The Kansas City T-Bones had been one of the busiest teams in the off-season and February was no different. They have added quality depth across their roster, yet have seen another one of their talented players sign with a Major League club. The T-Bones have watched their division rivals make sweeping changes to improve their clubs and they have kept right up with them, building a club that will be difficult to beat come May.
Catcher Chris Bianchi signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers to begin February. On the 5th of February, Kansas City signed RHP Derek Gordon to a contract. He, too, would see his contract bought out, but the right-hander would not have to go far as the Kansas City Royals were the suitor who inked the righty to a deal. Clearly the T-Bones scouts know how to spot talent.
On February 7, Kansas City signed infielder Ryan Cavan. Cavan can play short, second and third. He played for Southern Illinois of the Frontier League last season, hitting .309 with 5 homeruns and 44 RBI in 92 games. The infielder also stole 14 bases in 2014. Cavan was a San Francisco Giants prospect from 2009-2013, and has a quick bat and a good glove. It wouldn’t be surprising to see him join a Major League club as well.
Two days later infielder Matt Padgett was traded to Amarillo for future considerations. Padgett split time between Kansas City and Monclova of the Mexican League last year. He hit .328 in 35 for the T-Bones with 6 homeruns and 27 RB, after clubbing 10 homeruns and driving in 60 in 85 games for Monclova.
On February 11, the T-Bones re-signed LHP Derek Loera, signed RHP Fernando Hernandez, plus they acquired OF Kyle Robinson. Hernandez is a 12-season veteran of professional baseball. He has reached the AAA-level for the New York Yankees, Chicago White Sox, Toronto Blue Jays and Oakland A’s. Last season he was with Long Island of the Atlantic League, where he appeared in 10 games, going 2-3 with an outstanding 2.78 ERA.
T-Bones manager John Massarelli is excited about the addition of Hernandez. “We have been looking for a veteran presence at the top of the rotation, and we think Fernando will provide that for us in 2015. We think he’ll make our rotation deeper and stronger this summer.”
Loera pitched in 24 games for the T-Bones last season, all but one of those appearances in relief. He was 0-2 with a 3.05 ERA. The lefty has good command, walking just 13 batters in 41.1 innings pitched.
Masserelli is pleased to see the lefty return. “Derek proved to be very reliable in the pen last season and we look for him to continue that very important role this year.”
Robinson was acquired from Windy City of the Frontier League. The 26-year old had a monster season in 2014, hitting .366 in 83 games, with 13 homers and 70 RBI. He has good speed as well, stealing 12 bases and scoring 52 runs, and is outstanding in the field. Robinson has the potential to be a star in the American Association.
“Kyle is a strong, athletic outfielder who can also play first base,” explained T-Bones manager John Massarelli. “Offensively, he is a run producer who can drive the ball to all fields.”
On February 19, Kansas City signed former Kansas University guard C.J. Henry. The 6-3, 225 pound outfielder was with Evansville of the Frontier League in 2013, where he hit .332 with 4 homeruns and 29 RBI in 57 games. An injury kept him off the field for all of the 2014 season.
The T-Bones are excited about the prospect of Henry in their outfield. “We expect C.J. to come in and compete for a regular-season roster spot,” said T-Bones manager John Massarelli. “He is a hitter who can get on base, as he proved in Evansville. Defensively, he’s an athletic outfielder who has versatility to play in the infield, also.”
On March 3, Kansas City signed catcher Alex Marquez. Marquez had been a Kansas City Royals prospect for the early part of his minor league career (2010-2013), until last season when he played for Auburn, a Class-A team for the Washington Nationals. At Auburn he appeared in 13 games, hitting .154 with one RBI. He is an outstanding catcher who calls a great game.
Two days later OF Nate Tenbrink signed a deal to play for the T-Bones this season. Tenbrink has played for the Seattle Mariners organization since 2008, reaching AAA-Tacoma last season. At three levels he hit a combined .278 with three homeruns and 19 RBI. “Nate is a power left-handed bat who will hit in the middle of our lineup,” said T-Bones manager John Massarelli. Tenbrink attended Northwest High School in Olathe, KS.
The Kansas City T-Bones have been very active this off-season, and this last month they have really bolstered their offense. This is a team with a serious shot at the American Association title.
By Robert Pannier