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PostPosted: Fri Jun 14, 2019 3:27 pm 
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Bears 2029 Free Agent Class

10 February, 2029

Thus far in 2029 the Bears have signed free agents to over $107M worth of deals, but still have the financial flexibility to acquire more salary/talent if they should choose to. While none of these players were considered elite but most pundits, there is plenty of talent.

RP Hsin-ta Lian ($50.2M, 6 years), hailing from China, was the first free agent brought in by the new front office. At just 26-yers-old, he comes to PEBA with both youth and elite stuff. Scouts rave about the action on his sinker and slider combination, but if Lian has a weakness it's in his command (or lack thereof). While he's expected to unseat veteran Sadakuno 'Eagle Eye' Nakagawa for the closer role, he will need to limit the free passes in order to lock that role down.

At 34-years-old, SP Martín Ramírez ($21M, 3 years) is the elder statesmen of this class but still throws white hot heat on the mound, topping his plus-plus fastball out over 100mph. Having only pitched at the ML level for four years, Ramírez is a late bloomer that prides himself on dependability. He's managed to pitch over 700 innings in those four years, accumulating 13.1 WAR with an ERA+ of 112. His 2028 season was a bit of a downturn, however, as he gave up 29 HRs and over 200 hits. He is expected to earn the 4th spot in the rotation, taking the place of the departed SP Declan Littleworth (now of the SS Evas), but will face competition from the youth of the Bakersfield organization.

Hardly enough can be written about the constant turnover in the Bears outfield, but newcomer RF Bruce 'Smokey' McGuire ($26.2M, 4 years) seems to have an obvious role as, at minimum, a platoon partner for OF Steven Hooper. His bat will determine how much playtime he ends up with, but a full time job in the outfield is certainly possible given the value the front office places on defense. His signing is not great news for Hooper's platoon partner from last year, RF Mark St. John, but given his predilection for exotic lineups, it's possible manager Wayne Kedsch finds opportunities for both righty corner outfielders.

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 14, 2019 5:22 pm 
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Smokey was a longtime Warrior. I hope he excels for you.

I made some initial offers to Lian, who promptly guffawed and blocked Ricky McCoy's number.

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 14, 2019 8:36 pm 
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Warriors wrote:
Smokey was a longtime Warrior. I hope he excels for you.


Thanks, Ricky. We're excited to see what he can do in SoCal.

Warriors wrote:
I made some initial offers to Lian, who promptly guffawed and blocked Ricky McCoy's number.


Yeah, I had that happen once or nine times. I'm glad I at least got Lian out of the opening few weeks of insanity.

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 01, 2019 2:26 pm 
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Bears Spring Training Report

April 2, 2029

Baseball is back in Bakersfield, and the roster's fevered turnover continues with several fierce positional battles nearing completion. The Bears front office considered several positions as "open" and what follows is a recap of how those have shaken out.

Backup/RH CI/3B

With the acquisition of 3B Christian Webb, the Bears spent big for a player with a big bat but with a weakness as well. Webb has not hit lefties well and the need for a platoon partner that could cover at least one other position led to the front office's aggressive pursuit of Jorge Aguilar this offseason. As a RH prospect capable of playing both 1B and 3B, Aguilar was viewed as an ideal partner for LH Webb that could also support rookie LH 1B Clyde Stinton should he struggle against ML LHPs. That plan has not panned out as well GM Dan Vail may have hoped. Aguilar slashed a measly .174/.321/.261 this Spring for a wRC+ of only 60, struggling to make contact or hit for power just as in Amsterdam in 2028. The good news is that the Bears' backup plan, switch-hitting and slick-fielding SS Alfonso Reyna made the failure of Aguilar's bat to materialize a non-issue by slashing .407/.431/.481 through Spring Training, forcing his way onto the roster. The Bears can ask for no better problem than to have their plans changed by great play. The plan for Opening Day appears to allow Reyna to platoon with Webb, at least part time, while also taking some starts at SS.

The Battle for 2B
The most anticipated battle of the Spring in Bakersfield was likely this one. Veteran incumbent starter Bryan Cleveland struggled in 2028 and the the Bears acquired 2B prospect Ramón 'Slugger' Guzmán with an eye on the near future. While the front office refused to press the 22-year-old Guzman into action too soon, he showed great work ethic during his stint in winter ball. That effort appears to have paid off, as Guzman slashed .386/.413/.455 in Spring Training. Meanwhile, Cleveland, a RH 2B with limited defensive prowess, had everything to lose by being out-paced by another RH 2B in Guzman. His performance, however, was again lacking and Cleveland managed only a .185/.214/.352 line. With cut day looming, it appears Cleveland may not be long for Bakersfield, because although he is under contract for three years, the final two years are team options and he can be released if refuses a demotion again. Backup 2B duties fall to defensive guru Gilberto Valdez again.

Chaos in the Outfield, Year 2
The Bears can't seem to settle on an outfield, as they shuffled half a dozen ML level OFs on and off the roster this offseason. 2028 trade additions Stephen Hooper and Jarrod Ricks, while locks for the lineup, both struggle defensively and at least one was going to end up taking up bulk duties as DH prior to last week's blockbuster payday of free agent 1B/DH Alex Bothwell. With the DH position exclusively Bothwell's, Ricks and Hooper will find at bats while manning the outfield. Ricks is capable of playing everyday, but Hooper appears to require a platoon partner. Mark St. John filled that role nicely for the Bears last year, but with money to spend and star RH OF Bruce McGuire an available upgrade, the Bears complicated their roster by adding Smokey to the mix. He appears poised to take starts in potentially all three outfield positions against LHP starters and will assuredly be used regularly off the bench during any opportunity to do so. St. John, meanwhile, is option-less and may end up on the roster without a clear role carved out. The FO views him as too valuable to risk designating for assignment. Despite a solid Spring (.831 OPS), veteran LF Mushanokoji Matsumoto has a remaining option year and will start in AAA as the Bears primary backup plan for a capable LH bat in the outfield. Nondescript clone LF Owen Roosemontis a likely roster cut, as is CF King Bailey.

The 5th Starter
The Bears return four of five starters from 2028, with free agent acquisition LHP Martín Ramírez replacing the departed Declan Littleworth, whom was traded to the Bears. The 5th spot, however, might have been something of a battle as 2028 incumbent RHP Lance Harris could have been supplanted by any number of other young arms under the Bears' control. Harris, however, met questions with answers, posting a 1.69 ERA and 0.88 WHIP in four starts this Spring. Other potential starters had no such outcomes, and so the decision made itself.

The Bullpen
The Bakersfield bullpen was wide open, as a number of new arms were acquired to increase competitiveness among the group. Foremost among the new acquisitions was international free agent RHP Hsin-ta Lian. The new presumed closer flashed great talent through ten appearances, not giving up a single run or walk and posting a phenomenal 1.70 FIP. Another notable newcomer is rookie LHP Jose Garcia, who also participated in winter ball this offseason. The extra work may have granted Jose the edge in winning the final bullpen spot, as he posted respectable numbers and is one two options to take the role of LH-specialist - a role manager Wayne Kedsch requested be filled after manning a bullpen without a single lefty in 2028. The other lefty option is trade acquisition RP Pedro Marquis, but he has looked over-matched while posting a grizzly 9.53 ERA in ST. On the bubble if Garcia should fail to make the team are RPs Matthew Powell, Oliver Martinez, and Katai Kawano.

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 13, 2019 11:05 pm 
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Bears Shake Up Outfield and Minors, Rinse, and Repeat

25 June, 2029

A flurry of trades in June has left the Bears without several long tenured veterans or much in the way of 2030 draft selections. Gone is Bryan Cleveland, the talented but struggling veteran 2B that quickly fell out of favor when GM Dan Vail took over. Cleveland played in over 1000 games for the Bears, and he is remembered fondly by many of his teammates, but his departure what was all but inevitable with the 2028 acquisition of Ramon Guzman. Gone also is former closer "Eagle Eye" Nakagawa. The 2028 Shutdown Reliever of the Year reportedly refused to discuss an extension with the organization and was made dispensable with the offseason signing of Hsin-ta Lian. His departure helped secure one of two hopeful aces that have made their way to the Bears organization: "Cold Smoke" Carter and "Jetstream" Mendoza. Also incoming in the trades that brought those future rotation stalwarts are veterans CF Jack Flynn and RP Vincente Medina. Medina has struggled during his short tenure in Duluth, to the tune of a 1.85 WHIP and 5.35 FIP, but both he and the Bears Front Office believe he has everything he needs to turn his season around quickly. He'll be called upon to replace the middle innings appearances of the also departed long-time Bears RP Bob O'Higgins. Flynn will be called upon to provide defensive support to a Bears outfield that has struggled to cover the vastness of Yum! Field as well as to start against sinister pitching as half of the Bears new CF team. The other half of that team is the new Bear expected to make the most immediate impact - CF Raul Ortega. A defensive stalwart with the type of bat that has scouts enthralled and managers kicking over gatorage jugs, Ortega has spent the last four seasons in San Antonio flashing brilliance but never meeting his potential. The Bears Front Office has bet big on Ortega, and the early returns are positive as he's produced a 143 OPS+ in his first 10 starts. The team also announced another big investment: the five year, $109.8M extension of star catcher Steve McDonald, whom is enjoying a career year having accrued 3.3 WAR with a .365 wOBA in 59 games thus far in 2029. Also among the departed: several pitching prospects (SPs Pedro Gonzalez, Hayato Kawano, Pedro Torres), 1B Lorenzo Gonzalez, 3B prospect Antonio Herrera, and many of the organization's draft selections for 2030 (1st, 2nd, 4th, 6th, and 7th round).

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 16, 2019 1:33 pm 
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Midseason Rookie Watch: These Pandas are Dangerous

2 July, 2029

As Spring Training began, four prominent Bakersfield rookies (five if one counts international free agent signing Hsin-ta Lian) were fighting for roster spots. Here we review where each of those rookies stands currently, and how they've performed to date.

CL Hsin-ta Lian
A 26-year-old Chinese national, Lian wowed Bakersfield's front office with an outstanding combination of power and spin rate on his shallow but impressive two pitch arsenal: enough so to earn a 6 year, $50M deal. There were concerns over his command, and Lian has indeed walked several too many batters - posting a 3.0BB/9 rate - but this has barely slowed down his phenomenal inaugural PEBA campaign. In his debut, Lian retired one batter and gave up 6H, 2BB, and 5 R in an impressive implosion of a blown save after a phenomenal Spring. Since then, Lian has given up exactly one run in 32 appearances and is 15/15 in save attempts as the Bears new lock-down closer. After his April 3rd baptism by fire at the hands of Duluth, Lian has posted a WHIP of 0.59, ERA of 0.28, and struck out 10.6 batters per 9 innings pitched. Signing international free agents can certainly be risky, but it appears that this particular gambit will be paying dividends for years to come in Bakersfield.

1B Clyde Stinton
Stinton was expected to win the 1B job out of Spring Training after impressing in his debut last September, but after slashing .174/.189/.537 in his April stint with the Bears, he was sent to West Valley City to continue developing in favor of minor league free agent signing Lorenzo Gonzalez (Toyoma). Stinton hit extremely well in AAA in May and June, posting a 190 OPS+. These results spurred the front office to part ways with Gonzalez despite some solid play on his part and recall Mr. Stinton once more. The results were less than ideal: a slash line of .149/.167/.379 in 47 at bats. Neither the Bears nor Stinton's future were being served by his continued struggle at the ML level, and so he will likely spend the remainder of this season in AAA. 1B Jorge Aguilar and 1B/DH Alex Bothwell are expected to occupy first base for the remainder of the season.

2B Ramon Guzman
Winterball graduate and hopeful replacement for the struggling Bryan Cleveland (San Antonio), Guzman hit well in Spring Training and opened the season in Bakersfield. His April marks of .204/.235/.501 as well as the continued inability of the front office to find a different home for Bryan Cleveland caused a demotion for Guzman. An injury sidelined him for several weeks, but by June he'd collected a .316/.400/.821 slash in AAA and the front office had shipped Cleveland to San Antonio. Since his promotion, Guzman has improved his line to .238/.290/.610. He's not lighting the league on fire, but he's holding his own and adding value by being a menace on the basepaths (12/12 SBs). He will continue to play everyday for the remainder of the season.

SS Alfonso Reyna
The former 5th round selection started Spring Training with few expectations in the minds of the front office, but earned time at SS and 3B on the opening roster as 1B/3B Jorge Aguilar struggled. Reyna has since failed to capitalize on those precious opportunities. His April line (.183/.231/.531) earned him a demotion, but in the wake of SS Javier Torres's struggles against RHP, Reyna was recalled to start in a platoon with Torres. The results have been mixed, because although he's outhitting Torres vs RHP (.250 vs .231 wOBA), it isn't by much. He is staying at the ML level in part due to the middle infield flexibility he offers but mostly because of the incredible offensive struggles of 2028 utility infielder Gilberto Valdez, who posted the following horror show: .137/.155/.376 in 100 PA.

RP Jose Garcia
Garcia also attended winterball and pitched well enough in ST to be rostered as the Bears only lefty reliever. He recused himself fairly well in 9 early season starts (6IP, 4HA, 2HRA, 0BB, 7k), but has been sidelined since April with shoulder inflammation. The 25-year-old isn't expected back until mid August and may not be able to crack the roster again this season.

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 22, 2019 6:25 pm 
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I'm really pleased to see Hsin-ta Lian doing well. He's the Won-Taek-Kim of 2029, minus the career-shattering labrum injury.

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 23, 2019 12:38 am 
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Warriors wrote:
I'm really pleased to see Hsin-ta Lian doing well. He's the Won-Taek-Kim of 2029, minus the career-shattering labrum injury.

On can only hope... :twisted:

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