We're beginning to think that the postage for mailing off International League Championship rings is going to really add up this year. Here are a few more players who won't be back.
Leslie Anderson had been released. After a fairly rough start in 2011, he was a mainstay of the Bulls in 2012 and 2013. We did not expect him back, and that’s the way it looks like it will play out. He’s had a good winter so perhaps he will look good to a Korean, Japanese or Taiwanese team.
Backtracking to the middle of the month, shortstop Tim Beckham won’t be back until mid-season at the earliest. He hurt his knee working out, has been operated on, and is beginning his rehab.
Pitcher J.D. Martin won’t be back at all. He signed with the the Samsung Lions (Korea). He was our favorite pitcher last year and he will be sorely missed. We’ll have to do a rant some day about how Major League Baseball could keep some great ballplayers here in the US by simply paying AAA players a bit more.
Chris Gimenez got claimed off waivers by the Athletics. Apparently the Rays wanted to make some room on their 40-man and the Athletics pounced. He will be joining former Bull Stephen Vogt out there. Vogt had a decent year with the Mud Cats and the A’s last year. We liked Gimenez a lot and think that he is yet another catcher that might have been able to help the Rays more if they had let him.
He was only in three games as a Bull while on on a rehab assignment, but Rays DH Luke Scott is off to Korea as well.
For a short trip into the land of the bizarre, here's news of Bull Durham, the Musical. Somehow I just don't see Crash Davis breaking into song … and a duet with Annie just seems a bit odd.
Meanwhile, they've started installing seats in the DBAP and there's only 96 days to Opening Day!
Craig Albernaz is one of WDBB's all-time favorite Durham Bulls, right up there with Chris Richard, Jon Weber, Fernando Perez, Joe Dillon, and Elliot Johnson. His numbers aren't all that spectacular, but in our section of the stands that was always attributed to his lack of playing time. And that really was a problem from our point of view. Over 5 seasons, he only got in 121 games, far fewer than many lesser catchers we've seen come through the DBAP. We thought that 2013 was going to be his year, since, other than Chris Gimenez, the Bulls were light on catchers. Didn't happen.
Mr. Albernaz is certainly a fan's ballplayer. He appears to be focused every minute of the game. He seems to handle pitchers extremely well. He has caught every star pitcher that has come up through the Rays system for the last several years. His work on behalf of the Rays was noted on his departure.
He is off to the Detroit system on a minor league contract, reportedly because he has been offered an opportunity for more playing time. That means he may be coming back to the DBAP in a Mud Hens uniform. Or maybe not.
To be perfectly honest, I could not be happier for the young man. We have often thought that the Rays simply were not giving him the opportunities he deserved and were continually puzzled by their unwillingness to put him behind the plate more often.
Lastly, as we wrote back when in happened, he is responsible for one of our greatest thrills as a Durham Bulls fan. Let's look at it a again. Thanks, Craig! Good luck!
Looks like they've got the drains in place and more of the subsurface. Bulldozers appear to be putting new dirt on top. Next is grass?
This appears to be a photoshopped image of what the Blue Monster is going to look like next year. Story here.
This is what it looks like today. Note the corner where there used to be those shaky stairs going down from the top of the monster to the seating bowl. Wonder how that's going to work next year.
The Bulls recently announced that the team will be in new jerseys next year.
I am not a fan of squiggly fonts. I find them hard to read and simply not very pretty. But that's just me. At least they left the "D" in the logo alone. Will have to wait and see regarding legibility of numbers at at a distance.
Meanwhile, some of last year's Bulls are very likely to be coming back! And have a shot to make it up to the Rays. Vince Belnome, C.J. Riefenhauser, and Kirby Yates were added to the Rays 40-man. See commentary here, here, and here.
Former Bull, and a guy WDBB really liked to watch back in 2007 and 2008, Jeff Niemann, has elected free agency. Niemann has spend a bunch of time on the DL the last couple of years. At 6’9’’ it was fun seeing all those moving parts when they arranged themselves to put a fastball across the plate. Comments here and here.
I can't find the link just now, but I'm sure I read somewhere that Jason Bourgeois has done a deal with the Reds.