LHP Morales shipped out of York, Atlantic League

Posted by on February 7, 2012 in Cesar Nicolas, Lancaster Barnstormers, Ronnie Morales, Trades

Ronnie Morales (above) set a club record with 70 appearances in 2011 for the Revs. Chris Dunn photo.

Well, relief pitcher Ronnie Morales won’t be playing in York in 2012. Actually, he won’t even be playing in the Atlantic League.

A few weeks ago, York traded Morales to the Lancaster Barnstormers. The deal completed a trade between the clubs last season when York acquired reliever Kris Regas from Lancaster for a player to be named later.

For reasons that aren’t clear, the Morales trade was yet to be made public. Well, it looks like the Grand Prairie Air Hogs, of the independent American Association, let the cat out of the bag.

Listed on the American Association transactions page, Lancaster traded Morales to Grand Prairie for infielder Cesar Nicholas.

Morales, if you remember, set the York Revolution club record with 70 appearances last season, although he was a bit inconsistent throughout the year.

The left-hander went 2-2 with a 3.81 ERA for York in 2011. He ended the year by tossing scoreless ball in 3.2 innings (six appearances), allowing a combined three hits and walking four.

However, he wasn’t used in the playoffs.

The 6-foot-3, 200-pound Austin, Teas native is a former Chicago White Sox prospect who spent each of the last three seasons playing independent ball.

With the departure of Morales, the list of players not returning to York next season has grown to seven. First baseman Chris Nowak will likely be playing in the Mexican League or overseas in Japan. Starting pitcher Lorenzo Barcelo will be playing in the Mexican League. Reliever/starting pitcher Justin Edwards will be playing with the Lincoln Saltdogs, of the independent American Association. Starting pitcher Nick Schumacher signed with Sioux City, also of the American Association. Catcher Octavio Martinez was drafted by the Sugar Land (Tex) Skeeters in the team’s expansion draft last week. And reliever Sean Stidfole recently announced his retirement.

Cesar Nicolas

Nicolas: Lancaster appears to have made out pretty well in their deal for Nicolas, though his background might be a bit questionable.

As a Detroit Tigers prospect in 2010, Nicolas was suspended mid-way through the season for 50 games for testing positive for amphetamine, a performance-enhancing drug. At the time, the first/third-baseman was batting .279 with seven homers and 38 RBIs through 70 games at Class AA Erie.

It looks like Nicolas has served out his suspension because he came back to the Tigers in 2011 at Class AAA Toledo. However, he played in just seven games there before being released in early May.

He went on to play the rest of the season with Grand Prairie, where he batted .353 with eight homers and 73 RBIs in 84 games.

This will mark the second time that Nicolas, 29, will play in the Atlantic League. He joined the Blue Crabs late in the season in 2009 and went on to bat .289 with four homers and 10 RBI in the regular season and .414 with two homers and 10 RBI in the Atlantic League playoffs.

Should Lancaster make Nicolas’ signing official, it would give them three position players under contract for 2012, joining outfielders Blake Gailen and Adam Godwin.

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