Well, the Isotopes contingent has arrived in Indianapolis ready to begin the 2009 Baseball Winter Meetings, which will kick off tomorrow with an annual awards luncheon. In fact, Isotopes slugger Mitch Jones will be receiving the Joe Bauman Award for hitting the most homers in Minor League Baseball at this year’s event.
Since this is one of probably a million blogs on the Winter Meetings we will be doing things a little bit differently in an effort to inform and entertain.
First and foremost, this will be the only blog during the Winter Meetings that will feature a soundtrack. Each entry will have a link to a song that hopefully will enhance your blog-reading experience.
So, in honor of our arrival in the Hoosier State, please enjoy Indiana’s native son John Cougar Mellencamp’s magnum opus Pink Houses. (This is a link to the Pop-Up Video version of the song, which is full of great tidbits. For example, did you know that Mellencamp and David Lee Roth are from the same Indiana town? By the way, how great was Pop-Up Video?) Anyway, nothing sums up hard-scrabble Midwestern living quite like Pink Houses, and the video also incidentally features John Cougar Mellencamp’s other contribution to society – the feathered mullet.
Now that there’s a song in your heart, I’ll tell you a little bit about Indianapolis. Evidently, Siberia was booked this year so the organizers of the Baseball Winter Meetings elected to hold the meetings in the next coldest place. Currently, it’s about 25 degrees and we are not expected to see the sun once during our five days here. Makes you really appreciate winter in New Mexico, where even if it gets cold, the odds are still pretty good you won’t go a week without seeing the sun.
The actual meetings are being held at the Indianapolis Convention Center which is linked to Lucas Oil Stadium, home of the Colts, right smack dab in the middle of downtown. Not only are the convention center and the stadium linked by an indoor walkway, most of the hotels that surround the convention center are similarly linked, much like those hamster towns you can buy at Petsmart. So, while it’s going to be cold, we can spend the week traveling from building to building without going outside at all.
Downtown Indy seems clean and nice, with a lot of bars and restaurants. Unfortunately, there are no indoor walkways to these establishments, so you have to weigh your interest in leaving the hotel – convention center causeway against the fear of frostbite.
Anyway, it’s good to be here and it should be a fun week renewing acquaintances. Again, we’ll be blogging throughout the meetings so check back here often!
One player signing to report. Outfielder Dee Brown, who was a fan favorite for the ‘Topes last year, has signed with the Winnipeg Goldeneyes of the Independent Northern League. We’ll certainly miss him. In addition to being a great player, Dee is one of the nicest people you’ll ever meet.
In less than a week, the baseball world will descend on Indianapolis, Indiana for the annual Baseball Winter Meetings, which also signifies the beginning of the Hot Stove League. So far, there hasn’t been too much to report with respect to Dodgers Minor League signings. In fact, the most notable move to date impacting Isotopes fans was the official completion of the John Garland trade, in which electrifying ‘Topes infielder Tony Abreu was dealt to Arizona on October 9. Many Albuquerque fans remember Abreu’s limbo status for a few days leading up to the PCL Playoffs while both the Dodgers and Diamondbacks decided on the parameters of the deal that sent Garland to Los Angeles on September 1.
The Dodgers also added a pair of players to their 40-man roster with ‘Topes ties. Kenley Jansen, a 6’6 native of Curacao, played eight games for Albuquerque at catcher last year before he was sent to Single-A Inland Empire and converted to a pitcher. In 12 relief appearances for the 66ers at the tail end of last year, Jansen went 0-0 with a 4.63 ERA and it’s certainly possible that he could see more time in a ‘Topes uniform in 2010. Infielder Ivan DeJesus was also added to the Dodgers’ 40-man after missing all of last season with a broken leg suffered in a Spring Training B-Game. Many believed DeJesus, who had a break-out season with Double-A Jacksonville in 2008, would break camp with the Isotopes last year before his injury. Rest assured, there will be many more moves to come. Los Angeles General Manager Ned Coletti has a track record of aggressively improving the Dodgers and those moves will no doubt impact the Isotopes.
‘Topes Tattler will be on location in Indy next week and will be giving updates throughout the Winter Meetings.
There have also been a couple of moves involving former Isotopes. Relief pitcher Ross Wolf, who pitched in Albuquerque from 2006-08, has re-signed with the Baltimore Orioles after going 4-2 with a 3.95 ERA and a save in 47 games with the Triple-A Norfolk Tides last year. Catcher, and long-time fan favorite Paul Hoover (an Isotope in 2003, 2006-08) has also re-upped with the Philadelphia Phillies. Last season Hoover played most of the season in Triple-A Lehigh Valley before getting called up at the end of the September and appearing in three games (one start) for the Phils. While he wasn’t on the post-season roster, Hoover did join Philadelphia on its run to the World Series. After their loss to the Yankees, the Phillies removed Hoover from their 40-man roster, but the catcher signed a Minor League contract and will get an invite to Spring Training in Clearwater next spring.