Two years from winning the American Association title, the Gary Southshore RailCats look to return to the top of the league. Like Lincoln, the RailCats have been much more active in the final weeks of February than they were at the start. They have made a lot of moves to make their pitching staff one of the best in the league, and will need to add some outfielders and hitting to prepare for the beginning of the season.
On February 10, Gary re-signed OF Drew Martinez. Martinez is just a hitting machine and one of the key pieces of the team’s lineup. He played in all 100 games last season, hitting .358 with an incredible .406 on-base percentage. The Gary outfielder drove in 62 runs, scored 64, and stole 35 bases. He is a force at the top of the lineup, and a key re-signing.
On February 17, Jessie Snodgrass, who had been acquired from the Windy City Thunderbolts just before the New Year, was signed to a contract. The right-hander had a very impressive year for the Thunderbolts, going 3-1 with a 2.61 ERA in 48 appearances.
On February 19, James Parr was acquired from Bridgeport of the Atlantic League to complete an earlier trade, but he would not remain a RailCats’ player for very long. About a week later, on February 28, he was deal to the Sugar Land Skeeters of the Atlantic League for cash.
One day later the RailCats re-signed LHP Shawn O’Neill for the upcoming season. The left-hander began last season with the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks before joining Gary. He was 0-3 in Farg0-Moorhead with a 5.29 ERA in four starts, and 1-0 with an 18.89 ERA in five relief appearances for Gary.
On February 22, the RailCats added two right-handed pitchers to their staff. Chris Squires was a Miami Marlins prospect from 2010 to 2012, but split time last season between Florence of the Frontier League and Kansas City. In Florence he was 0-1 with a 5.87 ERA, and with the T-Bones he was 2-3 with a 7.89 ERA. The righty has good stuff, but needs to work on his command.
Charle Rosario also signed with Gary Southshore. From 2007 to 2012 the right-hander was with the Boston Red Sox organization, reaching as high as AA in 2011 and 2012. Last season he pitched for Schaumburg of the Frontier League, making seven starts. He was 2-0 with a 4.76 ERA. He showed that he has a lively fastball, striking out 34 in 39.2 innings pitched.
Following the trade that sent Parr to Sugar Land, infielder Henry Wrigley was dealt to Lancaster of the same league on March 2 in exchange for cash. The moves were to satisfy the wishes of the two players.
“Both players had requested to play in a different league and we made the best deal we could to honor their request. We wish both Henry and James the best,“ explained RailCats manager Greg Tagert.
The acquisitions have really added a lot of depth to their pitching staff. Pitching has always been a real plus for the Gary Southshore RailCats and it will likely be so this season as well. The team still needs to fill in players in their outfield, but with 10 weeks left to go there is no doubt they will field one of the better teams in the league.
By Robert Pannier