Over the past several weeks, the York Revolution has been revealing members of its 2016 roster piece by piece.
Now, with just about two weeks until the team takes the field at PeoplesBank Park for the start of its brief spring training period, the roster has begun to take shape.
Coming off a 64-75 season in which York fared much better in the second half than in the first, the 2016 roster will see some familiar faces return from last year's squad, as well as some players who previously played with the Revs in seasons past, but not in 2015. There will also be some new acquisitions and some major league veterans.
Welcome back: So far, 19 players have been signed for the upcoming season, meaning there are still a handful of roster spots that need to be filled. However, if there is a theme to this year's club, it's the large number of returning players from 2015. Of the 19 players signed thus far, 12 of them spent significant time with the Revs in 2015. Of those 12, six are members of the bullpen from a season ago that boasted respectable numbers among the eight Atlantic League teams. Matt Neil, Tony Pena, Ron Schreurs, Luis Perdomo and Beau Vaughan played a good portion of the year in York, while Julio DePaula returns after playing just nine games for the Revs in 2015.
In the field, York also just re-signed all-star catcher Luis De La Cruz, while also bringing back slugger Telvin Nash, backup catcher Salvador Paniagua, all-star first baseman and designated hitter Andres Perez, every-day third baseman Bryan Pounds, who also made the all-star team in 2015, and outfielder Nick Ferdinand.
New faces: Among the newcomers is reliever Mariel Checo, who pitched for Long Island last year, gaining some playoff experience during the Ducks' postseason appearance. Outfielder Michael Rockett is going into his fourth Atlantic League season, but first with the Revs, while infielder Joel Guzman joins the team after spending 2015 with Camden. Isaias Tejada, a New York Yankees draft pick, adds some flexibility behind the plate, as well as in the field, able to play catcher and third base.
Jorge Martinez returns to York after having a strong 2014 season with the club as a starting pitcher, in which he posted an 11-8 record with a 3.21 ERA, starting 24 of his 27 appearances. During that season, his ERA was the fourth lowest in the Atlantic League.
MLB experience: While several of the returners from last year's team may be viewed as key acquisitions for the local fans who developed a connection with them, perhaps the two biggest signings York made in the offseason thus far were bringing in former MLB players Jason Repko and Jose Arredondo.
Repko, who's an outfielder, had a stint with the Revs back in 2014, but midway through the year, decided to retire from baseball. Now, after coming out of retirement last season because his son wanted to see him play, he's back in York for the final days of his career, however much longer that may be. He's played 360 MLB games over the course of seven years from 2005-12, more than two full seasons worth of games, doing so with the Los Angeles Dodgers, Minnesota Twins and Boston Red Sox. Repko hit 16 home runs and drove in 67 runs at the big league level.
Arredondo is probably the bigger name of the two former, bona fide big leaguers, making 214 career MLB appearances as a reliever from 2008-09 and 2011-12. He went 10-2 with the Los Angeles Angels in 2008, sporting a 1.62 ERA. and has a career record of 22-11 with a 3.27 ERA in those four MLB seasons.
Both Repko and Arredondo will provide valuable veteran experience to members of the lineup and pitching staff, providing tips on how some of the younger players can continue to their push toward playing affiliated baseball once again.
Notes: The Revs' season opener is Thursday, April 21, at the New Britain Bees, which is in its first year of Atlantic League franchise existence. The Revs' home opener is Thursday, April 28, vs. Sugar Land. The team's Fan Fest is scheduled for Saturday, April 16, from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. That same day, from 9 a.m. until 11 a.m., the team will hold auditions for folks who wish to sing the National Anthem at Revs' games.
— Reach Patrick Strohecker at firstname.lastname@example.org