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Free Agents Sign Slowly

The United Rotisserie League’s free agency period has been open for close to a month now, but signings have been few and far between. 

Of those that filed for free agency, only seven—catcher Yadier Molina, first baseman Carlos Pena, outfielders Kosuke Fukudome and Ken Griffey, and pitchers Kelvim Escobar, Rafael Perez and Jose Valverde—have come to terms with teams.  The Arkansas Cardinals and URL Champion Wendy’s Peffercorns have signed the most free agents with two. 

“It’s a weak field,” said Conway Capitols owner Mark Scott.  “Most of the big names were signed to long-term deals last offseason.  There’s not a whole lot out there this year.” 

Edwardsville Armada owner David Reed pointed to the lack of need as well as the lack of quality. 

“There are some guys out there that could help a team,” Reed stated, “but they play positions that most everyone is stocked up on.  Look at Nick Johnson.  If healthy, he can rake and really be productive.  But he plays first base.  There aren’t a lot of people that need a first baseman.  They either have a major league player at that position or have a minor leaguer ready to step up and be productive.” 

Charles Rector, owner of the runner-up Atkins Alley Cats, doesn’t expect that next off-season will be much better.  “Most of the good ones were locked up well past two years.  Sure, you have Josh Beckett scheduled to be a FA, but that could be about it.  It’s when you get into 2009 and 2010 offseasons that impact players become available, assuming they aren’t slapped with the franchise tag.”

Free agency will continue until January 25.

January 14, 2008 Posted by | Arkansas Cardinals, Atkins Alley Cats, Conway Capitols, Edwardsville Armada, Wendy's Peffercorns | Leave a comment

Activity Increases As Free Agency Begins

The doors to free agency were thrown open today, insuring that teams will be talking to players, buzz will be circulating, and various moves will be made.  However, the trade market knows no restrictions and has been very active in the last couple of weeks.

At the center of most of the dealing has been the Arkansas Cardinals and the URL Champion Wendy’s Peffercorns.  Those two teams have made two trades, with the Cardinals making a deal with the Brewville Style on Friday and completing a blockbuster deal with the Conway Capitols as well.

“The Cardinals have been looking to get younger,” said an industry source.  “I’m not sure that they’ll be competitive much in 2008, but they could be good in a few years.  And, of course, any team that now has Albert Pujols is worth watching.”

With some teams wanting to make room for free agents, it is possible that the trade market will continue to fuel the hot stove.

December 10, 2007 Posted by | Arkansas Cardinals, Brewville Style, Conway Capitols, League Press Releases, Wendy's Peffercorns | Leave a comment

Playoffs Come to the URL

After a long, tough season, the excitement of playoff baseball has come to the United Rotisserie League.  Four teams battle it out to see who will be the inaugural United Champion.

In the first matchup, the Texas Outlaws (230-106), owners of the best record in the URL, host the fourth-place Atkins Alley Cats (161-175).  The Alley Cats are the only team under .500 to make the playoffs, but owner Charles Rector is unconcerned.

“The records aren’t cumulative,” he said.  “It’s who plays the best this week.  I think this team can put together a magical postseason run and be a team talked about for years to come.”

Robert Arnwine, Texas Outlaws owner, is confident his regular-season success will carry over to end of September baseball.

Talking to the press on Monday, he said, “We’ve got a lot of solid, producing guys and they’ve been doing it all year.  I don’t see any reason for them to stop now.  Not having [Eric] Bedard will hurt, sure, but I think we can work around that.  Having the series at home is key, as well.  Our fans are going to be loud and proud.  I think our home-field advantage is second to none.”

The other matchup has the Brewville Style (178-158) traveling to Wendy’s Peffercorns (206-130).

“It’s been a rough year on us,” Style owner Steve Egge said, “and I feel like we were fortunate to finish over .500.  That said, we plan on putting up a tough fight for the Peffercorns.  They may want us to wave the white flag, but we’re coming with guns ablazin'”

The Peffercorns were very excited about playoff baseball in Florida, according to owner Mike Salony.

“We really wanted to pass the Outlaws for the top spot, but having home field in at least one round was the top priority.  The Style have played well, but we plan on ending their season after Sunday.”

Both series will wrap up on Sunday, with the winners playing a week-long series at the home of the best record remaining. Continue reading

September 17, 2007 Posted by | Arkansas Cardinals, Atkins Alley Cats, Brewville Style, Conway Capitols, League Press Releases, Texas Outlaws, Wendy's Peffercorns | Leave a comment

League Leaders Collide in Illinois

The first week of the United Rotisserie League’s inaugural season is done and already there is a first-place showdown.

The Texas Outlaws, Arkansas Cardinals and Brewville Style all finished the first week with a 9-5 record, placing them one game ahead of the Conway Capitols. In Week 2, the Cardinals travel to Illinois to take on the Style.

“It’s great to have this early season battle,” said Cardinals manager Sparky Anderson. “We feel we have a team that can beat some people, but we have to go out and prove it. Getting a chance to do so and maybe take over first by ourselves is a great thing. Now, if the snow will just stay away……”
All the home teams won in Week 1, which seems to bode well for Brewville.

“I don’t know about that,” said Egge, “but we do plan on beating the Cardinals to a pulp, especially since it looks like we’ll miss (Chris) Carpenter. We’ve got the tarp on the field, but if those pansies from Arkansas can’t handle a little snow, they are worse off than I thought.”

The other first place team gets a two-week homestand, as Texas hosts the Capitols.

“Mark and I have had a rivalry for a long time,” said Outlaws top gun Robert Arnwine. “To be able to clash early on, with first place possibly on the line, just adds to the luster. Our fans are looking forward to seeing them come in, especially that Albert Pujols guy.”

The Capitols, to a man, say they are pumped as well.

“Texas looks like they are going to have a good ball club this year,” said owner Mark Scott. “To win this league, we are going to have to play well against top competition. This should give us a gauge on how well we are doing.”

The four teams that lost their opening series also get to do battle, as the Atkins Alley Cats drive up the road to Clarksville to take on the Cubs and the Edwardsville Armada head for the warmer climes of Florida to take on Wendy’s Peffercorns.

Cubs owner Jason Hoover is very excited for this series. “It’s our opener, so the first 5,500 fans get a set of Cubs playing cards, perfect for laying down a bad beat on someone. That’s what we plan to do to the Cats as well. It’s going to be like we are holding pocket aces each hand.”

The Alley Cats, for their part, aren’t impressed.

“We’re talking about the Cubs? They still in the league? I figured they’d have folded like 7-2 offsuit by now,” taunted Cats owner Charles Rector. “Seriously, though, we are disappointed in our first outing and we have to take it out on someone. Might as well be Clarksville.”

Armada head man David Reed doesn’t care who they are playing, as long as they get out of the cold.

“It’s been freezing up here in Edwardsville, so I don’t mind at all going to Florida for a week,” Reed said. “Hopefully we’ll have a great week, win some games, and by time we get back home, it’ll have thawed out some.”

The Peffercorns have a lot planned for their home opener, according to Mike Salony, owner of the club.

“We plan to give out 5,000 copies of The Sandlot to those 15 and under that come to the game,” said Salony, “and we’re thinking about having a doggie-day later in the week, letting the pooches come into the game and see if any of them can catch a home run.”

April 9, 2007 Posted by | Arkansas Cardinals, Atkins Alley Cats, Brewville Style, Clarksville Cubs, Conway Capitols, Edwardsville Armada, League Press Releases, Texas Outlaws, Wendy's Peffercorns | Leave a comment

Let’s Get It Started

The clock is ticking.  Final roster positioning is being done.  Bats are ready, stadiums are clean and crisp, the grass is mowed.  Only a weekend stands between now and the beginning of the United Rotisserie League and teams are starting to get excited.

“We’re going to go up to Russellville and take care of those Cardinals” says Atkins Alley Cats owner Charles Rector about his first-week matchup with the Arkansas team.  “This rivalry, which comes complete with a shiny trophy, is one that I’ve impressed upon my players.  We’re going all out to start this season off right.”

Cardinal owner Daniel Shoptaw wasn’t impressed.

“Those Cats talk a good game, sure, and maybe they’ll play one.  But I’ve got faith that my team will come out on top this first week as a precursor to an eventual league title.  And we are excited to be hosting one of the first URL games ever.  There will be lots of great promotions, including an inaugural season baseball to the first 10,000 that come through the gates,” said Shoptaw.

Right down the road in Conway, the Capitols will be hosting the Edwardsville Armada.

“It never rains at Capitols Field,” said owner Mark Scott in a teleconference Thursday.  “We are ready to get this thing going under perfect skies, with a winning team.  That Armada may come sailing in here thinking they are the bomb, but we’ll show them that political power can trump military power any day.  And the first 7,000 fans get a Capitols team set of baseball cards, so how can you beat that?”

The Armada are sure going to try to find a way to beat it, says owner David Reed.

“Mark’s a good guy and all, but when you are looking down the barrel of our cannon, you are going to be singing a different tune.  When you can bring a big gun like Johan Santana into battle, well, you just better go run back inside that pretty little dome of yours!”

The only Arkansas team venturing away from the Natural State is the Clarksville Cubs, who head up to Illinois to visit the Brewville Style.

“It’s always tough to start out on the road, but I think we can go up there and show that we are a solid team,” top Cub Jason Hoover said.  “The Style are tough, but I think with Derrek Lee, Aramis Ramirez and Carlos Zambrano, Cub blue will prevail like it always does.”

Steve Egge, owner of the Style, was confident in his squad.

“Manny Ramirez. Mark Teixeira. Vladimir Guerrero. Jake Peavy.  What is there NOT to be confident about?  We’re going to have a very good year here with the Style.  And the first 12,000 fans that come through the turnstiles on Opening Day will get a free schedule magnet, so plan to be here early!”

The only matchup of the first week not involving an Arkansas team is in Texas, where the Outlaws welcome in Wendy’s Peffercorns

Outlaws owner Robert Arnwine is impressed with the spring showing of his team.

“A-Rod (Alex Rodriguez) and (Justin) Morneau have especially been stinging the ball, and they may both be in the MVP mix.  On the pitching side, you have to like what (Eric) Bedard and Matt (Cain) have been showing.  We’re looking forward to our first game and we think we can take those Florida guys down.  Our fan base should be out in force, especially with Outlaws key chains being given out to the first 15,000 that come in.”

Mike Salony, owner of the Peffercorns, had a different view.

“I’m not excited about making such a long trip to start the season, but better to do it when we are fresh than when we are worn out with the grind.  I’m really not looking forward to the travel come summer time.  All that said, this team is primed to kick some Outlaw rear this week, and I am pretty sure we are going to do just that.”

March 30, 2007 Posted by | Arkansas Cardinals, Atkins Alley Cats, Brewville Style, Clarksville Cubs, Conway Capitols, Edwardsville Armada, League Press Releases, Texas Outlaws, Wendy's Peffercorns | Leave a comment

2007 URL Schedule Released

The United Rotisserie League released their 2007 schedule on Tuesday, and a number of early matchups stood out as must-see baseball.

The season starts off with a strong rivalry, matching the Atkins Alley Cats against the Arkansas Cardinals in Russellville.

“We are excited to start off the season with such a bang,” said Cardinals owner Daniel Shoptaw. “This will be a great way for our team to get the buzz going in the community and quickly see how we are going to match up with the rest of the league.”

Week 2 matches up a couple of old high school friends, as the Conway Capitols make the trek to Texas to take on the Outlaws.

“We may not have geography on our side,” Capitols owner Mark Scott was quoted as saying, “but that won’t dimish the intensity of the two teams. Both sides will be playing their top game in this series.”

The third week of the season has the Clarksville Cubs and the Cardinals tangling for what is sure to be a long and protracted season battle.

Cubs owner Jason Hoover stated, “We really want to take the Cardinals down early and show that we are for real when it comes to supremecy in the Arkansas River Valley and the URL.”

The anticipated Battle of Illinois doesn’t kick off until Week 6, when the Brewville Style travel down to Edwardsville and engage the Armada.

“We’d like to be getting this started earlier in the year,” said Armada owner David Reed, “but we hope that we’ll be ready to go by time the Style get here.”

While not a rivalry either team will acknowledge, the Armada visits Wendy’s Peffercorns in the second week of the season.  That series should be one to keep an eye on as well.

February 27, 2007 Posted by | Arkansas Cardinals, Atkins Alley Cats, Brewville Style, Clarksville Cubs, Conway Capitols, Edwardsville Armada, League Press Releases, Texas Outlaws, Wendy's Peffercorns | Leave a comment

Atkins, Conway Make Historic Trade

While there have been a number of trades in the United Rotisserie League over the past few months, the Atkins Alley Cats and the Conway Capitols found a way to make a new type of deal, including minor leaguers drafted this week in a deal that sent pitcher Chein-Mein Wang, minor league outfielder Chris B. Young and financial considerations to Conway for pitcher Nate Robertson and minor league outfielder Cameron Maybin.

“Maybin had been high on my target list,” said Alley Cats owner Charles Rector, taking time from managing other issues with his unique style to comment to a local reporter. “When Conway drafted him, plus were holding Robertson, I knew I need to make a deal. Losing Wang reduces our publicity department’s juvenile urges as well, so there is a benefit there as well.”

For their part, the Capitols seemed equally excited.

“We’ve been pretty quiet on the trade front, but this is one that we really felt we need to make,” said owner Mark Scott. “Getting a guy like Wang, while providing many marketing opportunities, was nice but having Chris Young in our stable was a real key. We think he may challenge some of our projected starters and be in the majors by the end of the year.”

The minor league draft, on the whole, has gone well according to Commissioner Daniel Shoptaw.

“We’re into the fifth round and only ten days have passed since we started this phase of the URL,” he said in a press conference on Thursday. “I wouldn’t be surprised to see us wrap this up early in February in time to open camps up and get ready for the start of the season.”

January 25, 2007 Posted by | Atkins Alley Cats, Completed Trades, Conway Capitols, League Press Releases | Leave a comment

Castillo Dealt for Second Time in Two Hours

Luis Castillo had the shortest stint in a uniform the United Rotisserie League has ever seen.

Just hours after being acquired by the Brewville Style in a deal, Castillo was shipped out to Wendy’s Peffercorns in a four-player deal. Going with Castillo was third baseman Bill Hall, while the Peffercorns sent Takashi Saito, Kenny Rogers and financial considerations to the Style.

“Flipping Castillo like this was never our intent,” said Style owner Steve Egge. “However, Mike (Salony, owner of the Peffercorns) and I got to talking and it seemed to work out for the both of us.”

The Peffercorns were pleased as well with the deal, according to Peter Gammons, Wendy’s GM.

“Getting a guy like Hall that can play so many positions, that’s going to be a very helpful asset as we round out the roster and finish putting the pieces together,” said Gammons in the press conference held in the “Northern Command”, the Boston division of the Wendy’s braintrust.

After the moves of Friday morning, only the Conway Capitols now have a complete roster.

December 29, 2006 Posted by | Brewville Style, Completed Trades, Conway Capitols, League Press Releases, Wendy's Peffercorns | Leave a comment

Teams Finalize Rosters on Post-Christmas Deals

Both the Brewville Style and the Conway Capitols wrapped up their free agent signings, filling in the rest of their roster with quality signings on Thursday as business resumed with a vengance after the Christmas break.

Prior to Thursday’s signings, familar trade partners Wendy’s Peffercorns and Atkins Alley Cats swapped players, with Raul Ibanez going to the Cats and Mike Gonzalez to the Peffercorns.  This became very beneficial for both teams, as they landed free agents that they normally would not have been able to land.

As of this writing, the Cats were still deciding on the pitcher they were going to sign, having landed the rights to two of them.  The Peffercorns signed outfielder Carlos Beltran to a five-year, $125 deal.

“Getting Beltran makes that whole Ibanez trade that much sweeter,” said Peffercorn owner Mike Salony.

Conway only needed one player to finish their roster, and they signed outfielder Jeff Francouer to a $35, five-year contract.  The Style made a bigger splash, wrapping up the last five players they needed, headlined by second baseman Ian Kinsler’s five-year, $61 pact.

“I didn’t expect to complete my roster today,” Style owner Steve Egge was quoted as saying, “but if I had to, these are great guys to get.  Looking over the team, it looks very good in my eyes.”

The Clarksville Cubs finished up their pitching staff by signing Ben Sheets to a $150, five-year deal.

“For the last pitcher we signed, he’s darn good,” grinned owner Jason Hoover.

The URL will take another breather for New Year’s before resuming next week in a last push to finalize rosters and prepare for the minor league draft.

December 28, 2006 Posted by | Atkins Alley Cats, Brewville Style, Clarksville Cubs, Completed Trades, Conway Capitols, League Press Releases, Wendy's Peffercorns | Leave a comment

Cardinals Continue Trading Ways, Make Blockbuster Deal

The Arkansas Cardinals made their second trade in less than 8 hours, sending second baseman Chase Utley, third baseman Brandon Inge, and outfielder Jeremy Hermida for third baseman Miguel Cabrera, late of the Edwardsville Armada.

“Miguel Cabrera is a rare talent, in our view,” said Cardinal owner Daniel Shoptaw, who replaced Arkansas GM Billy Beane at the press conference when Beane reported “flu-like symptoms”.  “I know that Utley is amazing as well, but Cabrera is younger and has even more upside.”

Cabrera has the second-highest contract in United Rotisserie League history, only surpassed by the Conway Capitols’ deal with first baseman Albert Pujols.

“Miguel is a great player, but that contract was swamping us,” Armada owner David Reed said in a press conference.  “We couldn’t do a salary dump on a guy like that, but getting quality players back and reallocating our payroll made this a great deal for us.”

December 20, 2006 Posted by | Arkansas Cardinals, Completed Trades, Conway Capitols, Edwardsville Armada | Leave a comment