FREE AGENTS CAN START TALKING – ABOUT 2004 CONTRACTS

For Immediate Release
October 1st, 2003

     MWBL COMMISSIONER’S OFFICE  — The Mid-West Baseball League’s free agent market opens for business Today, with teams expected to take a slow approach to stars such players as Mike Hampton, Jason Johnson, & Ruben Sierra.
During the Mid-West Baseball League’s Playoffs, players and General Managers can only discuss generalities. On February 7th, 2004 the 17 free agents can be drafted by new teams, since they didn’t meet playing time requirements on their 2003 contracts.
“I don’t anticipate a slew of these players going high, as the draft opens up,” Yonge Street Stalker General Manager Scott Farquharson said. “Especially with the regular talent that’s usually readily available when the draft opens up … I’m not sure you’re going to see much action with these players.”
The market is expected to peak in the second or third round. The teams in need of pitching will be the most aggressive teams in pursuit of these free agents.
It’s unclear what the market holds for these players. On Monday, they became the first set of players to leave a Mid-West Baseball League team due to free agency.
“The most important thing for me is playing,” Mike Hampton said. “I really want to have an opportunity to pitch again.  I’ve played a long time.  Leaving Tempe is going to be tough, real tough, but the opportunity for me to show that I can still pitch is well worth it”.
Seventeen players filed for free agency on Monday, the first day of the filing period.  One was Clovis Wheat King pitcher Jason Johnson, who still has a chance to pitch in the playoffs, depending on how far the Wheat Kings go.
What’s really odd about this new free agency period in the MWBL is that it was supposed to help the weak teams.  However the weakest team in MWBL history the Coconut Creek Crushers who finished 2003 with a .210% winning percentage managed to lose the most players by losing three pitchers.  Jose Cabera, Bobby J. Jones, and Scott Erickson, all filed on the first day.
Some close calls as far as almost getting a player to the number he need were cut short by only a few plate appearances or innings pitched.  Doug Glanville missed staying in Medford by 3 plate appearances.  Jason Johnson of Clovis missed by one inning pitched, and was hurt at the end of the season in a huge loss to Clovis.  Also Shawn Estes lost out by 3 and one-thirds innings and will leave Tempe during the off season.
Below is a list of the first seventeen players to file for Free Agency in Mid-West Baseball League History.

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