For Immediate Release
July 29, 2002

On the outside looking in on the playoffs, the Fremont Cannons decided to regroup for another year and dealt many of their best players. Three separate trades before the trade deadline netted the Cannons youth and draft picks, but cost them some of their best, most productive veterans.
The first trade occurred between the Cannons and the NL East leading Kentucky Headhunters. The Cannons parted ways with starter Andy Ashby, rehabbing from an arm injury, and veteran 3B Matt Williams, in return for pitcher Denny Stark, a promising youngster from Edgerton, OH, and Chad Bradford, a submarining reliever.
“We added a nice young guy in Bradford to help out our bullpen, a weakness on our team, and in Stark received a guy who could either be a good starter or reliever,” said Fremont GM Casey Hoch. “It hurts to part with Andy (Ashby), as he’s struggled with injuries this year, but starting pitching is our position of most depth. We’ll miss Matt as well, he’s given everything for this team, but we think Hank Blalock’s about ready to step in at third.”
The second and biggest deal was struck with the Severn Express, the AL representative in the past two World Series. Severn, in a tight struggle with Virginia for the AL West, added to what was an already impressive roster. The Express received veteran southpaw Jamie Moyer and first baseman Fred McGriff, along with outfielder Stan Javier, young lefty reliever B.J. Ryan, and minor league pitcher Luis Torres, a prospect whose star has dimmed. The Express also pick up Fremont’s 2nd and 4th round draft picks in 2003. Moyer was an unlucky 6-7 this season, with an ERA of 3.29, 10th best in the AL. McGriff was the best batter for the Cannons, hitting .316 (4th best in AL) with 19 HR and 66 RBI, along with an OBP of .397 (7th best in AL) and an OPS of .953.
The Cannons picked up first baseman Erubiel Durazo, catcher/designated hitter Matt LeCroy, catcher/first baseman Scott Hatteberg, minor league pitcher Brett Myers, and pitcher Chris Holt. “We recognized a lack of depth at first base, and in offense in general, so we were very excited about this trade,” said GM Hoch. “We expect Durazo to man first in Fremont for a long time to come. LeCroy is a guy who can mash the ball; he just hasn’t been able to find the playing time that he will receive in Fremont. Hatteberg can contribute at first or catcher, whichever we need him at, and Chris Holt’s a guy that can give us some innings, The capper for the deal, though, is Myers. He’s a young guy with a bulldog mentality on the mound, with some pretty good results in the minors; we think he will be a big part of our rotation in the future, with Oswalt and Buehrle. His best quality, however, has to be his hatred of (Oregon’s) Drew Henson. I could see a lot of good battles between those guys in the future, provided Henson isn’t the next Chad Hutchinson, which he probably is.”
The loss of Moyer was met with sadness by the Cannons pitching staff, however.
“It sucks to see him go,” said Buehrle. “As a young lefty myself, I was able to learn quite a lot from Jamie. How to approach the game, dealing with adversity, and super top-secret pitching stuff I can’t tell you.”
“He was like a father figure around the clubhouse, especially the pitching staff,” added Oswalt. “He was good at calming us down, and we’d learn a lot from all his stories about the things he’d experienced in the past. Not just baseball, but other stuff like meeting Ben Franklin, the Renaissance, crawling out of the primordial ooze, the Big Bang, things like that.”
The third trade saw veteran outfielder Paul O’Neill going to the National League West to play for Clovis, the wild card team at this point of the season. Fremont received outfielder Chad Curtis, as well as Clovis’s 5th and 10th round draft picks in 2003.
“We gave up some draft picks this year, so we wanted to try to make up for that. We’re happy for Paul, too, as he’s going to a contender in what may be his final season,” explained Hoch.
Not everybody in Fremont is happy about the trades, however. Many fans are upset about watching their favorite players being sent packing. Perhaps none are as upset as Sandusky County Sheriff Daniel Gangrene.
“They got rid of McGriff! What do they think we’re gonna do around here? Who’s gonna take that bite out of crime, some kid named Erubiel? Yeah, right. It won’t be safe to walk around at night here anymore.”

WEDNESDAY 07/24/2024
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