American Association Grants Texas AirHogs Roster Exemption

American Association Grants Texas AirHogs Roster Exemption American Association Daily provides insights and features on the American Association of Professional Baseball League, as well as player and coaching profiles and transactions going on with teams around the league. In today’s edition, Robert Pannier talks about the exemption granted to the Texas AirHogs that really makes it so that they have 30 players on their team.

20 + 10 = 23

While the play on the field ultimately determines who will be the American Association champion, the truth is that it is the rules of the league that put a team in a position to win in the first place. The American Association not only has a hard salary cap for each of its teams, but there are rules as to how many veterans a team can have (5), and how many subsequent rookies they must have (5), plus rules related to player transactions.

It is because of these factors that managers are spending more time trying to figure out how a player fits into their salary structure than they do actually scouting an opponent. There isn’t a single manager in this league who hasn’t had to pass on a player because they didn’t have a vet spot available.

The Granting of Exemptions

While these are non-negotiable, there have been exceptions to them. Last season, the St. Paul Saints were allowed to carry six veterans for one single game, as Kevin Millar came out of retirement to make a cameo appearance for the team as part of the celebration of their 25th anniversary season. This does occur, but it is quite rare.

That is not going to be the case this season. There is a lot of excitement about the fact that the Texas AirHogs will be adding players from the Chinese National team to their club for the 2018 season. It was reported that 13 players would join the team and that 10 players from other countries would fill out the roster to give the club 23 players each night. Who those 13 players would be was not known.

However, this report was only half right. It is true that 13 players from the Chinese team will be on the active roster each night, but all 20 players from the national team will come to Texas. The team will be allowed to swap out up to seven players each night without having to worry about American Association rules related to roster moves.

The league has strict rules about how a player can be added. For example, say Player A is signed and added to the roster. The team would have to do one of two things. They would have to place another player, say Player B, on the DL for seven days or the long-term inactive list (which is 30 days), or they would have to release the player outright, allowing other teams to claim him.

That will not be the case here. The AirHogs will be allowed to change up to seven players on the roster each night without having to worry about roster rules.

The Clear Advantage

This is going to give the Texas AirHogs a very interesting advantage this season. Say they are involved in a 14 inning affair. They could burn out their entire bullpen, including using their starters, knowing they had seven guys who could be added with fresh arms. This will give Texas a clear advantage.

There is no doubt that having the Chinese National team is going to be an exciting addition for the American Association. This should give the league a lot of positive attention but, should the AirHogs become a real threat in the South Division, there will be no doubt that the good feelings by other clubs may sour quickly. All of these managers want to win, and their jobs depend upon it. So, it would not be surprising for many of them to become more vocal about their opposition to this come August.

American Association Daily Notes

The Winnipeg Goldeyes added OFs Grant Heyman and Dalton Wheat, IF Matt McCann, and LHP Ross Vance. Vance had been in the St. Louis Cardinals system the last two seasons. He pitched as High-A Palm Beach and AA-Springfield last year, combining to go 2-6 with a 5.14 ERA in 40 appearances. McCann was in the Los Angeles Angels organization last season, where he appeared at four different levels, starting at rookie ball and finishing in AA-Mobile. He hit .246 combined with 32 runs scored and 14 RBI in 54 games. Wheat was with the Kansas City T-Bones in 2016 before his contract was purchased by the Miami Marlins last year. He hit .335 for the T-Bones in 2016, and hit .232 in 49 games in the Cardinals organization last year. Heyman has been with the Arizona Diamondbacks organization since being drafted in 2014. Last season, he hit .239 in 112 games for High-A Visalia…The St. Paul Saints added RHP Matt Solter and OF Chad Hinshaw. Hinshaw has spent most of his career in the Angels organization, but appeared in 81 games for AAA-New Orleans (Miami Marlins) last season. He hit .229 with 32 runs and 24 RBI. Solter split time last season between Mid-A Augusta and High-A San Jose (San Francisco Giants). He was 7-3 with a 4.04 ERA in 21 appearances, 12 of which were starts…The Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks signed IF Maikol Gonzalez and RHP DJ Brown, and traded IF Carlos Truinfel to New Jersey (Can-Am League). Gonzalez has been playing in the American Association since 2011. Last year, he was with Cleburne, where he hit .268 in 100 games. The infielder has appeared in 298 games over the last three seasons. Brown was with the Cleveland Indians organization last year. He split time between AA-Akron and AAA-Columbus, going 1-7 with a 4.66 ERA overall…The Texas AirHogs added LHP Tyler Matzek. Matzek reached the Majors with the Colorado Rockies in 2014 and 2015. Last year, he split time between High-A Modesto and AA-Hartford where he was a combined 0-4 with a 6.75 ERA. The lefty was 2-1 in 5 starts for the Rockies in 2015…The Sioux City Explorers traded RHP Chris Powell to the Gary Southshore RailCats for future considerations. Powell appeared in 16 games for the Explorers last season, going 2-3 with a 6.08 ERA…The Wichita Wingnuts added RHP Parker Sanburn. Sanburg was signed by the Texas Rangers in 2017, and appeared in Low-A Spokane and Mid-A Hickory. Combined he was 0-2 with a 2.34 ERA in 9 appearances.

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By Robert Pannier
Member of the IBWAA