Slammers acquire All-Star Yakubik, two others
From Submitted Reports January 17, 2013 1:16PM
Updated: January 17, 2013 6:53PM
The Joliet Slammers announced Thursday they traded right-handed pitcher Rey Cotilla, future considerations and their first-round pick in the 2013 Frontier League draft to the Gateway Grizzlies in exchange for infielder Jerod Yakubik, right-hander Brett Zawacki and infielder Nate Wilder.
“This was a very good trade for both teams,” Slammers manager Mike Breyman said in a statement. “Rey was a guy that I was very excited about being a part of the Slammers and hate to see him go but that’s part of it. You have to give to get sometimes.”
The Slammers are receiving a package of players led by 2012 Frontier League All-Star Yakubik. He attended Ohio University and was a 34th-round selection of the Los Angeles Angels in 2010. He spent two years in the Angels’ system and advanced as far as A-Advanced. Yakubik won the Pioneer League batting title in 2011 with a .372 average. Last year, he performed well for the Grizzlies, hitting .269 with four homers and 56 RBI.
“Yakubik can flat-out barrel baseballs when he rolls out of bed and his swing is easily repeated day in and day out,” Breyman said. “That’s what makes him a good hitter. Although not finishing as hot as he wanted to last year, I have no doubt that he will return to that early season form and be a big contributor to the Slammers’ success.”
Experienced pitcher and Illinois native Zawacki brings a history of success in affiliated baseball to the Slammers. The right-hander advanced as high as Double A in the Cardinals organization. St. Louis made Zawacki their 12th-round selection out of LaSalle-Peru High School in 2007. Last season was Zawacki’s first year in the Frontier League.
“Brett is an explosion waiting to happen,” Breyman said. “His stuff is not usually seen in this league and I am excited for him to be a part of our rotation. He showed his dominance early on last season. He should be a major force to be reckoned with in this league.”
Wilder enters his second season of pro baseball after spending his rookie year with the Lincoln Saltdogs of the American Association. The Arkansas Tech product brings a lot to the table.
“We looked at Nate last year during the middle of the season and we liked everything we saw,” Breyman said. “He can play third, second, first and even catch, but the best thing about him is how much natural power he has from the left side of the plate. It’s power you don’t see most of the time from guys as young as he is. I look for Nate to push for one of the infield spots during spring training and become a dependable infielder.”
The Slammers announced two other roster moves Thursday. They signed right-handed pitcher Shawn Kale and utilityman Anthony Boza, who were college teammates, while right-handed pitcher Brian Smith announced his retirement.