It’s bad enough trying to find one key addition for a team in midseason.
Try finding eight.
That’s what the York Revolution are attempting to do. That’s right, replace eight players in the midst of it all.
No time off.
No help from down on the farm. (This is the Atlantic League after all, where the only “farm system” in this independent league is a list of contacts in a manager’s cell phone.)
Games are an every-night occurrence, and the York Revolution have no quick fixes for all their loss of talent.
Lancaster Barnstormers fans have been known to shake Rally ‘Roni. Perhaps the Revs should shake boxes of Pestilence Pasta. Call it the Year of the Plague.
The 2013 York Revolution have lost players in almost every fashion imaginable. While it’s true no one has left for the circus — yet. And while it’s also true no one has been bitten or mauled by the team dog — yet. Don’t take your eyes off of the cannon in right field, one of York’s players could try to be shot into the air. Don’t take your eyes off of Boomer, the lovable mutt might be getting hungry.
Mark Mason’s first year as York’s manager has included a bit of everything.He’s lost four players to major league affiliates. Arguably his best reliever and arguably his best starter have been plucked up by big league organizations. He also lost two pieces to his opening day lineup.
All that is OK.
Mason has gone on the record to say he wished all his players could earn another shot in affiliated baseball.
It’s one thing to lose players to the Mets and Phillies, however, it’s another thing to lose players to the Campeche Pirates and the Yucatan Lions.
But hey, teams in the Mexican League know if they offer enough money, they can entice players to leave the Atlantic League. Players don’t expect paradise or even scouts. But they do expect larger paychecks. So, it shouldn’t be a surprise, the Revs lost two players to the Mexican League this week. After all, this stuff happens in typical years. Why shouldn’t it happen in one of the craziest years in franchise history?
It just doesn’t seem fair that the two players who left happened to be two of York’s better players. The hardest out in the Atlantic League, Brian Burgamy (.452 on-base percentage), may have also been the best hitter (ranked second with .345 batting average). Right-handed starter Nick Green (3-0, 3.71 ERA) jumped ship two days after Burgamy, opting for the bigger contract.
Then there are the retirements. Two players called it a career at age 32. Jason Repko quit despite still looking like a fourth outfielder for a major league club. He could play multiple positions. He could pinch run and still had speed, swiping two bags on one pitch during his time in York. And he played all out. Still, he felt it was time to move on.
Even the replacements are moving on. Dallas McPherson retired after the May 31 game. And this loss might be the one that hurt the most. A corner infielder/outfielder, McPherson had been in contact with the Revs since at least April. He finally signed with York May 29. He provided some needed power. And he provided Mason with some much-needed versatility. He lasted three games. His wife had given birth to a child in April, and he missed his family.
Through all this, we didn’t even mention injuries.
So the phone calls continues. Mason and his staff examine recent releases, looking for possible fits.
But what might get lost in all this madness is the fact the Revolution remain five games above .500 entering Saturday’s doubleheader in Camden.
York may not catch Sugar Land for the first-half division title, but the Revs are not out of it. It’s not hopeless. And that might be the biggest sign to pull from this mess of defections and signings and retirements. If York has lost this many players and can still post the third-best record in the league, that’s a good thing.
It shows the staff knows how to find replacement players.
It shows the replacement players the staff has signed can perform.
And it shows that York could still win it all during this crazy, wacky year where they’ve lost almost an entire lineup — just to other teams and retirements. If York’s back-to-back championship runs have proven anything, it should be that Atlantic League titles aren’t always won by the team with the most victories or the best talent. Championships are usually won by the best team in September and early October, the champagne is usually sprayed by the team that has been rebuilt and remolded.
And no team has had more experience at rebuilding a roster and finding needed pieces than the Revs this season.