Eric Edelstein, general manager of the Northwest Arkansas Naturals (Texas League) since the franchise debuted in 2008, is stepping down from his post to join the Reno Aces (Pacific Coast).
Edelstein will take over as chief operating officer and executive vice president of the Aces, and will join general manager Rick Parr in overseeing the club's daily operations. Stuart Katzoff will remain as CEO and general managing partner, and will pass on his day-to-day operations duties to Parr and Edelstein.
"He's going to drive and kind of be the key person on the ground here and be my kind of right-hand person," Katzoff said.
Edelstein took over as general manager of the Wichita Wranglers in 2003 before overseeing the franchise's relocation to Springdale, Ark., and the opening of Arvest Ballpark in 2008. Edelstein will remain with the Naturals through the end of May. Assistant GM and director of sales Justin Cole will take over as GM through the rest of the season, the team announced in a release.
“It’s really a bittersweet day and was really a tough decision,” Edelstein said. “The Rich family (owners of the Naturals franchise) have been good to me and they have been all I know in my early professional career . . . I was fortunate enough to be the first person on the ground long before this team was anything more than an idea, and to have a hand in everything that has happened here. It’s difficult. I feel like it’s my baby. So that’s tough. It’s tough to leave.”
The Naturals won Baseball America's Double-A Freitas Award for overall excellence after last season.
"We would like to congratulate Eric and wish him success as he takes this exciting new position with Reno. Over the years, Eric has done a tremendous job directing the creation of the Naturals, the building of Arvest Ballpark and bringing great baseball and family fun to the Northwest Arkansas area," said Jonathan Dandes, president of Rich Baseball Operations, in a team release. "We thank him for his dedication, his service and the passion he has brought to Naturals baseball."
Edelstein fills a vacancy in Reno after executive vice president of business operations Justin Piper left during the offseason to take a position with the Cubs assisting with the opening of their new spring training facility in Mesa, Ariz.
"Eric comes highly recommended and we couldn't be happier to have him," Katzoff said. "Like the progression of players, that is what happens a lot (with executives), where general managers move up to Triple-A from Double-A and so on . . . I think he is excited to make the jump to Triple-A and help us continue what we have started here in Reno."