Monday, February 6, 2012


The St. Francis Friars appear to be in an organizational shakeup, with neither GM "Trader" Jack McKeon or any of the largely-invisible members of the Celestine Order publicly commenting on any aspect of team activity during the 2012 off-season.

The 2009 expansion club made it all the way to the top of the BARB roost in 2012, with one of the loop's top offenses scoring runs at a club-record pace until around August. After that, an injury epidemic to both left-handed starters (Braden, Delarosa, Richard) and left-handed hitting (Choo, Youkilis) transformed the 2011 Friars into a more average club. They faded badly in September, limping into the playoffs as a wild card while the surprising (and, frankly, left-for-dead) Philadelphia franchise caught them for the Central Division title. Yuma made short shrift of St. Francis in the playoffs, sending the Friars home, their mission unaccomplished.

Now, with the news that the league may expand again circulating through its front offices, McKeon and the rest of his management team are playing their cards close to their vest: they will have relatively poor draft position and moved significant young talent to make their playoff run last season, and a press release confirms that the club's chief priority at this time is simply to cut salary, as the following brief snippet details:

"Feb. 4th---For immediate distribution----The St. Francis Friars announced that they were releasing the following players:

C Taylor Teagarden
OF Vernon Wells
OF Felix Pie
RHP Jason Frasor
RHP Brandon Lyon


Not exactly a wealth of information! The moves will save the club nearly $30 million next season, but with $185 million still committed on paper, this is an organization on a collision with fiscal reality, that will need to trim $60 million simply to meet the league's cap.

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