2025 Detroit Team Profile

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Analyzing Success
Development of a Dynasty

Detroit Free Press
April 2nd, 2025


Coming off their third Gold Championship in four seasons, the talk of a dynasty is certainly beginning to make its rounds in the PBDL. Is the talk premature? Maybe…but with 2025 Red Wings roster returning essentially the exact same group of players from last season, somehow we doubt that the Detroit market has seen their last Gold Championship.

When glancing over the Wings roster page, one quickly realizes why the team is successful. Core players such as Justin Webster, Carlos Perez, Raul Cuevas, Jose Gurri and Bubba Page have been around for quite some time and have put up consistently solid seasons for the Wings. It’s no surprise that a good team needs good players, but the more interesting realization is that there is a tremendous diversity in how these players were acquired and thus how the team was built. To quote Nick Genova, “…we leveraged every aspect we could in order to gain an advantage on the competition.”

Looking at just the players listed above, Justin Webster and Raul Cuevas were acquired in trades with the Islanders and Capitals, respectively; Carlos Perez and Jose Gurri were signed as minor league free agents before developing into stars and Bubba Page was signed as a free agent to a massive 8 year, $12.8 million deal. In fact, one of the most surprising aspects of this Wings club is just how few starting roster players were drafted by the team. Of the opening day roster in 2024, only a handful were originally drafted by the Wings and none of them would be considered part of the core high caliber talent that has been so instrumental in the team’s success.

Or maybe the lack of high end draft talent isn’t that surprising after all. In a candid revelation, Genova states, “Drafting has never been my strongest suit, in order to build a winner I have to rely on a multitude of other avenues to gain an edge.” Drafting is also made more difficult when the team consistently finishes in the top half of the league, in fact, the team has drafted 8th overall a total of 5 times and 7th overall another 3 times. These lowly draft rankings certainly lead to a much lower available talent pool to choose from making the drafting task increasingly difficult.

Trading has provided a huge boost and has been instrumental in filling critical holes in the team’s lineup. Three noteworthy players acquired in trade include Justin Webster, Raul Cuevas and SS Erik Wechsler. GM Genova takes a different tact than many other GM’s when it comes to trading, stating “When we see a hole, we do whatever it takes to fill it…we’ll use the league database to run player screens in order to find the type of player we are looking for and then we reach out to the teams with offers ready to see if we can acquire them, even if the player isn’t listed on the trading block.” This highly targeted approach increases the likelihood of being able to acquire a needed player and insures that it is the type of player that fits the Red Wing’s system, style of play and home park. Commenting on the Wechsler acquisition, “this acquisition was particularly painstaking but probably the most critical of the bunch as we desperately needed a strong defensive shortstop given our mix of groundball pitchers…it took us 2.5 seasons before we finally consummated a deal with New York Rangers…we probably reached out to over a half a dozen teams during that span with targeted offers.” In other words, persistency pays off. The acquisition of Wechsler didn’t come cheap though as the Wings had to part ways with the younger, cheaper OF Pedro Perez who has put up very strong offensive numbers in his time with the Rangers.

Other aspects that Genova will point to as critical mechanisms to success are minor league free agent signings, aggressive contract negotiation and a little bit of luck. The Wings picked up both Carlos Perez and Jose Gurri in the free agent pool for little to no money. “Every once in a while there will be gems that pop up in the free agent pool or on the waiver wire, you never know what you are going to find,” states Genova. By keeping minors stocked with young talent rather than aging vets with no future, a team can get lucky by uncovering a hidden gem and future rising star. And that’s where the luck part comes in. When the Wings picked up Carlos Perez in 2013, he projected to be a halfway decent third baseman, but ended up developing into a superstar. Of course, it’s not all luck. The team invested heavily in player development expenses during the late 10’s and early 20’s before eventually cutting back the budget in order to be able to sign key free agents and make critical contract extensions. “Resources are limited, deciding where and how to spend cash is critically important,” states Genova emphatically. When asked if international amateur free agency is a key component to the team’s go forward strategy Genova replied, “We’ve dabbled in it, but are more focused on winning now and thus divert most of our resources to that objective.”

Success and trading away young talent has taken a toll on the Wings farm system, which currently ranks 7th in the Gold League. And every season the roster adds another year of age on to its veteran group. Many of the team’s core players are now in their early to mid 30’s and age does eventually catch up to all of us. But fans of Detroit hope that this group has at least another championship or two in them before they head into a rebuild phase, or as Genova likes to call it, a “retooling.” If past history is any indication, Red Wing “retoolings” are short, sweet and effective.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 06 August 2014 12:12
 

Player Profile - Ernie Jackson

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Remembering  a Remarkable Career

Author: Nicholas Genova

Ernie Jackson has long been one of my favorite players in the PBDL.  His appeal was driven by his unbelievable shortstop defense, a truly game changing player at his defensive position, combined with elite offensive talent.  Since the founding of the league, he has been considered the best SS in the game and at his peak performance, will be unlikely to be matched for some time.

Ernie entered the PBDL in its inaugural season at the age of 25 years old.  And his impact was felt almost immediately.  In his first season, he put up a WAR of 4.6 with an OPS of .944 and 20 home runs earning a gold glove at SS and rookie of the year honors in the Silver League.  One of the most remarkable traits he possessed was his consistency as he continued to put up .900+ OPS seasons in his first 7 out of 8 seasons recording seven 20+ home run seasons during that span.  His performances during this span helped catapult the Pittsburgh Penguins to the Gold League where he would win 2 gold league championships in 2017 and 2018.

As a true icon for Pittsburgh fans and a legend in his own right, it came as quite a shock when it was announced that Jackson had been traded to the Bronze League just two weeks into the 2021 season where he would play for the Anaheim Ducks.  Jackson was traded along with two other high caliber veterans for two solid young prospects in a trade that will go down as one of the biggest trades in PBDL history.  His first season in Anaheim was a disappointment by his standards, but he bounced back to post solid numbers in both 2022 and 2023.  As age caught up with the prolific shortstop, his numbers declined significantly in 2024 and Anaheim elected not to extend his contract.  Now as a free agent, he is currently contemplating retirement.  If he does play, he will likely have to settle as a utility type player as his defense is not what it used to be and his bat speed and strength have declined materially.

While not the longest career in terms of years, spanning 12 years to date, it is remarkable how many records, awards and accomplishments he has achieved.  Here is a quick list of some of his accomplishments:

-        Gold Glove Award winner 3 times

-        Supreme Slugger Award winner 4 times

-        3 Championships (2 Gold, 1 Bronze)

-        248 Career Home Runs (well ahead of everyone else)

-        1242 Hits

-        44.9 WAR

The WAR figure is truly elite.  Generally, an MLB player with a career WAR of 60 or greater will be highly likely to receive strong consideration for entrance into the Hall of Fame.  Since the PBDL is about half of an MLB season, Ernie’s 44.9 WAR would translate to nearly 90 in the MLB.  Whether or not Ernie decides to retire this season, his truly game changing performance will be strongly felt and remembered in the PBDL for years to come.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 05 August 2014 15:32
 

2021 Championship Preview

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Who will be our 2021 PBDL Champions?

The PBDL's ninth season is coming to a close and the list of active teams has narrowed down to just six. In the near future, we will have three new champions crowned and it will be off to the races once again as teams begin looking forward to 2022. But before we think about next season, let's take a quick look at how these series are shaping up.

Bronze: New York Rangers versus Anaheim Ducks
The New York Rangers are undoubtedly led by their Wonder Boy pitcher, Brian Arnold. Since being acquired in one of the biggest blockbuster trades the PBDL has seen, Brian has simply gone on to put up nearly 16 WAR in his two seasons as a Ranger. His 8 War in 2021 was an enormous contributor to this team's first place finish as he put up a 1.83 ERA en route to a 14-1 record. The Ducks countered this season with a blockbuster trade of their own acquiring the ever present shortstop, Ernie Jackson along with second baseman Alberto Ortiz and a solid starting pitcher. With this one move, the team instantly obtained a massive upgrade offensively. The team failed to finish much above .500 but still showed significant improvement over last years 38-46 record. The Ducks inherited significant salary in the trade so a championship would go a long way in providing a desperately needed financial boost.

Prediction: Brian Arnold shuts down the Ducks offense, Rangers win 5-2


Silver: New York Islanders versus Chicago Blackhawks
Back down in Silver after a one year stint in Gold, the Islanders are an extremely focused, well run team...and Jason's efforts have resulted in a perennial competitor despite its short stay in Gold. However, a championship has eluded this team as the Islanders have failed to win it all at any level since the league's founding. This would be a great time to break the streak and earn promotion to Gold. The team is solid across the board, with no gaping holes and led by CF Ismael Mora. Critics question whether or not this team is ready for Gold, but Gold isn't quite as tough as it once was now that the dominance that was Pittsburgh has been disassembled. On the other side, the Blackhawks finally make the playoffs after back to back comical implosions in the final week of both 2019 and 2020 to barely miss the playoffs. A new GM has righted the team's luck factor apparently. Similar to the Islanders, the team lacks any gaping holes but would need to add some key pieces if they want to be successful at the highest tier. Neither team has ever won a championship, but one team certainly will soon.

Prediction: This one is too close to call, I'll go Chicago in 9


Gold: Vancouver Canucks versus Detroit Red Wings
Three teams have won three championships, no team has won four. Vancouver has the chance to win their second gold championship and fourth championship overall if they can defeat the pesky Detroit Red Wings. On paper, Vancouver is a significantly better team, with much better defense and some top notch talent in Wayne Griffith and Juan Alvarez. The Wings may have some defensive holes, but offensively, no team in Gold was better. At the young age of 26, Carlos Perez put up game changing numbers posting a 1.010 OPS with 13 HR's and a whopping .360 batting average. However, as mentioned, fielding has been the problem child for the wings as Vancouver finished second in defensive efficiency compared with the Wings who finished sixth. Starting pitching is another area of relative weakness as the Wings lack the dominant #1 needed to counter Paul Matthews.

Prediction: Can't go against my own team obviously, Wings win 5-3

Last Updated on Tuesday, 05 August 2014 09:25
 

Notable Retirements - 2022

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Bidding Farewell to the 2022 Retirees

Author: Nicholas Genova

 

With the PBDL now passing the decade old mark, many of the retiring players have significant playing histories.  In this article, we take a look at the three notable players that announced their retirement after the 2022 season.

SP Emir Dogramaci - Nicknamed "K9" for his feisty on field demeanor, Emir racked up a record of 62-55 over his career with an ERA of 3.86 playing for Philadelphia, Colorado, Vancouver and Toronto. Notably, he started his career with Philadelphia and returned there to end his career playing the final two seasons for the Flyers. He has two championships to his record, winning gold with Vancouver in 2019 and Silver with Toronto in 2020. He pitched all the way through his 43rd birthday and with over $7 million in career earnings, he should be fairly set in retirement.

2B Luis Duran - Duran's retirement came as a surprise to many as he had one year remaining on his contract that would have paid him over $500K and he was still an effective player for the Senators last year. That said, his playing time had been cut down over the past three seasons and he recorded a career low batting average of .209 in 2022. No one would've described Duran as a star, but he was a solid defensive second basemen who would rarely hurt you in a game. He hit 103 home runs during his 10 seasons playing for Nashville, Minnesota, St. Louis and Ottawa. He also won three gold glove awards, one at third base and two at second base. Unfortunately, he never did win a championship during his career.

SP Mike Coslett - A true all star that some may argue is deserving of hall of fame consideration despite the fact that he was only able to compile 10 seasons in the PBDL. With 86 wins, a 3.35 career ERA, 813 strikeouts and a cumulative WAR total of 34, Coslett in his prime was one of the most feared starting pitchers in the game. He won the bronze and silver finals with St. Louis and played a significant role in his teams success by going 6-0 combined in those two championship playoff seasons. Not surprisingly, Coslett also won pitcher of the year honors twice. Severe injury issues began to take their toll towards the end of his career. A torn elbow tendon at the end of 2020 forced him into a relief role in 2021. He attempted to return to the field in 2022 but blew out his elbow again during spring training thus missing the entirety of the 2022 season. Not an ideal way for a player of his caliber to head out, but he is a name that will not be forgotten.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 09 April 2014 15:07
 

Six Games to go in 2018 regular season

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Down to the Wire - 2018 Gold Playoff Race

Author: Jason Lortie


Bronze
Championship
TOR and CHI are neck and neck right now both with a record of 46-32. However, do not sleep on EDM who have lowly NAS and NJ on their schedule. But check this out, so does TOR! This seems pretty straight forward, TOR takes care of business against the bottom dwellers and takes 1st place.

Playoffs
With TOR, CHI, and EDM pretty much locked in, the race comes down to NYR and WAS. NYR has a 1 game lead, however, everything will most likely come down to the series that these two teams will have over the next three games. WAS owns the season series with a slim 5-4 record, and call me a dreamer, but I think this is the year WAS finally makes the playoffs after years of futility at every level of the PBDL! They win 2 against NYR and take care of business against ANA while NYR then has a big series against a good CHI team.

Silver
Championship
With my NYI's in a tight race against an injury plagued BUF team firmly in this race, I will withhold my opinion on this one ;)

Playoffs
This looks to be a three team race to see which sub .500 team will get destroyed by either BUF or NYI in the first round of the playoffs. OTT owns a 1 game lead over LA and a 3 game lead over SJ. SJ will match up against NYI which hands them at least one loss in their first three games of the week. That most likely eliminates them. LA will play BUF which hinders their chances as well. And, to top it all off, LA and SJ will then beat up on each other in their final series of the season. This should all allow OTT the chance to retain 4th with relatively little drama.

Relegation
With the BRZ having 3 legit teams in contention, this very well could be a 2 team relegation year for the SIL. MIN's fall from grace from the GLD will be an all but certain plummet to the BRZ as they sit 4 games back of 7th. CAL sits 2 games back of 6th place SJ, and it could be very interesting to see if they can jump a spot in the last sim to secure a safe 6th place. My prediction? SJ plays well enough to hold 6th, and the BRZ promotes 2, meaning that CAL and MIN both fall to BRZ. This would be very surprising as it looks like their is a very good chance that the 2 franchises that have spent the history of the PBDL in the SIL will then both be leaving the league after this year. NYI would depart for the GLD, while CAL would head to the BRZ.

Gold
Championship
The final sim of the GLD this season may be the most exciting of any other sim in the history of the PBDL. PIT holds a 3 game lead over DET and DAL and their magic number sits at 4. However, they will play an important series against DET. If DET pulls out 2 wins in their match up with DAL, then they have an outside chance to hop PIT if they can win 2 or 3. DAL possibly has a better chance than DET though, assuming they win 2 against DET they have a better chance in their other series against STL than DET has against PIT. Realistically, the PIT lead of 3 games is too much though, they should cruise their dominant pitching to their first ever GLD regular season championship.

Playoffs
Here is where the real fun is! 5 teams will compete for three playoff spots with only 2 games separating them. This is so tight that we will have to go team by team:

Vancouver
You cannot count out VAN as they get a series against lowly COL (who they are 6-3 against this year) and then a pivotal match up with TB (who they are 5-4 against this year). TB currently sits 1 game ahead of them in a tie for 4th, but a good series against COL could possibly put them ahead of TB going into the last series of the season.

St. Louis
STL sits in a tie for 4th with TB currently. With a tough match up against PIT and a huge series against DAL, STL has a rough hill to climb. However, all is not lost. STL is one of two teams to have a winning record against PIT this year (VAN the 2nd) and also owns an outstanding 8-1 record against DAL this year. If they pull out 1 or 2 against PIT and sweep DAL (a good possibility) they could very well see themselves end up in 2nd, 3rd, or 4th.

Tampa Bay
TB gets, perhaps, the best final two series of the season out of the 5 teams looking for a playoff spot. They will go up against VAN and last place BOS. While TB is 4-5 and VAN this season, they have dominated BOS this year, only losing to them once all season. A sweep of BOS and a game or two agaisnt VAN locks them in.

Dallas
DAL goes up against hot DET (who are 9-1 in their last 10) and STL (who they are 1-8 against this season). The saving grace for DAL is their good play against DET this year which may help them secure a playoff spot before they get to their final series against STL.

Detroit
DET is on fire right now, but as it was discussed in the championship race, they have a tough final week. DET is 3-6 against both of their opponents this sim (PIT & DAL), and a 2-4 or 1-5 sim is not out of the question. While they technically sit in 2nd place to begin the week, it is hard to see a situation in which they stay their by the end of the sim. The hot streak probably ends here...

The Verdict:
DET falls against tough competition, DAL holds tough (but not tough enough?), TB excels, STL surprises, and VAN comes from the dead.... my final standings:

#2: TB
#3: STL
#4: VAN
#5: DAL
#6: DET

With a good possibility for a tie-breaker game between VAN, DAL, and/or DET for the final spot. Anyone know the tie break procedure for a three team tie? For the commish's sake, hopefully it comes in as a two team tie!

Relegation
This is relatively straight forward as COL is 12 games back of 6th and BOS is 3 games back of 7th. They stay in that order to finish the season. This race is really more of a waiting game to see if the SIL produces 1 or 2 promotions.

Last Updated on Thursday, 01 August 2013 10:15
 


Page 3 of 6

Poll 1

Who will win the 2026 Gold League Championship
 

Poll 2

Who will win the 2026 Silver League Championship
 

Poll 3

Who will win the 2026 Bronze League Championship