LF Aurelio Ibarra comes off the books after an injury plagued season 18. At 5.2M he will not be back. His neck injury looks to be close to a career ender, He could still be a relevant backup somewhere else, but his career in Salem is done. C Ruben Lee still calls a very good game, but he's not going hurt too bad at the plate and could be a nice cheap backup. It is a surprise that he is not back in with the Slammers. 3B Steven Jenner revived his career in season 18. He's a nice player to have coming off the bench, but fund himself the odd man out in Salem. He will seek employment elsewhere touting last season's18Hr and 81rbi. SP Lou Lamb- might be a decent 5th starter for a team in need. Not worth the 4.3M he was paid last season and he most likely will be a late spring pickup for a team hurt by injury. RP Louie Maduro was retained at 4M a season and still could be solid in relief. RP Russell Ross is still a solid long reliever, just will be looking for a new home in season 19 .
Most of the workingman Slammers is up for arbitration for the 1st time. This will put the team at the crossroads of decisions. There are a number of good players in Salem, but no superstar. Ozzie Jang could be one of the best offensive catchers in the game, but his lack of defensive skills relates him to a Mike Piazza type player, but who among us would not want Mike Piazza as our catcher. SS Roosevelt Murphy signed a 5 year deal in season 17. He is a solid shortstop right now but his future will be at 3B probable as soon as next season. His bat should still be good for 20 homeruns, his speed is good for stealing 20+ stolen bases if he could do that in a vacuum, but his poor base running has limited him to fewer than 15 most seasons. Salem has a great Outfield combination of Chin-Feng Meng, John Young, and Ted Barkley, they should provide their same blue collar offense and defense fans have grown to expect. The biggest competition for Salem was to be at second base where incumbent Carson Sauer will get competition from his doppelganger Jorge Ramirez. But Salem cut the competition short by dealing Ramirez for Shortstop Aaron Fox. Fox should fit well in the center of the defense and add enough offense to earn his 10.5M salary. It might be the time for Salem to tap into its minors and bring up a few stagnant bats. C Tony Satou, SS Tony Satou, LF Albert Segui, and RF Domingo Mantalban have all been sitting idly in the minors waiting for an opportunity. Not one is a star, but they might be great support pieces for a team who needs to strengthen his bench or fill out the roster. They also give Salem a chance to shoot for the moon and miss and still have a guy to fall back on the farm.
The big two Angel Mateo (ML) and Charlie Johnson (ML) are 33 and 35 going into the season. They are not the future, but they could be the now. Add in Ivan Brock, and Amos Casey and Salem will have a good chance to win any game. Rookie Bill Burnett effectively made the jump from AA to ML last season raking up a 4-1 record with a 2.86 ERA. He will be exposed this season a little more and should be expected to be closer to 5.00ERA. With Orber Leon sitting in HiA, Salem has weapons on the farm that will be ready in the spring. Leon might walk out of spring with a starting gig if he shows he can find the strike zone consistently.
The pen has a talented closer in Albert Rincon who recovered last season after a poor season 17 (5.54ERA 11 blown saves) to season 18's numbers (3.67era 36 saves). Midre Maradona and Otis Trammell are long standing setup men and will return in season 19. Salem has to hope they come back with improved numbers. With AA Relievers Felix Tucker and LRP Hal Friend sitting in the minors there will not be much slack for those who struggle. Friend should be in the running coming out of spring for the weak long relief position. Scouts believe he could easily overtake Willie Crespo (ML) or Tomas Jacquez (ML).
Salem needs to add a superstar bat at 3B they could do it through trade or go for the big signing. This is not a team built to win in 5 seasons. They need to move toward the light before the light fades.
Saying it With Quotes: "I'm glad to be in salem, This is a great opportunity for me to win that World Series I have always wanted"