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Minor Details: Keeping The Kids Close.....

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"My cats breath smells like catfood"

Ok, I've been rough on Ned before. His trades with the Rays have been outright questionable, to me at least. However, he's "on the cusp" of a Wild Card playoff berth and he's decided to re-up with "Timberlurch"(He's bringing balking back! Yeah!), so he's not completely dumb. He, using incredible depth in the minors and tons of cash, built a playoff-contending team. Big ups, Ned, Big ups.

However, I'm really starting to question your sanity when you're basically going to trade us both of your Single A (Low and High A) Minor League Affiliates for what probably will end up as our recent affiliates(SW Michigan/Great Lakes and probably Visalia/Arizona). That's not too uncommon, but Vero Beach has pretty much been historically synonymous with Dodger baseball. I could be wrong, but it's been the Dodgers' long-time Spring Training site. It's called "Dodgertown", for god's sake.

Here's a dandy of a quote from Senior VP Gerry Hunsicker in the Press Release

"We are thrilled to have an affiliate in our home state," said Rays Senior Vice President of Baseball Operations Gerry Hunsicker. "It will give our fans an opportunity to see our future firsthand. We are also excited to expand our partnership with the Dodgers. Our Dominican relationship has been outstanding and we look forward to working with them in Vero Beach as well."

I find it hilarious that Hunsicker is using the word "partnership", seeing as we've been pretty crappy partners with them. If you look at the 3 trades that we've made with them, we basically got them a toppling tree, a misused Utility hitter and Wilson Betemit(seeing as we supplied them with Baez). We truly don't know what we got back from them just yet, but we've got alot of kids' rights for 4-6 years for players with a few weeks-to-1 season contracts. Logically, we've got the upperhand as long as 1 of those prospects pans out. </rant>

Back to this Minor League Affiliate Shake-up...

How does this help us? It helps us with the development of our pitching prospects in catching up with the immense number of high-quality hitting prospects. The SAL League(where Columbus plays) and the Florida State League(where Vero Beach plays) are both considered pitcher-friendly leagues. When the Columbus contract is made official, 5 of our 6 Minor League Affiliates will be playing in either neutral or pitcher-friendly leagues. It puts alot more pressure on our hitting prospects, though Vero Beach has a high propensity for giving up HRs(last I checked, it had the 4th highest rate in the minors).

Count me in for a Vero Beach Rays(not sure if they'll be that or a different team name) hat when they go on sale next March.

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