Reason behind Botts’ departure

After Sugar Land signed outfielder Jason Botts earlier this month, the Atlantic League updated its transactions page to note that his rights had been traded from York to Sugar Land.

Since then I’ve been able to talk to some members of the Revs coaching staff to explain why the Revs lost the switch-hitting slugger.

The Revs confirmed they protected Botts in the league’s expansion draft held in January. They wanted to bring him back for 2012. But Botts contacted York manager Andy Etchebarren about working out a deal to move Botts to Sugar Land.

Botts has a young family, and his wife’s family lives within driving distance of Houston. Instead of uprooting his young family to live in the Northeast — like they did in 2011 — Botts wanted to keep his family in Texas and play for Sugar Land, Etchebarren said. When he’s on the road, his family will not be in a new town surrounded by people they may have just met.

Etchebarren said he had no problem trading Botts because he knew it was a matter of a player trying to do what’s best for his family.

He traded Botts rights to Sugar Land for future considerations, believing former Revs director of baseball operations Michael Kirk — who holds a similar position in Sugar Land now — would return a player of equal value to York later in the year.

“I sent him a pretty good player,” Etchebarren said about the deal, “but who’s to say Botts won’t get signed in the first two weeks of the season either.”

About Jim Seip

Jim Seip wore a cookie monster costume to help close out the Spectrum on Oct. 31, 2009.
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4 Responses to Reason behind Botts’ departure

  1. Mark Foreman says:

    He probably left because he was ordered to by the ownership team. Kirk owns 4 teams in the league and can manipulate the league by the use of moving players.

    • Jim Seip says:

      Hey Mark,

      This will always be a perception as long as ownership owns more than one team.

      But I don’t think this happened in Botts’ case. For one, if ownership was good enough to manipulate player movement to determine league titles, York wouldn’t have won back-to-back titles. (Why would ODP back one of its smaller market franchises instead of Lancaster?)

      It also doesn’t sound like an ownership move because we knew Botts was living with his in-laws in Texas before the 2010 season, and he agreed to drive about 24 hours in order to reach York during the last days of spring training. This sounds like a simple case of a player trying to make sure his wife and young children aren’t jumping from new town to town to town as their father makes a living in the minor leagues. It’s one thing to move to York and expect to stay there for six months, but Botts has been signed by organizations in each of the last two seasons. So his family could be looking at several moves (1. move from Texas; 2. settle with an Atlantic League team in the North East; 3. earn affiliated deal and move to Triple-A town and another West Coast or California town). Playing for Sugar Land cuts down on the amount of times he has to pack up his family and children.

      • Mark Foreman says:

        Jim, the Kirk Group will let York win since they were new to the league. I bet that their time is past now and Kirk’s Group will do anything to have the new team winning ASAP. One group should not have such control over the entire league.

        • Jim Seip says:

          Every expansion franchise wants to win. Ownership groups want a competitive team on the field, but this notion that ODP determines who wins and loses is silly. ODP isn’t in the business of collecting championship rings. They’re in the business to make money.

          And the minor league postseason can be a money drainer. Few sellouts. Rainouts occur, and therefore teams need to shell out refunds and lose ticket sales. Fewer children show up because school is back in session, so fewer concessions/sales. And selling weekend games in Texas in September could be a nightmare with Texas high school football. You don’t think ODP is dreading going up against a monster like that?

          I think it would be better for the league, at least better for the league’s public status, if ODP owned only one team. On that we can agree. But when you say ODP “let” York win because it was “new” to the league, that’s just a ridiculous statement. First of all, are you forgetting York lost more games in 2009 than any other franchise in the league? It didn’t win a title until its fourth season in the league. So ODP “let” it win titles because it was “new” in 2010-11, but ODP “let” it stink on ice in 2009 because it was — what? — newer? That type of logic doesn’t make any sense to me.

          When it did win titles, York needed to win a pair of Game 5’s in back-to-back years in the divisional series just to get to the championship series. One game was won 1-0 on a bunt/throwing error. The other Game 5 was won in the 1oth inning — on the road. That isn’t a script you write if you “let” a team win. You load up with stars. You put more money and people in place to help the team win. And from what I’ve seen that didn’t happen in York. Between the start of 2010 and end of 2011, the Revs have been stripped of a GM and a director of baseball operations. That’s not how you go about letting a team win, by tearing away its hierarchy.

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