New Milford made steps towards completing the 2017 roster by announcing some contracts, promotions and cuts.
The biggest announcement were the contracts given out. The headliner was Mookie Betts getting a 10 year Franchise tag, which will keep him in New Milford until he is 33 years old. “We feel comfortable doing this with a speed guy. He is a special player. We thought about not franchising him, but the 16M in savings over the life of the contract told us otherwise. He is face of our franchise for the next decade.”
New Milford also handed out a pair of 4 year contracts to C James McCann and OF David Peralta. “Again, no brainers to us.”
OF Michael Saunders got a 3 year contract, with P Shane Greene getting a 2 year deal. RP Jerry Blevins, CF Michael Bourne, IF Dan Descalso, CF Kirk Nieuwenhuis, RP Blake Treinen, and OF Richie Weeks got one year deals.
Five members of the 2016 farm were promoted to the big club. OF Hyun Soo Kim, RP’s Matt Bowman, Buddy Boshers, Hunter Cervenka, and Chris Devenski. “Our farm was so good last year, even guys we cut (Broxton and Sardinas) made teams, just not ours,” said an embarrassed Peburn.
Matt Carpenter, Jason Castro, Troy Tulowitzki, Derek Dietrich and Greg Garcia were kept on the hitting side. The rotation of Kershaw, Tanaka, Quintana and Moore was untouched.
Matt Albers, Abraham Almonte, CJ Hinojosa, Jed Lowrie, Clint Robinson, Felipe Rivero, Charlie Furbush, Connor Gillepsie, Jake’s Marisnick and McGee, Xavier Scruggs, Richie Shaffer, were all handed pick slips as well as long time Blazer Brett Anderson. “Brett was great for us but justifying that contract was just not feasible, so we cut him without penalty. We wish him the best,” said Peburn.
The Blazers now have just under 30 million dollars to fill 10 roster spots. With only one need, the Blazers have some flexibility. “We only really need one hitter then we can just hunt for upgrades. With Carpenter’s positional flexibility, we don’t have to overpay for a position and can just let the auction come to us,” smiled Peburn.
With a auction loaded with talent, there is lots of buzz about the possibilities. The most frequent scenario has long time Blazers Robinson Cano re signing with the Blazers. “We have signed him to two contracts in the past, so it seems logical,” explains Peburn, “but we’ll just see where this goes.” “Other then the SS’s in the auction, we can really sign any IF, so we will look for a good value. We can also upgrade in the OF, SP or RP if anything falls. We also have some money earmarked for the draft for a few players we have our eye on.”
The farm is barren with all the promotions leaving only stud pitchers Kopech, Anraku and Medeiros, with ML ready OF’s Jones and Eibner. “It is tough restocking the farm every year picking so low, but again, our under rated GM abilities will do the job filling the pond as we always do. We’ve done our homework and can’t wait to grab 10 guys who interest us in the farm draft.”
For the second year in a row and the fourth year overall, the Blazers face Los Altos in the OLCS. New Milford has never beaten The Undertakers in the playoffs.
The batting roster is virtually unchanged from the OLDS. Matt Carpenter will hit lead off playing 2B, followed by Mookie Betts in CF. Shin Soo Choo will bat third in RF followed by OLDS MVP Mark Teixeira at 1B. David Peralta will hit 5th in LF, Troy Tulowitzki will bat 6th at SS, Kelly Johnson (26 PA overall, 4 vs L) will play 3B batting 7th, and Jason Castro (30 PA overall and vs R) will hit 9th at C. The bench will consist of James McCann C (12 PA vs L), Jed Lowrie IF (21 PA overall, 8 vs L) , Derek Dietrich IF (23 PA overall and vs R), Clint Robinson IF/OF (28 PA overall 4 vs L), and Ryan Raburn OF (16 PA vs L).
Starters will be Kershaw, Tanaka, Iwakuma and Quintana. KRod will close with O’Day, Thornton, Rivero, Albers, Warren, Furbush (1.2 IP) and McGee in the pen.
Series slated to kick off Saturday, November 12th at 5 PM EST with Kershaw facing Archer in Los Altos.
Wild Card winner Flagstaff Outlaws travel to New Milford to take on the Blazers in New Milford.
Game 1: Lackey @ Kershaw
After a very well sung National Anthem by Ariana Grande, Steve Bartman rode a goat out the pitcher’s mound and threw a strike for the first pitch to Jason Castro as the crowd erupted.
Top 2, Chris Colabello homered to left to give the visitors a 1-0 lead.
Bottom 2, Teixiera jumped on the first pitch from Lackey driving it deep to right immediately giving the Blazers some life to tie the game.
Bottom 3, Carpenter walked, Betts popped up, Choo walked and Teixeira singled to load the based. Peralta unloaded them with a grand slam. 5-1 Blazers.
Bottom 6, a Choo RBI single made it 6-1, and a Johnson sac fly pushed it to 7-1. That’s all Kershaw (7.1 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 11K) would need in the Blazers opening 7-1 win.
WP Kershaw (1-0)
LP Lackey (0-1)
Game 2: Wood @ Tanaka
Bottom 4, a Teixeira double gave the Blazers a 1-0 lead.
Bottom 6, a Robinson PH sac fly and Lowrie 2 RBI double made it 4-0 New Milford.
Top 7, an unlikely 3 run HR from Dee Gordon off of Jake McGee pulled Flagstaff within one run.
Top 8, a Springer 2 run bomb off of Rivero gives Flagstaff the lead 5-4.
Bottom 8, with a runner on second and 2 outs, Lowrie is IBB’d by Sipp and Carpenter ripped a double down the line. Lowrie is sent home. The throw is close. He is SAFE! Blazers up 6-5. KRod goes 1-2-3 as Blazers come from behind for the 6-5 win.
WP Rivero (1-0)
LP Sipp (0-1)
S KRod (1)
Game 3: Iwakuma @ McHugh
Series shifts to Purina.
A Teixeira first inning RBI single gave NM the early 1-0 lead.
Top 4, a Johnson RBI double made it 2-0 Blazers.
Top 5, a Choo sac fly and Peralta 3 run bomb made it 6-0 Blazers.
Top 6, a Betts RBI single, Choo RBI double and Tulo GRAND SLAM made it 12-0 Blazers.
Iwakuma finished the complete game as Blazers win going away 13-3.
WP Iwakuma (1-0)
LP McHugh (0-1)
Game 4: Warren @ Ross
Outlaw bats wake up with 4 in the first on a Martin RBI single and Springer 3 run bomb.
Blazers cut the lead in half in the bottom half on a Tulo 2 run bomb.
Outlaws score 3 more in the third on a Springer single, Jones bases loaded walk and Suarez sac fly to make it 7-2 Outlaws.
Top 6, a Castro double, Carpenter single, Betts RBI double, Choo walk load the bases for Teixeira who unloads them with a GRAND SLAM to tie the game. A Carpenter bases loaded walk later in the inning gave the Blazers an 8-7 lead.
Top 7, a Johnson bases loaded walk, Dietrich RBI single (in for carp who was ejected), and a Castro RBI groundout made it 11-7 Blazers.
KRod on in the 9th and Outlaws put 2 on but he leaves the tying run on the on deck circle as Blazers sweep Flagstaff 11-7.
WP Warren (1-0)
LP Ross (0-1)
Congrats to Greg on a great season.
Teixeira went 625/700/1.188 with 3 doubles , 2 HR, 10 runs and 7 RBI.
Blazers hit 331/430/592
New Milford (AP)
The New Milford Blazers return to the postseason for the 6th year in a row looking for the elusive BDBL trophy. In 7 previous postseason appearances, New Milford has reached the World Series once with 5 losses in the OLCS and just one loss in the OLDS. “Eighth time’s a charm?” joked NM GM Anthony Peburn.
New Milford will carry 12 pitchers in the OLDS featuring OL CY candidate and 22 game winner Clayton Kershaw. Kershaw will be followed in the rotation by Masahiro Tanaka, Hisashi Iwakuma, and Adam Warren, The bullpen will be anchored by KRod with Darren O’Day, Matt Albers, and Blake Treinen backing him up from the right side and Jake McGee, Matt Thornton, Felipe Rivero and Charlie Furbush (1.2 IP) from the left side.
The 13 hitters include probable MVP Shin Soo Choo in RF with Mookie Betts in CF and David Peralta in LF. Ryan Raburn (16 PA overall and vs L) and Clint Robinson (28 PA overall 4 vs L) will round out the OF. Mark Teixeira will start at 1B in his long awaited Blazer debut as he has served as a PH for most of his time since the trade. Matt Carpenter will start at 2B and Troy Tulowitzki will handle SS. Kelly Johnson (26 PA overall 4 vs L) will handle 3B. Jed Lowrie (21 overall 8 vs L) and Derek Dietrich (23 PA overall and vs R) will back up the IF. Jason Castro (30 PA overall and vs R) and James McCann (12 vs L) will share duties behind the plate.
Game 1 will be at Nestle Field on Friday, November 4th with first pitch set at 7 PM EST. Clayton Kershaw will face Iron Man John Lackey starting 2 games in a row (which we find incredibly stupid).
Projected Game 1 line up: