More Outlaw Trades 

The Outlaws roster continues to change.  Last month, the Outlaws made three trades to reduce spending.  This month, they changed their approach slightly with three more moves.  The Outlaws acquired minor league first baseman Jason Hart, shortstop Rey Ordonez, UCLA pitcher Josh Karp, and veteran starter Shane Reynolds. 

Outlaws Swap Minor League First-Basemen

The Outlaws traded Wes Helms to North Georgia for Jason Hart.  Helms was expected to battle for a roster spot to help fill the void at first base and third base in 2002.  He had been a top prospect at third while in the minor leagues, but has learned to play first base this last year.  With the emergence of Robert Fick (who played extremely well during the Arizona Fall League) and versatile Geoff Blum to play first base in 2002, the Outlaws felt they could trade Helms. 

In return for Helms, the Outlaws acquired first base prospect Jason Hart.  Hart has proven that he has the power to make it to Brassball.  He will be allowed to play the entire season in the minors to further enhance his skills.  Look for Hart to make his Brassball debut in September 2003.  He could replace Big Mo as the big bat in the middle of the order for the Outlaws in 2004. 

More Outlaws Sent to Morris

The shuttle to Morris continues.  This was the third trade in two months between the two teams.  The Outlaws sent Omar Vizquel, Arthur Rhodes, and Gookie Dawkins to the Morris Monarchs for Rey Ordonez and Josh Karp. 

Omar Vizquel had just been signed in free agency to a 4-year $5 Million contract.  Vizquel has the reputation as the best fielding shortstop in all of Brassball.  In reality, the Outlaws really wanted to sign Rey Ordonez during free agency, not Omar Vizquel.  Both shortstops were signed to the exact same contract, so the cash was not an issue.  Vizquel is clearly the better player.  However, Ordonez is a few years younger, makes all the routine plays at shortstop, and has just about the same excellent range as Vizquel. 

            The Outlaws also traded reliever Arthur Rhodes and Gookie Dawkins.  The Monarchs picked up the remaining $1M on Rhodes contract.  Rhodes was a disappointment in Santa Barbara in 2001.  A change of scenery may help him.  Gookie was a first round draft choice out of Cincinnati a few years ago but ran out of chances in Santa Barbara.  He is still an excellent prospect and may start at 2B or SS for the Monarchs in a couple of years. 

            The key to the deal for the Outlaws was pitcher Josh Karp.  Karp pitched for UCLA last year but slipped a bit in the MLB Amateur Draft because he did not put up the type of numbers he was capable of.  Karp could emerge as a decent #2 or #3 starter in Brassball in a few years.  He was highly regarded during last year’s annual draft by Outlaws GM Tommy Lasorda. 

Shane Tries on His O utlaw Uniform

            The Outlaws added a veteran pitcher to their rotation by acquiring Shane Reynolds from North Georgia for Ted Lilly and Mike Jackson.  The move was somewhat surprising based on the previous Outlaw trades.  The Outlaws traded a fine pitching prospect in Ted Lilly (who probably would have fit into the rotation this year) and reliever Mike Jackson for a high priced veteran.  Budzyn states, “Shane Reynolds will add leadership to a young rotation”.