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PostPosted: Fri Mar 15, 2019 10:44 am 
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By far the best of the options out there for swapping Donny, Vic. I have a feeling he'll come around in the weeks to follow...

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 17, 2019 4:06 am 
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WARRIOR BREAKFAST: SESSION 1

GM Ricky McCoy addresses reporters at the Monthly Update in Warrior Hall


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Doyle Buhl Stadium from I-35 this morning.


This morning, reporters gathered on the shores of the St. Louis at Warrior Hall—the offices just outside Doyle Buhl Stadium—at the invitation of Ricky McCoy, who hosted was he is calling a “Warrior Breakfast” on the outfield.

“In the service, a ‘Warrior Breakfast’ is a feast for Soldiers returning from a particularly grueling mission or training exercise,” McCoy explained in his introductory address. It was an odd sight, to be sure—reporters hunkered around sheet-laden picnic tables in the muggy Minnesota dawn while McCoy loaded up pancakes and biscuits from a buffet line. “Each month is a major exercise and mission for the Warrior nation—for the players, the staff, the fans, and the reporters. I want this to be the first of many Warrior Breakfasts where we put aside some of the formalities and talk baseball.”

The meal, which this reporter rates as an enthusiastic 6.3/10, was followed by a long Q&A fielding by Ricky McCoy. The transcript is recorded below.

Q: Mr. McCoy, the big buzz around the PEBA world these last two weeks was the Mercer trade. I know you’ve answered a lot of questions already, but the fans want to know: Was the offer from Edinburgh the best? You’ve been very lucrative about the deals on the table.

R: Yes, it was. Some may disagree; some may say we could have swung more PEBA-ready talent. But if the goal was to simply procure a PEBA star, we already had one. As I’ve said all along, this trade was about the future.

Q: Can you confirm, as multiple Aurora sources have suggested, that Aurora was prepared to send 3-time All Star River Pope to Duluth?

R: I can confirm that, yes. And we tried to get River, even after initial negotiations fell through. Will Topham was the first to reach out for Jasper when he hit the block, and we maintained a professional and friendly atmosphere throughout the process. But in the end, we guarded our draft picks closely, and preferred to field a trade with more potential on the coming years. We saw the Aurora option as a bailout that kept fan interest up. But no one offered a better deal than Vic Caleca. The salary relief, acquisition of a solid starting second baseman and relief pitcher—along with Guerra, and without giving up draft picks, was a good deal, fair and square. So we took it. And to show that Will is a straight professional, we worked out a good deal for Bartolo just a week later.

Q: Fans are vocally upset by the amount of popular Duluth heroes shipping out. Lopez and Prat to Shin Seiki, Mercer to the Scottish, and now Esquivel to Aurora. Are you concerned about the continuing decline in ticket sales as the hometown heroes empty the dugout?

R: It’s a reality the front office was aware of when we made the trade—and why the River Pope deal was alluring. But if we can’t balance the books and bring some talent into Duluth—by evacuating poorly-drawn-up, inflated salaries and taking a sabermetric approach to budgeting, those stars won’t keep prices up anyway. Ticket sales were down 40% before Mercer, Prat, and Esquivel left. We expect a decline that will slowly rehabilitate as Duluth gets used to a newer, smarter lineup. We need to get used to a new team in Duluth and build from there.

Q: You say you want a more “sabermetric approach” to budgeting. Can you elaborate?

R: Sure, sure. Obviously, popularity and personality are considerations in a contract. But just at some of the contracts these days…we’re talking $100 Million without vesting until, what, the fifth, sixth year? That’s a huge liability to the franchise. But the heart of my logic is to favor performance over hype—consistency in good BABIPs over several years over a .430 season. See the talent, invest in it, and know when you’ve hit a wall. Trade the folks outside your 40-man for what seasoned talent you can bring into the franchise. That’s the approach I want to take with Duluth.

Q: Would you say the current season is over?


R: Not at all. Look, I want to combat this narrative of this year being a “wash.” It’s no secret that we’re not projected a 100-win finish in PEBA this fall. But there’s a lot still to be said by these guys. We have a lot of talent—a lot of good ballplayers—looking for a chance to own up to the reputation of 2026. Think about that. Just 2 seasons ago. It’s not that far off—and with some smart moves in Warrior Hall, we can be there again.

Q: What will the Duluth finances look like going into the postseason?

R: We all know money is tight this year. The Prat, Esquivel and Mercer trade opened up some cash on hand, but we’ll see the big gain here in the next season. We’ve prepared a preliminary financial report, Jason’s passing them around now, and you’ll see we’ve estimated a total player budget of around $130 Million. That includes signing our priorities for next year, arbitration estimates, and of course all salary increases in the coming year. Of course, we’re not putting names on the report—to respect the players—but you can see from the figures in Table 2, we’re projected to save the club about $70 Million next spring, with a very healthy free agent budget.

Q: Do you agree with Jason Bong’s decision to decrease the player budget from $200 Million to $150 Million?

R: Look, I’m the GM. That’s not the sort of decision I have an opinion on. That’s like asking a General if Congress gave the Army enough money for tanks this year.

Q: That’s a convenient nondisclosure, Ricky.

R: I think the man who owns the purse strings is King. If you’re asking if I need $200 Million to bring Duluth another Rodriguez Cup, the answer is no.

Q: Favorite song my Trampled by Turtles?

R: Wait So Long. I thought you’d never ask.

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Last edited by Warriors on Sun Mar 17, 2019 4:21 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 17, 2019 4:18 am 
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Excellent piece, breaking down trade negotiations and motivations!! Bravo!!!

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 17, 2019 8:03 pm 
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Thanks Mike! It's been a wild week...

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 22, 2019 8:50 pm 
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Mandy Scott, Staff Writer


WEEK IN REVIEW: 7-13 August, 2028
WHAT YEAR IS IT?!


In true Duluth fashion, the 23rd-ranked Warriors shred PEBA's best team 5-1.

It was a home series to be remembered, with a dramatic 10th-inning home run by Eric Jacobs to kick off the week of unexpected victories. Maybe returning to the shores of the St. Louis River was too much nostalgia for the many former Warriors now playing for the Evas--it was an uncustomary bad week all-around for Shin Seiki. Former Warrior "Bullfrog" Hernandez, 3.06 ERA over the year, slumped to 9.00 ERA over 2 starts. When the series headed west, the Evas fared only sightly better, finally pulling together one win against Duluth out of their 3 at home.

Duluth's newly-tooled infield is looking much stronger after the trade deadline, with brand new Warriors Yeong-Hun Kim and old-timey mustachioed villain Dimitri Hill (who had an outstanding week behind the plate) making great plays on the northern side of the infield all week.

There was some drama at Warrior Hall when rookie Orlando Trujillo's demotion back to AAA Racine was announced just before the series. Assistant GM Jason York told the Times that the move was "purely fiscal," which is PEBA-speak for "there is a $50 Million Anchor in under-performing pitchers who cannot be demoted." Trujillo, due for arbitration and young enough to be moved, got the short end of the stick. Of PEBA's three 23-year-old rookie starters, the hard-throwing Mexican was struggling the most, particularly against left-handed sluggers. He's an ace at AAA, and most expect a smooth arbitration for the youngster this offseason.

Speaking of money, Minor League pitcher Andy Carter and recently-acquired Joe Harris were released from the Franchise without comment from Warrior Hall. Speculation points to irreconcilable roster mismanagement by GM Ricky McCoy's office.

All in all, a great week for the Warriors, even if the victories were only witnessed by 22,000 of Duluth's most loyal fans. Initial estimates are showing a 60% revenue drop over the 2027 season.

It's not all bad news, though. Rookie Jeffrey Mendoza continues to impress, with a sizzling 0.7 against Shin Seiki this year and a 2.27 ERA overall. One of three lefties on the Duluth starting staff, the team has a great deal to look forward to as the highest-paid pitching personnel staff continues to develop some serious talent, both in PEBA (Carter, Trujillo, and Mendoza) and across their minor league system.

Looking forward, Duluth heads out for three games in Toyama before their 3-week road trip continues, due against Reno, Crystal Lake, Aurora, and finally home against Reno to end the month. Most aren't expecting much luck for the remainder of the month, but Duluth proved that when their middle lineup holds the line, they can play some serious baseball.



Mandy Scott is a staff writer and weekly contributor to Warrior Beat.


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Last edited by Warriors on Sat Mar 30, 2019 12:09 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 29, 2019 7:30 am 
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WEEK(S) IN REVIEW: 14-27 August, 2028
The 1-2 Kings


Well, the team's settled in, and it looks like Duluth will play 1-2 baseball against every team they face between now and October.

Here's the frustrating part of watching the Warriors this year: They play decent ball against good teams. For a club in supposed "full rebuild" mode, they are painstakingly close in many of their losses, with so many Ls down to one play in a relief situation.

2-5 weeks, as reported over one month ago, should be expected for the rest of the season. Duluth will need to be satisfied with an energetic class of prospects that includes Orlando Trujilllo, Kelsey Buck, and Bob Hodge. along with their freshman class of PEBA pitchers, young guns Henry Carter (who's recovering from an awful July) and Jeffrey Mendoza (whose disappointing August drags down an otherwise outstanding debut). With this talent in the staff depth, a Duluth fan can expect some serious heat in the rotation in just a couple years.

Likewise, Duluth has found a solid infield enhancement this year in Yeong-Hun Kim and Dmitri Hill, solid defenders who hold their own in the Duluth lineup.

One may argue that GM Ricky McCoy may have gone too far with the tradeaway of Bartolo Esquivel to Aurora--who promptly annihilated Duluth this week and continues to sizzle as a Borealis SP. A trade at the end of the season, with his stats, would have been far more advantageous to the Warriors--and Buck's early promotion to AAA may have just rendered the loss useless. Time will tell.

While not mathematically eliminated, in a few short weeks the club will see themselves looking definitely toward the next few seasons. A near $100 Million drop in player salaries is nothing short of a miracle for Duluth, but that's Ricky McCoy's goal to get the team in a financially healthy position following this year's utter collapse. With next year's cash situation looking optimistic, several middle-line players holding their own, and a handful of pitching prospects beginning to blossom, there's reasonable hope to expect better baseball from Duluth in the coming seasons.

For now, hold your nose, and get used to 1-2 baseball until the leaves start falling.


Mandy Scott is a staff writer and weekly contributor to Warrior Beat.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 29, 2019 11:44 pm 
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Thanks for the great blogging!

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 03, 2019 10:18 am 
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WEEK IN REVIEW: 28 August-3 September, 2028
Legends of the Fall


As the leaves begin to turn on what was once hope for a productive Duluth year, we look at yet another interesting week for the St. Louis River sluggers.
Here’s an interesting statistic: The Duluth Warriors have the highest slugging percentage in the Great Lakes Division. Not impressed? In August, Duluth out-slugged everyone in the Sovereign League except resident outer space future-team Shin Seiki. Those are some serious numbers—if we could get this entire rebuild lineup to swing the bat, we might have ourselves a real baseball team.

For a team with the second worst K-rate in baseball, one can’t argue that it’s fun to watch a game in Doyle Bluth Stadium. The Emerald Enclave is either bombing a longshot into the river or whiffing hard on a changeup. Last Sunday, we watched Garry Charron and part-time First Baseman David Morrison each hit five times in a single game. No—you’re not misreading, both players put the ball in play five times in one game. Both tied the Duluth record for hits in a single game—an honor they now share with 11 other Warriors of seasons past (including Joe Kenny).


In the absence of Don Mercer and Jeff Prat (may they rest in peace), the number of batters who have stepped up in Duluth is impressive. (Gary Charron has bombed twice as many homers as Jasper and is crushing his OBS since the trade—just saying—and let’s not even talk about Prat’s slash since the trade). This year, Charron has 27 home runs; Hitoshi Sugahara, at .190 BA, somehow has 24 homers. Eric Jacobs, at third base, has 21 (leading the team with .762 OPS). This team has the third-most home runs in baseball—third behind unsurprising Evil Empire and, surprisingly, Okinawa (just two behind the Shisa, and with the same record). Overall, the Sovereign League has about 138 Homers/Team compared to the Imperial League’s 121.


Look, home runs are fun—home runs are glorious, but they are masking the serious problems this team has and saving Duluth from their logical spot—ten games behind the Badgers.

The stats don’t lie, folks. Duluth is either mediocre or terrible at everything besides hitting home runs—and that should alarm a franchise even in a rebuild year. Ugly gems in this crown of mediocrity include walking (far) more batters than anyone else in the PEBA, the 3rd-worst defensive efficiency in baseball (albeit curved from dead-last by adding some utility depth at the deadline), ahead of only Okinawa in the SL for bullpen ERA, worst eyes in baseball at the plate, more runs allowed than scored, with an unacceptable .255 combined average against our pitching staff.

Duluth’s youngster starters, by all accounts, have adapted well to the big leagues. Jeffrey Mendoza and Henry Carter both have the potential to be team-building blocks with a small pricetag. Orlando Trujillo rounds the trio out nicely—in Racine for roster limitation purposes in a club dominated by overpaid, fading stars that no longer perform. Trujillo is dominating AAA with an unbelievable 1.22 ERA/.84 WHIP over 37 innings since his demotion. If Duluth can be forgiven for his demotion and he's willing to extend, he will make a fine addition. Next year, a Mendoza-Carter-Trujillo order will be exciting to watch. It’s important to note that Carter and Mendoza, both 22, are the most consistent starters on the Duluth lineup. Take a look at the graph below:

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The data tells us a few things. One—The Medina trade was a solid move for the club, and Esquivel’s trade was an egregious error. With half of Jesus’s salary and solid leadership skills, Vincente earned every cent of his contract since he landed in Duluth. Bartolo, meanwhile, is developing into one of the best starters in the league, and Duluth likely could have afforded him at least another year until his salary jump. Secondly, rookie all-star Henry Carter’s sensational start got progressively less sensational every month, until he got things under control and threw a great month in August—belaying doubts that it was he, and not Trujillo, who should have got the AAA pink slip—while Mendoza showed notably less inspiring, but consistent, performances.


Finally, we see solid evidence that it’s time for Duluth to move on from veterans like Sutherland and Thomas, whose performance this year imply decline and could be costly going into 2029. A notable exception is the old warhorse Brian Beddell—who threw an outstanding August and re-joined the starting lineup for a respectable 3.22 ERA over 36 innings. With his contract up this fall, an extension for the 12-year PEBA veteran is uncertain at best. With three starting spots on the rotation all but given to the “Class of 2028,” Bedell is competing with Nakamura and Perkins, both younger pitchers with contracts through this year (with arbitration for Perkins) and better performances in 2028. No matter when he leaves Duluth, this reporter will be sad to see the 36-year-old, 2-time IL All-Star go. His 2020 season with London is the stuff of legend, and we saw glimpses of it in his shutout against Aurora last week. We can all agree that Brian is not going quietly into that good night!


As the season begins to churn to an end for the (still not mathematically eliminated) Warriors, we begin to look toward next March. There’s some things to be excited for—the “Young 3”, as the local fans are calling the Mendoza-Carter-Trujillo lineup; A maturing and talented Garry Charron and Eric Jacobs duo, and nearly $150 Million cut from this year’s player budget. There’s still a lot of rumors and projection, but the Front Office at Warrior Hall assures us that there will be plenty of money for upgrades next year. Time will tell.



Mandy Scott is a staff writer and weekly contributor to Warrior Beat.


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Last edited by Warriors on Wed Apr 03, 2019 5:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 03, 2019 10:19 am 
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Sandgnats wrote:
Thanks for the great blogging!


Thanks RJ!!!

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 03, 2019 2:48 pm 
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I second RJ - always very entertaining! I do miss Grumpy Joe, though ... :lol:

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 03, 2019 5:59 pm 
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Claymores wrote:
I second RJ - always very entertaining! I do miss Grumpy Joe, though ... :lol:


Haha yeah I was just thinking it was about time for another Grumpy Joe!

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 03, 2019 6:03 pm 
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Warriors wrote:
... and Esquivel’s trade was an egregious error. With half of Jesus’s salary and solid leadership skills, Vincente earned every cent of his contract since he landed in Duluth. Bartolo, meanwhile, is developing into one of the best starters in the league, and Duluth likely could have afforded him at least another year until his salary jump.

I think if Kelsey Buck turns out decent, that this was the right time to move on. Esquivel, but his established level is 2nd tier starter (just outside All-Star level). I think Buck can do the same for you eventually.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 03, 2019 7:35 pm 
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 03, 2019 8:33 pm 
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I hope so Frank! I like Buck a lot, and he had a respectable AAA debut last month.

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 05, 2019 6:11 am 
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