Monday, March 29, 2010

Yuma beefs up; Calgary cleans house

The balance of power in the Golden Baseball League has shifted dramatically over the last few weeks. The Yuma Scorpions, last in the league in 2009 with a .380 winning percentage, suddenly look like they might be the team to beat this season. Meanwhile in Calgary, the defending GBL champions appear to be in danger of finishing well below .500 in the North Division.

Luckily for Victoria Seals fans, the Yuma Scorpions are in the South Division. On Saturday, the Scorpions pulled off a controversial trade by acquiring league MVP Nelson Castro from the Calgary Vipers for cash and "future considerations." As with many trades in the GBL, Calgary fans will probably have difficulty determining exactly what those future considerations will entail.

Nelson Castro isn't the only impact player to be added to the Yuma roster of late:
  • Back on February 26th, it was announced that the Venezuelan Baseball Federation signed a three-year agreement with the team owners (Golden Glove Professional Baseball, Inc.) to provide players and support personnel to the Scorpions. When the deal was announced, the implication was that the entire roster would be made up of Venezuelan players.  
  • On March 3rd, Yuma signed Salomon Manriquez, an All-Star catcher in the Atlantic League (the highest level of independent baseball).  
  • On March 18th, they acquired five Venezuelan players from the Laredo Broncos of the United League (which is below the GBL). The impact players acquired from Laredo are pitcher Miguel Pinango and outfielder Jonel Pacheco, both of whom could dominate in the GBL.
  • On March 23rd, the Scorpions signed veteran (American) pitcher Bill Pulsipher who spent six seasons in the big leagues and could be one of the top pitchers in the Golden League.
  • On March 26th, the Scorpions signed two-time Calgary Vipers MVP Carlos Duncan. Duncan's best days are behind him, but the man can still hit a baseball with authority. Duncan, like Nelson Cruz, is also Dominican.
On the flip side of the coin are the Vipers. We knew that the players "on loan" from the Seals (Wilver Perez, Sergio Pedroza and Isaac Hess) wouldn't be returning to Calgary, but the team will also be without a number of other quality players from the 2009 season. These include the aforementioned Nelson Cruz and Fehlandt Lentini, Caonabo Cosme (now with the Seals), Kit Pellow, Mac Suzuki, Rick Guarno, Reggie Rivard and Evan Greusel.

Unfortunately, the Calgary exodus has a negative impact on the Victoria Seals. In addition to Caonabo Cosme, there is apparently one more player to be sent to Victoria in return for the loan of Pedroza, Perez and Hess. This player will be selected by the Seals after the Vipers protect a pre-determined number of players on their roster. Over the past few weeks, that talent pool has become a lot more shallow.