Last year the New York Dragons and their G.M. Firesign were elated as they made the playoffs for the first time in franchise history. With a record of 93-69 they won the NL East by 12 games over the Syracuse franchise, formerly the Jacksonville Parrot Heads. Firesign took over as G.M. after year one as the franchise was a pitiful 61-101. In the next three years he has led them to a 226-260 record entering this season. The Dragons were poised to have another playoff run this year until some surprising moves that transitioned them from being a playoff contender to a rebuilding franchise. Both Adam Ramirez, Matt Urich and Ira Munoz were entering the prime of their careers and both were released prior to the start of the season and Munoz was traded. Adam Ramirez finished last year with a 284.average with 14 Home runs and 68 RBI’s. The 24 year old was only going to get better but was released prior to the start of the year. The same can be said for Matt Urich who had a disappointing year at the plate last year only hitting 243 but who still has excellent potential. He is also 24 years old and was also released. Ira Munoz the 22 year old DH and 1B was traded to Pawtucket earlier in the year despite hitting 311.last year with 38 HR and 95 RBI. These three players accounted for 65 HR, 220 RBI and a combined average of 280. at the average age of 23. Right now Ramirez is hitting 360. with 14 HR, Munoz is hitting 308. with 19 HR and Urich is hitting 308. with 15 HR. Right now the Dragons are sitting at 31-49 tied for the second in the NL East. Their team ERA is in the top 10, however their hitting is dead last in the majors with a team average of 239. The team is dead last in runs scored and 31st in HR’s. Clearly the Dragons miss their bats, but the pitching staff remains strong. But will it be strong enough? We are very excited as this week’s guest is Firesign G.M. of the New York Dragons.
Q. How are you enjoying this season so far?
A. It has been a great year so far. I enjoy every season with all my teams, win or lose.
Q. Alright so I have to ask, Ramirez, Urich and Munoz are all playing for different teams this year. Why?
A. Ira Munoz is a big bat indeed, but defensively he was hurting the team more than helping. He was a weak catcher and not even close to a 1B. I got away with it last year, but the changes made him impossible to keep. Difficult to move a DH from an NL team also. He was on the trade block for three days before someone inquired even.Adam Ramirez was another big bat that played a weak 2B but was real good as a Corner Outfielder. However his asking price in arbitration (6.6M for 5 years if I remember) was way to much for a big health risk.Matt Urich wanted 4.6M in arbitration and just a little much for a utility player in my books.
Q. Do you regret not bringing any of them back?
A. Sometimes I wish I kept Urich.
Q.You traded Munoz for Wally Riggs, what do you like about Riggs?
A. He will be a stellar defensive player in a few years. I have my High A staff spending a lot of time teaching him the intricacies of 3B right now. He seems to be getting the hang of it as his glove has risen 3 points since the trade and the number of errors are gradually declining.
Q. Your only other trade this year was for Eduardo Sanchez, he’s having a really tough year so far hitting only 201. were you expecting better?
A. I got Sanchez for one reason, insurance for three other positions and has actually performed quite well in the late innings. He has been getting more starts since Romero went down an injury.
Q. On the bright side your pitching staff has been very good this year, Top 10 ERA. How pleased are you?
A. They showed last year they could do that and very satisfied with the results so far.
Q. Right now your 31-49, do you think you should be better?
A. Every owner thinks their team should be better and I fit into that category. I am kind of disappointed in a couple players that have decided to quit hitting this year.
Q. Any chance you think your team will make a run?
A. If Bo Holdridge, Guy Brown and Eric Trujillo to name a couple, start hitting like they should, I think we can make a run yet.
Q. What are your plans to try improve your ball club for this season and next?
A. Probably like many of the others, that a good IFA comes along at this point in the season. Another possibility could be making a good trade or two before the deadline but that is a wait and see.
Q. Who do you think will win it all?
A. Unless something serious happens, I look for the Augusta A's and one of the 3 teams in the NL West to do battle for the NL crown. I like the Houston Rocket Launchers and Oakland Oaks to do battle for the AL crown. I am leaning toward Houston to win it all though.Q. What’s your name?Gary, every one calls me fire though due to my collection of pewter and ceramic dragons.
Q. How old are you? 52
Q. Where are you from? South of Columbus now, originally 50 miles east of Columbus and have lived all over the place.
Q. Fav. ML team? The Reds of course and the Texas Rangers when I lived there.Q Fav all time player?Johnny Bench
Q. Do you have a franchise model? Not really, I kind of play it by ear and try and find the best hitting and defensive players I can along with the best pitching I can.