Construction site – press conference in San Antonio

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Updated: October 19, 2014
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By Joe Ricotta
Calzones.com

 

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Simon Kuliszewski

SAN ANTONIO — San Antonio Calzones of Laredo’s general manager Simon Kuliszewski’s year-end press conference went about as one would think. The Calzones are in a „compete and development” mode. It means they have only slim chance at the 2021 postseason, but it’s better than last year, which had no chance at all. Developing young talent is the priorioty.

Here are few statements by Kuliszewski worth analysing.

 

Kuli: „We’re going to be competing while we continue to develop young players.”

 

Analysis: This is the crux of the whole conference and it speaks for itself. Kuliszewski understands that he has many young talented players in the team and they need time to develop their full potential. Even now they could – with few additions – make some noise in the standings in the Dixie Division, but it’s one of the youngest team in the league and there is no need to rush things.

 

Kuli: „I was hired here for long term plan and my moves show it.”

 

Analysis: Let’s check it. One of Simon’s first decisions was to part ways with few of the older players. Two trades in particular involved San Antonio’s veterans and young prospects on the other end:
1) MR Cipriano Pena (33 y/o) was traded for SP Danny Burgess (24),
2) SP Vincente Coronado (32), MR Roberto Rosado (30), MR Ed Stanley (30) were all traded for 2021 4th round pick and OF Jimmy Hudson (24).

Both Danny and Jimmy should become useful additions to the team in the future, especially Hudson who in 2020 was named #38 prospect in PEBA, looks promising. These moves didn’t strenghten the team at all, Calzones were losing pretty much the same percentage of games as they were before (win/lose record before Simon’s reign 38/49 and 30/45 since). But it is obvious it’s not what Kuli was looking for. Other than swapping old players for younger ones, secondary goal here was to free some salary cash for future moves. And you can say mission was accomplished: total salary of traded players was 31,75 millions/year. Not bad, right? Losing these players, especially Ed Stanley, who was a Calzone since 2014 is indeed painful, but it’s the part of the game. Future will tell if these were the right moves by Kuliszewski, but at least you can’t say he doesn’t have a plan.

 

Kuli: „We’re not planning to sell out for 2021, we need all of the most talented players to stay with the team for next season.”

 

Analysis: And that’s the right call. Obviously, 2020 season wasn’t good at all, every fan wants the team to be winning right away, but you can’t wave a magic wand and gain experience. You need time for that and this team should be granted at least one more year to prove its worth, before any radical moves to be made.

 

Kuli: „We need Glenn [Dixon] to still be a part of this team. We believe he’s someone for the long term plan worth betting on.”

 

Glenn Dixon

Analysis: It’s the most controversial statement made by Kuliszewski this evening. Obviously he will not say anything negative about any of his players publicly. No doubt Glenn Dixon is a good pitcher, he was great for the team in the past, but his last season was mediocre to say the least. He had more losses than any other starter in the team, out of last 11 games he started San Antonio lost 10. He is already 29 years old, one of the most experienced players in the team, and you should expect better performance from player of this calibre. He wasn’t the worst in the staff, but he didn’t show you can rely on him in pressure situations eighter, so let’s hope  Simon knows what he’s doing. Especially because Dixon isn’t getting any younger, in 2023 his contract is rising to 25,5 millions a year, and it will be much harder to trade him then if he still doesn’t perform.

 

Kuli: „We decided the Calzones will not extend contracts of Leslie McDonald and John Gaines. We wish them good luck in Free Agency and we hope they can continue to play good ball for another organisation, as they were for us.”

 

Analysis: Leslie McDonald was good for Calzones in the past, but 2020 season wasn’t his best one here at all. .212/.299/.405 stats are far from expectations and it is not real surprise 2020 season was Leslie’s last in San Antonio. Especially because his contract was quite high (almost 12 millions a year) and from unofficial source i know that for an extension he wanted even more than that (source says up to 17 millions a year). It is much more than Calzones can afford to pay and it’s the right decision not to extend McDonald.

John Gaines situation is quite different story tho. He wasn’t earning that much (5,1 millions a year), his last season was decent too. In 63 games he played (13 as a starter) he had 9/8 w/l record, 4.36 ERA, 8.4 K/9, 4.2 BB/9 and 0.7 HR/9. Not bad stats at all, i’m sure he still could be useful pitcher for Calzones staff. Why is he leaving then? I think it was actually John’s decision to try free agency. He stated few times in the past interviews he isn’t happy with team’s performance and that he wants to be part of the winning team. Well good luck to him then and let’s hope Kuli can find good replacement for him.

 

Kuli: „We might be adding talent from outside the organisation as soon as this offseason.”

 

Analysis: ‘Might’ word is crucial here. Depends on whether or not Front Office decides it is the right time to invest money into expensive free agent to help in the playoffs race.  Signing Jim Ratzlaff, Javier Sáenz or Cristo Santiago looks great at first, but free-agent contracts can look really bad really quickly, as most of the players signed come at the age where things can go wrong fast. Therefore hesitation here to promise anything makes perfect sense to me.

 

Summation: As Kuliszewski said in the press conference, if you haven’t been following their plan, you might be confused by it, but this all make sense. Development was the most used word this evening. Calzones are getting close to be fully competing, but they are not quite there yet, so dedicating all resources to the 2021 season wouldn’t be the right decision here. San Antonio won’t sell out for 2021 eighter and should be one step closer to reaching their peak in 2022. That is if their young players become as good as we all are hoping for.