For Immediate Release
December 28, 2002

Johnstown, Ca – The Johnstown Johnnies today confirmed rumors surrounding a significant deal made late this evening with NL Central Division rival Medford Shellfish. After a year without making an MWBL deal, the Johnnies agreed to a swap that involved 15 players. Leaving the Johnnies and heading to Medford are veterans Moises Alou, Travis Lee, Russ Branyan, Geoff Blum, and local favorite, Edgar Martinez. In return, the Johnnies address two areas of significant concern this past season by acquiring young shortstop Jimmy Rollins and starting pitcher Sidney Ponson.
Additionally, the Johnnies added veteran first baseman Tino Martinez to provide insurance for youngster Nick Johnson, and Richard Hidalgo to fill in the outfield. “We
are really excited about this deal”, stated Johnnies GM Johnnie Garza.  “Jimmy Rollins finally gives us a dependable player at shortstop, a spot we’ve been hurting at since the inception of the franchise over three years ago”. “We believe he and Jerry Hairston will stabilize our middle infield for years to come”.
“Ponson, was another key ingredient to this deal”, stated Garza. “We really needed to get Ben (Sheets) and Frank (Castillo) some help and address our starting pitching woes.” “Sidney is the first step in doing so”.
The Johnnies also sent several prospects to the Shellfish as part of the package. Moving to Medford are promising young shortstop Bobby Crosby and outfielders Mike Restovich and John-Ford Griffin. “Sometimes you have to dig into the farm system to complete a deal.” “The Medford brass are looking to put together a stable of talented players who can contribute in a year or so.” “We were fortunate to be in the position to use our development system to close the deal out.” To complete the deal, the
Johnnies will also receive second baseman Brent Abernathy and outfielders Ben Broussard and Jamal Strong. Strong is expect to start the season at the AAA level.
In a lesser development, Garza completed another minor deal immediately afterward by sending veteran first baseman/outfielder Dave McCarty to the Hollywood Werewolves for youngster Adam Everett.
The Johnnies would neither confirm nor deny further reports that All-Star Catcher Mike Piazza and Gold Glove outfielder Bernie Williams are on the trading block, or have been offered in other deals. “We will remain open minded about any possibilities that will improve our ball club,” stated the Johnstown GM. When asked earlier in the week about a possible move, Piazza stated, “I enjoy it here.” “The fans have been great and this is a great place to play, but, I understand this is a business, and clubs have to do
what they think best for the franchise.” “I feel great, I’m in good shape, and I believe I have a lot to offer any club who may be interested.” “In the long run, I’m sure everything will work out fine.”

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