After a four-year hiatus, Al Telgenhof returned to BRASSball as an owner/GM.  Telgenhof was an owner in the league’s inaugural season, drafting the Charlevoix franchise.  The Cutters, as the team was known, won 100 games and the NL Central title in ’95 and won 92 games in ‘96. 

Telgenhof wasted no time putting his stamp on the team, trading starters 1B John Olerud and 2B Ray Durham to Columbus for 2B Ron Belliard, OF Daryle Ward and minor league 1B Dernell Stenson.  Just prior to the free agent period, Charlevoix sent prospect OFs Larry Bigbie and Aaron Rowand to Plaza for closer Matt Anderson. 

“We’re looking to get younger and to bring in some of our own guys,” Telgenhof explained.  “The first deal gave us the chance to do both.  We trimmed payroll by moving Olerud and Durham and pick up young talent with Ward and Stenson.  We may use some of that money to lure some free agents here.” 

Telgenhof continued, “The second deal was to upgrade our pen.  I saw that as the major weakness of the organization.” 

In free agency, the club targeted players believed to be undervalued.  The Tigers didn’t show interest in the marquee players available. 

A primary focus was filling the 1B spot vacated by Olerud.  Charlevoix inked Brad Fullmer to a three-year deal.  Frank Thomas was re-signed for four years at a reduced price. 

Dan Wilson was brought in to catch.  Rusty Greer, another bargain, was signed to fill a corner OF spot.  Wil Cordero was signed to provide ABs. 

On the pitching side, the Tigers re-signed reliever Kerry Ligtenberg and inked southpaws Denys Reyes and Jesus Sanchez.   

After free agency, lefty reliever Doug Creek was traded for shortstop Deivi Cruz. 

The prognosis for 2002 isn’t good.  The offense consists mostly of filler, with the notable exceptions of Berkman and Thomas.  Greer, Fullmer and Guillen are solid, but not spectacular. 

The pitching, usually an emphasis on Telgenhof’s teams, is thin.  Jimmy Anderson and Omar Daal are the only reliable (using the term loosely) starters signed for 2002. Rick Ankiel is still talented but unproven.  Brian Bohanon can eat innings but is ineffective.  Jason Schmidt wanted too much money to return to the Tigers so he is gone. 

“Most of the guys we have now won’t be here when we are ready to compete.  We know that.” Telgenhof confessed.  “Some will be trade bait but hopefully we’re building something for the future.”