For Immediate Release
January 11, 2003

Oregon, OH. — It wasn’t quite a magic trick on the order of making the Empire State Building disappear, but John (STRAY) Corrado pulled a nice little rabbit out of his hat Saturday.  The Mobsters general manager did something that seemed nearly impossible — he bolstered his starting rotation without breaking up Chicago’s solid core of position players. The Mobsters acquired Left-hander Mark Mulder, 25, from Oregon in exchange for outfielder – first baseman Robert Fick.  For the time being, the move ends the Mobsters’ search for starting pitching.
“I said all Winter long, we wanted to try to improve our pitching staff without having to disrupt our everyday lineup,” Corrado said. “And that’s exactly what we did in Mulder. Unless something falls in our lap here in the next few days or weeks, I don’t see that changing before the draft.”
Corrado had been trying to acquire left-hander Eric Milton, but there was no progress in those talks in recent days, and he seemed to be shipped from team to team in a matter of a week. Now, with Mulder in the fold, the team no longer has any interest in Milton.
“We had to make a decision whether we thought we could afford to get Milton or not,” Corrado said, “and weigh this against that, and we just felt that this was a very strong possibility for us. … There was a possibility of it going away and we didn’t want it to go away. So we had to make the deal today.”
Milton landed in Fire Lake, which put the Mobsters in a tight spot, trying to find that left handed starter before the General Managers meetings on January 12th. But trade talks over Mulder reportedly heated up and cooled down two or three times since late last Sunday night, and the Mobsters were sweating in anticipation.   A few G.M.’s around the league heard the rumors, but none made serious offers to Oregon for Mulder.
It also can’t hurt that Mulder is thrilled to be coming to Chicago. A very rare subject of trade talk, he had not been considering the possibilities, and the thought of wearing Mobster Maize and Blue was an appealing one. “I’m pretty excited,” he said. “I caught wind of it a couple of days ago from (Neon Nights general manager Dan) Lapointe. When I heard it could be Chicago, I got my hopes up.  They are the team that has traded for me twice now.  I always liked pitching there and if I had to pick three or four teams to go to, Chicago would always be up there.  “They’re rich in tradition. Their fans are among the best in baseball. They’re always in contention. Being with Oregon, I never had a taste of the postseason. This past season, Oregon was out of it (quickly). It’s nice to have a chance to win, and Chicago is always in it.”
Mulder is known for having excellent stuff, and since his rookie year Mulder always had the opportunity and the results to show for it. However, given a full-time chance in 2003, with a solid offense behind him, Mulder could become one of the American League’s most dominating starters, he could be in store for a strong, if not spectacular, season. He topped 200 innings, going 12-13 with a 3.70 ERA for a team that finished at .500 last season.
But the Mobsters believe that he can do much more with them. Given the skills of pitching coach J.R. Richard and Chicago’ much improved infield defense, Corrado expects Mulder can be the top quality starter that was drafted in 1998 by the Fargo Fellas (Santa Fe Devils).
J.R. Richard  said “Mulder prepares for each game, he views a lot of videotape on opposition batters, and I like those kids of pitchers. I saw a lot of Mulder’s games last year because I caught a lot of games on the satellite dish, he was very very impressive with what I saw. I still feel there is still a great upside to Mulder.”
This marks the second time that Mulder has been acquired by the Mobsters. In 1999, Chicago acquired him from Santa Fe in a deal that also included outfielder Rickey Henderson. He was also part of the 2001 trade that the Mobsters, have regretted, until today.
“I do have some mixed emotions,” Mulder said. “I’m excited to go to Chicago, but I am sad leaving the Neon Knights, there an up and coming franchise . But the excitement outweighs the disappointment of leaving Oregon. You know how after the MWBL Draft, it’s just waiting for Spring Training to start. I’m ready to go now. You could send me to Spring Training today.”
Fick had spent his entire big league career with the Mobsters, but was happy to be going to a team still in the American League.  “Oregon will be a great place for me, I can play every day, and the owner really likes me”.  Fick coming off his best season, batted .287 with 19 HR’s and 67 RBI’s last year.
Oregon also received highly touted right handed pitching prospect Colby Lewis.  Dan Lapointe was excited with the pick up and said “Lewis is a prototypical big power right-hander. He’s strong and durable, has a fluid delivery and gets excellent leverage and downhill movement on his fastball, which can touch 97 mph. His curveball, slider and changeup all have been effective when he commands them.”
Chicago also received first baseman David Ortiz.  There was also nine draft picks involved.  Five 2003 draft picks headed to Oregon, and were on the high end of the draft.  Chicago picked up four picks, and each team was excited about the new players, and possibilities of the deal.

Chicago Receives: Mark Mulder, David Ortiz, Oregon’s 3rd RD, Oregon’s 5th RD, Oregon’s 9th RD, Oregon’s 10th RD.
Oregon Receives: Robert Fick, Colby Lewis, Tijuana’s 1st RD, Chicago’s 2nd RD, Kentucky’s 2nd RD, Chicago’s 3rd RD, Buffalo’s 6th RD.

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