BY DENNIS CHASE
---- — TRAVERSE CITY — A desire to play close to home led to a trade announced Tuesday that sent Traverse City ace pitcher Scott Dunn to the Washington Wild Things for All-Star infielder Jovan Rosa and a first round draft pick.
Dunn, the Frontier League’s Pitcher of the Year after posting a 15-1 record with a 2.60 ERA, asked to be traded closer to his hometown in Hookstown, Pa.. Washington is about 30 miles away.
"I don't know how many years I have left in me — I'd like to say forever — but age is a killer," Dunn said. "I was really thankful they (Beach Bums) helped me out as much as they did. I loved it up in Traverse City — great fan base, great coaching staff. They rode this out with me and they helped me get closer to home in what may be my last year."
Dunn said he called Jason Wuerfel, the Beach Bums director of baseball operations, about a month ago to discuss a trade. It wasn't the first time a deal had been brought up.
"Before last season he had expressed an interest in playing closer to home, but nothing could be worked out, for whatever reason," Beach Bums manager Gregg Langbehn said. "We understand. We get it. We're all away from home, away from our families. We did what we could to honor his request.
"We're very fond of Scott Dunn," Langbehn added. "He did some great things for us in four years. He became one of the best pitchers in the league. And he really learned how to pitch. He'd be quick to say that as well. We certainly wish him the best. We think we got a pretty good deal in return. This is value for value. Both sides win."
Dunn, who started his career here as a set-up pitcher out of the bullpen, emerged into the league's best pitcher last season. He won his first 14 games, a Frontier League record. He finished with a 30-10 record in his four seasons. The 30 wins is the most by a Beach Bums pitcher.
"I was definitely blessed," he said. "It's still hard for me to believe to this day what I accomplished.
"I'm very thankful for what the organization has done for me the last four years."
Rosa played in 80 games for Washington last season, batting .284. He hit seven home runs and drove in 37 runs. He split time at first and third base. Rosa began his Frontier League career with the Normal Cornbelters in 2012.
"He's a solid third baseman," Dunn said. "He'll do well in Traverse City."
The Beach Bums have an opening at first with the trade of clean-up hitter Chase Burch to the Fargo-Moorehead Redhawks of the American Association. Third baseman Jose Vargas has not indicated if he'll return.
"If he (Rosa) fits at first base or third base, I don't know yet," Langbehn said. "It will be one of those two. You don't trade for a guy like that and not play him.
"Jovan was a guy we tried signing a couple years ago and we didn't get him. He's had good success. He's a good player. We needed to add a middle of the order bat and we have seen Jovan for a couple seasons and he fills that void.”
The Beach Bums are retooling their pitching staff. Their top two closers, Nick Capito and Matt Miller, will play elsewhere. Capito was dealt to Fargo-Moorehead, too.
Traverse City has added Gardner Adams, Casey Delgado, Corey Alexander and Nathan O’Bryan this off-season. In addition, they re-signed Mike Devine. The Beach Bums also inked outfielder Jeff DeBlieux and catcher Jacob Rhodes.
Fargo-Moorehead owes Traverse City two players for Burch and Capito.
"We think we're going to get some pretty good players in return," Langbehn said.