The Washington Wild Things announced today the trade of RHP Chase Cunningham to the Southern Illinois Miners for LHP Nick Durazo and future considerations. Cunningham was seeking this opportunity to play closer to home with respect to his family situation.
Cunningham originally worked out for Washington after his senior season and was acquired by the Wild Things in an off-season trade with the Lincoln Saltdogs. In 3 seasons he earned 24 wins over 59 starts and threw 347 innings for the organization. Both his career starts and innings pitched are franchise records, as the accomplishment was celebrated during the ’18 season.
“I can’t thank the Wild Things’ organization enough for these last 3 seasons together. Everything was top notch and I was taken care of so well. To Banger, you are an amazing manager and an even better man. I feel honored to have been able to spend the time under you. I will miss everything about Washington, but circumstances made it to where I needed to be closer to family and my girl. I have nothing but love for Washington and the fans. I will always be a Wild Thing at heart”, Cunningham explained in a written statement.
The best season for Cunningham was in 2017, when he was named a Frontier League East Division All-Star. During that campaign he posted a 10-3 record and a 3.46 ERA as the Wild Things pushed into the playoffs as a Wild Card winner. After being crowned the 2018 East Division Champions this past year, Cunningham made two playoff starts for Washington in their Championship Series run.
“Chase personally needed this opportunity to play closer to home so he could satisfy the family duties before him. Coming back was his plan, but it was not in the cards” said Assistant GM Tony Buccilli. “Chase was a big part of the culture shift we created here. He brought a great sense of humor to the ballpark daily but he competed tooth and nail when the ball was in his hand. On a personal level, I enjoyed seeing his development into a leader of the pitchers and becoming a driving voice for our Championship aspirations. We acknowledge and applaud Chase for everything he did as a Wild Thing. This will always be his baseball home”, Buccilli stated.
“We are very excited to add Chase to our rotation,” Miners manager Mike Pinto said. “He has been a successful, top-of-the-rotation starter for the last three years, and with his great work ethic is one of the most durable pitchers in the league. His capability of both dominating a game and pitching deep into it is something I am very happy to be adding to our roster.”
The Miners will be sending the Wild Things one of their hallmark relievers, LHP Nick Durazo. In his first season professionally, Durazo made 23 appearances and struck out 24 batters while hoisting a 2.01 ERA. The lefty scattered an impressive 8 hits over 22.1 innings and opponents could only muster a .116 BAA (.160 vs RHH, .091 vs LHH). Durazo played his college ball a great pitching factory, East Carolina University, and struck out 85 batters in 103 innings as a Pirate.
“Nick showed great promise as a rookie with Southern Illinois” Buccilli continued. “You can never have too many late inning options when looking to secure a win. Adding dynamic arms was a focus of ours this off-season. We have had some brief conversations and I like his approach to the opportunity before him. Nick will be working with a great catcher and surrounded by established relievers, so we look for his success to continue”, Buccilli stated.
“Nick did a wonderful job for us last year, and we wish him the best with the Wild Things,” Pinto added. “In order to get an impact player in a trade, you sometimes have to trade someone that did a great job for you and that you liked. That is the case with Nick, and we thank him for all he did for us last year.”
The East Division Champion Wild Things return to the field as they open the season Thursday, May 9 at River City, with the home opener slated for Friday, May 17 at Wild Things Park.
The Washington Wild Things are a professional baseball team in the Frontier League that plays in Washington, PA. In 2018, the team won its first East Division Championship since 2007 and came within two runs of winning the first Frontier League title in franchise history. Fans and media can stay aware of all the happenings in the Wild Things’ organization by following the team’s social media and website, washingtonwildthings.com. Season ticket packages, with new-and-improved benefits are now available by calling the box office at 724-250-9555.
The Southern Illinois Miners are the Frontier League’s most-successful franchise since debuting in 2007, winning the 2012 Frontier League Championship as well as division titles in 2010, 2014, 2015 and 2016. They have been awarded the Frontier League Organization of the Year award three times since their inception, and also set a new Frontier League attendance record in their inaugural season. For ticket information, contact the box office at (618) 998-8499. For additional information, visit our website at www.southernillinoisminers.com.