Trade deadline removes two key Fisher Cats

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Another week, another set of Fisher Cat games. Here’s a recap.

Toronto

Tuesday, July 27New Hampshire at Portland (ppd., rain)

Wednesday, July 28Game 1: New Hampshire 6, Portland 1. Game 2: New Hampshire 3, Portland 2

Thursday, July 29New Hampshire at Portland (ppd., rain)

Friday, July 30New Hampshire 5, Portland 3

Saturday, July 31Game 1: Portland 6, New Hampshire 4 Game 2: Portland 1, New Hampshire 0

Sunday, Aug. 1New Hampshire 7, Portland 6

The biggest news came from off the field this week as the Major League Baseball Trade deadline brought the Blue Jays a fresh new arm for their rotation at the expense of two key 2021 Fisher Cats.

On Friday, the Minnesota Twins sent José Berríos to the Blue Jays in exchange for Blue Jay prospects Austin Martin and Simeon Woods Richardson.

In 55 games, Martin was hitting .281 with the Fisher Cats with ten doubles, 16 RBI, nine stolen bases and 37 walks, but just two home runs. Woods Richardson accumulated a 5.76 ERA over 11 starts for the Fisher Cats, although that figure ballooned by just over three runs following four poor starts in late June and July as Woods Richardson juggled Fisher Cats duty alongside pitching for the U.S. Olympic team.

New Hampshire Fisher Cats Manager Cesar Martin (no relation to Austin) said that Austin had become a leader on the team and the loss of such a leader impacted the clubhouse morale. Still, Cesar noted that other team leaders like Chavez Young vowed to pick up the slack in Austin’s absence and ultimately felt happy that their colleague is getting attention that could aid him in his quest for the big leagues.

“He’s a young kid in his first year and it was a little bit of a shock for him. He’s a great leader, he led by example. He’s a competitive guy and wants to help the team,” said Cesar. “It’s a little bit tough for everybody, it’s tough when you lose a teammate, especially a leader like that. After having that conversation (with Austin), I told him that to be traded for that level of pitcher (such as Berríos) should make you feel proud of yourself. At the end of the day, I just want to see him in the big leagues, outside the white lines, he’s a great guy.”

“Still, it’s tough with a guy like that, great player and great person. It’s something you’ll never get used to, but it’s a part of baseball. The Blue Jays are looking for whatever piece they can to make their World Series dream come true,” Cesar added. “It’s not easy to replace a good leader, but we have plenty of those types of those players, which makes it easier for us. When somebody leaves, there seems to be somebody that picks up where they left off and we believe in the talent that we have. We might not have the best record, but I believe in our talent.”

Austin Martin. Photo/Andrew Sylvia

Cesar didn’t immediately get the chance to talk with Woods Richardson given the time distance between New Hampshire and Toyko. Both players have now been assigned to the Twins’ Double-A affiliate in Wichita.

Another one of the Fisher Cats’ key players this season, Gabriel Moreno, also looks to be out for the season following his recent thumb injury. Although he is recovering on schedule and rehabilitating in Florida, Cesar said that the organization is not likely going to rush him back to action until they’re confident the thumb has fully healed.

“It’s tough since it’s one of the best hitters we have, but like the trade, it’s just one of those things that happens in baseball,” he said.

On the field, as the parent club finally made its way back north of the border, the Fisher Cats took a series win against the Sea Dogs. It was déjà vu for New Hampshire, as the Fisher Cats began July with a rainy week against Portland and this series also saw two rainouts. That wasn’t the only bit of familiarity for the ‘Cats as Cesar said that the fact that these two teams have played each other so often has given the Fisher Cats a bit of an edge.

“There were some negatives and we tried to get on the positive side and review some video. That’s the one thing you’ll never control, the weather, and I think maybe because we know Portland so well, we’re playing really good against them. Compared to the beginning of the season, we’re not trying to give anything away and trying to make them earn what they earn. Most of their starting pitchers are still here, which has also helped us,” he said.

The series win helped the Fisher Cats dwindling hopes at a post-season berth as they stand 11 and 11.5 games behind the Akron Rubberducks and Portland respectively for the Double-A Northeast’s two playoff spots.

Fisher Cats of the Week

#1. Maximo Castillo – Castillo put in a strong six innings on Sunday, with just over two-thirds of his 90 pitches landing for strikes. He’s probably going to give up a few runs and provide around five innings each time he’s out there, but that’s been enough this season for New Hampshire, after Sunday his record rose to 8-2.

#2. Mike Ellenbest – Ellenbest came in after Castillo on Sunday and got the Fisher Cats past the seventh and earned a save on Friday.

#3. Samad Taylor – Excluding the second game on Saturday where the Fisher Cats were limited to just three hits, Taylor got on base in every game in the series, netting a walk, RBI and stolen base even in his worst outing (0-for-4 with a pair of strikeouts) on Sunday.

He went 7-for-23 over the series with five RBI, a homer in the first game on Saturday and a two-bagger in the second game on Wednesday.

On Deck

The Fisher Cats return to Manchester on Tuesday for a six-game set with the Hartford Yard Goats.

 

About this Author

andrewsylvia

Andrew Sylvia

Assistant EditorManchester Ink Link

Born and raised in the Granite State, Andrew Sylvia has written approximately 10,000 pieces over his career for outlets across Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont. On top of that, he's a licensed notary and licensed to sell property, casualty and life insurance, he's been a USSF trained youth soccer and futsal referee for the past six years and he can name over 60 national flags in under 60 seconds according to that flag game app he has on his phone, which makes sense because he also has a bachelor's degree in geography (like Michael Jordan). He can also type over 100 words a minute on a good day.