Hartford Harpoon Broke Silence with Long Press Conference, Part 2

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Updated: July 18, 2019

Josh Jackson, Hartford Courant – 28 February, 2029

Players are the focus in the players introductory press conference but we do have some highlights from new Hartford GM, Chaan-Shu Sim in there, as the new GM breaks down his long-term plans for Hartford Harpoon and analyze the various signing and trades from his perspective:

Q: There are a lot of rumors and directions the team can go. Some fans are leaning toward a trade and rebuild, some people believe the team can compete right now and many others believe the team still has some way to go before becoming a true playoff threat. What is your plan for the team?

A: That is a rather lame first question after all the bugging you guys did to me on the introductory conference. I don’t see a lot of young faces here so I assume many of ya’all are experienced journalists with years of experience covering the various sports. Did you all see the team’s transaction in the offseason, like, at all? We traded this year’s first pick away and we try our best to acquire players that are PEBA-ready. What do you think is the team’s plan? Trade and rebuild is certainly out of the window, and you don’t trade and rebuild when you have talents like Luis Cedeño, Carlos Ryan, Matt Brown and more. I mean, come on? Why we are blowing up with players like that? You know, the fans nowadays are spoiled. They overestimate their capabilities. They think they can do that just because they did that in the sports video games. Well, sorry but not sorry, that is stupid. It’s an insult to all the professionals in every baseball league of the world to think their jobs are that easy. You don’t get to just put something on a virtual trading block and all the other teams will then make a fair offer and you can choose between the the list of 20+ offers like it’s freaking E-Bay. Heck no. In real life, we make phone calls, and get yelled at, and no one is going to offer much on these…60 overall players in those games. Real GM ain’t that stupid. Maybe they would if these internet trolls are the one to run the organizations, but the only way they can do that is in their own fan fictions or the games. You know, anywhere as long as it’s virtual.

Sometime it baffles me why many fans are so obsessed with rebuilds. It’s like you either win the championship this year or you have to blow everything up. You know what, I blame Michael Bay and his Bayhem. Those movies made everyone in love with the idea of blowing things up. By that logic, every team aside from the champion should rebuild…and the champion will stay champion because it’s the only team contending. Thank God we are not in that timeline and we have five different champions in the past five years. This business is never 0 or 100. As the GM of these organizations, we have to assess how close we are to 100 and formulate how we get to 100. For this team, I believe we are close. We have strong pieces across the board and we are looking to get more pieces to compete. This is what I want and this is what the organization wants. I mean, if my mindset is not the same as them, I would not be hired and be talking to you all by now. I would probably be taking a vacation somewhere in Asia.

Q: In your 0-100 scale, what score do you rate Hartford Harpoon as the we enter Spring Training?

A: It’s hard for me to give a number before seeing how the team do in Spring Training but I will say around 55-70. I disagree with the people who said we are far from a true playoff threat. We have a 50% playoff reach in the past 6 years, that’s not very far in my book. I do believe the team can get better after some retooling and that would put us in the 80+ range, which is a legit threat in the playoff, but we are not far off. Our core might not be the youngest, but they still have a lot of years to offer.

I think we have a playoff caliber batting lineup and we are just lacking some premium pitching from hitting the 80 mark. Baseball is a very complete game and a team will need talents in all positions to compete. It’s unlike some sports that you can rely on a certain someone to carry you. Baseball has always been a “macro” sport, where you need everyone to contribute to success.


Q: Speaking of young players, one of your recent signings Gordon Stenger is definitely not a young player. Can you explain on the signing? What do you see in the veteran?

A: What I see in Gordon Stenger is a great fielder that can play anywhere in the infield. You can shift him anywhere you want, and he will hit his plays with tremendous efficiency. Defense might be an underrated part of baseball but they are important. Chicks can dig the long balls all they want; we look at every facet of the game and try to find as many tools as we can. Also, veteran presence is not important. I want my young players to play defense as hard as Stenger and to really give it all every single play.

Some might argue on his bat, but I never see it as a negative asset. He might not be a premium hitter but he knows where to direct the ball and deliver when it is needed. A player who can hit at a reasonable rate and plays premium defense is an asset in my book.


Q: You certainly looks to be a man of defense, as you have not only traded for a young defensive prospect Kenny Morrison but you also re-signed Mark Edwards. That is a lot of infielders on what is already a stacked infield. Are you certain you can find a position for everyone of them? Are they signed primarily for their defensive prowess or something else?

A: Admittedly, Kenny Morrison, who does not attend the current press conference, is a signing that I made with the mindset that Mark Edward is not coming back. When I was handed the team, Mark Edwards was already in the free agent market. I asked my assistants and they said Mark Edward wanted to test the market, and he did. If you ask me, other teams really undervalued Mark Edwards and that is the only way I get him back here and I am happy for that signing. I am sure the fans are too, as Mark Edwards have been with the team forever. He is a homegrown talent and represents the spirit of Hartford Harpoon.

I don’t think Mark Edwards is a defensive wizard, or I should say, “only a defensive wizard”. He has always been solid with the bat and people really underestimate his speed and instinct. Base stealing is an art and is never as simple as a 90 feet sprint. It has mind game component, instinct, timing and speed alone isn’t going to get it done. Mark Edwards has always been a plus on that. Many years of 10+ steals with very low chance of getting caught. It’s important to find every edge you can take and every stolen base, no matter how insignificant it is in today’s sabermetrics-driven world, will increase the winning percentage of the team.

As for the infield and position, we have the whole spring training to figure that out so I am not too worried.


Q: For pitchers, which you have said is something you really want to improve, you have acquired the service of Hugh Higgins — to a very long contract no less, Melvin McNeal and several others from the Rules 5 Draft. That is a lot of new acquisitions that will likely be on the main PEBA roster. It just looks like you don’t really trust the pitchers who contributed to Harpoon last year as you will be replacing many of them. What do you see in your new pitchers that you don’t see in the others?

A: Wow, I was expecting more neutral and fair questions in this press conference and BAM, you come right in with yet another question that is trying to split the team. Miss…Melissa, right? I think you are handling the wrong page of your paper and your HR is doing a horrible job. I believe you have a better future if you were to report on entertainment and gossip. You know, Hollywood, who did what yesterday, that kind of stuff. You essentially replaced ‘Kardashian’ from a question and pasted it to me, questioning me as if I found a new love and I am ditching my ex. Are you serious, sister? Should I try to answer you in that fashion too? Oh I like the eyes of Huge Higgins, and you got to see the hands of Melvin McNeal, that’s some huge hands with strong veins, masculine as hell and can get anyone who’s into male’s motor running.

Well, no. It’s not about what I see and not see in each of them. I see someone that is good, I sign them. If they did well, they stay; if not, they aren’t. Instead of just sticking to the old lineup, I am trying to find possible improvements and I do everything I can to find capable pitchers that can frontline a championship team. Is it wrong that I am not loyal to my last year’s arms and bullpen? I am selling out on them? Well, if that is what I have to get called to win, then you all can call me that.

Anyway, I will just share my thoughts on the players I acquired. Many people are doubting the length of Hugh Higgins’ contract, but I do that because he is that hot in the market. His demand is there and I don’t think securing a valued bullpen arm like him for many years to be that questionable. Huge Higgins have been pitching in the big league since he is 22. At 29 years old, he is already a veteran in the league and had pitched consistently for many years. I think a reliable arm in the bullpen is good for the team’s long term plan of retooling and contending.

Melvin McNeal is an even bigger acquisition and I am thankful to Yuma’s GM for working the trade with me. A good starting pitcher is a premium asset in every baseball team and I truly believe Melvin McNeal is a championship starting pitcher. He might not be a strikeout artist, the fast-and-furious flamethrower that get everyone’s attention but he is a finesse pitcher with an absolutely filthy arsenal of pitches. Sinker, old-school forkball, slider, this man specialized in giving the opposition bad contacts and our elite infielders will be double playing them like mac-and-cheese. I am sure the hardcore fans will appreciate what McNeal can offer to the team.

We also acquired some prospects from the Rules 5 Draft to add to our bullpen depths. There are a lot of AAA prospects that deserve a chance in the big league and I am taking every young arm I can find for potential long term service.