Friday, April 23, 2010



A pair of deals with BARB clubs has the St. Francis Friars feeling better than they’ve ever felt about their ballclub, and they were made in large part due to the savvy of the club’s new Special Advisor, 79-year-old Jack McKeon.

McKeon, whose nickname is ‘Trader Jack’, helped engineer the deals to streamline their increasingly talent-laden roster for Opening Day.

Dealt: OF Lastings Milledge, C Ronnie Paulino, LHP prospect Tony Sipp and RHP Chris Ray

Received: C Bengie Molina, OF prospect Aaron Cunningham, 1B Daniel Murphy and LHP Garrett Olson

The new roster:

C Bengie Molina
1B Adam LaRoche (R) / Casey Blake (L)
2B Ben Zobrist (R) / Felipe Lopez (L)
SS Alexei Ramirez
3B Casey Blake (R) / Andy LaRoche (L)
LF Johnny Damon (R) / Carlos Quentin (L)
CF Shin Soo-Choo (R) / Chris Young (L)
RF Carlos Quentin (R) / Shin Soo-Choo
DH Johnny Damon (R) / Scott Hairston (R)

Bench: C Rod Barajas, SS Cesar Izturis, IF LaRoche, IF Lopez, OF Hairston, OF Young

SP: Arroyo, Oswalt, De La Rosa (L), Floyd, Moyer (L)

Long Men / Spot Starter: Micah Owings (R), Jason Vargas (L)

Bullpen: Frank Francisco (R), Brandon Lyon (R), Pedro Feliciano (L), George Sherrill (L)

For the first time in their history, the Friars actually sported more pitching depth than they could take north. Despite decent springs, RHP Fausto Carmona, RHP Randy Wells, RHP Joel Zumaya and LHP Clayton Richard all remained behind due to a numbers game. C Taylor Teagarden, LHP Garrett Olson and RHP Chris Young failed to distinguish themselves and were sent to extended spring training, while the just-acquired Murphy was placed on the DL.

McKeon’s take was frank and to-the-point. Chomping on a freshly-lit Havana, ‘Trader Jack’ growled, “I didn’t get the nickname I got by pussyfooting around. I was a GM before any of you guys had a first date.” This was accompanied by a gesture in the direction of a (red-faced?) Brother Johann, the CEO of the religious order-backed club.

“Ah,” the Head Friar temporized, “You of course know we took vows of celibacy?”

“I’ve read the papers recently,” McKeon shot back. “I think you should keep those vows. Me, I’m an animal when it comes to player movement. Lastings is a good player, can play all four OF slots, but we didn’t have a place for him in St. Francis. He should make a contribution for Worcester. The Murphy and Olson are organizational players, they should be lucky to have a job. Molina’s going to start for us, of course, but he is no spring chicken and he could be had for the right offer. Shoot, I don’t like to think anyone can’t be moved!”


Recently-retired IF Mark Loretta will join the club as the Friar’s new third-base coach after finishing his career with the Frostbite Falls Flying Squirrels. Former coach Glenn Hoffman was expected to take an assignment as a roving minor-league instructor, and McKeon signaled that they might continue to fiddle with the coaching staff through the month of May.


Sunday, April 11, 2010



Brother Johann is the chief operating officers of the St. Francis Friars, the 2009 expansion team entry into BARB. The Friars are actual monastic order, an offshoot of the Dominicans and influenced by the thought of Albertus Magnus.

While the GM remains the elusive Scott Hatfield, the day-to-day operations of the franchise will take its lead from the order, which emphasizes charity, education and open-mindedness.

"As Paul said," Brother Johann quoted, "charity bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things and bears all things. As we are surrounded by the return of spring, our hearts turn once again to the sound of bat on ball. We believe that last season was a proving ground. For He is like a refiner's fire! Our roster has changed, and we ask you to consider the work that has been done since last season began!"

Veteran baseball scribes sighed, as usual, at the flowery pronouncements of the Head Friar, but it had to be admitted that a whiteboard diagram held up in the middle of the room did show evidence of serious change. On the right, in green, is listed the 2009 Opening Day Roster and next to, with new acquisitions bolded in red, is the 25 men projected to open with the parent club this season. It is clear that the 2010 Friars will be more than a collection of castoffs.


C Ronnie Paulino C Rod Barajas
C/IF Brandon Inge C Ronnie Paulino


IF Felipe Lopez 1B Adam LaRoche (RH) / Casey Blake (LH)
IF Nick Punto 2B Ben Zobrist (RH) / Felipe Lopez (LH)
SS Cesar Izturis SS Alexei Ramirez
IF/OF Ryan Freel 3B Casey Blake (RH) / Andy LaRoche (LH)


IF/OF Casey Blake LF Johnny Damon (RH) / Carlos Quentin (LH)

IF/OF Ben Zobrist CF Shin Soo-Choo (RH) / Ben Zobrist (LH)
OF Johnny Damon RF Carlos Quentin (RH) /Shin Soo-Choo (LH)
DH Johnny Damon (RH-LH)


Virtually none. C Taylor Teagarden
IF Cesar Izturis
2B Felipe Lopez
OF Chris Young
OF Scott Hairston

Starting Pitchers:

RHP Justin Verlander RHP Roy Oswalt
RHP Kyle Davies
RHP Jorge De La Rosa
RHP Gavin Floyd RHP Bronson Arroyo
RHP Edwin Jackson RHP Gavin Floyd
LHP Jamie Moyer LHP Jamie Moyer


RHP Yusmeiro Petit AAA: RHP Chris Young
RHP Chris Ray AAA: RHP Fausto Carmona
RHP Juan Salas AAA: RHP Randy Wells
RHP Frank Francisco AAA: LHP Tony Sipp
LHP George Sherrill
LHP Jason Vargas long men: Jason Vargas, Micah Owings
setup: George Sherrill, Pedro Feliciano, Brandon Lyon
closer(s): Joel Zumaya, Frank Francisco

What a huge difference from a year ago, especially when you consider the stockpile of prospects now in the system: C Jesus Montero and J.P. Arecebia, IF Brett Lawrie and Todd Frazier, 3B Pedro Alvarez, RHP Kyle Drabek and Shelby Miller, LHP Tyler Matzek, Mike Montgomery and Clayton Richard