One Last Rodeo for the Gnats 3 Amigos?

Updated: August 10, 2016



One Last Rodeo for the Gnats 3 Amigos?
Updated: December 28, 2023 – 12:15AM EDT

By Howard Heskin, Staff Writer – Twitter @HowardHeskin1

Starting Pitchers Manuel Corona, Alfredo Velázquez, Francisco Roble – all three have been anchors of the Crystal Lake Pitching Staff for the last 3 years when Corona also known as the Mayor joined the staff in the 2020 off season blockbuster trade that sent at the time #1 prospect Third Baseman Christian Webb, First Baseman Roberto Pantoja and Pitcher Herb Holloway to Charleston.

Over those 3 years this trio has posted a combined record of 147 Wins and 67 losses, over 1,948.9 innings with a combined ERA of 3.28, 1.06 WHIP, and strikeouts numbering 1,425. The trio has led Crystal Lake to the Post Season albeit falling short of breaking past rival Aurora for a shot at the Planetary Extreme Championship.

However, after the heart breaking game 7 loss to Aurora in the Sovereign League Championship Series, some are wondering is 2024 the trio’s last shot or was inning 3 of game 7 the beginning of the end?

We caught up to Francisco ‘Yogi’ Robles while he was Christmas shopping for his wife and kids at the Crystal Lake Mall a few days ago. He had not been seen after he picked up and threw a gallon of Gatorade at Catcher Norihide Yamamoto after the bottom of the 5th and stormed off into the locker room. “Well you know, I felt horrible after the guys gave me a 5-0 lead going into the 3rd. I was ahead and could have really pulled through, but after Britt tagged me for that 452 ft home run, I just lost it out there with Nori. Our communication broke down. There was no excuse.”

Robles who turns 34 in August posted a career worst 3.95 ERA and allowed 42 home runs last season. His performance last season nosedived with a disastrous June. Until that point Robles had just came off a career 2022 posting 21 wins and respectable numbers. Experts doubt the Gnats will pick up the team option for the 2025 season where Robles would be due 15.5 Million Dollars especially, if he does not rebound from that late 2023 slide.

Velázquez is entering the last year of his 6 year – 85.5 million dollar deal. Posting a salary of 19 million this year – he’s likely to enter free agency. Although, he posted a respectable 3.66 ERA, 1.11 WHIP and .275 BABIP last season, he turns 35 on January 1st and is unlikely (unless pigs decide to fly) to command the 5 year – 103 million dollar deal his agent is rumored to be touting right now. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Crystal Lake let him walk considering the club is flush with young pitching talent that is expected to contribute in 2025.

Corona who just turned 34 on Christmas Eve still has 2 club options for 20.4 million each year left on his original 6 year -122.4 million – deal. Although still a rock star, The Mayor’s numbers have slid each of the last three years. A crowd favorite we might see him back in 2025, if he makes a rebound.

So as the Mayor put it, “I told Robles, next time save me some Gatorade, son.”