Saturday, February 6, 2010

Dirtbags spending spree revamps lineup

Chang and Glover join Fargo as Lim re-signs

The Fargo Dirtbags experienced quite the fall from grace last season. Just three seasons removed from a World Series title, the Dirtbags finished six games under .500 and out of the playoffs for the first time since season 1 despite a $96 million player payroll.

The main reason? Their offense was putrid. Knowing that the offense had to be overhauled, Fargo traded long-time Dirtbags William Bolling and Stan Peterson to New York for the expiring contracts of Orel MacFarlane and Dewayne Castillo late in the season in an effort to clear cap space for season 9. And during the free agency period they also dealt long-time 2B Greg Burkhart to Salem to give them even more cap space. It was cap space they would use to make quite the splash in the free agent pool.

Fargo's top priority was to re-sign star LF Alex Lim, while Lim's top priority was getting paid. Lim told Fargo management last season that he was going to test the free agent market and get as much money as he could, feeling that he had been previously underpaid. The Dirtbags were more than willing to pay Lim his fair share and though Lim held out about as long as he could for a better deal he eventually re-signed with Fargo for 3-years, $31 million.

While they waited for Lim's decision, the Dirtbags took aim at Jeremy Glover and 6-time All Star Calvin Chang. Chang quickly inked Fargo's 5-year, $60 million+ offer and it wasn't long until Glover signed his 5-year $59.5 million deal to join him in a Dirtbag uniform. Glover will replace Burkhart at second base while Chang will take the reigns at 3B, moving David Rushford into RF where Bolling previously roamed.

Lim, Chang and Glover may have been the three big offensive signings for Fargo this offseason, but they weren't the only ones. The Dirtbags also signed former St. Louis centerfielder Henry Turner and SS Hector Nunez to 2-year deals. Turner replaces Peterson in CF while Nunez will take over at short for the departed Tomas DeJesus.

In addition to the moves Fargo made to bolster their offense, the Dirtbags also sought a replacement in their starting rotation for Manny Christians, who signed a 2-year deal with Austin. They locked up former Trenton starter York Watson with a 5-year $27.2 million deal, solidifying the fourth spot in their rotation in the process. And for good measure, the Dirtbags added long-time Monterrey setup man Vern Baez to their bullpen with a 2-year deal.

Only time will tell if the wads of cash spent will return Fargo to the elite of The Bigs. The spending spree is, however, a clear indication that the team isn't going to lose the prime years in the careers of Javier Henriquez and Sammy Pierce to a rebuild period that could last several seasons. The time to win in Fargo is now, and the team will apparently spend whatever it takes to contend.

Calvin Chang
Age: 32B/T: L/R
Born: Kobe, JP
Position(s): 3B/1B/SS/COF
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