Sunday, February 19, 2017

Ojeda back at Diablos helm, 15 of 16 LMB managers named

After spending last season managing the Giants' AA Richmond affiliate in the Southern League, former MLB catcher Miguel Ojeda will be back home in 2017, returning to manage his former team, the Mexico City Diablos Rojos.  The Guaymas-born Ojeda went 201-133 with three division titles and a 2013 pennant with the Diablos in three seasons before joining the San Francisco organization, for whom he led Richmond to a 62-79 record under Ojeda in 2016.

La Aficion quoted Ojeda as saying, "I'll try to be a manager who respects the game and thinks about winning, winning, winning.  I only thought about that as a player and now as a manager with more reasons.  It's what I'm going to ask of my players, that they always give think about winning."  Ojeda, who turned 42 in January, spent all or part of four MLB seasons with four teams between 2003 and 2006, batting .224 with 15 homers and 72 RBIs in 212 games.  His best campaign came in 2004 with San Diego, where he hit .256 with 8 homers in 62 games for the Padres.

Of the 16 Mexican League teams preparing to open spring training this month, only one is still searching for a helmsman.  The Durango Generales have yet to find a replacement for Orlando Sanchez, who took over from Jose Offerman in Carmen one month into last season.  The Delfines finished last in the LMB South in 2016 with a 31-76 record before Sanchez moved back to Saltillo (where he won two Liga pennants) and the Delfines moved to Durango and renamed the Generales.  Team owner Virgilio Ruiz reportedly looked into moving to Monterrey instead, sharing the 26,000-seat Estadio Monterrey with Old Guard ally Pepe Maiz' Sultanes, but apparently will keep the club in Durango after all once promised repairs to 8,000-seat Estadio Francisco Villa finally got underway.

Whoever gets the call in Durango will be the sixth new manager in the LMB since the end of the 2016 season.  Also finding new addresses are first-time skipper Ramon Orantes in Laguna, Homar Rojas in Aguascalientes, Francisco "Paquin" Estrada in Leon, Ojeda in Mexico City and Wally Backman in Monclova.  The other ten managers are holdovers.

Aguascalientes Rieleros - Homar Rojas
Campeche Piratas- Lino Rivera
Durango Generales - TBA
Laguna Vaqueros - Ramon Orantes
Leon Bravos - Francisco "Paquin" Estrada
Mexico City Diablos Rojos - Miguel Ojeda
Monclova Acereros- Wally Backman
Monterrey Sultanes - Felix Fermin
Oaxaca Guerreros - Alfonso "Houston" Jimenez
Puebla Pericos - Von Hayes
Quintana Roo - Roberto Vizcarra
Saltillo Saraperos - Orlando Sanchez
Tabasco Olmecas - Enrique "Che" Reyes
Tijuana Toros - Pedro Mere
Veracruz Rojo del Aguila - Eddie Castro
Yucatan Leones - Willie Romero

Meanwhile, the situation in Cancun concerning the fate of the Quintana Roo Tigres remains in limbo, pending the next Mexican League Assembly of Presidents meeting.  Tigres owner Carlos Peralta put the franchise up for sale earlier this month after Minor League Baseball president Pat O'Connor ruled that the Liga cannot place a limit on the number of Mexican-American players a team may carry, saying that such a rule is in violation fo the Mexican constitution.  On the Heraldo de Chiapas website, writer Alfredo Valverde says that team founder Alejo Peralta stated in his will that son Carlos cannot give up the Tigres, so the younger Peralta is not allowing the "Tigres" name or its intellectual properties to be part of a sale.  Roberto Vizcarra is expected to return as the team's manager regardless of what nickname they carry or what city they call home in 2017.