RiverHawks trade veteran McEachran for arms in three-way deal
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March 31, 2006 - LOVES PARK, Ill. – The Rockford RiverHawks have traded away one of the top power hitters in team history for two pitchers management expects to make an impact this season.

Today, the RiverHawks announced they had traded veteran first baseman Aaron McEachran to the Calgary Vipers of the Northern League in a three-team deal among a trio of independent-league members. In the deal, the RiverHawks receive Mike Greenhouse and Tim Rice, two left-handed pitchers. Greenhouse’s rights had been held by the Nashua Pride of the Can-Am League. On the third side of the trade, Calgary traded infielder Samuel Rosario and pitcher Jason Pilkington, a former RiverHawk, to Nashua.

“Last year, we were primarily an offensive ballclub,” RiverHawks managing partner Dave Ciarrachi said. “Our defense and our pitching was at best average to mediocre. With the reduction (of Frontier League clubs) from 12 teams to 10, there has been an influx of talent. In addition, we have visas this year. We didn’t have visas last year.

In 2005, Rockford had a composite 4.25 earned-run average, third in the league, but the highest ERA in team history, up nearly a run from 2004. The .957 fielding percentage tied for last in the league.

“When the talent level improves in any league, pitching and defense in baseball become more important. You need to be better in that phase of the game to be a better or pennant-winning team.”

In two years with the RiverHawks, McEachran ended up on the leader board of most of the team’s offensive records. McEachran hit .319, second on the career list, with 25 home runs (also second) and 130 RBI third. In 2004, McEachran hit .332, second in the Frontier League, to help the RiverHawks win the pennant. Last year, the former Toronto farmhand hit .306 with 14 homers and 68 RBI. He also scored a team-record 72 runs.

Neither of the acquired pitchers had appeared in an independent-league game, and each has rookie status in the Frontier League. Greenhouse, 22, broke into pro ball with the Chicago Cubs organization last year. He was 0-3 with a save and a 3.31 earned-run average in 19 appearances with Mesa of the Arizona League. Rice, 22, made his debut in the Arizona League last summer with the Kansas City Royals’ affiliate in Surprise. He was 0-0 with no saves and a 5.25 ERA in seven relief outings.

The trade leaves the RiverHawks with the league limit of three veteran players – starting pitchers Derek Roper and Tanner Watson, and outfielder Rico Santana, a former FL all-star. The team moved this month from spacious Marinelli Field to hitter-friendly RiverHawks Stadium, and Ciarrachi said the relocation has led to repositioning the roster.

“Despite the fact we’re in a smaller ballpark, we play half our games on the road, and we’re going to keep a core of guys, Olmo (Rosario), Kevin (Ciarrachi), Nick (Johnson), who were .300 hitters last season,” Ciarrachi said.

Opening Day at brand-new RiverHawks Stadium is 7:05 p.m. Wednesday, May 31, when the ‘Hawks host the Evansville Otters. The RiverHawks are members of the Frontier League, a 10-team independent professional baseball league that will play its 14th season in 2006. Advertising, season-ticket and suite information is available by calling the box office at (815) 885-2255. Fans can also visit the RiverHawks online at www.rockfordriverhawks.com.


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