Sticking Points 2040.3: Larry Blake, Others Taken in Expansion Draft

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Sticking Points 2040.3: Larry Blake, Others Taken in Expansion Draft

Post by aaronweiner » Mon Sep 30, 2019 8:32 am

Yesterday, the Rockville Pikemen lost three players in the 2039 expansion draft: starting third baseman Larry Blake, starting pitcher Lee Morgan, and minor league starter Shuji Kokawa. Blake had been a starter for the Pikemen since his rookie season in 2034, but never panned out quite the way the team hoped when they drafted him #3 overall in 2032.

"I understand why I'm on my way to Charlotte, and I'm not particularly sad about it. Remember, I was drafted by the Carolina Kraken," said Blake. "I love Charlotte and I'm looking forward to being a full time starter for them."

Larry Blake will long be remembered as a player taken in the top five of one of the weakest BBA drafts in the history of the league, the 2032 draft. While the draft will be remembered for Mitch Dalrymple, Justin Jackson, Willard Gagne, and Stephen Taub, just thirteen players from that draft have as many as 5 major league wins above replacement, and just six more than Blake's 9 WAR in six major league seasons. It wasn't enough for the team to protect him in the draft, and off to Charlotte he went.

Commentators on the draft suggested that Blake might have been one of the more valuable commodities in the draft, considering his low price tag and his steady, solid productivity.

"Larry Blake is a starting third baseman in a league where it's not the easiest thing to find," said an anonymous reporter. "He's still very young and probably won't be that much to sign. Charlotte might have gotten a nice grab."

Morgan, on the other hand, might remembered for just one thing: being traded for Chip Puckett last season to the eventual BBA runner-up Calgary Marauders. The righty, who went to Portland, has an injury history that fills up a computer screen and had been out for months prior due to a shoulder impingement. That leaves reliever Jorge Perez as the only thing that Rockville got for Puckett.

"We couldn't afford to sign Chip and all our other players, and, besides, we have a superb young shortstop in Pedro Diaz," said Pikemen GM Aaron Weiner. "We don't regret any part of that. And, for the first time in a long time, we have depth in the rotation in the major leagues after the big three and Bob Coleman with Rogerio Vazquez, Bengt de Meza, and Mathias Lovlien."

Kokawa had good years in the minors in 2037 and last year at AA, and isn't likely to be missed for the franchise at all. He was a former first round pick, but regard from scouts waned over the past few seasons. He has a career minor league record of 35-56.

"We don't feel like this weakened us especially much," said Weiner. "We'll miss Larry, but we weren't giving him the opportunity to succeed the way he really wanted. I think he'll be happier back in Charlotte."

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