It was a day of house cleaning for manager Rick Forney and the Winnipeg Goldeyes, as the club totalled eight transactions on June 12, granting the release of four players and signing four new ones.
The team added first baseman Eric Aguilera, infielder Tucker Nathans, and outfielder Dave Sappelt. Making his return to the Goldeyes is left-handed pitcher Mitchell Lambson, who was stellar out of the bullpen last year for the Fish.
Aguilera played last year at the Double-A level, hitting at a .222 clip with 15 home runs and 51 RBI in 111 games in the Texas League. Earlier in the year, Aguilera honed his craft in the Mexican League, hitting .301 while cracking 12 homers and 43 RBI in 57 contests. The 27-year old left batting first baseman was a 34th round pick of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in 2013.
The 29-year old Nathans is a stellar defensive player who can play around the diamond and the outfield. He has a lifetime .980 fielding percentage at second base in 112 games. He spent last year at the Triple-A level in the Baltimore Orioles’ system. Nathans is a speedster who can hit for average but has very good power for a second baseman. He began his career in 2011 in the Can-Am League, and retained his rookie classification for the 2012 season where he won the Can-Am League Rookie of the Year award.
Veteran slugger Sappelt is a 31-year old outfielder who spent three years in the MLB from 2011 to 2013, playing with the Cincinnati Reds and the Chicago Cubs. Sappelt hit .251 in 95 games in the Majors across the two teams. He can add base hits against MLB All-Stars Madison Bumgarner and Aroldis Chapman to his resumé, as well as hits against Cy Young Award winners Cliff Lee and Dallas Keuchel. Sappelt has a lifetime .291 average with more hits than games played. He was drafted in the 9th round by the Reds in 2008.
Lambson returns to the Goldeyes after beginning the year as a starting pitcher in the Mexican League. The 27-year old had a 3.98 ERA during the 2017 regular season for the Goldeyes, striking out 61 batters and walking only 12 in 61 innings of work. Lambson proved to be dependable as the year wore on, appearing in six postseason games, including all three Goldeye victories in the American Association Championship series. He got his first American Association start of 2018 on Tuesday night, pitching five solid innings as the Goldeyes picked up a 4-1 win over the visiting Gary SouthShore RailCats. With starting pitcher Shane Dawson currently on the disabled list, Lambson is expected to become the fifth arm in the Fish rotation.
Released were left-handed relief pitcher Kenny Mathews, outfielder Victor Cruzado, infielder Jordan Edgerton, and first baseman Reynaldo Rodriguez.
The 24-year old left-handed Mathews was in his second year as a member of the Goldeyes, and retained his rookie classification from last year. He made 8 appearances for the Fish this year, giving up 9 hits, walking five, and striking out seven, while posting a 10.80 ERA in 6.2 innings. Mathews also gave up 4 home runs on the young season.
The switch-hitting Cruzado was in his first year with the Winnipeg Goldeyes. The 25-year old was hitting .233 with no home runs and 8 RBI in 23 games for the Goldeyes. Cruzado walked 12 times, but struck out 22 times. He also had a stolen base during his time with the Goldeyes.
Edgerton was recently acquired by the Goldeyes, having signed with the team on June 3. The 24-year old infielder was hitting just .167 with no home runs and 2 RBI in 7 games. He walked twice and struck out six times during his brief time with the team.
Rodriguez was hitting .281 with 3 home runs and a team-leading 17 RBI for the Goldeyes in 23 games. The 31-year old was ranked independent baseball’s top prospect in 2009 and was a four-time All-Star in the affiliated minor leagues. Rodriguez walked 11 times and struck out just 9 times in 103 plate appearances this season. He had hit safely in 20 out of 23 games this year and hit a home run in his final game as a member of the Winnipeg Goldeyes.
The Goldeyes currently have 23 players on their roster, which is the league maximum.