Juan Silverio gone from ValleyCats after Sussex County foils attempted trade

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The Tri-City ValleyCats planned on trading popular third baseman Juan Silverio out of the Frontier League in exchange for some much-needed pitching help coming out of the All-Star break.

Enter their old foes, the Sussex County Miners, who struck the latest blow in their on- and off-field rivalry.

The Miners claimed Silverio off Frontier League waivers on Thursday, before the ValleyCats had a chance to deal him to an undisclosed Atlantic League team for a pitcher in a deal that was already worked out.

Under Frontier League rules, a player must clear waivers to be traded out of the league. Every other Frontier League team has a chance to claim that player, in order of worst record to best record.

“The intention was not to let (Silverio) go on waivers, but to trade, made a transaction,” ValleyCats general manager Matt Callahan said Friday. “That’s the risk you run when you’re trying to trade somebody out of the league and that’s kind of what it resulted in.”

The ValleyCats did the same thing to Sussex County earlier this week, claiming Miners infielder Cito Culver and pitcher Billy Layne. Layne has since been released.

“Honestly, if anyone was going to claim (Silverio), it would probably be Sussex, for a variety of reasons,” Callahan said. “A lot of times with veterans like that, if they are getting traded out of the league, teams will let them go through (waivers). But with Sussex, you never quite know, and we claimed Cito Culver and then they had another infielder (shortstop Errol Robinson) signed by the Cardinals right after that. I guess it’s a need for them, and also, I’m sure just given the history there, there was an opportunity to interrupt a transaction we were trying to complete, and that’s what they did.”

That “history” includes bench-clearing fights during a whopping 31 games the ValleyCats and Miners played last season. ValleyCats manager Pete Incaviglia and Sussex County manager Bobby Jones nearly fought in one game after Incaviglia accused Jones of stealing signals from the third-base coach’s box.
 
At the end of last season, Jones seemed to play less than his best lineup as the Miners lost the final game of the regular-season, which  knocked the ValleyCats out of playoff contention. That memory stuck with Silverio in particular during spring training this year.

“The manager (Jones), he’s not, like, very nice and I don’t really like him,” said Silverio, who now gets to play for Jones.

Silverio, a Frontier League All-Star last year, is batting .263 this season with nine homers and 35 RBI. He’s also known for his fun-loving personality which has made him popular within the ValleyCats clubhouse and with the fans.

Silverio and Incaviglia have a long history, winning championships together in the independent American Association and Atlantic League before rejoining with the ValleyCats last year.

But the ValleyCats saw a chance to improve their pitching staff, which has a 6.64 ERA entering this weekend’s home series against the Gateway Grizzlies, starting tonight at 7 at Joseph L. Bruno Stadium. Tri-City (28-29) has lost nine of its last 11 games.

Callahan said Tri-City will continue to scan the pitching market, including signing undrafted college pitchers, and will work with their current pitchers to seek improvement.


With Silverio no longer at third base, the ValleyCats could shift All-Star shortstop Pavin Parks to third and play the newly acquired Culver at short, or vice-versa. Culver is a former first-round pick of the New York Yankees.

Sussex County (31-26) next plays the ValleyCats from Aug. 30 to Sept. 1 at Bruno Stadium.

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