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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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Richard "Ricky" McCoy
Duluth Warriors GM, 2028-


(Drew-newbie GM with big dreams!)


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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Michael Topham, President Golden Entertainment & President-CEO of the Aurora Borealis
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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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