In addition to December 25th being circled on some teams managers calendar, so was December 31st (the date free agency would end). Some teams who were lower in the standings were hoping that the new year would bring in a boost talent, in fact Jason Paraskevas refused to take his Christmas tree down before December 31st in fear that wiffleball santa would not leave something under his tree.
The months leading up to the free agency deadline had some big names being thrown around as possible free agents; Rob Piervinanzi, Jordan Robles and Gerard Fitzgerald. Had even one of these players opted out of their contract, it could have started a domino effect of players taking the plunge but the date came and went without a single 2016 1st round pick opting out of their contract for the 2017 season.
From the players angle, potential free agents were in contact with some managers in hopes that the threat of free agency would be enough to force a managers hand to trade them or lose them. This creativity forced the hands of two managers who orchestrated deals.
The first deal was for Rob (Wiffman) Piervinanzi who WAS on his way to the Giants to play with the McElrath brothers. Had the deal been approved, the Giants would have been set for years to come as one of the league favorites however in fear of allowing a dynasty to form before their eyes, some managers voted against the trade. The fact that Wiffman won back to back triple crowns was more than enough reason for teams to void the deal with the excuse that the Giants did not give up enough for someone of such talent, which included the 4th 2017 overall draft pick and Sean McRae, who was coming off an injury. The Giants settled for acquiring Dave Fisher from the Brewers for that #4 pick and are locked and loaded to make a run in 2017, with both McElrath brothers ready to pitch.
The second deal, which was approved, Jordan Robles is headed to the Marines for Brian DiNapoli (who heads to the Astros). Rumor has it that Jordan Robles was going to try free agency right at the deadline, which forced manager Matt Riegler to burn up the phone lines on New Years Eve. Its was actually quite nuts. Your sitting on the couch waiting for the ball to drop and about 4 or more managers in the league had their phones ringing off the hook for a last minute deal with Matt Riegler. Riegler was able to pull off a last minute deal and actually got good value in return, however one has to assume that if Scott Fliesser (Mariners owner) was willing to trade DiNapoli (Hitting: .378 AVG, 7 HR, 33 RBI, Pitching: 7-1, 39 innings/97 K's with zero runs given up during regular season) it must be for potential 2017 attendance issues. Don't get me wrong, Jordan Robles is no slouch but DiNap is coming off an incredible year.
Now that free agency is over, team managers will have to depend on new incoming talent into the Palisades WBL for the 2017 draft as well as returning minors players who could be ready to take it to the next level after a year of seasoning in the Palisades minors. There are also one or two Palisades WBL veterans who may be returning, who sat out the 2016 season.