11.25.2008

Indians Sign RP

HAH

Not what you thought though.

Indians sign RHP Greg Aquino

Aquino was a league average reliever not too long ago. Last season played out much like 2007 though, with most of the season spent in Triple-A, and a handful of innings in the majors. Aquino didn't show his groundball inducing skills last season, but encouragingly did get a good percentage of swinging strikes in Norfolk, 14.3%. One of Mark Shapiro's weaknesses has been bullpen building, not alliteration, so if nothing else, this is a nice depth signing for 'Bus. Best case he turns in 20-25 innings of league average work in response to an injury.

There you go.

Typical Mark Shapiro move.. I guess more details when someone out there reports this..

Baseball America is fine.. but, yeah.

Greg Aquino has pitched for Arizona, Milwaukee and last year with Baltimore. He pitched in just nine games last year. Injuries, Minor Leagues, yay.

Who knows.. He turned in 30 plus innings, for Arizona three straight years.

From that same article.. Preston Larrison has signed with the Nationals.

All's quiet on the Western Front

What exactly does that expression mean and can that really relate to the Cleveland Indians?

A team located in NE Ohio, where it's snowing and mighty freezing right now.

Thank god for parking decks and bridge sky-walks, that's all I have to say.

Hey Trevor Hoffman, if you want to submit yourself to this, that's cool dawg.

Hoffman seemed like he was going to be the Indians closer a few years ago when they offered him a nice deal. Then his San Diego Padres said, hey guy... Yeah we want you back.

Can you blame him? It's nice to see someone choose less money for comfort.

Why don't any of our guys do that?

Grady buddy, you got at least three maybe four more years before you have to think of mega-contracts. Don't break our hearts.

Before I get ahead of myself.

There is NOTHING going on in the Hot Stove. It looks like the economic problems or whatever hoopla the analysts are blaming it on is actually effecting free agency.

Or maybe it's that damn CC character holding up everything.

Or that K-Rod.

Why should the Indians move at a fast pace? If Hoffman is going to come cheaper than we all think... Or Wood.. Or Whatever..

Or Crede..

You know what I'm sayin!

I mean Jeremy Affeldt? Come on now, we've got bigger and better names out there to be had.

Don't be getting on Shapiro for not doing anything and don't start thinking.

ohhhhhhhhhh I don't like the way this offseason is shaping up maaaan, Shapiro's sitting on his Ivy league-excel spreadsheet-orange haired-ass doing nothing.

No one's doing anything!

At least not signing. Shapiro is busy at work as we get to see now.. Things are just moving very veeeerrrrryyy slowwwlllllyyyyy..

Like Victor Martinez slow.

Not quite Garko slow.

Let's break down the Plain Dealer Article.
"GM Mark Shapiro and Wedge put the full court press on Hoffman. They visited him at his home and made a good impression on baseball's all-time saves leader. When asked if he thought that would earn the Indians any points this winter as they pursue Hoffman, among other closers, Shapiro said, 'You'd have to ask Trevor.' "
Very interesting my dear friends. Obviously, the Indians already have a leg up with their previous dealings with Hoffman and his agent a few years ago.

The more and more I think about it.. The more and more I warm up to it. If anything, his veteran presence will be a huge thing with guys in our pen. I mean, it's the guy who's saved more games than anyone in Major League history.

Going back to the very slowly article that I linked.

Shapiro mentioned he'll "probably" need to take a few men off the 40 man roster to make offseason moves.

There, he plans on doing something, so rejoice about that.

Ed..Eddie..Edwin..Edward... What haven't we used.. That gives me an idea for a photoshop.. Ooh

Mujica, you are on notice.. Aubrey, you are on notice.. Mastny, you are no notice.. Marte, you are on notice..

Dellucci, I freaking hope you are on notice you waste of space..

Anyway...

New fans ask the questions, Hoynes gives you an answer and Castrovince makes a joke.

Start with Hoynes.

Someone made a crack about Cliff Lee and his trade value.. Hoynes killed them, boosh.

Someone then seriously asked about if it would be smart to trade Lee while he has value, or sign him to a long term deal.

I'd do neither.

I mean is this the best they can do?

Hey, Hoynsie: Hey, you old (bleep), should the Indians sign Adam Dunn? -- Frank Wrick, North Olmsted

Hey, Frank: Who taught you to text message -- Phil Savage?

I'm all for getting some pop in the outfield, but the Indians feel they have bigger needs.

That made me laugh, unfortunately. Don't we have anyone out there with more brains?

Hoynes hears Kerry Wood is asking for a four year deal. No thank you.

Looks like Casey Blake could be going back to Minnesota here soon.. Stay away Mark, stay away.

I say this..

I feel a lot better if Casey Blake is playing for Minnesota, than Cleveland. It might sound weird, but in my mind it makes all sorts of sense.

Moving on to AC.

The question came up about trading catchers.

Martinez isn't getting traded, Santana isn't going anywhere.

That leaves us with Gimenez, Toregas and Shoppach.

One will be traded.... I think I'm right on when I say that. We just have too many catchers not to get rid of one and get some value.

The question becomes, which one.

I think actually that Shoppach is going to stay. Now I'd like to trade him as I've mentioned, because his value will never be higher.

But I think the Indians want to cover their bases in the infield. That means getting rid of Dellucci, keeping Shoppach, Garko, Vic and Hafner and hoping three of the four pan out as starters.

That leaves us with Gimenez and Toregas, I'd trade Toregas, Gimenez can play more positions and Toregas had a set back last year going back to Akron.

That's essentially one of the ideas AC was planting and I think it sounds the most reasonable. Unless the Indians are blown away with a deal for Shoppach.

This made my day however.

Do you think the Indians would be able to sign Guillermo Mota and include him in a package with Andy Marte in a trade for Coco Crisp? I feel like the Indians could really use Crisp's speed at the top of the lineup hitting No. 2 behind Grady Sizemore, plus I love the energy he brings to the game.
-- Adam S., Wadsworth, Ohio
I should find this Adam S. from Wadsworth, if I knew how to get there from Kent, I just moved, sue me, and shake his hand. This is the greatest sarcastic trade idea ever. Well maybe not ever but in the past... year.. maybe..

AFL and the Hawaii League is over... Here is the full recap of all the stats and some in progress stats for the Winter Leagues. Adam Miller and Fausto put together a combined six hitter in the DR for Chuck Hernandez and Carl Willis.

Now.. Bill James who I've just not had good vibes from, whoever he is.. Does these projections.. I guess you can't take any stock into them reading some of the comments on the article, which is by the way the link up there about the Shapiro quote. Whatever.. It's fun to look at, at least. James said Sizemore is the 24th best young player in baseball.. I think he's higher. Let's judge him.
Infielders: Garko .282, 24 doubles, 15 homers, 55 runs, 72 RBI; Asdrubal Cabrera .277, 30 doubles, 10 homers, 84 runs, 62 RBI; Jhonny Peralta .274, 38 doubles, 23 homers, 97 runs, 84 RBI and Jamey Carroll .260, 15 doubles, 2 homers, 57 runs, 30 RBI.

Catchers/DH: Kelly Shoppach .256, 26 doubles, 19 homers, 57 runs, 59 RBI; Victor Martinez .300, 38 doubles, 17 homers, 73 runs, 92 RBI; and Travis Hafner .270, 30 doubles, 23 homers, 72 runs, 83 RBI.

Outfielders: Shin-Soo Choo .282, 27 doubles, 14 homers, 78 runs, 68 RBI; Sizemore .277, 41 doubles, 7 triples, 29 homers, 117 runs, 88 RBI, 30 steals; Ben Francisco .271, 26 doubles, 11 homers, 54 runs, 47 RBI; Gutierrez .271, 26 doubles, 10 homers, 60 runs, 42 RBI; and David Dellucci .241, 11 doubles, 8 homers, 32 runs, 30 RBI.
Outfielders.. Choo looks on par if you ask me. I think he'll hit for a higher average, I'll take that. Francisco is fine, Gutierrez is on par with a rebound, but I think he'll hit more if he's his hand on a regular role, if not that's fine. Dellucci should just be cut. He won't hit five homers for the Indians.

Are these numbers for Shoppach if he was starting half the time? If so, I'll take it. Between Shoppach, Vic and Garko. That's like 50 home runs.. I'll take that sir.

If Travis Hafner hits 25 home runs, I think we'll all be jumping for JOY!

Peralta.. I will take that..

Cabrera.. I will TAKE THAT EVERY DAY!

Anyway that's all I really got.. Things are moving slow.. Maybe be back tomorrow, if not, Happy Thanksigiving everyone enjoy the holliday.

11.21.2008

40 Man Roster Additions In; The O DAWG?!

They surely waited around long enough.

It wasn't till about 9:30-10:00 last night that the Indians let their choices be known for the 40 man roster. As you may know, the Indians needed to add players they wanted to protect from the Rule V draft to the 40 man roster by yesterday's deadline.

So even if they do drop someone like Edwin Mujica, they can't save Jordan Brown at this point.

But wait sir, hold on a minute.. They only added five players?

Yes that's correct. They added just five prospects to their 40 man roster, leaving one spot open. For what?

A move, I guess.

They need the wiggle room in case they make a move, right? right!

Wrong.

Is keeping someone like Edwin Mujica really worth it at the expense of losing Jordan Brown or someone with potential like Chuck Lofgren?

Let's use Brown as the example though.

Officially, the Indians added the following:

Outfielder Trevor Crowe, Starting Pitcher Hector Rondon, Relief Pitcher Jeff Stevens, and Catchers Carlos Santana and Chris Gimenez.

Jordan Brown, as previously thought, not there.

Does Jordan Brown's value really not outweight Edwin Mujica's?

Brown: Position Player, Will Have Options, Not Major League Tested, Still can be regarded as a prospect with upside.

Mujica: Relief Pitcher, Will NOT Have Options, Major League tested and has looked awful most of the time, MLB has a book on him and just how crappy he looks.

I thought the decision was clear. Keep your spot open, cut Mujica, maybe he gets through waivers, if not it's not a big loss, and keep a valueable guy who could realistically get chosen, start a year on a Major League Roster, be stashed by a bad team like Pittsburgh (who don't have spots, so scratch that for now), or Seattle, and be gone forever.

Whatever.. Move on..

Those are our five additions.. Much of the waiting provided speculation that the Indians were working out a deal, large or small to clear more room on the roster. Wasn't the case.

But it does beg the question that Tony Lastoria brought up. Are we really going into next season with five catchers on our 40 man?

I mean really? Gimenez or Toregas... One of the prospects or Shoppach.. Someone HAS to go.. There is just no reason to have three guys there and our future guy.

Chuck Lofgren, Jordan Brown, Stephen Head, and possibly Randy Newsome are a few of the names that could be out there for the taking. Lofgren and Brown will most certainly get a look. If they get taken is another story.

The reason being thrown around for Brown's non-rostering has to do with a possible injury. Maybe they are taking a chance on the fact that team's avoid him because of it.

All of this went down on Smoke Signals the Indians radio program from the Cleveland Fan. Chuck Lofgren happened to be on when the press release was given out and Jordan Brown is going to be on the program next week.

Looks like things are staying the same pretty much in the Indians Minor League Staff.

Let's talk about Orlando Hudson. There is a REASON I didn't even put him on the targets list. FIVE YEARS AND 50 MILLION DOLLARS!

Are you kidding me?

Hoynes says the Indians are interested
.

That would be disaster.

There is a former D'Back we talked about though. Jose Valverde and Mark Shapiro would be interested.

"If Valverde is available, he's another guy we'd explore," said Shapiro.

It looks like for some odd reason we are in on Orlando Cabrera.

I guess the Indians are still talking to Casey Blake's agent, but not making as much progress as the Minnesota Twins are. If he want's three years, I don't want him.

Interesting thought by James Pete of the Tribe Report. Could Chuck Hernandez's hiring be a way to get Freddy Garcia? Interestingggggg indeed.

Massive update to the offseason board and 40 man roster.. Check it out.

11.19.2008

Tribe Name BP Coach; Valverde Available?

Isn't it funny?

The Indians fired Luis Isaac.. Philsophy reasons.. His bullpen wasn't the greatest last year.. But that's hardly a mark on him.

So they go out and hire a guy who's had probably the one of the most banged up and erratic pitching staffs, starting and relief, in the major leagues.

However.. That idea can kill you.

The Indians have hired former Tigers pitching coach Chuck Hernandez to be their bullpen coach today.

Obviously.. Wedge made it clear that Isaac's firing was continuity between Isaac and Willis. Which is why, if you knew that Willis and Hernandez have a good relationship, you probably knew this was coming.

"Ultimately, I felt it was time for us to have a different dynamic and skill set down there, with the man in charge in that role and in that bullpen and with the relationship with Carl Willis, and ultimately how those two rub off on our starting pitchers and bullpen guys. You look at what Carl and Chuck can do together and what you can do with veterans who get better, but also to continue to develop young pitchers and develop more consistency within our bullpen."
It looks as if Wedge wanted a guy that could work with Willis. Which if that is his goal, I support. I actually like the idea once I sit down and think about it. This is a guy who was the coach of some good pitchers in Detroit. He's more of a scouting type guy as well. He's in that John Farrell mold, someone who did the minor league thing and the pitching coach thing.

Verlander, Bonderman, some decent relief pitchers were his guys.

They just got hurt a lot..

This could work out well. He's a pitching coach and he's probably going to be looking to see the mechanics of pitchers, which is nice to have another set of eyes.

I like this move. I hope it works out. Hernandez is 48 and has been with the Tigers as the pitching coach for the past few years. Before that he was the Rays' pitching coach.

Onto the Hot Stove Front.

It looks like there is another relief option out there, and he's joined by a third base target we've discussed before.

The Astros are reportedly "looking to trade" Jose Valverde and Ty Wigginton.

Both are arbitration guys and would be Free Agent's next year. In that aspect, I think it's perfect.

Houston I guess, from Richard Justice's perspective, is looking for young pitching. We've got that. At what price though?

MLBTR names us directly as a "Match" which is obvious because those just happen to be our two needs, but is it a match in terms of the players?

I'm a little on the fence about Jose Valverde. He's got attitude and fire, that's for sure. He sort of looks like K-Rod out there with all his emotion. He's been in and out of the closer's role throughout his career until 2007, when he locked it down for Arizona.

Last year, Arizona shipped Valverde off to Houston, who used him to replace Brad Lidge.

We know how that worked out for the Phils.

Now.. Valverde's ERA rose a bit into the 3's, saved three less games but pitched in a few more innings.

His numbers indicate he was better on the road, so maybe Houston was the reason for his rise in ERA.

However this is what worries me.

In September, August, and May, Valverde was SHUT DOWN.. 4 combined earned runs.

April, June and July.. 23 runs combined.

He's very inconsistent by those numbers.

The other piece of that deal would be Ty Wiggingon, who we've talked about, just as a rumor though.

I'm not sure how valid it is that we had him on our radar. Remember Teahen? That stuff happens.

Here is a story about how Wes Hodges is getting it done with the bat in the AFL. But then again everyone really is, pitching doesn't seem to be showing up.. Of course those pitchers are focused on working things, not stats.

Hodges is hitting .354 with 6 dingers and 26 RBI. The Indians are pleased with his bat, but still want to see him improve defensively before he makes it to the big leagues.

Matt LaPorta is heading home. Take a rest bud. LaPorta was out in Venezuela participating in Winter League. He's not hurt, but he was sick and did foul a ball off himself. The plan was to send him home early for Thanksgiving, so while he is leaving early, this was expected. LaPorta hit .162 with two home runs in 67 at-bats.

Tomorrow is the deadline day to add players to the 40 man to protect them from the Rule V. Today is the day, according to Tony Lastoria where we find out who the Indians have added. I'll comment tomorrow after the news comes down. I've posted who I'd like to see added, if you need a refresher on who to expect, read the link and see what Tony has to say. Five are expected to be rostered, including Jordan Brown and if remember that we've heard that Jordan Brown will be added.

Looks like we visited that Japanese pitcher, Junichi Tazawa. I'd rather not talk about Japanese players I have no clue about. Risky business sir.

The BaseballAmerica prospect rankings for the Indians are out. Carlos Santana is number one.

1. Carlos Santana, c

2. Matt LaPorta, of

3. Nick Weglarz, of

4. Adam Miller, rhp

5. Beau Mills, 1b

6. Lonnie Chisenhall, ss

7. Kelvin de la Cruz, lhp

8. David Huff, lhp

9. Michael Brantley, of/1b

10. Carlos Rivero, ss
There ya go.. Read the entire report here.

Surprised that LaPorta is behind Santana, but hey, we just got our top two talents in trades this season. Some guys don't think Santana or LaPorta are quite as good as that though. We'll find out. Check out the projected 2012 lineup, that is interesting.

and finally.. Jensen Lewis isn't taking all this closer talk to heart.. He's preparing as if he will be the guy in 2009.. I TOLD YOU LIKE THIS KID!

"I went into the offseason with the mentality that I was the guy until told differently," Lewis said Wednesday. "As of right now, that's my mindset."

Jensen might just have to be our mascot if we can get his B-R page..... Sorry Benny.

11.17.2008

Who Wood Have Thought?!

I'm going to start this off by saying one day I might feel one way, the other day I might feel another.

On Friday, I thought Kerry Wood would be a better add than Trevor Hoffman.

Today, I'm learning more towards the other side.

I'm not sure why, but I'm pretty sure I can.

Either way... Here is what you should be reading and thinking about today as we wait for the CC Ball to Drop.

By the By, anyone else hope he doesn't sign with the Yankees for the pure fact that he could open up their new stadium against the team that raised him?

Uh.. Yeah.. That would be fun. We would need to kick his ass however.

Terry Pluto makes a case with some key statistics, one's that show Hoffman's second half recovered from his awful first half. Look Hoffman is exactly what we had with Joe Borowski. However Hoffman doesn't throw as many stupid pitches.

It looks like the Indians are being active about this idea, like Shapiro promised. They aren't sitting around in wait and see-mode, they are going after every option out there, including Hoffman.

HOWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWEVA

Ken Rosenthal has brought up one of the ideas I've brought up and supported and one of the idea's I've been dead set against.

Instead of signing a Wood or Hoffman, possibly signing both Juan Cruz and Jeremy Affeldt.

No.. Don't do that.

Don't go do that..

We need to decide on ONE GUY.. If that's signing Juan Cruz and making him the closer or making Jensen the closer, or signing Hoffman and making him the closer. We can't be going around saying well we'll see what our options are.

We need to make a decision. Can't go around doing this, let's sign them both and see what happens business.

Now that've gotten that out of the way, let me go ahead and tell you that Jeremy Affeldt has just signed with the San Francisco Giants.

I know, I know.. I just dragged you through all that.. But the truth is, that news came down when I was in the process of writing this entry. I'm rather sneaky aren't I? What I find crazy is that Keith Law says that Affeldt is the second best relief option out there.. What...

We've got a couple of mailbags and Q&A's out today.

Let's see if Hoynes is in a better mood this week.

Hey, Hoynsie: Tell me what you think of the Indians sending Wes Hodges, Ben Francisco and Adam Miller or Aaron Laffey to Colorado for Huston Street and Garrett Atkins. This trade would solidify the Tribe's infield and closer situation, while clearing space in the outfield for Matt LaPorta or Michael Brantley. -- Nick Kellogg, Chicago.

Hey, Nick: I'm not sure how badly the Rockies need Hodges. They think Ian Stewart can replace Atkins at third, but I think you're on the right track. Francisco could help them replace Matt Holliday, and Laffey's sinker could serve him well in the thin air of Coors Field.

Word out of Colorado is that GM Dan O'Dowd wants to keep Street, but he may be posturing.

The Indians, on the other hand, have to be careful about giving up any pitching because of the hole they have in the middle of the rotation. Miller, reportedly, is starting to pitch well in the Dominican Republic.

Yiiiiiiiiiiikes.. Not Adam Miller sir.. Maybe if his latest move to the bullpen doesn't work out, way too valuable to be doing that.

Interesting comment from Paul on Hoffman.
Hey, Angelo: I think Hoffman could fool enough American League hitters with his change-up to be effective for at least a year. The problem will be getting him to leave Southern California. The Indians are interested, but to what degree remains to be seen.
Well.. If that's the case, we should sign that man up to a one year deal. I can't see anyone giving him more than two. Does he want more than two? Can he be effective past one? Ohhh so many questions.

This one makes me laugh.
Hey, Hoynsie: Why not take a look at Russell Branyan at third base? The Indians could probably sign him to a low-risk contract. He has good power, decent on-base percentage and OPS [on-base plus slugging percentage]. I know he strikes out a lot, but so does Grady Sizemore. -- James Lazarus, Cleveland.

Hey, James: You've seen a lot of Branyan. I've seen a lot of Branyan and so have the Indians.

If they're going to bring back an old third baseman, I'd rather it be Casey Blake.

You know if his name wasn't Russell Branyan, I'd sign him and one other guy to compete at Third if we can't find a third baseman. Better that than Marte, right?

Ehhhhhhhh.

Suck... No seriously.. I've been saying stuff about this cheap competition fix if there isn't a viable third baseman out there. Wouldn't be completely shocked if it happened.

I don't know if I've portrayed the emotion before, but I like Anthony Castrovince more than Paul Hoynes. No not because Castrovince is Italian and his brother is a local sports guy for my home town in Youngstown, but his corny jokes rock and well, Hoynes is rather cold as we saw last week.

Castrovince's mailbag is a perfect example of corny jokes.

It looks like Shin-Soo Choo won't avoid military duty for his native country of South Korea, however he will still play in the World Baseball Classic next year if asked.

Do you think the Indians could pay the South Korean army off after this year if he puts up good numbers? Maybe send them a player in return? Like a trade. Andy Marte perhaps?

Poor Andy.

Speaking of Andy Marte. A question was asked what the Indians problem is with Andy Marte.. Now I've been a supporter of giving Marte a chance more than anyone, but.. Come on MAN!

"The Indians really seem to take issue with Marte's inability to hit in the big leagues. That has irked them, for some reason. " - Anthony Castrovince

That's pretty much it bub.

Tony Lastoria of the Indians Prospect Insider has a Minor League Depth Chart up. His is different than what the one I have is about.

Tony's is basically an offseason thing used for projections rather than what mine is, more of an in-season snapshot.

He prjoects Aaron Laffey to be in Columbus, as well as David Huff, which means we make a move to get a starting pitcher, Anthony Reyes is a starter, and Jeremy Sowers wins a spot.

We'll talk more about the minor leagues in the slow part of the offseason but MAAAAAAN how insane is that outfield going to be if we don't trade anyone? LaPorta, Brantley and Crow all hitting in the top of the lineup, probably the top three spots even, maybe LaPorta hits cleanup. Throw in Hodges, one of those Catchers, maybe Aubrey. The calvary is coming if we need it, things are looking good.

Along those lines. I don't usually point out his pieces on certain players, mainly because I actually don't have much time to read them, but if you read one, read his Chuck Lofgren article.

Lofgren has been dealing with the fact that his mother developed cancer and was fighting for her life. Things are looking up though and hopefully for both Chuck and the Indians, that means his career can progress like they thought it would.

Brad Penny is working hard this offseason.. I still wonder how much he'd want and how long of a deal would he want. He could fall into that one-year get back on your feet signing if no one else wants to commit.

Now... Last bit of news. It looks as if we've lost Matt Whitney.... AGAIN!

Whitney was taken by the Nationals in the Rule V draft last year and eventually returned.. We made a cool $25,000 on that one. Anyway, Whitney was a MLFA and I guess the road to the majors isn't real clear if he stays in the Cleveland organization, so I see the move as a positive one for him. Who knows where he would have started if he were to re-sign with the Indians.

Best of luck to Matt with his new-old club, the Washington Nationals, who must have liked what they saw in him, now they get a chance to send him from the minors to the majors if he makes an impression in Spring Training.

11.14.2008

It has begun... Hey Did You Miss This?

Let's start this off real quick.

It went un-noticed by many and it came out after I had posted about he Cy Young Award..

But Grady Sizemore added a Silver Slugger to his expanding mantle. Two Gold Gloves, a Silver Slugger.. Is an MVP award next for him? Hard to say his future doesn't hold one. Grizz was one of four GG winners to get a SS.. That's gold glove and silver slugger for the abreviated impared. It probably would have saved time to just type it all out in the first place, meh.

This is probably going to start a run for him if he keeps it up.. You hit 30 home runs with a good average, hit a lot of doubles and some triples.. as an outfielder.. You might win a couple of these..

Kid has Hall of Fame Potential man.. He's piling up this stuff at a very young age.

"This kid's one of the best all-around players in the game. You talk about a Gold Glove and a Silver Slugger ... playing a premium position up the middle. What more do you want?"

That was Eric Wedge.

Let's get to some Cliff Lee praise and quotes..

"It was the most incredible season I've ever seen from a pitcher at that level," - Eric Wedge

"[Lee] was already a good Major League pitcher. This year, he took the step to greatness." - Mark Shapiro

"He and I had talked a couple of times over the winter, just about the control and command, and his first bullpen session back in February, he really showed that. He exhibited that. And I remember when he was done with that bullpen, I said to him, 'That's exactly what we're talking about. Just keep going with that." - Carl Willis

"I think probably after my fourth or fifth start, when I had under a 1.00 ERA, that's when I knew it was going to be a special year. I never rested on that and felt I had it figured out. I still continued to keep my mind in the moment. I wasn't going to get away from that." and

"My job is to come back in '09 and do it again. There's no reason to think I can't," Lee said. "I honestly feel like I'm going to come back and pick up right where I left off." and

"It would be great to see [Fausto] Carmona win it next year," - Cliff Lee

You can hear Cliff Lee and others talk about the Cy Young Award, here. Now we go around the web..

From a Fantasy Perspective, Eric Karabell says Cliff probably won't turn in those Cy numbers again, but he won't disappear. I'd have to agree.

Rob Neyer sorts through some of the ridiculous cases that other people have made about Roy Halladay over Cliff Lee and provides one of his own that is much more respectable. He also supports Lee winning the award. I'd have to say Neyer probably has one of the better perspectives out there.

I share the front page of the Baseball page of sportsline with this guy..

With all the awards pretty much handed out, I'd expect a few trickling votes in there for Sizemore for AL MVP, but that's pretty much it for us. Let's look at the Hot Stove.

Today is the day when free agents can get offered contracts from every team. The chips won't start falling for the Indians until the bigger names go, ahem CC Sabathia ahem, so we get to stew and just wait for things to happen.

ONE Development that occured yesterday was HUGE.

The closer situation is going to be heavily contested and I'd expect us to SIGN someone rather than make a trade.

"If there's a closer option out there, we will be involved," Shapiro told the Cleveland Plain Dealer this week.

Now... Kevin Gregg is off the market.. He is off to Chicago... That closes one option, but opens up another, potentially BETTER option for the Indians.

Kerry Wood

The Cubs are not bringing him back. Which means a good scenario fit for us is available.

Now... K-Rod is gonna make the big bucks, Brian Fuentes will make a little less, but still out of our range, and then that brings us to the Kerry Wood-Trevor Hoffman range.

I'd prefer Wood over Hoffman. It's one thing to spend 5 million on an old guy that could be past his time. It's another to spend say 6-7 million on the guy who you KNOW can get it done, if he's healthy.

That's how I look at it.. Wood want's multiple years though.. I wouldn't go past two.. How many does Hoffman want?

I still think our best interests lie in Chad Cordero or Jason Isringhausen, but if Shapiro were to sign Kerry Wood, I certainly wouldn't complain.

Seperately, on an un-related, but kind of note. NICK SWISHER IS GONE! Thank god.. He's alwasy been an Indian killer and now he's out of the division.

Ahhhhhhhhhh well.. Free Agency has begun, hide the children.

11.13.2008

Two in a Row for Tribe! Cliff Lee wins AL Cy Young!



It's official! Cliff Lee has won the 2008 American League Cy Young Award! And he did it much like he went through the season. DOMINATION!

It's a shame four writers out there weren't bright enough to realize that even though Roy Halladay put together a fabulous season, Cliff Lee deserved every single vote. Halladay received four first place votes, which means Lee got 24 out of 28 first placers.

A 22-3 record.. 2.54 ERA.. Both League Leads..

You deserve it Cliff!

You can read the below post, which appears on B/R and even the front page of CBSSportsline.com

"Even if I had won every start, I don't know if I'd be satisfied. There's always something you can do better. I don't know how to explain it other than that. It's just the way I am, I guess."- Cliff Lee, 2008 Cy Young Award Winner

Cliff Lee Goes from Trash Heap to Tressure

The following can also be read on Bleacher Report.

On Thursday, we find out what most people have assumed for months now.

On Friday, we begin to watch what we assumed would unfold for months.

These events couldn't be more different, but connected in an odd and eerie way.

Cliff Lee dominated the opposition from start to finish. The Cleveland Indians left-hander came into the season as the fifth starter, just hoping to hold on, and goes out the staff ace just looking to continue his success.

His success, there's something to wonder about. How did a guy that was sent to Triple-A just last year manage to turn around his career like this?

Lee couldn't hold a lead, even when he was successful. His offense would put him ahead in a game and Lee would find ways to give that up.

However, Lee's 2007 was one of injuries and frustration. He started the season on the disabled list, which basically took away his Spring Training as well. He made his debut in the first week of May and in his second start actually pitched a complete game.

It pretty much went downhill from there.

He had his bright spots, but this was supposed to be the second best pitcher the Indians had on their staff behind CC Sabathia.

Oh that name, Sabathia, the man who won the American League Cy Young award that year, the pitcher who stands to make a ton of cash when Free Agency opens on Friday.

Cliff Lee could have been had for so much less.

Lee was rumored to have been possibly traded for Carlos Quentin, which looks sort of like a Josh Hamilton for Edison Volquez trade off at this point. But Arizona obviously didn't think Lee would do what he did in 2008.

Neither did the Cleveland Indians.

But they stuck with him, almost by default. I think if you honestly asked Mark Shapiro if he tried to get rid of Lee, he will tell you he explored it. Truth is Lee was probably the name brought up most in trade talks, mostly out of the fan's angst.

Why though?

Lee's antics had worn thin with the Cleveland faithful.

In the past, Lee has shown his attitude and short temper out on the mound. He's famous for firing his glove into the crowd during a game in Toronto.

In 2007, the two acts that stand out the most that could basically sum up that season for Lee.

During a game in Texas, Lee had a blow up with his Catcher Victor Martinez. This is the same game in which he gave up five runs in the first inning mind you. After the disastrous first, Lee actually stayed in the game and showed poise you had rarely seen from him.

He managed to pitch into the seventh inning remarkably and the Indians were slowly making a comeback.

At one point however, Lee and Martinez started to argue on the mound after Lee hit Rangers' slugger Sammy Sosa in the head.

The argument actually prompted a closed-door player’s only meeting that started to help the Indians turn their season around.

However, Lee's season wouldn't do the same.

In his next start back at home against Boston; Lee blew up, and not in the good way.

He let up seven runs in his four innings and was booed off the mound by the home crowd. To show his appreciation he responded by tipping his cap in a smug sort of way.

It was a flying glove or an angry argument with a player, it was far worse. It was disrespectful.

Lee got sent to Triple-A Buffalo that same night and while he would return to the team and pitch in a few games down the stretch, he didn't make the postseason roster and was an afterthought.

That's where the offseason came in and Lee was the subject of many trade rumors.

Not any more.

What did Lee do in that offseason that got him to turn his career around?

Nothing special would be the appropriate response. Lee simply got back to basics.

Carl Willis, who is expected to have two Cy Young award pitchers in a row under his belt come Thursday afternoon, invited Lee to his home in North Carolina one day.

They didn't re-invent the wheel or anything like that, Willis basically showed Lee what no one else did. He showed Lee he still believed him.

The plan from there was to implement some changes Lee wanted to make in Spring Training, but never got to because of the injury. His 2007 was basically used to catch up and he never got there.

In 2008, Spring Training was less than stellar. He was in a battle for the fifth spot in the rotation with a struggling youngster that lost his spot as well in 2007, Jeremy Sowers, and the man who replaced Lee in 2007, Aaron Laffey.

Laffey and Sowers effectively imploded, and rather than winning the job, Lee was pretty much handed it by default. He wasn't bad, but he wasn't building much confidence with the fans.

In fact, in one televised game Lee pitched against the Mets, he looked downright awful.

2008 started and the rest is truly history.

Lee basically changed his mindset on and off the mound. He became more focus as a pitcher and more humbled as a player.

Pitching wise he used his fastball on more than just the inside of the plate. He was also getting his curveball and changeup more involved, most importantly though, he got aggressive.

So aggressive, that at one point the season, catcher Kelly Shoppach said that they had to purposely mix in some balls to keep the hitters honest. He simply wasn't missing the strike zone.

Off the field, the success Lee had garnered a lot of praise and admiration. To Lee's credit, he didn't really want any of it, he just wanted to win and take it pitch by pitch.

A complete 180 from completely denying that he wasn't trying to show up the fans when he tipped his cap, Lee showed tremendous strides in his attitude.

Will Cliff Lee be so dominate that his catcher will have to purposely call for a pitch out of the zone so the hitters are kept honest?

No, probably not.

Is this a fluke?

No, no it is not.

What made Cliff Lee successful is what so many pitchers get away from. He just throws the baseball. Lee didn't waste time on the mound in 2008, when he got the ball, he got set and he threw it. He kept himself in a rhythm and hit his spots. Will control be impeccable from now on?

I'm not sure, as we've seen with Rafael Betancourt, it probably is unlikely that Lee has that kind of control two years in a row, but it won't be a drop-off. Lee's success comes from keeping the hitters off-balance and using his off-speed stuff effectively.

As long as he makes those adjustments that he made last year and continues to adapt, Lee will be fine.

Lee's life has been all about making adjustments and battling through the tough times. Just ask his son Jaxson, who is a leukemia survivor or his daughter Maci, born three months premature.

Getting sent down to Triple-A is nothing compared to hearing your child is very sick and has a small chance to survive.

However, Lee and his wife Kristen adjusted and Jaxson is a healthy young boy. And just like he did with his son, he did with his career. He believed.

The Indians, as much as they might have not in November or December, believed in him. Carl Willis especially, who deserves credit himself for helping Lee realize he was still a good pitcher.

Willis, who is working on his next turnaround candidate in Anthony Reyes, has a way with words. The raw talent for Sabathia might have been there, but someone had to help turn him into the pitcher he is today.

The pitcher he is today is going to be earning quite the cash rather soon.

On Thursday, Cliff Lee is going to win the American League Cy Young Award. On Friday, CC Sabathia is going to cash in.

Cliff should take today as a time to do what he never did all season. Take it all in and bask in the praise and glory.

Now, he may not be getting the big pay-day like his fellow teammate, and Sabathia already has what Lee is going to get. But Lee has something more special than all of that.

He's got one hell of a story.

11.12.2008

Today is the Calm Before the Storm

Today is the Calm Before the Storm my friends, not tomorrow.

See free agency starts on Friday, but tomorrow is going to be a frenzy, because we expect Cliff Lee to win the American League Cy Young Award.

So let's get all our rumors and links out of the way before we celebrate Cliff Lee's 2008 season ONE MORE TIME!

Let's start in-house and give the minor leagues one last cleanup before we move forward. I've updated the two major boards, offseason and the depth chart.

It looks like Jordan Brown is going to get added to the 40 man roster as expected.

We've also got some final clarification on the Rule V stuff thanks to Tony Lastoria. To sum up, Kelvin De La Cruz is not eligible, Hector Rondon and Carlos Santana are. Check my chart or his to be sure if you don't understand.

I don't know if I've mentioned it, I think i did, but I updated the chart to show the re-signing of Andy Cannizaro and Damaso Espino. Armando Camacaro joined them today and the Indians also signed a 33 year old named Jose Rodriguez according to Lastoria.

Moving onto something more important as far as this year..

Trevor Hoffman Suitors are as follows: Mets, Cardinals, D'Backs, Angels, Rangers, the Cleveland Indians, and possibly the Tigers who need a closer but aren't specifically mentioned by the initial report.

The Yankees have taken one of our "targets".. That wasn't going to happen anyway but Damaso Marte re-signed with New York. Randy Wolf has received an offer from the Astros, his current team.

Ryan Dempster has reportedly received a 4 year, 50 million deal from the Cubs.

This is very interesting to look back on and see what happened. But MLBTR puts out trade histories for every GM and they've finally gotten to Mark Shapiro.

Obviously the Colon Deal... Hafner for Diaz and Dreese, man thanks Hart. The two deals for Asdrubal and Choo in the same season for our first base platoon was absolutely brilliant..

The only deal that really sticks out as a bad one was Ryan Church and Macier Izturis for .. who? yeah Scott Stewart.. Josh Barfield still has a lot to prove, so that isn't a dead one yet. BP aside, that was just a messy situation where I'm sure Shapiro did the best he could.. That wasn't a bad trade, that was just a bad situation that the entire organization handled wrong.

It's interesting to see how many times we traded for and traded Russell Branyan.

Anyway that's pretty much all I have for ya today.. Tomorrow is Cliff Lee celebration day and I'll kick it off with a formal article that will be posted from another site. So.. Party.. Then I'll come on when the announcement is officially made and we'll have a big party for Cliffffaaaaad!

11.11.2008

Legend Herb Score Passes; Some Stuff

Let's start out on a sad note. If you haven't seen it yet...

Indians Broadcasting Legend and former pitcher Herb Score has passed away at the age of 75.

Too young to remember most of his work, but I think any Indian fan at the right age knows who Herb is and what he's done. 97 is too long ago to remember anything to begin with.

"Today is a sad day for the Cleveland Indians family and for Cleveland Indians fans everywhere," team president Paul Dolan said in a written statement. "We have lost one of the greatest men in the history of our franchise. Generations of Indians fans owe their love of the Tribe to Herb Score, who was a powerful pitcher and legendary broadcaster. Our thoughts and prayers are with Nancy and the family."

1964... to 1997, Game Seven, of the World Series, By the By... That's how long Score did Indians games.. Up there with legends of other teams like Jack Buck.. Thoughts are with his family and friends, and of course, his second family, the Cleveland Indians.

Oh yeah... Score was a pretty good pitcher as well. Look up his stats..

Quotes from Indians officials and a first hand look at Score from Hammy himself, who was the first to know about Herb retiring before the outs of the 97 World Series.

Castrovince did another mailbag, this one a lot more nicer than Hoynes' Q&A.

He called Chad Cordero the type of relief pitcher the Indians go after, and we know he'll get a one year deal.

A very promising update about Juan Lara, who has made a "remarkable recovery" from his auto-accident last year.

Hey Justin Masterson-Kelly Shoppach swap was brought up.. Not happening, just a crazy idea I read.

Yeah so remember DAMN YOU COLORADO yesterday?

I don't know.. It's crazy.. It looks like the Rockies are crazy and going to try and deal both Huston Street and Carlos Gonzalez, two of the pieces they got in the Matt Holliday deal. Also Atkins is probably off the market since they got rid of Holliday. With that it looks like we are going to be a play for Huston Street.

If the Rockies trade Gonzalez, then I could see a Ben Francisco-Huston Street swap.

Better add Trevor Hoffman to the list.. Hoffman and the Pads are parting ways and the Indians were close to signing Hoffman years ago. They settled for re-signing Bob Wickman. Now.. Uh..

NO! NO NO NO NO NO NO!!

He's too old man.. And he want's more than 4 million or something like that?

Jason Isringhuasen, Chad Cordero... Something... Other than Hoffman, both less riskier..

11.10.2008

DAMN YOU COLORADO!


.... That pretty much makes the previous post useless.... Why?

Colorado aren't likely to trade both Holliday AND Atkins in the same offseason and it looks like Greg Smith is in the deal, which would mean the Rockies have a starting pitcher..

However.. Aaron Laffey, Greg Smith and Francisco replacing Holliday.. Meh, could be a nice start for them....

Anyway...... I retire..... Damnit...

Let's talk.... Free Agency starts Friday

Okay so here is the basic HEYYYYYYY HERE YA GO!!!!!!! idea of the Indians offseason by Anthony Castrovince.

We've killed the thing to death. About the needs and the targets.. All of that goes out the window at this point.

Here is what is clear.

  • The Indians need an infielder and that is their main focus at this point
  • They would like a third baseman, second baseman is second choice, with a move for Peralta and Cabrera, and shortstop is the last resort.
  • The next need would be a closer. If they cannot find a closer, they will get another middle reliever and use Jensen Lewis as their closer.
  • The final need is a Number Three Starter. They have options, so this isn't pressing as it is the other two positions, but they'd be wise to add one.
  • The Indians will probably explore a trade for one of these needs.

Here is what I think will go down.

  • The Indians will sign a number three starter if he is out there. It won't be expensive and it probably won't be long term. I could also see us going into next year with what we have, it wouldn't shock me to see us not make a move here.
  • The Indians will sign a reliever, not a closer. I don't see a trade for Huston Street or any other proven closer getting done. The only possible guy to me is Kevin Gregg in a deal centered around Kelly Shoppach.
  • The Indians will trade for a third baseman. One of our outfielders will be involved.

Here is what I want to go down.

  • The Indians sign Freddy Garcia to a one year deal.
  • The Indians sign Jason Isringhausen to a one year deal.
  • The Indians trade Aaron Laffey and Ben Francisco to Colorado for Garrett Atkins.
  • If the Indians do not trade for Atkins or someone of that quality. They could sign Joe Crede, OR a mid-range platoon type player like Mark Loretta, trade Kelly Shoppach for a closer and starter, rather than signing two free agents.

Ideally.. I'd like to see Freddy Garcia brought in on a one year deal, beneficial to both parties. Same thing goes with Jason Isringhausen, let him prove himself. The Atkins trade is a pipedream, but I think that's what would get done if the two were to make a deal.

Against Right-Handers
CF- Grady Sizemore
RF- Shin-Soo Choo
C- Victor Martinez
SS- Jhonny Peralta
DH- Travis Hafner
3B- Garrett Atkins
1B- Ryan Garko
LF- David Dellucci
2B- Asdrubal Cabrera

Against Left-Handers
CF- Grady Sizemore
LF- Shin-Soo Choo
1B- Victor Martinez
SS- Jhonny Peralta
3B- Garrett Atkins
C- Kelly Shoppach
RF- Franklin Gutierrez
2B- Asdrubal Cabrera

Bench: Jamey Carroll, Josh Barfield = 13 Position Players

SP- Cliff Lee, Fausto Carmona, Freddy Garcia, Anthony Reyes, 5th Rotation Spot(Sowers, Huff, Jackson)
RP-Rafael Perez, Jensen Lewis, Rafael Betancourt, Masahide Kobayashi, Mastny/Mujica/Jackson/Stevens...Etc.
CL- Jason Isringhausen = 11 Pitchers

The 5th Rotation Spot is up in the air of course, Laffey's name is removed with the trade.. The other bullpen spot is going to be a question going into Spring Training. That will be open competition.

The last roster spot is an unknown to me. With Francisco being traded, I have no clue where we could go. We've got a three man platoon going on at Catcher and First, a platoon in the outfield with Gutierrez and Dellucci.. BTW.. Face it.. Dellucci is on this team until half the year when LaPorta is ready... Just eat it until it happens, I don't like it, but that's what's happening.

So Barfield makes the team... I find it hard for Marte to make it with Atkins in the fold, and Carroll as the utility job. Maybe we get someone who can play a bunch of spots on the field or two people out of the bullpen impress and deserve a spot. It's nice to be flexible.

That's my whacky wish list and how I would like to see it shape out.. Will that happen? Probably not, but It's the direction I'd like/expect us to go if it's possible.

Now... That's really all I got for now.. I wasn't going to wait any longer to put this idea out there.. I might post a more in-depth version on Friday when I get more time.

Here are some links.

Paul Hoynes got really sassy with the fans in Hey Hoynsie.. Really turned me off there.. I know some of the questions were kinda odd, but man no reason to be a prick Sir..

He mentioned though that the Indians had looked in Chad Cordero.

Suddenly though.....

We HAVE EXTRA 40 Man roster spots!!!

Tony Lastoria found out that a few of these guys that we planned on adding to the 40 man don't actually need 40 man roster protection!

Kelvin De La Cruz, Hector Rondon, CARLOS SANTANA most importantly, are all going to be safe from the looks of it.

That means.. We aren't going to get pinched like previously thought. Guys like Randy Newsome might even got a spot.

So... That means.... Deep breath..

Important update btw at Indians Propsect Insider.. Damaso Espino and Andy Cannizaro, two additions to the minor league system as backups mainly, have re-signed with the club. Probably continue the roles they had last year.

Oh and hey.. A new Tribe Blog is up and running and I'd ask you to bookmark it.. Michael has commented here several times and he and I oversee the Indians section on Bleacher Report. He's got a great vision for his blog and he'll be bringing some unique stuff to the table. Make sure you check out The Tribe Guide.

11.07.2008

Gold Glove Grady Two Years in a Row

It feels kinda good...

Yeah..

How every year you know what's going to happen.

I'm not saying he doesn't deserve it.

I'm saying, It should be expected.

Grady Sizemore just needed one and now the rest will follow. He's a gold glove caliber center fielder and now he's got two and he'll continue to get the gold glove, year after year. Then again, Grady doesn't expect it.... Or at least he says so, he should though.

"It's a great feeling," Sizemore said of the honor. "You never really go into the year expecting something like this. Any time you get recognized or voted on or win something like this, whether it's coaches, players or the media who decides it, it's a great feeling."
WINNER!

Anyway... Congrats to Grady for his second consecutive Rawling Gold Glove Award. He, Hunter, Ichiro all repeated in the outfield.

Let's get to the daily rumor mill..

The big story is from the Plain Dealer were they dive deeper into the Kelly Shoppach market.

"I'd be happy to bring back Kelly and Vic," said Shapiro. "Kelly was one of the top-10 catchers in the major leagues this year and he played just over a half season. Vic is a preeminent switch-hitting run-producing catcher. Great receiver, great game caller, leader on the team when he's healthy."
Mark Shapiro is apparently having those thoughts. But I can keep him and have two great hitters at catcher and first base on a given night, or I can fill another need thanks to our depth.

0101010101010100001010101010111101010101011100100010010101010101010101

Mark Shapiro's Brain^^^

On a daily basis.

Excel Spreadsheet master.

Anyway.

One name that Hoynes brought up is Justin Masterson.

Kelly Shoppach return to Beantown?

Masterson could set up for Lewis or move into the starting rotation?

Interesting, but I don't see Boston giving him up.

If the two were to swing a deal, the object for the Indians would be pitching, which the Sox have plenty of.

We've now learned some prices for some of the playerrs we've thrown around and I TOLD YOU SO!
Yes, the Indians like Orioles second baseman Brian Roberts, but Shapiro isn't going to give up Fausto Carmona and Asdrubal Cabrera to get him. If the Orioles lower their asking price, Shapiro is willing to talk.
That's the price for Brian Roberts? An ace and a future all-star shortstop?

No THANK YOU!

The Tigres' are also interested in Huston Street.

The Price on Garrett Atkins is a Starting Pitcher, of course, and one of the starters in our outfielder, Ben Francisco, Franklin Gutierrez, or Shin-Soo Choo.. I'd swing Jeremy Sowers and Ben Francisco for him if they are takers. We are "Kicking the Tires" according to Troy Renck.

The Indians can't be particular. If there's free agent out there with physical problems -- Joe Crede (back), Jason Isringhausen (right flexor tendon) -- they have to take a look.
Jason Isringhausen! Do it!

The Indians are not one of the teams with their eye on Chad Cordero, awww :(

11 Million for 4 Years for Brian Fuentes? No Thanks.. It looks like we aren't interested in anything past two and I don't even want it to be two years, 10 million per. That's dangerous.

We've been reminded that Adam Miller, a possible option for the Indians in the bullpen next year, is out in a Dominican League making up for lost time.

Here is the latest update on Miller.
Rather, the Tribe is encouraged by another number -- 97. That's the mile-per-hour mark Miller is consistently clocking with his fastball, and he's also shown confidence in his slider.
WHOOOOOOOOOO... 97!

Nice!

11.06.2008

Are you bargain shopping? Mark Shapiro is...

I told you so.

Let's catch up with the past few days of Indians News from the Plain Dealer.... Interesting stuff to say the least.

The GM meetings have been going on so there is plenty of 'chatter' but not a whole lot of 'news'.

Let's start with a target we've outlined for the Indians at third base.

Chicago White Sox All-Star Joe Crede.

It looks like the two will part-ways, not surprising.

Crede's agent is Scott Boras and no-doubt looking to get some cash, but I'm not sure how much he's going to get, or how long he's going to get it with Crede's injuries.

Chicago has Josh Fields to take over at third base and no-doubt will push him into that role.

Now Crede as I've stated is an option IF he isn't asking for more than two years or the price isn't highly insane. Boras hinted that the Indians should look into another one time deal with his client, something they did with Millwood, another Boras client, a few years ago.

Now something directly implicating the Indians.

"There's a decent free-agent market and there will be trade alternatives as well," said Shapiro, Tuesday afternoon at the general managers meetings. "It will take time to flush out the alternatives. What is the cost from a free-agent standpoint and how it stacks up with trades. It looks like there will be some alternatives for us."
Now Mark Shapiro says there is options..

Trade Options: Huston Street, Kevin Gregg

Hoynes says the price for Strett could include WES HODGES.. NO

Kevin Gregg, not sure but the Marlins are looking for a catcher and Kelly Shoppach could peak their interest.

Shaprio mentioned Trevor Hoffman and Kerry Wood by name, Brian Fuentes will be an option but I think he's too pricey. Hoffman in my opinion is too old and not the same closer.

We are still consdiering Jensen Lewis as an internal option, Rafael Perez if we find another left handed pitcher that can set up.

How much will this team spend though?

One thing is for sure, Shapiro won't eliminate himself from the CC Sabathia sweepstakes and he's at least making the effort.

"We were just touching base," said Shapiro. "We talked about potential scenarios that could develop and re-affirmed our interest."
Shaprio feels that the loss of CC put a gap in the third spot in their rotation. They are content on filling the last two spots with their internal options, but if Jake Westbrook isn't ready as quickly as we hope, the third spot in the rotation is going to be a problem.

"Preferable, I'd like to sign a No.3 starter. That being said, it's almost impossible for us to fill that."
Wow.. So.. Shaprio said he wouldn't mind going into next year with Jensen Lewis as his closer, happy stuff for me, but he is DEAD SET on adding an infielder..

"We clearly need an infielder," said Shapiro. "We can't go to spring training with the infielders we've got. We could go to spring training with the starters we have. We could go to spring training with Jensen Lewis at closer. It doesn't mean I rank getting a starting pitcher any less important."
Ouch Marte... Obviously they don't plan on using Josh Barfield as a starter next year, and what strikes me about what Shapiro said is that he's considering a SHORTSTOP as well.. If he doesn't find a third or second baseman, he could still move Peralta over and keep Cabrera at second. Interesting.... Rafael Furcal and Orlando Cabrera are the only two names that stick out to me as people that you'd move Peralta and keep Cabrera at second for to be honest... Both might be too expensive for us.

Going back to the starting bin.... I'm convinced that we will sign a starter and it will be a bargain type like the Kevin Millwood. Freddy Garcia, someone in that mold looking to reestablish himself and get one more big contract.

BARGAIN! I've been shouting it.. With Closer, with infielder, with starter. Those are all options, especially if we make one big trade or free agent signing, we'd have to go cheap on the other two. I'm not sure if going in with an all out battle for three spots betweeeen, :deep breath: Scott Lewis, David Huff, Aaron Laffey, Jeremy Sowers, Anthony Reyes, and Zach Jackson.... phewwww.. is the best idea.

Moving on..

The KC people say the Teahen rumor won't die... I think it's dead... And Brad Penny's option was declined..

Make sure you stay up to date on the Winter Leagues at Indians Prospect Insider.

All from me.. Have fun.

11.04.2008

I'm interested if you're interested...

Let me get the happy stuff out of the way.. So we aren't all doom and gloom.

A belated HAPPY BIRTHDAY goes out to one of.. nay nay.. THE legend of Cleveland Indians baseball.... Bob Feller!

That's right.. Yesterday, Old Bobby celebrated number 90.. 90!!! NINTY!!!!!!

He's still going strong too. Gotta love a legend like Bob Feller who is still around the organization as much as he is. He's larger than life, but he's always a friend to the fans.

The story that Castrovince starts the article off at Indians.com is hilarious. At 90 years old this guy is throwing for fantasy camp?

I mean who doesn't love that?!

Topping off the gifts was a suitcase bearing the Indians logo, which Feller, who still travels frequently for everything from All-Star Games to autograph shows, will no doubt put to good use.

"Will this fit in the overhead cabin?" Feller immediately asked, drawing a laugh from the crowd.

DiBiasio assured him it would. And Feller's son, Steve, thought the new suitcase would be an immediate improvement on the one Feller is currently using.

"Typical of my dad," Steve was heard to say, "[the current suitcase] is falling apart and covered with duct tape."

Ahhhh... I love it

Let's get to more offseasony type deals okay?

Let the bodies hit the floor, all our free agents are officially free agents.

Juan Rincon filed a few days ago and now Sal Fasano has done the same.

Rincon want's to actually be back... Probably is while we might want him back, we don't want him taking up a spot on the 40 man roster.

"I told them I don't want to be bouncing around," Rincon said last month. "I hope we can work something out. I like the clubhouse and the atmosphere and my teammates here. They gave me a chance here, so why turn my back now? That's my feeling, but it's not up to me."

I think if no one wants Rincon, we bring him back on a spring training invite, because he doesn't want to deal with the minors and since he's spent time here, if he has to go into 2009 as a spring training invite, why not go to a place that he's spent his past few months with and go from there?

That's where we stand on Rincon.

Now.. As the title of the article said.. Off with the stache...

Awwww..

What does it tell you when the only reason you are popular with the fanbase is because of your mustache?

Actually I think while a lot of people like the stache, I like Sal for better.. no sorry, baseball related reasons. Nothing can be better than that stache.

There is no way in hell that a team will bring Sal Fasano onto their 40 man roster. Which means he'll go into next season, if he does want to play that is, as a spring training invitee. Once again, why not Cleveland?

If Kelly Shoppach is traded, we need a veteran in Buffalo on stand-by. He could have the situation he had with Atlanta, and if someone needed his services, I don't think the Indians would stand in his way.

I did not add Jon Garland to the targets list.

New Mailbag is out and one of the topics posed is Jon Garland to the Tribe.

Garland will be looking for something over 10 million, maybe closer to 15 than to 10, per year..

No way man... No way.. I'd rather shell out 22 million over 6 years to CC Sabathia than 15 to Garland over 3.. You kiddin me?

CastroTurf put the kaboosh, yes not kabosh, we say kaboosh here, on the Orlando Hudson idea. Too much money guys, too much money.

One lighthearted question was about Jensen Lewis and David Price. Price lost the bet to Lewis about who would get their first major league win, Lewis and Price are former Vanderbilt alumns and roomates btw, the loser would pay rent.

Thank god, Jensen doesn't have the first overall pick money to be doing that stuff.

Casey Blake thing real quick...

"We know Casey," Shapiro said. "We appreciate Casey. We know what he does as a teammate and athlete. That doesn't mean he's at the top of our list, but he's a guy we have definite interest in."

Have fun with that..

Let me get to what I've been waiting for.

We are definitely a suitor for Garrett Atkins. The Rockies probably won't trade both Atkins and Holliday, but there isn't anything wrong with holding onto either one for the Summer Trade Deadline.

We already knew we were in on the Huston Street market, but why not reaffirm that.

A new name out on the Indians list..... Ready?

Ty Wigginton.

I guess if the Astros want to trade him?

Not sure if that's the greatest idea in the world, but you have to like Wigginton's versatility if anything.

It wouldn't be the worst option is what I would say.

MLBTR lists the top 50 Free Agents and their predictions for landing spots. The Indians have THREE winners.

28. Mark Grudzielanek - Indians. Grudz only makes sense here if the Indians miss out on bigger infield targets and shift Jhonny Peralta and Asdrubal Cabrera.

Call me crazy but is Mark Grudzielanek the 28th best free agent out there?

I don't know about that one, a stretch if you ask me. I also don't think Grudzielanek, yes I like typing that name, is young or healthy enough, to be an everyday second baseman. We'd need to pair him with Josh Barfield, having Peralta be the full-time third baseman, backup shortstop and giving Jamey Carroll starts at third base only. HEADACHE! Maybe before he got hurt.

32. Freddy Garcia - Indians. Not sure if he'll sign for one year, but Garcia could stabilize a shaky rotation.

I've been on this bandwagon for awhile.... Definitely something we should go after and consider.

35. Jeremy Affeldt - Indians. Affeldt could be a creative closer candidate for the Tribe. He may jump at the opportunity to pitch the ninth inning.
Creative closer candidate? By God I'd rather throw Jensen Lewis out there. I've seen enough of Affeldt to know that this isn't a logical idea. Of course he would jump at the chance to be a closer, but man should we jump at the chance to let him do so? No.... Way.... Jose....

Juan Cruz on the other hand, who is a "dark horse closing candidate" for the Tigers, would be a way better option for the Indians. I'd go with that before I went with Jeremy Affeldt, who.... I do believe sucks..... Sucks............. Boosh..

I leave you with the greatest thing i've read all day.

Now that Grady Sizemore appeared in Men's Vogue, do you see Fasano appearing in any publications?
-- Pete W., Cleveland

If Sal's not one of People's "100 Most Beautiful" for 2009, I'm going to cancel my subscription. Well, first I'd have to subscribe, but then I'd cancel.

Fasano could at least be featured in Fu Manchu Monthly.

11.01.2008

Chad Cordero?; Elarton and Donnelly Free Agents

How's your weekend going? Mine? Pretty Good!

I come bearing gifts.

We are now officially opening more roster spots with Free Agents filing for their status.

First it's Brendan Donnelly, who actually is arbitration eligible, but due to an agreement between the Indians and Donnelly when he signed his minor league deal, will skip that and become a free agent.

Donnelly filed for free agency and is now free to talk with the Tribe for a few weeks, but then can explore other options. Donnelly probably won't garner much interest for a long term deal or even a major league spot.

This is actually better for the Indians. They can now bring him back if he chooses on another minor league type deal and see if he can win a spot in Spring Training.

That is if no one else offers him a 40 man roster spot, which is risky given what he's shown coming off his surgery.

Joining him as a Free Agent, but probably not as an option fro the Indians is Scott Elarton.

Elarton too filed for free agency. His spot on the 40 man roster is non-existent because Elarton was on the 60 day disabled list. We all know the situation, but not why. Elarton has personal issues that caused him to leave the team.

He is now a free agent and will probably go somewhere else.

Tony at Indians Prospect Insider has a much more legible and probably much more accurate Rule V chart for the future.

Now we are going to be adding a new name to the list of possible targets.

Looks like Chad Cordero is going to be a free agent.

Now he's recovering from a torn labrum, but wants to be ready for Spring Training.

Well?

What's this guy gonna want?

Torn labrum, he can't be asking for much. In fact I could see him asking for a one year deal so he can prove his value so he can get a bigger deal. He's still very young.

This would be a nice little option for us to keep in the back of our minds.

One year shot for Cordero, one year option for us.. Cheap, insentive laden maybe.

I wouldn't be opposed to it.