The Louisville Long Rifles struck the first major deal of the 2018 season by acquiring star pitcher Max Scherzer from Toronto.
But the Dublin Guinness responded immediately and acquired Paul Goldschmidt in a blockbuster nine-player trade with Cactus Division leader Oakland.
Dublin, the reigning SL champion on a 10-game win streak that has forged a five-game lead over Louisville and St. Louis, sent Christian Yelich, Rhys Hoskins and Brett Gardner along with three draft picks and two prospects to Oakland.
The Athletes, up seven games in their division and tied with the Guinness for the SL’s best record at the time of the deal, included Michael Brantley, Trevor Rosenthal and Dominic Leone along with Goldschmidt.
Dublin’s response came after the Long Rifles struck their big deal, getting Scherzer along with Felipe Rivero and Chris Ianetta from the Tigers for a package of young talent that included Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and two-way Japanese star Shohei Ohtani as a player to be named later.
As the start of the 2018 PGBL season arrives, the Chicago Cardinals begin their quest for a third straight championship while 19 other clubs hold varying degrees of hope at dethroning them.
Chicago starts the year with a four-game home series against first-round playoff foe Boston. Dublin begins its quest for another South League pennant against St. Louis.
Reigning division champions Tijuana and Calgary open on the road at Twin City and Pittsburgh, respectively. After winning more than 100 games, Memphis also opens on the road at Compton.
The other series featuring 2017 playoff teams have Flagstaff hosting Oakland and Vancouver at home against Toronto.
Teams need to make final cuts by the end of the day on on December 28, to ensure all rosters are trimmed to the 45 man limit.
The drafts will take place at 1:45pm on New Year’s Day. All players on the Free Agent pages as well as all players cut between the Player Draft and December 28 are available. The cut players who do not have 2017 MLB playing time will be listed on the draft sheet. Here is a link to the draft page, it will be on the website by January 1.
The Vacated Stadium draft will begin at 1:45pm, and the Free Agent draft will being at 2:00pm.
League owners voted to implement a new draft to enable the relocation of PGBL teams to new ballparks starting with the 2018 PGBL Season. The new Vacated Stadium Draft will be implemented every five seasons, with the first draft to be scheduled on New Years Day, 2018, with start time to be determined.
The Vacated Stadium Draft will follow these rules:
- Draft order is determined randomly, with teams assigned numbers 1-20 based on alphabetical order, and randomly reordered using Random.org.
- Picks are NOT tradable.
- Draft is limited to two rounds
- In order to keep the draft moving along, teams must provide their planned participation in the draft prior to the start of the draft. If a team has not indicated their planned participation, they will be excluded from participation. Once the draft has begun, only teams that said they intended to participate can make selections.
- If a team indicates they intend to participate, they are not obligated to switch stadiums, and can choose to not make a selection during the draft.
- The will be a strict 2 minute time limit for teams to make selections. If a team fails to make a selection within 2 minutes, their pick is forfeited.
- Teams automatically vacate their current stadium if they select a new stadium, and their vacated stadium is available for other teams to select, once vacated.
The Memphis Melee made right-handed starting pitcher Luis Castillo the No. 1 selection in the 2018 PGBL Draft.
The Melee wheeled-and-dealed their way into having five first-round choices, including three of the first four overall. They followed Castillo with first baseman Matt Olson with the No. 2 selection, then complemented Castillo with righty Zack Godley after division-rival St. Louis picked outfielder Chris Taylor at No. 3.
Flagstaff seleced shortstop prospect Fernando Tatis Jr. at No. 5 and Louisville followed by choosing closer Corey Knebel.
Ottawa went with slugging first baseman Justin Smoak, Pittsburgh used consecutive picks on pitcher Jordan Montgomery and shortstop Chris Seise and Calgary capped first 10 with righty Brad Peacock.