The Michael Sullivan "will he leave after this season when his contract is up" saga with the Cobras won't end on his terms after all, though Sullivan will receive what he wanted anyway.... To play for the Missouri Express.
Since the end of JAL 13 Sullivan has been rumored to want to leave the Cobras (who he has played his entire career with) for the Express, but he had never actually said it publicly until yesterday. In a talk with he team he told management that he liked playing for the Cobras just fine and was happy to finish this season with them, but finally admitted that he "probably" would go to the Express afterward.
Before speaking with Sullivan, team owner Drew Delucchi had been considering the idea of trading Sullivan to at least get something in return for his talents. Part of the reason Delucchi had become so much more interested though is because of the Cobras new rookie pitcher Connor Vermilyea's success in the first half of the season, in which he displayed the potential to become an MVP level player just as Sullivan is. That combined with Sullivan's "probably" statement sent the decision in Delucchi's mind past the point of no return and he decided Sullivan would be traded before the JAL 15 trade deadline at noon this Thursday.
Once Sullivan was placed on the table at about 2 pm yesterday the Express immediately offered Shawn Godinho. The Rapids and Waves also got heavily involved in talks and at one point a massive 3-way trade involving other potential players such as Jordan Halverson, Lane Traver, Troy Flanagan, Mason Klingberg and Kevin Johnson were discussed. In the end though, the parties couldn't mutually come to terms on any scenarios. Eventually the Cobras agreed to send Sullivan to the Express for Shawn Godinho, conditional that he sign a very large $75/3-season extension with the Cobras first so that when the Express acquired him it would kill their cap space. All parties agreed and the Express now have just $1 remaining on their cap. Lastly, the Cobras asked for $50 cash from the Express, which took until this morning for Express owner Garrett Blain to sign off on. The entire transaction was made official at about 1 pm today.
Express General Manager Kyle Godinho (who did a lot of the direct negotiating) says he and Sullivan will be dual aces. Delucchi says Vermilyea is now the Cobras ace and Shawn Godinho/Cale Johnson will be the #2's. The Cobras are also hoping to sign another rookie pitcher that Vermilyea has connections with by the 2nd half of season on Dec. 23rd.
Below are official statements from all parties in this historic JAL trade (It is the 1st time in league history there has been a player-for-player trade. The previous 2 trades in history have just been player-for-cash agreements).
Michael Sullivan - "I just want to say thanks to the Cobras organization, they have been world-class since they signed me. Both sides understood this to be a business decision with my free agency coming up. There's no bad blood and I may be back in a Cobras uniform again someday. I have unfinished business with the team."
Garrett Blain (Express owner) - "We are excited to add another ace and a good bat to the team. Michael will help us make it back to the WWCD Cup and he will help us add another title to our collection. Kyle gets a lot of credit in getting this deal done. He is proving to be a great GM."
Drew Delucchi (Cobras owner) - "I truly believe this organization will benefit from this trade. As hard as it is getting rid of such a great player I had to do what was best for the team and the future. Vermilyea is out future now. Shawn Godinho will bring good experience, clutchness and leadership to this team."
Kyle Godinho (Express GM/player) - "I'm very happy with this trade even though it comes at the expense of losing my own brother. We are giving up our best fielder for another ace pitcher. But the odds of other teams hitting me and Michael consistently sounds rare, so the need for a fielder is less important. With 2 ace pitchers we can both pitch to our full potential instead of saving our arms for the next games. I'm excited about our potential."
Cale Johnson (Cobras player) - "I wish Michael the best and it was fun playing with him for several seasons. I think someday he will come back to the Cobras in a LeBron-Cavs type of thing. Until then this team will continue to win as it always has. I trust Drew's management and I believe in Vermilyea. Another Cobras-Express WWCD Cup this season would be a lot of fun..."
Brock Johnson (Long-time Cobras player/Cobras supporter) - "Good move for the Cobras. I think Sullivan's leaving was inevitable at some point. They were smart to get something for him in return."