If the name Josh Burckhardt sounds familiar to you, don't be alarmed. Burckhardt has been a player in the league before... Kind of.
Prior to last season Burckhardt, who is 40 and from Vancouver, signed as a rookie with the Northwest Mafia (who are now the Kansas Lawmen franchise). Going into the season he was a significantly hyped rookie prospect, but ended up missing the entire season. His absence from the first half of the season was due to outside obligations, but his missing of the second half was unconfirmed. Mafia owner at the time, Taitie Kleine, claimed Burckhardt to be "unreliable" and many speculate that Burckhardt simply bailed on the team midway through the season, knowing that the team was winless and not in the playoff hunt. Three days after JAL 15 Burckhardt was released.
Ever since Burckhardt joined the league, Express player/general manager Kyle Godinho has endorsed him. The two have apparently played wiffleball against each other several times in the past. Throughout this offseason Godinho has been saying that he is very interested in signing Burckhardt, especially now that Michael Sullivan will likely miss everything but the playoffs in JAL 16 for the Express.
"Burckhardt will play for me," Godinho has said confidently on multiple occasions.
Given Missouri's cap room squeeze, the team released Erik Keele from the roster, who was taking up $4 of their $64 payroll in order to sign Burckhardt earlier today. The terms of his rookie deal are $8/2-seasons, so Missouri is right back to having 4 players and a $64/65 cap space hit just like they did before this transaction occurred.
Burckhardt is slotted as the co-#2 pitcher on the teams depth chart alongside Sullivan. According to Godinho, he will get at least a couple starting pitcher opportunities this season and will bat the lineup. Offensively Burckhardt, was with the Mafia and still is now, rumored to be quite a force as a hitter.
"He's a #1 (level) pitcher, so I can see him splitting some time with me. If he still hits like he did (in the past) he will be arguably one of the best hitters in the league," Godinho said after the signing.