By Dan Gilles
The Lake Erie Crushers haven’t made too many outside splashes during the Frontier League’s offseason, mostly securing players on the current roster to contract extensions.
However, last week, Lake Erie did make its first significant trade since dealing Josh Roberts to the American Association for two players back in October, acquiring Bay Village native Tim Holmes and a second-round draft pick out of this year’s Frontier League Tryout Camp from the Florence Freedom for relief pitcher Paul Daniels.
The trade went down on Jan. 18, and Holmes, a left-handed starting pitcher, agreed to a contract with the Crushers on Wednesday.
Holmes, a Bay High School graduate, is a two-year Frontier League veteran with the Freedom. The 24-year-old is 7-17 in his career with a 4.81 ERA, striking out 101 hitters.
Holmes, who missed some time due to injury last season, started 15 games for Florence, going 4-8 with a 4.47 ERA, one complete game, 38 strikeouts and 20 walks.
Daniels, who was drafted in the second round out of the 2011 Frontier League Tryout Camp, had a fine season out of the bullpen for the Crushers last year.
Daniels, who just turned 25 a few days ago, went 5-2 with a 2.31 ERA, striking out 30 and walking 14 in 46 2/3 innings pitched, making one start in his 28 appearances.
Holmes is the third Cuyahoga County “West Sider” signed by the Crushers since their inception in 2009 and is the second one on the current roster, joining current pitcher and Brook Park native Rob Wendzicki. Westlake native Chris Rigo was a pitcher for the 2009 Frontier League championship squad and retired following that season.
In 2009 with Catawba College, Holmes went 7-2 with a 3.44 ERA in 21 appearances (eight starts). Two of his starts were complete game shutouts.
He’s the sixth player from Bay to play professional baseball, joining Dan Rich, Joe Kilburg, Rich Naumann, James Robertson and Fred Strine.
The Crushers have also signed 13 players from last season’s team to contract extensions – catchers Brian Erie and Kyle Shaffer; infielders Evan Sharpley, Kyle Boe and Zach Messer; outfielders Robby Kuzdale and Patrick Norris; and pitchers Eric Gonzalez-Diaz, Randy Sturgill, Kelyn Schellenberg, Thomas Campbell, Wendzicki and Andrew Weeks.
Infielder Donald Blunt and pitcher Trevor Longfellow, who were acquired in the Roberts trade, were also signed to contract extensions by the Crushers. They also signed first baseman Kyle Weldon, shortstop Brandon Decker and left-handed pitcher Josh Rickards as rookie free agents.