story here.)  Placed C DeAndre Turnbull on the 15-day disabled list.  Called up RPs Jimmy Okamura and Norman Sater.


Silver City Outlaws

Silver City Outlaws: Signed free agents 3B Narciso Rodriguez, CF Sebastian Melora, DH Charley Ingraham, and RPs Irving Godlewski, Duke Newlin, and Ron Wall.




PBL Transactions, 11/22/15 – 11/28/15

The following transactions occurred in the Patriot League over the last week:

California Sharks

California Sharks:
Claimed free agent SS Melian Gonzalez, RP “Rocket” Ron Scott, and RP Ron Wall.  Waived 3B Elmo Milliner, RP Shab Mickolas, and RP Jason Richter.


Jackson Hammerheads


Jackson Hammerheads: Claimed free agent 2B Erasmo Crofoot. Waived RP Antonio Schieber.


Jacksonville Dragons

acksonville Dragons: Claimed free agent Cs Carlos Asperzol and Raleigh Gajewski and RP John Longroofan. Waived 1B Lawrence Briski, SP Charles McNally, and RP Lauren Gilpatrick. (See story here.)


Knoxville Smokies

Knoxville Smokies:
Traded MR Butch Turnbull to Jackson for 3B Ronnie Aceuedo. (See story here.)



Silver City Outlaws

Silver City Outlaws:
Claimed free agent RF Kent “Tex” Whittier.  Waived RP Norman Sater.