Dixie Discussions: Charleston Makes Big Splash at Winter Meetings

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Updated: April 30, 2014

Dixie Discussions

 

By Connor Jackson, DD

New GM Mark Kierstead has not been long on the job but he has already made a deep impact on the Statemen’s roster and is looking to shake up the Dixie. While Kierstead’s pre winter meeting moves were all about adding to the offense, the winter meetings saw him go 180 degrees in the other direction.

Charleston’s trade were easily the biggest in terms of any deals carried out by teams in the Dixie. Even if the other teams had done more than a handful of trades, it would have taken a real blockbuster to match Charleston acquisition of pitching talent. Thier catch included former Kentucky Thoroughbred Floyd Davis and Shin Seiki talented young starter Yujiro Kondo. The biggest fish they reeled in, so to speak, was Manuel Corona. Corona is a team ace, regardless of where he pitches, who has a Golden Arm Award and a Rodriguez Trophy in his personal trophy case. However his most noteworthy accomplishment may be recovering from elbow ligament reconstruction surgery and returning to pre injury form. With these acquisitions Charleston is challenging Florida’s hold on having the top rotation in the Dixie, and have pitching talent at the PEBA level in spades.

Good pitching, especially good starting pitching, is always in short supply in the PEBA. When the league expands next season, the lack of top quality pitchers will probably be even more evident. Charleston has gathered in a treasure chest of starting pitchers, many who would be number one on other squads. But will their offense be the chink in their armor, a killer achilles heel?

One thing we learned by watching Bakersfield last year is that good pitching will not by itself win Championships or even a trip to the playoffs. Bakersfield led the SL in most pitching categories, but found themselves at the bottom of nearly every hitting category. Bakersfield’s 83 wins is certainly nothing to sniff at, but with Charleston stretching its budget a bit with the Mayor deal, there isn’t a tremendous room to acquire proven offensive talent. Not only that but the Statesmen were near the bottom of the IL in offensive production last year, and those players who were most productive have for the most part either left via free agency or have been traded away.

There is still plenty of time for Charleston to continue to make moves, but will they? Bakersfield was desperate enough for offense that they traded away a top pitcher to acquire a top batter with a division rival. Charleston may be content to let their pitching do the heavy lifting and see what their offense shakes out over the next season. Many fans of Charleston’s Dixie opponents are probably glad that in a years time their talented rotation will be someone else’s problem.