Looking to fill in some roster spaces that have been vacated due to recent events, the Brother Elephants have brought in six imports to compete for the four available foreigner allocation spots. Unsurprisingly, five of the players are pitchers, while the other appears to be some kind of globe-trotting all-rounder (to use a cricket phrase). Here's a brief rundown on each player.
Ryan Cullen: Cullen is the only returnee from last season, and as such appears to be the best bet for making the team. He spent the last decade bouncing around in the minor leagues, making it as high as AAA in the Mets organization. Cullen joined the Elephants in July of last season, earning 20 saves and posting an ERA of just 0.55 in 29 appearances. He also went 2-0 in the playoffs.
Orlando Roman: Like Cullen, Roman has spent the last decade touring around the minors, making it as high as AAA in the Mets organization. He has spent most of the last three seasons in the Mexican league as a reliever for the Pericos de Puebla. Roman has averaged over a strikeout an inning over the course of his career and would be expected to keep up that pace should he join the Elephants.
Jim Magrane: Like the last two, Magrane has the pitched ten seasons in the minors, making it as high as AAA (Tampa and Washington). He will compete for a starting pitcher berth and was the first import player looked at by the Elephants this spring training.
Carlos Castillo: At 36, Castillo is the oldest invitee and has a ton of experience. He made his MLB debut for the White Sox in 1997, spending three seasons in Chicago before changing his Sox for one last big league season with Boston in 2001.
The following season he took off to Japan to play for the Daiei Hawks. It seems that Castillo has a rough time, spending most of his only season there on the Hawks farm team. Since then, he has spent most of his time in the Independent league.
He will be trying to get a starting spot on the team.
Tracy Thorpe: Ten years in the minors, made it as far as AAA (Seattle, Toronto). Thorpe is a relief pitcher who spent last season in the Atlantic and Mexican leagues.
Ryan Murphy: This guy is 28 years old and I can't seem to find out what he was up to until 2007, when he started playing baseball in the Netherlands (they call it honkball).
He's been on a tear lately though.
Last season, Murphy was awarded the Dutch league MVP and their equivalent of the Cy Young award, posting an ERA of 0.89. He also played as a corner infielder and had a .312 batting average (just for the hell of it, I guess).
Not content with being a Dutch master, Murphy took off down under to play for South Australia in the Claxton Shield. He played mostly as a fielder until deciding to kick some ass and throw a complete game, two-hit shutout in his team's only victory of the best of three final series.
I have no idea what the Elephants plan on doing with this guy.