RailCats trade Kyle Haines, fall to Kansas City
By Michael Osipoff 648-3139 or firstname.lastname@example.org June 27, 2012 11:00PM
Updated: July 29, 2012 5:20PM
GARY — Greg Tagert has indicated that changes could be imminent for the RailCats.
And they made a fairly significant one before Wednesday night’s game against Kansas City, trading veteran shortstop Kyle Haines to the York Revolution of the Atlantic League for future considerations.
Given the nature of the transaction, the manager addressed it with the team before the game.
“It’s one of those moves, it’s pretty tough for the team to understand or fans to understand when it involves future considerations,” Tagert said. “But it’s something that could be beneficial for us in the long run.”
In the short run, the RailCats (16-22) lost 6-4 to the T-Bones (21-18) at the Steel Yard.
Given that composition of the roster has changed since the RailCats broke camp, Tagert referenced that the “direction” of the team had to change and the need for “a fresh energy,” and that the deal was not made to “send a message.” They now have only one veteran (Sean Henry) on the active roster (the American Association maximum is four), among their 21 players (they will make a move shortly to get to the league maximum of 22). But Tagert insisted the team’s approach remains the same.
“We have a plan,” he said. “We are focused on winning right now. That doesn’t change here, that will never change. Whether they (the players) understand or not, we’re going to do everything we can to get better. We’re not looking towards 2013; we’re looking at getting better right now.”
In his second season with the RailCats, the 29-year-old Haines was hitting .258 with three home runs and 13 RBI in 35 games, and has been a team leader.
He said he was “shocked” by the trade, calling it “bittersweet.”
“I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t disappointed to be leaving here,” Haines said. “But if I had to go someplace else, that would be the place I’d pick. ... It’s a great opportunity.”
Said Tagert: “Kyle is going to be in a situation that’s great for his career. That played into it. I trust the organization.”
Tagert has a close relationship with the Haines family, including with Andy, Kyle’s brother, the former hitting and third base coach for the RailCats who has been progressing through the Marlins organization, currently managing their High-A Jupiter Hammerheads team.
“He’s tremendously respected in the clubhouse by his teammates, and probably more by me,” Tagert said of Kyle Haines. “Knowing the family, it was an extremely difficult decision.
“You’re not going to find a better shortstop in the league — he’s a tremendous defender.”
With the departure of Haines, David Cooper will take over at shortstop. Entering Wednesday, he was hitting .280 with 17 RBI and 15 stolen bases, second in the league, in 28 games, including 22 starts. Also, Chris Carrara (second base) and Brian Kolb (third) have been solidified in those positions.
“They’ll be given every opportunity,” said Tagert, noting there hadn’t been enough playing time for both Cooper and Carrara, whose season has been interrupted by a hamstring injury.
“We’re excited what David Cooper can do every day. ... I’m confident we can have two dynamic players (Carrara and Cooper) in there.”
Kolb’s error with two outs in Wednesday’s decisive sixth opened the floodgates for five unearned runs, turning a 3-1 lead for the RailCats into a 6-3 deficit.
On Wednesday, Carrara went 3-for-4 with his first homer of the season, a bunt hit for an RBI, another run-scoring single and a stolen base; Cooper went 1-for-4 with a double and a run scored; and Kolb went 1-for-4.
As has been the case in previous starts, Stephen Hiscock (1-3) likely deserved a better fate, allowing five runs — just one earned — on six hits with five strikeouts and one walk in 5 2/3 innings.
Former RailCats pitcher Brian Grening (5-2) continued his success as a starter with the T-Bones, allowing three runs on 10 hits in seven innings.
This season, the RailCats have had center fielder Jason James and third baseman Rico Washington retire, and late-innings relief pitcher Chad Rhoades leave the team for family reasons. Before the season, projected ace Bear Bay signed with the Padres, to pitch with their Triple-A team. And veteran Andrew Johnston, who seemed to be emerging as a stalwart in the rotation, is on the inactive list with a back injury.
“The instability of the last several weeks is something I’m not used to, and something I don’t enjoy,” Tagert said.
“The best thing we can do is go out and play well the next few days. The club has to have confidence. They have to believe in what the manager is doing, and they have to believe in what the front office is doing.”