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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

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

D’oh! Bailey Taken First in Draft

Looking to deepen their roster of arms, the Texas Outlaws selected pitcher Homer Bailey as the first pick in the only scheduled United Rotisserie League draft.

“Bailey brings a lot to the table,” said Outlaw owner Robert Arnwine.  “He has shown he is very close to being ready for the majors, which gives us insurance in case of injury and motivation in case of lack of performance.  Plus, anyone that allows for numerous Simpsons references will keep our promotions department happy and busy.”

Taken second was third baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff by the Edwardsville Armada.

“Kevin may see time in the URL sooner rather than later,” said Edwardsville top official David Reed.  “We’re anxious to send him to our minor league complex and start working with him.”

January 16, 2007 Posted by | Edwardsville Armada, Texas Outlaws | Leave a comment

Cats Break Out of Comfort Zone, Deal With Armada

A day after dealing with his most familiar trading partner, Charles Rector and the Atkins Alley Cats mixed it up a little, dealing outfielder Chone Figgins and Trevor Hoffman for Mark Redman of the Edwardsville Armada.

“Mix it up a little, that’s my motto,” said Rector about the deal. “Redman should be a strong part of our winning rotation. Hated to see those guys go, but them’s the breaks.”

The Armada seem to be stocking up on closers, having previously dealt for Chad Cordero earlier in the week.

“Having a strong presence at the end of games is going to be big for us,” said Armada owner David Reed. “We think this way we can win some close games late and maybe more than our share of one-run ballgames.”

Late Edit: After consultation with the rules, the commissioner was forced to deem the above trade illegal.  However, the teams modified the deal, with the Armada sending cash with Redman for Hoffman and Raul Ibanez.

January 12, 2007 Posted by | Atkins Alley Cats, Completed Trades, Edwardsville Armada, League Press Releases | Leave a comment

Rosters Fill (Again) As Groups Wind Down

With only one group remaining after Thursday’s signings, more and more rosters are filling up.  Some of them for the second time.

With Thursday’s signings of DH Travis Hafner, outfielder Matt Holliday and first baseman Paul Konerko, the Edwardsville Armada again have 35 men on their roster.  Also filling their slots were Wendy’s Peffercorns, who signed pitcher Rich Harden.

“To be able to have a signing day like today this late in the game is unbelieveable,” said Armada owner David Reed.  “This is why we made the trades to free up room in the first place.  Having hitters of this caliber on our squad will be a huge asset as we try to take the first URL championship.”

Wendy’s owner Mike Salony released a statement, in which he was quoted as saying, “Finishing our staff with a quality guy like Harden is about all you can hope for when you are in this business.  It’s great to see him in the green of the Peffercorns.”

Also having a good signing day on Thursday were the Arkansas Cardinals.  The Cardinals, who had been quiet the last couple of weeks, landed third baseman Scott Rolen, second baseman Placido Polanco and pitcher Anibal Sanchez.

Finishing the signings were the Clarksville Cubs, who were very happy to get shortstop David Eckstein.

“Great price, great player.  Can’t beat that,” said Cubs owner Jason Hoover.

January 11, 2007 Posted by | Arkansas Cardinals, Clarksville Cubs, Edwardsville Armada, League Press Releases, Wendy's Peffercorns | Leave a comment

More Trading In Last Week of Free Agency

Teams continue to jockey for position for the few remaining free agents, as another trade was pulled in advance of Thursday’s penultimate group closing.

On Wednesday, the Edwardsville Armada sent first baseman Sean Casey to the Brewville Style for closer Chad Cordero and financial considerations.  This marked Cordero’s second deal, having been part of the first-ever URL deal back in November.

“We’ve really been focused on getting another closer,” said Armada owner David Reed.  “Getting one of the quality of Cordero has made 2007 get off to a great start.”

The Style were glad to get a player like Casey into the fold.

“We saw what he did in the World Series, and we don’t have any reason to believe he can’t produce at a similar level throughout the year,” stated Style owner Steve Egge.

January 10, 2007 Posted by | Brewville Style, Completed Trades, Edwardsville Armada | Leave a comment

Trade Again Precedes Group Closing

If a group of free agents is about to be resolved, you can almost set your watch by an Atkins Alley Cats trade preceding it.

On Sunday, the Cats sent third baseman Chad Tracy back to Wendy’s Peffercorns, along with outfielder Dave Roberts and financial considerations, for outfielder Chone Figgins. Tracy, who originally signed with the Peffercorns, was traded to Atkins back in November.

“Tracy really wanted to go back and get a crack at helping out the Peffercorns,” said Atkins owner Charles Rector. “We were able to give him that chance while fulfilling some objectives of our own.”

One of those objectives was to free roster slots for some available talent. That paid off when the free agents began signing on Monday, as the Alley Cats landed some of the big names of the group.

Putting on the Cat sky blue on Monday were first baseman Ryan Howard, outfielder Jason Bay, and closer Trevor Hoffman.

“Getting these guys in is going to be a wonderful experience for our fans,” said Rector. “It shows that we are serious about landing quality players and providing a winning environment.”

Also signing on Monday was Carlos Lee (with Wendy’s Peffercorns) and Andy Pettitte (with Edwardsville Armada).

January 8, 2007 Posted by | Atkins Alley Cats, Edwardsville Armada, League Press Releases, Wendy's Peffercorns | Leave a comment

Edwardsville, Brewville Swap Players

While rumors of a Johan Santana trade had everyone looking one way, the Edwardsville Armada surprised the United Rotisserie League by shipping another superstar off to the Brewville Style on Friday morning. The Armada sent Vladimir Guerrero, along with Tony Armas, Luis Castillo and financial considerations in exchange for Freddie Sanchez.

“This frees up some roster space for us,” said Armada GM and owner David Reed said in a press conference. “It’s a lot of talent to give up, I know that, but we think we’ll be able to fill some of those holes in the free agent market.”

The Style were ecstatic to be able to land Guerrero.

“Adding a bat like that, and at such a reasonable price, is a great move for us,” said Style owner Steve Egge. “We are very excited to get him into the Style orange and start marketing him to our season ticket prospects.”

December 29, 2006 Posted by | Brewville Style, Completed Trades, Edwardsville Armada, League Press Releases | Leave a comment