Here’s one way to fill a roster: players from the Columbian Professional Baseball League will take the field this season for the Yuma Scorpions.The Yuma Scorpions (independent; Golden Baseball League) have signed a two year affiliation agreement with the Colombian Professional Baseball League to develop players, umpires, trainers, and other clubhouse personnel. This agreement starts immediately as the Colombian players arrived last night in Yuma and will be in action as Scorpions at the home opener this Friday versus the St. George Roadrunners.
"This is an important step for the development of the sport of baseball in Colombia," said Colombian Professional Baseball League President Edinson Renteria. "The chance to display our best players and to bring back knowledge from the U.S. is a wonderful opportunity for us. The facilities in Yuma, Arizona are first class, at the former San Diego Padres spring training complex, and the tough and competitive Golden Baseball League will be a perfect challenge for our players."
Similar to affiliation agreements between major league teams and minor league operators in the United States, the ownership, brand, front office staff, and all aspects other than the on-field personnel of the Yuma Scorpions remain the same. The Colombians will be providing players for the 22-man roster, manager, and coaches (including former major leaguer Jackie Gutierez). In addition, the Colombian League will be sending trainers, clubbies, ground crewsmen, and even two umpires, using this as a learning experience to improvie their skills to take back to Colombia.
"This is the first standard affiliation agreement that a professional independent baseball team has entered into in the United States and establishes a new economic model to provide stability and financial success for independent teams," said GBL Commissioner Kevin Outcalt. "In addition, it will draw even more attention to the GBL games from major league organizations which is good for all of the players in our league."
With the summer being the off-season for professional baseball in their home country, the Colombian players have been drawn from all the professional teams in that country and include many of their most accomplished players and rising stars. Not only will they be able to improve, but also be showcased to major-league organizations that sign out of the Golden Baseball League and already purchase approximately 25 players per year from the GBL.
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