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.


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