Team Notes

Wickstrom To Self: You're Fired!

Rat Pack GM, Eric Wickstrom, has fired Rat Pack manager Eric Wickstrom. When reached for comment Wickstrom explained "This was the hardest thing I ever had to do. It's not every day you have to look at yourself and say simply, you suck and you're fired." "While I'm great at team building, I'm not fit to manage a Dairy Queen." The Rat Pack didn't waste any time in naming Jimmy Dugan the new manager of the Pack. Dugan, the former manager of The Rockford Peaches of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League (AAGPBL) could not be reached for comment as he's feared dead since the 1950s. When asked if he was concerned that a corpse would managing his team Wickstrom simply replied, "He can't do any worse than me" No word on whether or not Joe Mauer should be looking over his shoulder for Big Dottie Hinson or if crying would now be outlawed.

A-Rod joins Rat Pack Alex Rodriguez

Alex Rodriguez is on the way to the desert. After years of failed attempts, Rat Pack owner Eric Wickstrom, was finally able to land the slugging third baseman. Negotiations started early yesterday evening and continued up until Midnight with both sides going back and forth. “Counter offers were coming in while I watching this weeks ‘Treme’ on HBO. Any other player I would have put the talks on hold as I can’t be bothered while watching “Treme.” However, Alex was worth hitting pause on the DVR for,” said Wickstrom.

The details of the trade have now been released. Vegas gets Arod and a 6th round pick while sending young star Matt Kemp, former top prospect Jay Bruce and lefty slugging third baseman Jorge Cantu to Amityville in return. “A win-win in my opinion,” Wickstrom said. “Amityville gets younger and most likely doubles their production next year with Kemp and Bruce. Alex gets to play for a championship for the next few years.” When pointed out that this is Rodriguez’s fifth team in past three years, Wickstrom didn’t hesitate to snap, “And his last. Alex and I have reached an agreement on a lifetime contract that will ensure he retires with the Rat Pack”

It's uncertain what this means for former top prospect Alex Gordon. With third base now blocked for at least the next five years, it would seem just a matter of time before he’s shown the door. “Not necessarily. We do play with the DH. However, it’s step up or get put out time for Gordon” Wickstrom offered.

With today an off day for the Rat Pack, Arod’s debut will happen tomorrow night in Vegas. When asked where he’d bat, Wickstrom scoffed, “Clean Up. Where else would you bat him?”

Big Changes in store for '08

(01/27/08) - Big happenings this off-season in Las Vegas. Eight of fifteen players being protected were not on last years keeper list. PP&T sat down with Rat Pack GM, and now manager, Eric Wickstrom, for this exclusive interview.

PP&T: Lots of moves this off-season. Lots of new faces.

Wickstrom: Very true. After last season's disappointing showing I felt a major shake up was in order.

PP&T: Well, let's start from the beginning. Polanco.

Wickstrom: His high on base percentage and mind blowing fielding percentage made the move a no brainier. A major upgrade over Matsui, who served us well, and looks to do fine in Jersey.

PP&T: Bedard and K-Rod?

Wickstrom: That was a tough trigger to pull and we paid a huge price.

PP&T: Teixeira?

Wickstrom: Right! The fans weren't happy but the chance to add a number one starter and one of the best closers in the league made it a little easier to swallow. Mark was one of my original picks and someone I watched grow from prospect to All-Star. We went out to dinner and I told him the news. He cried and I thanked him for his service to the organization. He was really disappointed he wasn't going to be here for the good times ahead.

PP&T: So, Bedard's the new number one?

Wickstrom: Number two actually. Chris Young will enter spring training as the number one. However, with Eric on board I'd put our one, two punch up against any other team in the league.

PP&T: And K-Rod to boot!

Wickstrom: (Smiles) Yeah, that was huge getting him as well. Philly had a log jam in the pen and we had a hole to fill. Simple as that!

PP&T: And the last of the deals. Seven for one? Have you lost it?

Wickstrom: Look at the one! Plus, we got that forth rounder back as well.

PP&T: Still! Is any one player actually worth seven guys in return?

Wickstrom: What are you? A Calvosa? Listen, we can only protect 15 guys. Corey, Joe and Oliver were giving me fits. Peralta and Sherrill as well! Addition by subtraction.

PP&T: So, you trading seven guys for one just so you didn't have to actually think anymore?

Wickstrom: When Ichiro is available via trade, what's to think about? New Jersey had three guys under contract for next season. Maybe four. This gave him seven more. Plus Ichiro isn't getting any younger. Hart is 25 and on the verge of breaking out. A 25 year-old five-tool outfielder, and two starting pitchers should have been enough to get it done. Throwing in four more bodies was us being generous.

PP&T: So, Ichiro will bat lead off?

Wickstrom: Absolutely!

PP&T: Quite the outfield you've assembled. Would you say, best in the league?

Wickstrom: It's right up there. Holiday, Ichiro and Hermedia will be a force for sure.

PP&T: And Figgins!

Wickstrom: Chone is playing 3rd for us this year. But I'm sure he'll see some time in the OF as well.

PP&T: So, anymore deals on the horizon?

Wickstrom: You never know! I am looking for some more pop in the lineup and some arms for the pen. Of course, a fifth starter as well. We'll see……

Wickstrom names self manager

(01/07/08) - Breaking news out of the desert as GM Eric Wickstrom has announced a major shake up on the Rat Pack's bench. Morris Buttermaker has been fired as manager. Sam "Mayday" Malone and Crash Davis will be kept on in their current roles. Wickstrom has named himself manager and released the following statement. "Obviously, last year was not what we had in mind as a franchise. Coming off our best ever year I, like everyone else, expected big things from this team. Unfortunately, this was not the case. Coach Buttermaker and I sat down and agreed that the best course to take would be a parting of the ways. I wish him well and thank him for his efforts." When pressed why he would be personally taking over the team Wickstrom didn't hesitate for a second. "Frankly, other owners have called me to the carpet recently and accused me of talking loud and saying very little. I have built this current roster and am proud of how it's shaping up. I'm expecting big things from this team. I'm going to personally see this through!" When asked what actual qualifications he had to manage a baseball team Wickstrom just scoffed, "I think I can sit on my ass and scratch my balls with the best of them!"

(02/28/07) It was supposed to the year The Rat Pack took the next step towards the World Series. However, a series of bizarre incidents has owner/G.M. Eric Wickstrom searching for answers. Our yearly spring training interview took a different spin than we expected going into it....

PP&T: So, what's going on?

Wickstrom: A nightmare! One I can not wake up from.

PP&T: Let's take it one at a time. Harden?

Wickstrom: Rich was throwing tomatoes at Carrot Top, he has a show on the strip, when he heard a pop.

PP&T: Patterson?

Wickstrom: John was a damaged bill of goods when Philly dealt him here. He passed his physical but the injury was slight enough it didn't show up. He was out bowling at Circus Circus and....

PP&T: Pop?

Wickstrom: You got it. Both are done for the year.

PP&T: You did say bowling?

Wickstrom: Yeah, D.C. owner, Jamie Landsman, throws his annual "meet a chick, bowling event" for charity. Every time you get a strike you get a raffle ticket for the grand prize... A night at the bunny ranch. I guess John's a lonely guy.

PP&T: Lee and Sheffield?

Wickstrom: They were at the NBA All Star game and got shot in the parking lot.

PP&T: Jesus! With all of these developments are you regretting the Liriano deal?

Wickstrom: No, not really. What most people don't know is that Francisco is a Mormon. His two year missionary service kicks in at the end of the year. After landing "Dice" we had the room in the rotation going forward and Marietta made us a very nice offer.

PP&T: Dice hasn't been any good since "The Rodney Dangerfield, HBO Special" in the late 80s!

Wickstrom: Dice "K" you moron! Not "clay".... Our Japanese starter!

PP&T: Oh, right.... I knew that.

Wickstrom: Anyway, he'll spend the year in Triple A with Tim Lincecum. If everyone heals up, 2008 should be the year of the Rat Pack.

PP&T: Wasn't this year supposed to be the year?

Wickstrom: Yeah, things change.

PP&T: Seems to me they stay the same.....

Wickstrom: Sometimes they do. Sometimes they do.

Rat Pack Cleans House
(5/17/06) Another big move in the desert today! Rat Pack owner/GM, Eric Wickstrom, pulled the trigger on a five player deal. PP&T sat down with Wickstrom to catch up with the Pack.

PP&T: Why now?

Wickstrom: Why not now? That's the way I look at it.

PP&T: Yes, but with the team in first place....

Wickstrom: Exactly! I can't afford to take anything for granted. Our pitching has been lights out this year. Sam (Malone) is doing a fantastic job. Where we have been struggling is on offense. Crash (Davis) has been coming to my office once a week and literally begging me for a bat. We looked around the league and saw Reggie Sanders tearing it up on the worst team in the league. We made an offer they couldn't refuse.

PP&T: Crawford? I would think not.

Wickstrom: Listen, I love Carl...he's a good kid. However, the writing was on the wall. Crash moved him down to 9 in the line up and he had a couple of good games there but when we had the chance to add the league's home run leader it was a no brainer. Plus, the other pieces we picked up were two players our scouts absolutely love.

PP&T: Talk about them a little.

Wickstrom: Ryan Zimmerman figures to play third for us for many many years. He's a good fielder and his bat is coming along just fine. He'll spend the year at triple A. Our scouts think he'll be ready to step in next year and make an impact right away as a rookie. Chris Young is another guy my scouts think will be great in the thick air of Vegas. Another player a year away from stepping in but once he does he should anchor our rotation for years to come.

PP&T: So this is a move for now and later?

Wickstrom: That's the idea, yes. Listen, Reggie is having an All Star year and will play everyday for us. At the end of the year we will have to say goodbye most likely because of his huge contract option for '07. We think having Zimmerman and Young will take some of the sting out of his departure. Plus, without 1st and 2nd rounders next year we need to keep an eye on being competitive next year as well. Hopefully Reggie can help put us over the top this year and Ryan and Chris for years to come.

PP&T: Must be nice being a buyer instead of a seller for the first time.

Wickstrom: Of course! We just got back into 1st place yesterday and the Sugar Bears are right on our tail. Their pitching isn't great but they can swing those bats! Much bigger hitters than we have had this year. I'm hoping Reggie closes the gap a little.