SB Outlaws 2001 Free Agency

Santa Barbara Outlaws' owner Brian Budzyn met with GM Tommy Lasorda just before Thanksgiving to outline a team budget entering free agency. The idea was to keep the team financially secure while allowing the Outlaws to remain competitive.

"We are entering a new era in BRASSball. The Players Union bargained for larger minimum salaries, and the majority of owners voted to accept this deal. In order to remain competitive year after year, we have to spend more wisely and follow a financial plan," explained Budzyn.

In 2001, the Outlaws were once again a profitable team with revenues that exceeded that of all other teams except the large market Metropolis Avengers. Budzyn was able to do all this while still fielding a playoff team. In fact, the Outlaws have reached the playoffs in five of the past seven seasons. The question is, can they continue their tradition under this new financial plan?

Just before Thanksgiving, before the higher minimum salary scale went into place, the Outlaws inked three of their minor leaguers to big league deals. Matt Clement, Doug Davis, and Byung-Hyun Kim were all signed to four-year deals.

"All three were integral parts to our team last year, and they will continue to play large roles for us in the future." Clement, Davis, and Kim were all given three-month auditions in 2001. Clement was the workhorse of the bunch, compiling a record of 9-8, an ERA of 6.39, and racking up 142 innings in 20 starts. Davis (who played high school baseball with Budzyn) won 6 games in 17 starts with an ERA of 4.41. Kim pitched out of the bullpen, struck out 113 in 74 innings with an ERA of 4.74.

However, once free agency began, the spending appeared to stop. "Original Outlaw" Raul Mondesi was re-signed to a three-year deal. Mondesi has spent the past seven seasons in an Outlaw uniform and has hit at least 30 homeruns in every season. Not even future Brassball Hall of Famer Mo Vaughn can match that. He is second to Mo Vaughn in just about every Outlaw career statistical record.

Some of management doubted Mondesi would return for his eighth season. After signing Carl Everett to a huge deal last year and trading for Tim Salmon and his big contract this year, some wondered if there was enough money left over for Raul. "I decided to take less money and return to Santa Barbara", stated Mondesi". "The fans have been very, very good to me. Gem City has a winning tradition and a team that can compete for the title, but I wanted to stay in an Outlaw uniform". Compared to teammates Salmon and Everett, Mondesi is a bargain at just over $2 million a season.

Todd Hollandsworth, acquired in a trade two seasons ago, also was re-signed. Hollandsworth has the raw skills to be a productive every day outfielder, but due to injuries, he has been unable to fulfill his potential. With 2001 team MVP Garret Anderson and teammates Mondesi, Salmon, and Everett ahead of him, Hollandsworth is fighting for the fifth outfield spot on the roster. If the Outlaws look to acquire help at another position, Todd may be headed for another team. Hollandsworth explains, "I want to play. I know we are loaded in the outfield, but I'll work my way into the lineup."