(AP) - There arent too many people who can claim to
really understand the transactions and decisions of sophomore
owner Adam Costa (who prefers to be called Ad).
Most people in Sydney either really like the new owner for
his willingness to make unusual moves or think that hes
completely out of his mind for exactly the same reason. After
an inaugural season where the Sydney
Rebels sat back and basically watched the league pass
them by they have been far different in this one.
the league still passing them by? Statistically it is. The
team is 29-52 and is nearly the worst team in the league again.
Most people wouldnt consider that effective management
under normal circumstances, and yet one cant help but
get the feeling that there is actually a plan in place for
this team. While that plan may not be obvious at the moment,
what is obvious is that the second year owner knows what he
wants to do with his team and hes showing that hes
obviously not afraid to do it however he sees fit. Not all
of the fans like it, and some of his fellow owners might think
that hes nuts
but theres clearly a plan
recent flurry of trades that brought in fifteen players and
four 1st Round picks in the Amateur Draft while sending out
veterans like Ron Guidry, Hank Greenberg, James Cardoza, Jessie
Powell, Eric Gomez and Randy Sullivan is evidence that the
team plans on getting younger and building through their farm
system. That doesnt mean that they wont acquire
other players here and there or promote from within if they
think those players will help somehow. Players like current
First Baseman Jim Keating and Outfielders Tim White and Rip
Reninger and Catcher Dean Houk are examples of all of these.
to Manager Will VanLandingham, We saw a lot of potential
in Keating last season when he was called up to get some at
bats as our every day DH. Although he didnt hit for
average he did show some nice power and when he played first
base so that we could rest Hank his defense was very good.
Seeing all of those things in Jim was what allowed us as an
organization to move an All Time talent like Hank Greenberg.
Mr. Costa, I and all of our Coaches and Scouts who watched
him felt that Jim was ready to step up and play every day
and hes proven us correct.
has stepped up well for Sydney this season. In his first full
season playing for the team as an every day on field player
(he became the every day First Baseman when the team traded
Hank Greenberg to Long
Beach a couple of months ago) hes hit ..287 for
them with his average hitting .300 a couple of times. Hes
absolutely deadly against lefties, hitting them to the tune
of a .330 batting average while batting .269 against right
handed Pitchers. Keating has 18 Home Runs to go with 45 RBI
and 17 Stolen Bases this season. On the field hes been
brilliant, having not committed a single error all season
long. The team looks to him to be a future on field leader,
a roll he looks forward to greatly.
team took a big chance on me last season and an even bigger
one by trading Hank in favor of me this season and I really
want to prove to them that they made a smart decision there,
said Keating from the batting cage at the teams home
field in Sydney. The team recently confirmed that he had been
a highly sought after talent with requests that went all the
way back to last season. GM Costa has staunchly refused to
trade him and firmly believes that hes going to be a
huge part of the team for many years to come.
at Jimmy Keating, that kid has amazing talent and wants to
be a leader for our team. The fact that so many teams have
inquired as to his availability going back to last season
is just further proof of this. Jim is a special player and
we plan on holding onto him for a long time to come."
isnt the only unlikely starter that this team has, or
its only unlikely success story. Both corner Outfielders were
ones who were acquired without a second thought by the owner,
but plenty of head scratching by other people, both those
from within the organization and those outside of it. With
neither Rip Reninger nor Tim White sport heavy batting averages
both are players who Costa says fill a need for the team.
needed to get younger in out outfield and get a little more
power out of it. We didnt originally intend to deal
for a left fielder, but the injury to Kid Bella sort of forced
our hand. We were in talks with a couple of different teams
at the time and had a few different players tossed our way.
I really liked what Rip had to offer, as well as the fact
that hes fairly young and a solid outfielder defensively.
I honestly think that his average and power will come. You
have to keep in mind that this is his rookie season. Hes
barely had 250 professional at bats so to me the fact that
hes only hitting a little over two hundred doesnt
hold a lot of weight. Hell get better with experience,
that much Im sure of.
When asked about Tim White his response was just as calm and
is most likely never going to be a great hitter for average;
hes just not that type. Would we like to see him get
his average up more towards the two fifty range? Yes, but
we didnt get him because of his prolific batting eye
we got him to add a little pop to our lineup and I think hes
done so. Hes already hit 13 home runs this season and
most of them have come since we traded for him. Hes
already had a multi-home run game or two for us and we think
that hell end up with twenty or thirty by the time the
season is over. If he does that we wont care if he hits
two hundred or two fifty. Hell have done what we acquired
In the process of turning the team over the team also rebuilt
part of the starting rotation. While the team shipped out
future Hall of Famer Ron Guidry and solid veteran Starter
Randy Sullivan they got two strong young Starting Pitchers
in return in 29 year old Horace Scherbarth and 27 year old
Rookie John Murphy. Scherbarth is now in his 7th season in
the league and has a career record of 71-94 with an ERA of
3.06 and 617 career strikeouts. This season Scherbarth is
4-5 with an ERA of 3.42. Two of those losses have come with
Sydney due to the staggering lack of run support. Scherbarth,
while frustrated by losing does understand the situation.
prefer to win, any Weaver League pitcher or player does. You
have to understand the situation that youre playing
in though and take into account that the team traded an all
time great like Ron Guidry in order to get you. Thats
a hell of a compliment in ones ability to be acquired
in exchange for a legend like Mr. Guidry. The Rebels acquired
me to be backbone of their future starting rotation and I
plan on living up to that expectation. The wins, the run support
and the rest will come in time. This team wont be where
it is forever, Im positive of that.
Rookie Righty John Murphy has a slightly different view of
things but says that hes willing to see where the team
is going before making any demands of it.
hate losing and this team is going to do a lot of it over
the next few seasons. If I dont see signs that things
are going to get better Ill demand a trade. Its
that simple. I want to win. Period.
far the reactions from some of his team mates, especially
Scherbarth and veteran Shortstop Lew Main have been understanding
yet not at all forgiving. When told of the comments by XM
Radios Ronnie Night Train Lane earlier in
the week, Lew Main responded very sternly, replying;
know something Ronnie, I was happy when I found out that the
team had acquired Horace and John from Stockholm in the Guidry
deal, who wouldnt be happy to hear that we got two solid
and fairly young arms back in that trade? It really ticks
me off though to hear from John that hes willing to
criticize the team already. First of all hes a rookie.
The kid should shut his mouth and try to learn a few things
before shooting it off. Secondly, its not his place
to make demands of anyone except himself, let alone the team.
The kid has amazing talent, but with a record of 2-7 and an
ERA of 4.45 he should be worrying about himself right now,
not smack talking the rest of the team. Believe me when I
say that hell be hearing from me about this very soon."
reaction was strong, but a little more understanding;
is a good kid, hes just inexperienced. Should he go
around calling out the team within his first month, or even
year of being here
of course not. I for one dont
believe in calling the team out in public. Some things are
better off left in the clubhouse where they belong. John is
young though and I think he spoke before he thought. Hes
really a good kid who just really wants to win. Lew and I
will have a talk with him and Im sure hell get
the idea. If not he could see himself benched for a couple
of games. Well see what happens."
asked for a comment about it, GM Costa just shrugged his shoulders
and replied calmly, Well, thats not how Id
prefer hed do it, but Ive never been like that
so perhaps I just dont get it. Ill speak to John
soon and see if we cant get this straightened out."
asked if hed suspend Murphy for his comments, he replied
that hed prefer to avoid such a move because in the
long run it would do nothing but hurt the team and make him
look like a tyrant to the other players. While he made it
clear that he wouldnt accept that sort of talk from
Murphy, or anyone else for that matter, he was also quick
to point out that he admired Murphys will to win
just not his diplomatic aplomb.
nothing else, Sydney stands to come out of all of these trades
with a much improved farm system. In the course of his dealings
GM Costa acquired four draft picks in the 1st round of this
years Amateur Draft. In addition to have the 5th overall
pick as a result of last seasons record he acquired
#22 and 24 in their trade with Long Beach and the 12th and
15th overall picks from their recent trade with Vancouver.
The team is holding what its seeking close to the vest
at this point, but is expected that they feel that they can
get a stud talent with the #5 pick and pick up some strong
future talent with the other four. GM Costa made it very clear
that he was interested in acquiring other picks if the right
deals came along.
it madness or a less than clear strategy for the future? You
decide that for yourself because Mr. Costa isnt saying.
plan is what it is and thats all that I can say about
things right now."