11.30.2009

Grady Sizemore goes all Vanessa Hudgens on us

Christmas has come early for many many women in the Cleveland area.

Awww yeah!

Honestly... Yesterday I saw a link on twitter about this and I assumed, yeah whatever it's spam. Cause I get all sorts of spam via twitter.

But today, when I'm actually reading sites about this.

Heheheheh.

Grady Sizemore... Scandal.. GASP!

Here's the downer for all those females. They probably don't know how to operate around sites like Deadspin so they can't see Grady in all his glory.

Second.. He's got a girlfriend!!!!!

Sorry ladies, he's taken... For now.

Considering it was her computer that his Hudgen's moment was stolen from, that status may be in jeopardy.

I'm talking very vague right now am I?

Pictures of Grady Sizemore, buck naked, were leaked onto the internets.

It wasn't until I read this on the PD website this morning that I realized, holy crap, that tweet yesterday wasn't fake spam.

I laugh, immediately.

Initially I thought, ewww.. I'm a guy.

After that, I thought, holy crap, this is gold.

First off, it's not like he committed a crime or anything. Or had an affair.. Or crashed his cadillac into a fire hydrant down his street going less than 33 mph at 2:00 in the morning after Thanksgiving.

And won't tell anyone why.

And... Yeah Tiger, just come out bro, it will go quickly.

But yeah, what did he do? Take some nudie pics and shipped them off to his girlfriend?

This is mild, but it's some publicity for this star's biggest face.

What happened to that Hudgens chick after those pics leaked out? EVERYONE KNEW HER NAME!

So the next time Grady Sizemore's name comes up, oh who is he?

Cleveland Indians centerfielder?

Yeah, damn good one.

Also the guy that snapped pictures of his dong behind a tall beer glass. Or did he? I'm not sure what actually went on, like I said, I didn't really study these pictures.

Look if you want to go look at the pics, go for it. I found censored versions of them just to see what he did. I don't need to see the goods he's sporting. I'm sure you can find the uncensored version somewhere.

I know this seems like a rather odd point of view.

I'm sort of sorry for Grady that his private property was stolen and released publicly, but he should realize that A) He's a superstar and according to most females around, a very cute one. B) E-MAILING stuff to your girlfriend is just asking for some hacking loser to break in and steal your shizzle.

But this will no doubt help his Q-rating or whatever that is.. Maybe I'm wrong, I have no idea what a Q-rating is or what it does (I could look it up, but nah), but I do know this team needs some popularity and Grady Sizemore is our best bet.

And if he wants to get caught with some pictures where he's showing the goods..

I'm not going to complain. I certainly won't look at him in all his glory without lovely black boxes in place of the unmentionables, but I will say this is freakin awesome!

Really are you going to think any different of Grady Sizemore? No, you won't. He's a good kid, plays hard, and in his downtime he sends naked pictures to his girlfriend. Perfectly fine with me. I wouldn't do that, but I'm not the desire of many many female Cleveland Indian fans.......yet.

Okay probably never.

The Indians however issued a statement and Mark Shapiro said "I have no seen these pictures, but will look into it."

No Mark.. Do not look into it. You will never be able to look Grady in the eyes again and speak to him without thinking about his stuff. Seriously man. Fans can look all they want, but you gotta talk to the guy. You wanna be thinking about his birthday suit while you are staring him dead in the eye trying to negotiate his next contract?

And now let me get back to the point.

THIS SITE.. Tell me that his girlfriend is Playboy playmate Brittany Binger.. Really Grady? A playboy bunny?

I expected better from him.. I don't think any less of him because of the pictures, but I do because he's dating a playmate.. Seriously.. I thought he was less superficial but hey.

Anyway that site also says that Binger possibly released the photos, rather than her e-mail got hacked. Which is really possible when it comes down to it for the simple fact that none of us have ever heard of this chick before, so who knows how crazy she is.

Oh and I apologize before hand. It appears that females are not the only ones that are interested in this.



Gay Socialites?

I'm afraid to click on their link because I'm afraid I'll get the uncensored version of these photographs.. But Google News gives me this line from their post.
"If this sexy picture of Grady Sizemore doesn't put a pep in your step on this Monday morning.... OMG! Grady Sizemore has a bangin' body!"
Seriously Mark... Seriously... Don't look these up man.. Manny Acta.. Don't think about it.. Shield your daughters eyes!

CHOO! MAN DON'T DO IT!

Wait they probably see enough in the clubhouse... Never mind.

I think I've gone on long enough about this.. But to sum it all up.

If you haven't been told by now. I've probably taken this entire thing 1% seriously. To me, this is a non-issue. I'm handling it as a fun item rather than a serious one.

I know that on April 5th, Grady Sizemore will be in centerfield against Chicago and that's all that matters to me. What happened to him sucks, but in a way it's rather humorous for all of us because A) He didn't do anything bad and B) This nekked celebrity thing is almost a common occurrence now a days. Embrace the fact that we've got one and that he isn't a dingus head like Paris Hilton or Kim Kardashian.

Finally on an ironic note.. The fact that Grady's picture is on the second rotation of stories on Indians.com with the headline including the phrase "Cyber Monday" is totally ironic. Oh how the internet can destroy you.

Tomorrow, we'll get back to talking about baseball..

11.28.2009

The Coaches Exodus

It was a week in which three coaches found their way out of the Cleveland organization.

Carl Willis is off to Seattle.

Luis Rivera is headed to Canada, well not really, but kind of.

And the surprise that shouldn't be a surprise, Torey Lovullo is going to Boston.

Yep, it was a fun week for former Indian coaches.

Look these other moves.. Great for these guys. You have to be happy for Carl Willis and his new job as Seattle's minor league pitching coordinator. Luis Rivera is landing on his feet as manager of Toronto's Double-A team in New Hampshire. We'll see his Fisher Cats in the Eastern League six times next year when they face the Aeros.

But losing Torey Lovullo, kind of sucks.

I was fully expecting him to be a part of this staff. I talked as if it was a given. But it didn't happen. I maintain though that this guy is destined to manage in the major leagues and it will eventually happen.

He's making a bit of a lateral move though. Lovullo is going to Boston to manage their Triple-A team in Pawtucket. The opening was there because their former manager got prompted to the big league staff after Brad Mills left for Houston's managerial job. So in the end, by the Indians taking Acta away, Houston jumped to Boston's staff, and started the chain that put Lovullo in Boston. How odd.

So why make a lateral move? Well for one, it's not really lateral considering Boston is a better team right now and the chances for him moving up go up considering I'm sure most of the Indians current staff are going to be safe beyond this year. Where was Demarlo Hale could get a job after 2010, create an opening on Boston's staff and there goes Lovullo up to the majors.

So the chance for moving up increases. Not only that, you are coaching the Triple-A team of one of the best run organizations in the game, then you'll get more notice. So it makes sense sort of.

"It was a great relationship," said Lovullo, speaking of his time with the Indians, "and it will continue to be. There's no bitterness, no resentment. There is a little disappointment. We're all competitive, we all wanted the position.

"I'll miss the staff members I got to know daily in spring training. I'll miss my relationship with the players that's I've watched grow up over the last three to seven years. It's time to open my eyes to a new direction."

"It's unfortunate I didn't get a couple of opportunities that presented themselves with the Indians," said Lovullo. "Now I've got a different opportunity with a great organization in the Boston Red Sox."


Humor me Torey. There is disappointment. I know he can say that, but he got passed over for TWO major league jobs. After all the praise that was heaped upon him, after all the talk. After the thought that he was a bit of a lock. He HAD to be disappointed. Now I'm not saying that is the reason he left, but he had to be disappointed in the fact he was passed over twice. I would be.

Good luck to Torey in Boston. Again the Red Sox, steal one of our gems in the organization. Nick Hagadone and Justin Masterson better be awesome.

Now what are we going to do for a replacement at Triple-A? We'll here is how it goes.

Eric Wedge - Unemployed, Passed over for Mets Bench Job
Carl Willis - Seattle Minor League Pitching Coordinator
Jeff Datz - Baltimore Bench Coach
Luis Rivera - Toronto AA Manager
Derek Shelton - Tampa Bay Hitting Coach
Torey Louvllo - Boston AAA Manager
Joel Skinner - Unemployed

Okay so we've got three former coaches that landed on their feet in the same jobs they had. We've got two that took a few steps back. Our former manager is obviously still unemployed, but he's sure to land somewhere.

That leaves Joel Skinner. Who was mentioned as a replacement for Lovullo at Columbus along with Mike Sarbaugh.

It's obviously going to be one of the two. Now let's take a look at Skinner's track record. It's been a long time since he was a minor league manager, but he had tremendous success. He started at the bottom rung and worked his way up all the way to Triple-A and received tremendous praise for the work he did. He won the Eastern League and International League in 1998 and 2000 for the Aeros and Bisons. He took his first two teams to the playoffs in his first two years.

Waretown won the NY Penn League and Columbus won the second half. He won the NY Penn League manager of the Year award and then two years later won the Carolina League Manager of the Year award with Kinston. In six years, he hit just about every level and had success at every level.

Skinner is a company man. He obvious loves Cleveland and the organization. He's managed in Columbus before and if he wants to stay within the organization, I'm all for it.

Mike Sarbaugh is eventually going to be on a major league staff. I don't really think it matters if he goes to Triple-A or not. Eventually, he'll be there. I say you keep the continuity you have at Akron and keep the machine rolling as it has been with him there and you bring Skinner in to Triple-A.

I mean why not? He's had success, he knows the organization and the philosophy and he even knows some of these players.

Go with Skinner, keep the hierarchy intact. He's a good guy, a good baseball person and he's had success at the minor league level.

On a few final notes....

Hall of Fame Ballots were announced and a few former Indians are in the mix. The most popular one would be Roberto Alomar, who is surely one to get in. Had he not continued to hold on with the Mets, he'd been eligible a few years earlier, but that won't keep him out. And with John Hirschbeck (The umpire he spit on) saying he'd give Alomar his vote if he was voting for the HOF, that incident surely won't keep him out.

Robbie went to the playoffs many times with Baltimore, Toronto and Cleveland. He had an outstanding career with the bat and the glove. He probably won't go in with the Wahoo cap, but he's got history here and I'd support him. I did go to school with Hirschbeck's kids and what Robbie did was downright horrible, but if Hirschbeck can forgive him and put him in, there is no reason I can't get behind him.

The other candidates that have past experiences with the Indians. Relief pitcher Mike Jackson, who had one of his better years with Cleveland as their closer in the Post-Mesa era. And current Indians special assistant Ellis Burks. Neither really have much of a shot if you ask me, but it's nice to seem the get put on the ballot and have some recognition. Burks was a good player and could do it all, but he didn't end up with the final numbers to support his candidacy, which sucks. But he was a good player. Not a Hall of Famer.

Finally A Rule V Note..

It turns out that Kelvin De La Cruz will get a fourth option year when the time comes. Let's Go Tribe found out this particularly good piece of information and as Tony at IPI says, it makes the decision to roster Kelvin a lot more sensible and acceptable. Remember Tony Sipp still has one coming and De La Cruz's status as someone with not a lot of professional experience gives him the opportunity to have another option year if needed.

Speaking of this, check out the boards as they've reached ultimate update status. The 40 man is completely accurate now as AC confirmed the option years for every Indians player on the 40 man.

Enjoy your final Saturday with Tim Tebow playing in the Swamp and Charlie Weis coaching the Irish. Also enjoy the site updates that will be happening throughout the week as I get my ass in gear. Expect some cool stuff next week, including the hopeful debut of Indians Twitter Pages. Oh Boy.

11.25.2009

Let's not throw a hissy fit now

I figured out my purpose in life.

It's to have this blog forever and ever and make it go mainstream so I can educate stupid people.

I'm already seeing people jump on Mark Shapiro about Omar Vizquel signing with Chicago.

Really now? Seriously?

I've been joking around on Twitter (Because that's what I use Twitter for) about it and have been saying these things about Omar.

But there are people out there that are actually serious.

I mean the "Vizquel picks Sox ahead of Indians" title on Indians.com isn't helping matters, but people refuse to read beyond that.

They avoid the most important part of the article.
"The Indians did express interest in Vizquel, but they were told by his agent, Adam Katz, that the White Sox were a higher priority on his list. It had been speculated that the 42-year-old Vizquel, perhaps seeking future support for his Hall of Fame candidacy, wanted to land with a "high-profile" club, and the Sox are obviously in a bigger market than the Tribe."
You see that?

I've bolded it for reference. The Indians asked, Omar said no and that is the rumored reason.

So if your going to get on someone, don't get on Shapiro, get on Omar Vizquel for picking the White Sox. BECAUSE HE DID.

I'm glad some people have realized this.. Others have not.

However, we need to now discuss Omar and this situation, because it's now bleeding into traitor territory.

1. Money was not an issue here. I'm sure the Tribe would have paid him close what the Sox did.

2. Situation was not an issue here. He's a utility man/mentor in either case.

So that leaves his reasoning down to being with fellow countryman/shortstop Ozzie Guillen or as the rumor put it, being with a more high profile team to gain HOF support.

I can see it, more stops, more fans (because everywhere Omar goes, he is loved). That makes sense.. But it's rather insulting as an Indian fan to sit here and listen to this reasoning come out.

If he wanted to unite with Ozzie or something, that's cool. (Let me remind you that we've got a Venezuelan middle infield though, one who plays his position, wears his number and idolized Omar growing up).

But if this is a ploy to get more HOF Support? Come on, he's got enough. He's going in as an Indian, he'll be getting mass support from the West for his work with Seattle and San Francisco, from the south with his stint in Texas and of course here on the East with Cleveland. He's no doubt turned many writers and watchers of the game into fans of the guy.

Now this all being said.

While it is in traitor territory, let's not go crucifying Omar Vizquel for being an actual traitor.

This is low on the scale of traitor scale.

Let's not all of a sudden not be fans of him anymore.

And there is another factor here to consider.

Chicago was in the running for the playoffs last year. Granted this is the AL Central, but they look to have a more balanced team that is going to contend NEXT YEAR. So maybe he wants to win a ring, because that's something he still hasn't done.

Which again, is another reason I can buy.

But this "rumored" reason better be close to false, because it stinks for Cleveland and us fans of the team if it's true.

So the moral of this story is this.

1. Let's not crucify Omar Vizquel for signing with a rival, we probably will never know the real reason, but the "rumored" one is low on the scale of traitor. Be a little miffed, but don't boo him when he walks onto Progressive Field this upcoming season.

2. Let's not bash Mark Shapiro AT ALL for not signing him. He asked, was turned down. He did all he could do. Stop being irrational.

3. Omar still belongs in the Hall of Fame.

4. I still maintain that they could make up his salary in "Vizquel 13" T-Shirt sales... Not to mention Cabrera shirts because he most definitely would change his number now.

Before I bow out.. A few links to share.

I penned an article about Sandy Alomar Jr.'s return to Cleveland. I know we've been over it like crazy, but hey.

We probably won't talk until it happens, thanks to Thanksgiving tomorrow and probably the lack of news from now and until Sunday. But Jake Westbrook will make his first Winter League start this Saturday for Ponce in Puerto Rico. (Why is Puerto coming up as a wrong spelling in firefox? Who crazy, just after I mention it the red line went away).

IPI has an AFL Wrapup post up going over more than just stats, which is key especially for pitchers when you are talking about Arizona. Of course McBride had the killer AFL stint.

Finally a new Indians Inbox went up yesterday. More of the same that AC has and everyone else has been over in the past week. Kerry Wood, the bullpen, Acta, Rule 5 Stuff...

Speaking of, I'll have a new Rule V Article up on B/R sometime today or Friday.

11.22.2009

Protection is a Beautiful Thing and Random Stuff

The last thing I want to do is what I, and many others, did last year.

Initially, the fact that Matt McBride didn't get rostered was sort of surprising and it almost feels as if it was a mistake.

But the more and more I think about it, the more and more I'm starting to realize how this works.

First, I will bring this up.

When is the last time the Indians lost someone of worth in the Rule V Draft?

Yeah good luck finding one recently.

The point is this, we get all in a huff about some of the protections and really, the Indians know what they are doing. They've talked to scouts, they've done their homework, they've looked at all angles of everything.

So let's get down to this.

The Indians decided to protect seven players, to fill up their roster to 40.

This for one, tells me that they're not planning on making many signings that will actually need to be immediately put on the 40 man and if they do, I'm sure Anthony Reyes will be the spot they use.

Jordan Brown, Nick Weglarz, Jason Donald and Jeanmar Gomez all were protected without surprise from anyone. I think we can all agree those four were pretty much assumed.

The three that surprised were Wes Hodges, Carlos Rivero and Kelvin De La Cruz.

Quite honestly, I thought De La Cruz was the only one of those three that would be possible.

But let's look at these.

Kelvin De La Cruz

The Indians are making it plainly clear with the additions of De La Cruz and Rivero that they value their prospects and are not going to chance it.

However I still think the chances of him actually getting rostered were rather low because of his unique situation. Tony at IPI laid it out the best.

The hoops a team would have to jump through just to stash him away is just something that isn't worth it. You run the risk of totally ruining the guy unless you really think he can contribute in some way this year.

I mean someone like Rondon last year, I could see. But De La is coming off an injury and hasn't pitched past Single-A. They always say Double-A is the level you can really tell, so they also run the risk of not knowing if he's actually for real.

The chances of him actually getting selected, filling a roster spot for an entire year or being stashed on the 60 Day DL (and filling the numerous requirements that are necessary for them to retain the player) are low and all of this is unlikely.

I can see the Indians stance though. They didn't even want to think of chancing it if they had the roster spot and they did. They'd rather risk a Chuck Lofgren or a Yohan Pino than someone with a super high ceiling.

I get it and it's probably why I'm not in the front office and they are. But it's of my belief that they could have gotten away with not rostering him.

Carlos Rivero

This is the one I really don't understand.

You can look at this two ways.. 1) Is the player valuable and 2) What are the chances he is taken.

I like to look at it in that order. Sure Carlos Rivero is valuable, but what are the realistic chances he's taken? Rivero still has some development to go through and unlike De La Cruz, he's a position player. Position players cannot be stashed away in your bullpen in a long relief role.

Rivero would have to play if he was on the active roster and he'd have to be used often because that's just how bench players are needed. Injuries happen, as we saw with the Indians last year, Jamey Carroll had to see starting time, hell Andy Marte got into the action.

So Rivero already was at Double-A, so logic tells you that he may be close. Wrong, Rivero didn't have a good year in Double-A in 2009. He did well in the AFL, but I don't think that will be enough for him to immediately go to Triple-A next year. He'll probably have to start at Akron and that still puts him at least a year and a half away.

So while Rivero is valuable, I think there is more of a chance someone like McBride gets taken than Rivero. I'm not sure which one is more valuable, that's another debate for another time, but if it were up to me, I'd probably have protected McBride over Rivero.

Wes Hodges

I actually totally see this. And really, I'm sort of disappointed I didn't point this out earlier.

Remember Wes Hodges was being called the third baseman of the future before Lonnie Chisenhall emerged and Hodges got injured.

Underline the word injured. Hodges didn't have a bad year like Carlos Rivero did. He just got hurt. Injuries were a big reason he didn't play well this year, not because he fell off. Hodges may not be looked at an important prospect because of that injury, but the man can still hit. The talent is still there.

Those are the types of players that get taken in the Rule V draft and those are the types of players that end up burning you. I think the Indians realized this and they made the smart move to roster him. Kind of like Jordan Brown last year, but the Indians survived that. Brown had the track record, had the bad year because of injuries, but the Indians didn't roster him and they avoided losing him.

No wondering about Hodges with that.

Matt McBride

Okay so this will be the big discussion piece, why wasn't Matt McBride rostered?

Personally, as I've mentioned, I would have added him over Rivero, but let's see why the Indians didn't.

He ripped it up in 2009 and in the AFL recently. He's showing he has the bat and he can hit the ball.

But he's exactly the opposite of someone like Wes Hodges and Jordan Brown.

He's had the one great year and all the other years, McBride has had issues, mainly with injuries.

Another thing working against McBride is his position. He was a catcher, moved to first and the outfield, but then was back for some catching duties in the AFL. But instead of being looked at as a man with many positions, he's sort of looked at as a man with none, which actually helps the Indians in the fact that it goes against a team thinking of selecting him. He needs work at his new positions, but there are still concerns about his original catching position, that the chances of him playing there are unlikely.

He's like Rivero though. If this was a pitcher, there's a higher chance he gets selected. But even NL teams now need to have these roster spots open for the long season and the chances of someone like McBride lasting the entire year are very slim.

There is enough working against McBride getting selected that the Indians can risk this. The chances of him getting taken are good, but remember this. The chances of him sticking on the roster for the season, are another animal.

So really, this is the one guy that we're going to need to keep are eyes on. McBride is the big chip that could get taken or not get taken. I would also pay attention to Chuck Lofgren and Yohan Pino, they are certainly not slam dunks in terms of being safe, but the chances are a little less-likely.

As it's been pointed out in many different places, including Tony at IPI. The Indians are with the high-ceiling prospects in this instance. They've favored, Rivero, De La and Hodges over McBride, Lofgren and Pino. They're favoring potential over chance and willing to risk that chance.

Last year, they came out smelling like roses. This year, we'll soon see.

----

Let's talk other things now... First off, there is a new Hey Hoynsie out, but it isn't the least bit informative if you ask me. We've hit a point in the offseason when the questions aren't really timely and or just not very good. Especially with nothing really going on.

However Terry Pluto always has informative information.

The tidbit I'm most interested in this week.
The Indians used Travis Hafner to help them check out infield/third base coach Steve Smith. Hafner played for Smith in the Texas minor-league system, and Hafner called some players on other teams who also were coached by Smith. This could be fun because Smith has been suspended twice over the past three years for screaming at umpires when he coached for the Rangers and Phillies. The Indians consider Smith to be "an impact infield coach." He needs to work with Jhonny Peralta at third, and help find a way for Luis Valbuena to increase his range at second base.
This could be fun, hahaha. It will be fun. But it sounds as if Travis Hafner, who had prior relationship with Steve Smith, found out good things about him from other players. Fully supporting the idea that I've had in my head that this guy was a good coach, but maybe the Phillies management and current coaching staff really didn't mesh well with him because they differed in personality.

The Indians need this type of personality on the staff though. I can't wait to see him in action.

Many people are interested in the possibility that Kerry Wood is dealt. Personally, I've never really considered this a possibility this offseason. Not many have inside the people who actually know this team. Most of these ideas are coming from the national scale and the sites that like to bring up the big names.

Wood is too expensive and the Indians aren't going to eat his salary for another team to have him. They'd rather have him backend their bullpen for the money they are paying him. I will say this now too.

If Kerry Wood's 2011 option vests... It will be because the Indians want it to. They will not let it vest, just like they did last year, unless they absolutely want it to.

That and they could just trade him midseason if they aren't in contention and some team wants him, when they won't have to eat a big numbered salary for him to pitch for another team for a full-season.

This has now been "confirmed" or something from FOX.

I could have confirmed this with you a few weeks ago and I don't have any sources.

Okay, so I couldn't have confirmed it, but I could have told it to you.

Point is, Kerry Wood isn't going anywhere this offseason, so don't even think about it. Plus I think having him around will be nice for this clubhouse. This team still needs a veteran around and he is just that. Especially a vocal one.

Finally, let's take a look at this thing by Hoynes about Manny Acta.

I want to point this out, because I don't think I have, about the beginning of this piece.

As we know, the Indians do have a process for everything and they fully intended to go with that process in hiring their new manager.

But how refreshing is it to see them scrap their process for once, in order for something they felt their gut was telling them.

Let's take our time with pitcher A and move him up according to the process.

Bah humbug, the guy is ready, let's get him up.

Let's take our time hiring a new manager.

Bah whatever, this is our guy, let's hire him now before he goes somewhere else.

I love it. It is sort of the dawning of a new mentality, one that Mark Shapiro started to display when he fast-tracked Zach Putnam and made the statement that everything was going to be looked at differently.

He's making changes and he's realizing what's at stake. The whole process thing wasn't working in some ways. Sometimes you just have to go ahead and do it and that's what they did here.

Anyway, that whole piece is a Q&A with Manny Acta... Nothing really that we haven't heard or discussed here already in the past week, but read it if you'd like.

I do want to highlight a few answers though...

Q. Do you have a lot of rules as a manager?

A. I'm not a ticky-tacky rules kind of guy. I believe this job is tough enough to play. I like to keep my guys happy.

But everybody needs structure. ... The main thing will be to show up on time, play hard, and there's no excuse for not doing that, and respect. You respect each other, respect the game, respect the coach staff and respect the fans.

He's kind of like Eric Wedge then.. So it won't be much of an adjustment for the players in that way, which is good. Nothing was wrong with the effort the Indians players put forth, that is something you cannot deny.

In reading a little bit about how Acta has gotten to where he is, which is sort of what the middle part of the interview is about, Acta is Chris Nash. You know, players like him. Remember the Chris Nash story about how he and the other Captains visited the Indians late this past season?

Acta was that type of a player. He was the guy who was told he couldn't make it and didn't. There are players that are told that and a few bust through, but there are many that you root for, like Chris Nash, but ultimately don't make it and things fizzle out. But some still fight for it and like Acta, they have the skills to do more and become a manager.

So that's awesome.

11.19.2009

Rule V Round Up, Alomar Speaks and Minor League Free Agents

Alright so today, we'll actually post this one at a normal time instead of like, late in the afternoon when the network at UA sucks.

Anyway whatever, I'm over it now man.

I really am.

There's a bunch of roster move stuff we need to go over, but let's clean up some stuff about Sandy and Manny.

Yesterday, Sandy Alomar had a conference call with reporters and we now find out that he did indeed have an offer to take the same post with New York.

In fact, Omar Minaya didn't even want to give Sandy the opportunity to talk to Cleveland.
"This developed over the last week," said Alomar, speaking to Cleveland reporters Wednesday on a conference call. "I talked to Omar relentlessly. At first he was skeptical, but I was persistent. When he gave me the opportunity to talk to the Indians, he knew I wasn't coming back."
This is something Sandy genuinely wanted. He wanted it before he even talked to Shapiro and company. To say that, he knew that he was trying to talk Omar Minaya out of letting him leave the team.

Props to Minaya for actually letting it happen. Letting someone advance up in their career is one thing that someone should always do if you can't give them that chance, but to let Sandy make the lateral move like that is something he didn't have to do. Gained a little respect for the Mets GM on this one.
"I'm very excited," Alomar said. "This is a great opportunity to return to a place where I have a lot of great memories. My family is very excited."
And as Sandy also said, these are "special circumstances."

Two of Alomar's kids live in Cleveland right now. It is going to be a homecoming the day Cleveland plays their first home game for sure.

Sandy says he does want to manage one day and given how quickly he's progressed in just a few years, I'd say it could be in his near future.

Now Acta met with the Cleveland reporters yesterday and had lunch with them. Not much that wasn't covered the past two days that we saw. Really nothing too new from what they uncovered that he didn't say to Levine or Drennan on the good old television. Here is a recap from Castrovince though.

There is one part though... And that's Free Agency, that is a set to begin in a few hours.. And when I say few, I mean the rest of the day.

One funny quote from Manny on Free Agency.
"You asked me what I want, man," Acta said with a laugh. "I'll give you a list Santa Claus couldn't [fulfill]."
Now that's not realistic as Manny knows, but I think he believes enough in what we have here to be fine. He did say that no matter what happens with Jake Westbrook, it would be smart to get another pitcher or two in here. As he said, you have to cover yourself when it comes to pitching.

Now does that mean going out and getting players that are even in the Carl Pavano range where you can sign them to incentive based deals?

I don't know. It may be people in the above-Tomo Ohka range. Starters that won't get deals anywhere else, but you can sign them to minor league deals and say, hey come on in and compete for a starting spot.

Especially though, I'd expect the Indians to pick SOMEONE up if Jake Westbrook suffers a setback. But let's hope that doesn't happen.

Castrovince even throws out a list of players that he believes would be in the Tribe's range if they were to make some sort of a move. And mind you, this would be very late in the process when these guys are looking for anything.
Paul Byrd, Jose Contreras, Doug Davis, Justin Duchscherer, Kelvim Escobar, Josh Fogg, Mike Hampton, Livan Hernandez, Eric Milton, Brett Myers, Brad Penny, Jason Schmidt, Ben Sheets, John Smoltz, Brett Tomko, Jarrod Washburn, Jeff Weaver, Todd Wellemeyer and Kip Wells.
I think names like even Jarrod Washburn would be off limits. I'd be a big fan of a signing like Justin Duchscherer. Someone who missed the entire season last year won't come very expensive. Someone like Brett Myers would be perfect, but he's a jerk.

Anyway, Manny did also address the idea of adding any relief pitchers and the bullpen. He said they are happy with what they have, but there will be 200 players available, so I'm sure they'll add some guys on a minor league deal like they always do.

Acta did also say though that there will only be one role assigned going into Spring Training and that is Kerry Wood as closer. Other than that, everything is up in the air because last year, roles going into the season didn't really work. I agree with this, make everyone earn their spot.

Spots... Spots.. Let's talk spots..

Tonight free agency begins.... Jamey Carroll and Tomo Ohka leave our roster officially. Jake Westbrook and Anthony Reyes need to be added or in Reyes' case, possibly removed.

And then the Indians need to announce who is going to be added in protection for the Rule V Draft.

This is something that both Anthony Castrovince and Tony Lastoria covered this past week.

Both sort of came to some agreement on several players, so it seems likely the following will be protected.

Jeanmar Gomez
Jordan Brown
Jason Donald
Nick Weglarz

I didn't think Gomez would be that much of a lock, but he's made tremendous strides and with him probably going to be at Columbus next year, I guess I can see you just add him now.

So assuming seven spots are up for grabs, maybe eight depending on what is done with Reyes, that leaves 3-4 spots open for everyone else and it is actually going to be more hotly contested than I originally thought awhile ago.

These are where the names get interesting. Lastoria believes McBride, Lofgren, Pino and Tomlin are Probables at 75%.. So if the Indians want to protect all four, you will see Reyes DFAed..

Now is that where the discussion ends?

De La Cruz, Hodges, Rivero and Josh Rodriguez are listed by Tony as 50% Questionables.

In the end AC mentions De La Cruz, but Tony seems to be convinced that he will most definitely not get rostered and there is a compelling reason why.

The guy basically missed last year. He'll start next year again at Kinston and probably make it to Akron? I mean that's my best guess. They'll probably move him through Kinston quickly, but I can't imagine anyone taking a chance on a kid that is coming off an injury that hasn't pitched above Single-A. I just cannot imagine it happening and therefore I think it's safe to leave him unprotected.

Tony's got seven names that he believes are rostered. The four locks, McBride, Lofgren and Pino. If there are only six rostered, then he thinks Lofgren is the odd man out and if eight are rostered, it isn't Tomlin, but Carlos Rivero.

It needs to be pointed out that Rivero has sort of regained some of the momentum he lost during the regular season with his AFL performance, so it makes some sense.

So... I'm no expert on this issue but I'd have to say the four locks are four players I agree with. I wouldn't protect De La and would probably protect Pino, Lofgren and McBride.

McBride was someone that made me think, but I think in the end, you have a guy who completely broke out and could be in Triple-A as soon as halfway through. He's exactly the type of player, who has position versatility now as well (especially at a valuable position like catcher again), and a hot bat to get taken.

Matt McBride, by the by, is up for the Stenson Award, given to the AFL player every year who exemplifies the follow qualities: unselfishness, hard work and leadership. Jason Donald, now an Indian, won it last year.

So yeah... Expect six to get rostered for sure. Believe seven is a high possibility and eight could happen.

So who knew Josh Barfield was a minor league free agent?

I didn't.. But he is one of Cleveland's minor league FAs.

Others of note, Scott Roehl, Rich Rundles, Juan Salas, Juan Lara, Ole Sheldon.

Anyone seeing Josh Barfield leaving? I think so.. What a bust of a trade that was.. Damn.. I had high hopes for the kid too, we all did.

Final note from one of the Hoynes stories. Tim Tolman and Manny Acta will share outfield instruction duties during the season. Gary Thurman, who was in the running to be one of Acta's coaches, will do it during Spring Training. The final two spots aside from the Hitting position, are the bullpen catcher jobs, which will go to people inside the organization.

11.18.2009

Sandy Mania, Acta Thoughts and Other Stuff

5:02 PM: A big die off to the University of Akron network today. They were having all sorts of issues and this post was DONE around noon today but lovely jerks didn't let me publish it.. Be back tomorrow, hopefully in the morning with what I promise at the end of this one.

Gather yourself.

So wow.

Acta talked to Les Levine on Monday at 6:00 on Time Warner's NEON channel. It was his first one on one with a Cleveland media type and it was the first time he had some interaction with the fans.

A day later he did his second sit down in as many days with Bruce Drennan and right off the bat he dropped his first bombshell.

After a week ago when Omar Minaya was emphatic about Sandy Alomar Jr. remaining on staff for the New York Mets, I sort of just filed that one away under disappointment.

But something obviously changed that situation in a hurry.

Acta had a wide smile on his face yesterday and you could tell Bruce didn't even know what was about to go down. He knew Sandy had an announcement to make and he caught me off guard with such an announcement when he said he had a coaching hire.

The wheels turned in that one minute, who could it possibly be that he's waiting to announce on this program?

Then it all made sense with Sandy Alomar Jr.'s name was blurted out of his mouth. He barely finished the Junior before Bruce burst into cheering. Acta made the announcement live on the air on the Cleveland Indians own network. Then it hit the internet and I don't have to tell you the reaction.

I knew this was the reaction.

There is not one bad word I've read about the hire.

In fact, some have even gone as far as to praise the Indians for "finally doing something right."

Which we all know is crazy in itself, but even Joe Casual is pumped. Facebook reactions are all positive, there is no point in going over them!

Which is great. Like I've said in the past, I'm not one for hire him because he's a former Indian or hire him because the fans will want him. I look at that as a bonus. Sandy Alomar Jr. made sense and I wouldn't have brought him up in the initial stages as a possibility if I didn't think his hiring would make sense on the field.

If you now look at the staff, you now look at how well-rounded they are and the personalities and people we have.

Acta is at the top, bringing the Latin background as well as the expert communication and personality skills.

Tolman is his bench coach, someone who Manny feels will challenge his opinion (we'll get into that) and someone who's played the outfield, so there's someone for players to relate to.

Smith is his third base coach and infielders coach. A fiery personality that contrasts not only the current manager, but any other coach this team has had in the past few years.

Alomar at first base and to also instruct catchers. You know his primary job is to work the catching and that's big when you consider the Indians have arguably the top catching prospect in the entire game.

Belcher as the pitching coach. A successful major league pitcher who has had success and experience with not only instructing at every level, but with some of the current players on the roster and the ones that will be.

Radinsky as the bullpen coach. Again, someone who had success at the major league level as a reliever, working with players that he's had before. Working with guys he's had a relationship with. And as we've learned, his personality is one that you can be excited about.

All that's left is a hitting coach.

So.. Inside organizational hires: 2. Outside organizational hires: 3.

They figured it would be split 50/50, well if indications that Jon Nunnally is the favorite come true, it will be as Nunnally would make 3 inside hires.

The sad part in all of this is the fact that we won't get to see Torey Lovullo on this staff, which is something I really set my own heart to seeing. But hey, like I've said, Lovullo has a future as a major league manager, I truly believe that. I don't mind seeing him in Columbus for another year if that's the case.

Let's get back on track for a second.

Last bit on Alomar... Acta said the following.
"Sandy's a guy we had in mind from Day 1," Acta said. "We had to respect the position he had with the Mets, but he has a lot to bring to us [in working] with our young catchers, Lou [Marson] and possibly [Carlos] Santana down the road. Sandy loves it here, and he's loved by the community. We're very happy to have him here."
The Mets did in fact grant the Indians permission and as Acta said, it was Sandy's decision from there on out. When it came down to it, what did you think he would do? If you are offering him the same position as Cleveland is, I think Sandy has so many fond memories here, that he almost would kill to switch and I think that's what happened.

It is a slight upgrade over what he was doing with the Mets and I don't know if they offered him a higher position than what he had now, but he's a Cleveland Indian again and that's all that matters.

Alright so Acta was on Levine's show on Monday and Bruce's show Tuesday. He didn't spend as much time on ABAO and a lot of his chatter was about his family and his past and stuff we've been over or repeated from Monday, so I'll just review what went down then and I think it should blanket everything.

- On Tim Tolman as his Bench Coach: He's familiar with the Indians and not only a friend of Acta's, he's worked with him, Manny's played for him and he won't be afraid to talk to or challenge Manny when it comes to things. Remember Manny wanted someone who's wheels would be turning at the same time his was and as he definitely stated after Levine asked him, He didn't want a simple "yes" man. So while Tolman might be his friend, he won't be nodding with every move Manny makes and that's ultimately what you want in a bench coach. Someone who isn't afraid to challenge some thinking and if Acta is open to that, I think it has the groundwork of a successful hire.

- On Frank Robinson Talking to Him About Cleveland: Frank Robinson actually called Acta right away and told him nothing but good things about Cleveland. He said he made an excellent choice. That's good to hear from a legend.

- On the Lidle Plane Crash: I threw this in here because I found it very interested. Remember or not, Acta lived in the apartment that was hit by Cory Lidle's plane. Acta said he was about 10 stories below where the plane had actually hit, but he left 30 minutes before the crash happened. Couldn't even imagine what he was thinking when he found out.

- On Choosing Cleveland: Acta said he zeroed in, and this is something we've known, on a few teams when he was sitting at home after he got fired. He watched a lot of Houston and Cleveland because he knew there could be a chance obviously, but he also watched some New York and Washington because they were places he worked. Overall Manny said there are a lot of good pieces in Cleveland and that the farm system is rich and that was something he was attracted to. Again he started naming players and even through in some Jeanmar Gomez.

- On Jhonny Peralta: Manny continued to talk about how Peralta is a key for the team and even said he talked to Peralta on Sunday. Sounds like he now knows what Eric Wedge did about his attitude. He may look like he doesn't care, but he really does and doesn't choose to show it. Hey that's Peralta, and some guys don't wear their emotions on their sleeve. Hopefully Acta can form a good relationship with JP and turn him around.

- The lineup: For the first time, Manny actually expanded on some of his ideas. He said right now, Sizemore probably will be leading off based on the fact that he's done it before and too much pressure shouldn't be put on Brantley. He did say in the future though, he'll probably move Sizemore down to the middle of the order when the "young kids" are eased in. Brantley will hit at the bottom for now.

- A Set Lineup: Manny did say that in a perfect world, a set lineup from day one would be something he wants. But he did say those things also have a way of working themselves out. What I get from that is, he might not have something set from day one and he might have to shuffle a few times throughout the season, but eventually, the main pieces, provided they are healthy, are going to settle into a specific spot and a specific role. I think that's positive thinking. He also said he didn't know what happened last year or in previous years, be it injuries or whatever, but he wants a set lineup where positions are set, batting spots are set and it's from the start.

- Catcher: They are "exploring options" but the young kids will get opportunities. He mentioned Shoppach's name, but he seemed to be saying "Lou" more than a few times.

- Pitch Counts: Believes in them, but he believes in what the pitcher is doing at the time. He'll take a guy out when he sees him getting killed. But if he's pitching good he'll leave him in. That's common sense (again, wait for it) at it's finest. Also said you need to take into consideration age, what happened in the last inning, and even the last game, all that stuff.

- On the Poor April starts: Manny Acta wants to win regardless. He isn't going to put max effort in from day one of Spring Training, but he is going to stress winning all the games. There is no "on switch" for when it ends. He also said int he AL Central, a good start is important.

- Mangers Personality: Acta said when a team is young, like this one will be, it's important because they take after their leader. He knows what's up. He gets it. He said treat them like your own kids and get the best out of them. Show them that you are just like them and you are there when you are failing and successful. The guy has this talking thing down pat.

- Rebuilding Philosophy and his mentality on winning: He doesn't equate money to winning. He even threw in a nice dig to the Yankees by saying a team doesn't need to buy two pitchers to win. He thinks the Indians organization has made smart decisions given the circumstances with the rules of baseball.

- On What Type of Manager he is: Again, he said he was a "common sense" manager. He plays the cards that are dealt to him. Play according to what talent on the field provides. Wedge sometimes did not do that and tried bunting with the most randomest people. I can tell Acta is going to be well liked if he sticks to what he's saying. He said he's a combination of throw back and current baseball (statistics and that).

- Closers: He's a four out guy if the situation asks for it and won't be afraid to send Wood out there in the eighth if need be.

- This is a good question. He was asked how do you finish guys off at the major league level and the example of Franklin Gutierrez was given. Simply put, Manny said playing time will tell you. Specifically on Franklin, platoons may be successful for awhile, but playing time will eventually tell you what he's about. Remember this was one of the big problems that I've had with Wedge, so hopefully Acta follows through on this.

- Matchups: He is a believer in them, but he won't bring in a guy just because he's a lefty facing a lefty. The stats must back it up.

- Putting together his staff: He was looking for balance with people that could not only relate on the field with teaching, but could relate with players as well in terms of personality. He definitely did that all around.

- Rotation: They're counting on Westbrook to be healthy and will be in Puerto Rico to watch him, Fausto and Huff to be there and the competition will be between others and maybe free agent additions. So it sounds like he's going as far as Huff, Fausto and Jake if they are there to be in the rotation and maybe Laffey and then a competition between everyone else.

If you'd like to see a highlight package of Acta on with Levine, you can click this link. STO typically puts up videos like Acta being on the show, but so far nothing. I'll post the link if it ever comes up.

Alright I think that's enough for now. There are some roster issues and discussion I want to get into, but I'll save that for tomorrow in a sort of a preview to the Rule V deadline on Friday.

11.17.2009

SANDY'S BACK!



BOMBSHELL!!! BOMBSHELL!!

Manny Acta dropped a bombshell just a few minutes ago on All Bets are Off.. Sandy Alomar Jr will be the next first base coach for the Cleveland Indians!

IT'S NOT APRIL FIRST IS IT?!

NO?!

WOOOOOO!!!

Emphatically and exuberantly confirmed by the Swain/Swibel twitter account.

That is all!

More Acta

I'll have a review of Acta on both last night's More Sports and Les Levine and on All Bets Are Off with Bruce Drennan today.

He'll be on ABAO with Bruce today at 4:00 PM or there about, in studio, for his second sit down interview in as many days with Cleveland media.

Lots of interesting stuff in last night's interview that I'll post tomorrow and anything new from Bruce's show I'll add in there.

Back to paper writing!

11.16.2009

Acta on NEON/Les Levine Tonight

Manny Acta is opening himself up for the second time in his young stint as Indians manger for a one-on-one with the Cleveland Media.

Remember Acta did a short interview with Bruce Drennan the day of his press conference via the phone.

He's stepping it up one further now. He'll be on More Sports And Les Levine tonight at 6:00 PM ET on the Northeast Ohio Network (NEON). If you are a Time Warner Customer in Northeast Ohio, you probably get the channel (23). I know I do.

Anyway, this is his first interview in Cleveland and the first time he'll actually have some direct communication with the fans. Wedge was on ABAO answering fan questions before, but it wasn't something happened often, so this is refreshing to see Manny take stage in Cleveland this early in the game.

If you'd like to send in a question, I'm told the e-mail is les@5front.com or if you'd like to call in, 216-575-0403.

I'll be watching tonight myself and will have some impressions tomorrow or Wednesday (I've got a fantastic paper due Wed, so I might not have the time to organize everything immediately). If you do not get TWC or will not be able to catch the interview, there should be a highlight video out there that I will relay to you when it is available.

Special thanks to Mike for the e-mail about the interview.

Coming Together: Acta names three to staff

Shocked much?

Manny Acta made three additions to his coaching staff today and two of them were names we've heard.

But like the pitching coach, Acta and company threw us a bit of a curveball with a name that hasn't really been thrown out there.

In fact, when I say Steve Smith, all the jokes will come about the Carolina Panthers Wide Receiver or the now New York Giants receiver, or that basketball player that was named Steve Smith or the American Dad..

Such a generic name. Why do you think the former ESPN reporter/writer went by Stephen A. Smith. Because the Steve Smith population is astounding and he'd just be another Steve Smith to get confused with.

At least he's the only Steve Smith in baseball.

Oh Wait..

We have an issue here.

You see there's a player in the Indians organization named Steve Smith and I've already created the tag, Steve Smith.

So what to do?

Steve Smith the Coach?

It's going to have to be, even though it's long as hell.

Anyway, that's my side rant for the moment.

Manny Acta did indeed hire Steve Smith to be his third base and infield coach, Scott Radinsky to be his bullpen coach and Tim Tolman to be his bench coach.

That leaves first base and hitting coach as his last spots to fill.

Everyone seems to think Jon Nunnally is the guy to fill the hitting coaches spot.

As for the first base spot. It's anyone guess.

But the third base job/infielders position going to Steve Smith impact Torey Lovullo's chances very much. Lovullo was an infielder and if you were going to hire him to staff, that'd probably the spot.

However here's the good news as far as wanting Lovullo to be hired.

Tim Tolman is an outfielders guy, so if Acta wants all the bases covered, he's already done so.

Here's the other news... Tolman is the bench coach, I'm not sure his duties would involve being the outfield coach as well, but who knows.

Here's the other news... This staff does not have a former catcher on it.

In fact this is a complete 360 from the old staff that had nothing but catchers on the staff. Joel Skinner, Eric Wedge and Jeff Datz were all catchers. Luis Rivera coached infielders.

Yeeeikes.

Now does any of this really matter? Just because someone didn't play the outfield, doesn't mean they can't instruct the person on the fundamentals on baseball or execute the positioning they want (hey look at the spray charts and trends and make your decision, boy!).

This all being said, there's that phrase again, Acta's got some nice diversity on his staff already and he still has two hires to make. So far, he's covering all the bases like he said he would.

Here are some short profiles I've put together on each new coach.

Tim Tolman
Bench Coach
Last Organization: Seattle
Last Position: Coordinator of Instruction
Career Statistics

Tolman spent the last year in the Seattle organization after being fired from this third base post in Washington under Acta. He spent two years there as the third base coach.

Tolman has a history with Cleveland as well. He spent four years in Cleveland working int he minor league part of the organization. He now returns to Cleveland under his old boss and former co-worker with the Houston organization. Tolman played for Detroit and Houston in his major league career.

Scott Radinsky
Bullpen Coach
Last Organization: Cleveland (Columbus)
Last Position: Pitching Coach
Career Statistics

Scott Radinsky didn't get this job last year when it was open. So he returned to Columbus as their pitching coach for another season.

Now he's back in the big leagues and finally on a major league staff. He was considered an option for the major league pitching coach opening, but lost out to Tim Belcher. Still, his career as a relief pitcher may suit both him and the Indians bullpen in this role.

Radinsky had a good career in the major leagues, playing for Chicago, Los Angeles, St. Louis and finally Cleveland. His career ended with the Indians after he returned from Tommy John surgery and was not the same.

Radisnky joined Cleveland in 2005 and was the pitching coach for the Lake County Captains. A year later he was in Akron and a year after that Buffalo. He made transition to Columbus this past season with Torey Lovullo.

Scott is also the lead vocals for a band called Pulley since 1995. Radinsky has doubled in a musical career and was even kicked out of his previous band because of the time constraints to baseball.

Steve Smith
Third Base Coach
Last Organization: Philadelphia
Last Position: Third Base Coach

The last job Steve Smith had brought him a World Series victory.

Smith was the third base coach of the Philadelphia Phillies when they won their World Series in 2008. He was fired following that and was not on a major league staff last year.

Smith has loads of major league experience as not just a third base coach for Philadelphia, but Seattle and Texas prior to that. He also managed over 1,600 minor league games.

Back in 2007, Smith was suspended for three games after a tirade with umpire Laz Diaz. He was suspended for two on-field incidents in his coaching career.

He is not to be confused with the Baylor coach of the same name.

---

Of course the big unknown here is Steve Smith. Tim Tolman is actually a bit of an unknown to us, but Smith is a bigger one because his name hasn't been thrown around.

But I've read some good things and some bad things. Taking a look at some of the Phillie fans perspective on Smith, I'm coming away a little excited about his prospects.

A lot of the comments that were supporting Smith in the wake of his firing were intelligent and well thought out. The ones that were not in support of Smith were short, abrasive and quite frankly, hilarious.

If you believe some Phillie fans, he never made the right decisions on when to send and when not to send and that he "blows monkey dong." Pardon my language, I'm just quoting. Others will tell you he was the best coach on that staff and that his firing marked a new 25 year curse on the organization. Again, quoting.

What I do pull away from it is that the Phillie players liked Smith and he was a guy who would motivate them. He seems like a fiery individual, something this staff has not had before, at least in the last regime.

In fact, he seems to be a bit of a Wild card both in the sense that we have not much on him at this point and his personality is a bit of one.

Which I think is fantastic.

Not only does this staff need to be diverse in what they teach, but they need to be diverse in personality.

We've got a bilingual champion communication, a punk rock lead vocalist and now a guy that has had a past of being a real firebomb.

So far, so good from my perspective. Acta is really setting up this staff in a positive way.

11.14.2009

Rule V Discussion, Winter Leagues and Omar

Good Saturday morning from the lovely looking Youngstown, Ohio.

No really, it's very nice looking out.

Once a month or so I'm back in my old stomping grounds to visit and get a hair cut, because I'm too silly to change routine. But anyway that is not the point.

Things have slowed down even more in Tribe land, but there are plenty of things to go over. In fact, we've neglected some talk thanks to all the coaching news out there. Luckily this news doesn't go out of fashion until November 20th.

I'm of course talking about the Rule V deadline, which is six days away now.

And because work has returned to my schedule on the 20th, we need to be prepared before Friday.

As you may remember from last year, the Indians, and every other team alive, wait until the very last minute to make the moves, even if they know what they are doing. Why? Because they can and that's how baseball works. That's how everything works. They won't show their hand until they have to.

A lot of the discussion this year is going to be around Jordan Brown, who was shockingly left off the 40 man roster last year. At which point, everyone was convinced he was going to get taken.

Not the case, what was even more shocking than him getting left off was him not being selected.

And here we are again. Brown is still not a part of the 40 man roster, which means he's still eligible for such a draft, which means there is discussion as to his status.

We'll let's not waste breath... If Jordan Brown isn't added to the Indians 40 man roster, the front office has gone completely insane. The guy is the perfect candidate for such an addition because he's now the perfect candidate for a Rule V pick.

It also appears that Brown will either be on the Indians 40 man, or another team's 40 man, according to Tony Lastoria at the IPI. I'm not really going to raise a huff over him this year, unless of course he isn't added, at which point the Indians will be crucified on the spot. That's going to be the upset of the century though.

Most of the discussion should be surrounding more questionable situations.

Jason Donald figured to be one of the additions after September's roster expansion, but he got hurt. With his eligibility for the Rule V draft looming, it would make sense that he too would be a lock for a roster spot.

And then of course Nick Weglarz, who is just one of those guys that is too valuable to risk.

So that brings us, three players that you can pencil in.

Now there are seven spots open on the 40 man, this is presumably after the Indians A)No longer have Tomo Ohka and Jamey Carroll counting as they become free agents and B)Re-add Jake Westbrook and Anthony Reyes from the 60 day disabled list, since they can't stay there during the offseason.

So that goes down to 31 and back up to 33.

Add in that trio and there is four spots left. I think we are all assuming the Indians make anywhere from zero to two free agent/trade acquisitions that would actually take up a 40 man and that is without the assumption that they'll rid themselves of another player, AKA Kelly Shoppach because of his price tag.

So the Indians could very well just use the last four spots on prospects.

Or maybe five?

As Tony also evaluates the names on the bubble, it appears they could get one more spot if they really wanted it.

Hell I think it's something they should do regardless of their need for the spot.

Anthony Reyes will not pitch next year, so why even bother? Who's going to be that desperate, or for that matter, that in love with Anthony Reyes, that they'd claim him, stash him on the 40 man this offseason AND next offseason and pay him a big league salary to do so just to see what he "might bring" in 2011.

Only stupid teams.

Which is why you just outright him right now and take that small risk of someone being very stupid. Get him down on a minor league deal where the whole thing is out of your roster hair.

And if someone does take him?

Eh, so what? I like Anthony Reyes very much, but it seems pointless to have him floating around the 40 man when he's not even pitching next year and everyone knows it.

So that opens up five spots for possible additions. Let's take a look at the bubble.

Pencil In
Nick Weglarz
Jason Donald
Jordan Brown

Bubble
Chuck Lofgren
Frank Herrmann
Jeanmar Gomez
Johnnie Drennen
Jose Constanza
Josh Rodriguez
Josh Tomlin
Kelvin De La Cruz
Matt McBride
Stephen Head
Wes Hodges
Yohan Pino

You can check out the full list on the good old board.

These are simply bubble names. Guys high up in the system. Quite frankly, I doubt more than half are even considered.

But you need some damn names to consider.

There are four cases that I think are really interesting. But only four cases, maybe five or six, so really, there is little to no intrigue if all four cases are compelling enough.

Wes Hodges is case number one.

Hodges was one of those guys that was perhaps a lock last year, hell he might have already been added had you asked some people.

But injuries derailed his season and Lonnie Chisenhall's quick ascension has derailed his future. Hodges is somewhat of an afterthought now. Do the Indians bother with someone who they know can hit, but is still a WIP in terms of defense? He's sort of in the situation Jordan Brown was last year, and we know how that ended. Maybe the way that turned out can make us say, hey he won't get picked.

Case number two is Matt McBride and he's only interesting for one reason.

He lit it up this past year.

I'd give this small consideration and move on. He's still too raw to be taken if you ask me. A team would just end up sending him back after they realize he needs more seasoning as someone who is really without a true position right now.

Going over to the pitchers side we've got Jeanmar Gomez.

Gomez is in the position Hector Rondon was last year, yet there is one difference. Gomez hasn't been as highly touted as Rondon was at this point. Rondon had some name recognition with the fact that he was in the Future's Game. Gomez had much success this past year, but I'm not sure he's the "can't miss prospect" that you don't toy around with and just add out of principle.

If it weren't for the next guy, I think Gomez would not only be the most interesting case, but probably a guy you pencil in.

The next guy is none other than Kelvin De La Cruz. He was considered someone you rostered last year until we found out he didn't need to be rostered.

Now, he isn't too far away from where he was last year thanks to injuries, but he's still regarded as one of the can't miss guys in the system as far as pitching is concerned. He was just like Rondon in the regard that he may be too valuable in the long run to even risk.

But does the injury change things?

Given that there aren't many pressing issues in terms of who you roster, and there are spaces open, and the Indians don't figure to make many additions.

Add him... If things work out this year with health, he'll be in Akron at some point. And if you look at Rondon, he's knocking on the door. Don't risk it with someone like De La.

Those are probably the four most interesting cases to me and I think three of them are guys who probably won't even get added. I see a lot of spots, and few very open and shut cases, which gives the Indians a lot of flexibility.

It also means it's worth holding onto guys like Andy Marte (especially with LaPorta's surgery) and Jose Veras (especially with bullpen questions).

The only two other people I think are remotely interesting: Yohan Pino and Jose Constanza.

Chances of them taken in Rule V? Eh, slim if that I'd say.

Pino for the reason he's a bit of an unknown. What if some team out there sees someone who's pretty much done well with the Triple-A level and says, eh let's see what he's got, we suck anyway.

Constanza's chances are pretty much non-existent, he's not even major league ready, but speed is a dangerous thing and something you really don't need to "hone" for the major league level. If your fast, your fast and if someone is in desperate need of some speed, and they are a team like Washington, you just never know.

That's an idea out of left field though and probably would never happen. But like I said earlier, there are stupid teams out there you know.. Organizations like Kansas City exist for a reason. At least at their current state.

That all being said...

I don't think we are in for a pinch this year. Last year sort of eased a lot of the opinions that everyone and their mom could get taken from the Indians when Jordan Brown didn't get picked and the fact that the Indians are armed with a surplus of spots only helps.

It makes decisions like what to do with Adam Miller obsolete. Just let him go, we've got the space.

We haven't discussed free agency much because it won't happen for awhile, at least not in Cleveland. Kelly Shoppach will be the central story concerning the Indians really. Will they let him go or trade him or whatever? That's probably the only activity this team will have until next calender year.

So we won't get into it, but Omar Vizquel remains an option for everyone who loves to dream.

He also remains an option for everything that makes sense as well. He would fit the team. And whatever small salary he would take (he made just one million last year for Texas), you would certainly make up in "Vizquel 13" shits you'd sell for people who want to re-live the glory days.

Man.. You bring Vizquel back, pry Sandy Alomar Jr away from the Mets coaching staff (which is unlikely now as Omar Minaya is being a bitch)... All we have to do is hire Kenny Lofton as the team's outfield and base running coach.

Speaking of that...

Some coaching house-keeping to go through. Hoynes threw out one name, Gary Thurman in a little snippet in his latest bit of news roundup. He'd probably be the outfielders coach if brought upon as that's what he does now in the organization for the minor leagues. Oh that and base running. Well isn't that interesting.

He had a crappy career for a first overall pick of the Royals (hey look at that!) back in the 1983 draft, but that doesn't make him a bad teacher. He also spent time in the Mariners organization.

This all being thought of, I was joking about Kenny Lofton. I'm certainly the last person that would make moves on the basis of the fans giving a damn, but Alomar, as we've been over, and Omar would both make sense for this team. The fact that they'd also suck up to the fans and help make some cash would just be a bonus in my eyes.

The team seems pretty set on the idea of Jason Donald at least competing for the utility spot and if Vizquel doesn't win that.. Oh we've been over that before and it's the biggest reason such a move is a bad idea. Cutting Vizquel would be the end of Mark Shapiro's career, because the fan base would put an end to it by putting an end to his life.

Finally... I've neglected winter league statistics very much. Bad me, bad bad me.

Here is a PDF of the latest statistical update of all the Indians players taking part in winter league action, courtesy of the Tribe Insider twitter feed.

As you can see, Jordan Brown and Matt McBride are still hitting the stuffing out of the ball and even Andy Marte is looking good through 16 games.

Nick Weglarz is done for the rest of the AFL. He had a rod put into his leg and yes he will have that in there forever and ever ever ever. Should be good to go for next season. Tim Fedroff replaced him in the AFL.

Luis Valbuena is having a good stint in Venezuela. Pitching in these offseason leagues is sort of just overlooked, especially in the AFL because all the hitters are amazing and as we saw from Arizona's spring training last year, pitchers get killed anyway.

But Josh Judy is having a good time in the AFL. He's pitching in 15 innings and has given up just one earned run.

On a final winter league note, Jake Westbrook will make some starts in Puerto Rico. Former Indian and current ESPN analyst Eddie Perez is managing Ponce (awesome name) and says Westbrook is scheduled to go two innings for his team on November 28th and if things are good from there, he'll be with the team through December 17th.

Site Clean-Up

So, I'm as about as knowledgeable as you are in terms of the future of the site on this platform.

As you may or may not know, I agreed to move this over to the Fan Huddle network, a new site starting up that has blogs about every professional sports team, or at least the goal of having that.

As you can see, things are pretty much settled there. But if the site has had issues in it's infant stages.. Issues I'm not ready to put this blog through. That site might be just starting out, but this site isn't and I'm not going to subject those of you who read this, to downtime and what not.

So we're just hanging out here until I hear some sort of news that makes me want to actually transfer all my posts and work over there.

That and I've heard nothing about the transfer of my URL, which is the biggest thing I want to make sure is operative before anything. Moving from the old name was a hassle in itself the site still hasn't recovered from.

That being said (there's that phrase again), we're just going to hang out here until further notice. I don't know what's going on and will continue to operate as is because they all seem very busy. As am I with classes and other things, so I'll wait until I'm come to before we do anything else.

So continue coming here until further notice to see awesome.. I've already started the process of cleaning up the site a little (I've already sort of cleaned up the side bar with the elimination of things like the Betancourt Cap Counter (tear). I'll also start cleaning up the links section.) and I'm going to put my effort into overdrive when the semester ends in a few weeks. While work is starting back up here while we're on break, I'll have plenty of time in between to do things.

Including the debut of the two other boards I've been working on. One site related, the other Tribe related.

I've also spawned an idea that will try and help us get through the offseason.

We all know Twitter is sweeping the nation, but have you heard of Twidder?

Me either until I created it.

I will only say that if you've been disappointed that Matt LaPorta is the only Indian on twitter, you will be no longer when you see how many Cleveland Indians are on Twidder.

Yeah, me playing with photoshop again. It will be good, I promise.

11.10.2009

Stuff from all over: Staff, Offseason Moves, Spring Training

So things are taking a snails pace in Cleveland concerning just about everything.

Last week we got Tim Belcher, this week, we may not get anything.

In fact, according to Paul Hoynes, the staff may not be finalized until December 7th, which is the opening of the Winter Meetings in Indy.

Which the Indians don't expect to be big players at.

We'll talk about that in a second.

Hoynes mentions that Radinsky, Tim Tolman, and Columbus hitting coach Jon Nunnally are favorites to earn some of the coaching spots. Tolman would be the third base or bench coach for Manny Acta, Nunnally the hitting coach, and Radinsky the bullpen coach, if any or all were to be hired.

I've updated the offseason chart to reflect some of the more candidates.

I also added Kirk Gibson as an official target for the Indians. It appears that they had at least interviewed the historic slugger (I can't believe what I just saw!) over the phone as one of their ten finalists. He's the current bench coach for Arizona.

Much needs to be made about the changes the Indians are making throughout their organization. They will go unnoticed by many casual fans, but the people who want Shapiro to change things are clearly not looking hard enough.

The shake up in the Latin American and Asian scouting departments is clearly a step in the right direction. Ramon Pena was brought on as someone who can do more than just go down once and awhile to scout. He's someone who's going to live there and take good care in his homework of the players he's watching. Not only that, the Indians are moving the academy they have closer.
"Our academy was so far away before, we were having trouble getting top prospects to come for tryouts," said Mirabelli. "Ramon can really help with something like that."
And in case you were wondering. Yes, Omar Minaya gave high recommendations about Pena, whatever that may be worth. He may not be loved by many people, but Minaya is a good baseball guy.

The Indians announced more changes, this time with the Asian scouting department.
John Mirabelli, Indians director of scouting, said Pacific Rim scouts Jason Lee and Nate Minchey have been fired. Minchey was scouting Japan and Lee the Pacific Rim. Mirabelli said Dave DeFreitas will scout and live in Japan, while two part-time scouts will be hired to cover Taiwan and South Korea.
With this... Mirabelli acknowledged genuine interest in Takafumi Nakamura, the shuuto pitch guy we had fun with last week. They are competing with the Japanese Industrial League, whatever that is. Sports Nippon, a Japanese newspaper that the Indians will officially make the signing later in November.

The free agent market doesn't figure to be something the Indians make a splash in and we've mentioned this before. I doubt they even make a major signing until January/February-ish. Last year's example of players lasting for awhile and signing one year contracts is appealing, but a good point that I read today may even make that something that won't happen much.

If players get deals early that are more than one year or so, they might just take them because they'll probably not get anything better.

Or you take another one year deal and try and test things out again next year.

Either way, this market is a different animal and if there is a good decent player out there that comes cheap, and he IMPROVES the team without "blocking a young player" from the major league roster or playing time, I could see the Indians going after him.

It would have to be a pitcher though. Honestly, that's going to be a very narrow market for them though. So really when it comes down to it, we may not even see much activity, if any at all. If the right name and situation comes around, maybe, but this year will just not be one for the Indians to do anything. Not that I think they should anyway.

The Cactus League schedule is out for 2010 and the Indians will open the Spring Training game schedule with Cincinnati on March 5th. The two will play two days in a row, with Cleveland being the away team in the opener. The longest roadtrip for the Tribe this year will only be two separate two-hour visits.
Of course, those who travel to Arizona to check out the Spring Training action won't have to travel far to see the Indians' road games. The only drives in excess of about 40 miles will be the two-hour treks to Tucson to face the D-backs on March 8 and the Rockies in a split-squad on March 17.
But the greatest part of this all....

PITCHERS AND CATCHERS REPORT FEBRUARY 21ST 2010!

Wooohooo!

What you really care about though... The Indians are one of the best organizations in the game and this further proves why.
Responding to some fan concerns from the first year in Goodyear, the Indians will open a new fan access area in '10 that will allow fans a chance to get autographs and see the Tribe players up close and personal at the player-development complex.
People complained and the Indians have listened and accommodated them. This was one of the big ones for fans last year and we'll see how it works out this year.

New York still has not granted the Indians their request to talk to Sandy Alomar Jr. about their coaching staff. I find this very rude considering he played the majority of his major league career in Cleveland. Either give us permission or promote him. What if we can offer him advancement and you can't? I doubt he'd be pleased with that.

Anthony Castrovince is back from his Paris trip with a new Indians Inbox and without getting into the Letterman-Conan War he's diving into, we'll see what he has to offer up.

He chimes in on the Belcher hire and like everyone else, was surprised. Like myself and just about everyone else I've read though, it's just a matter of knowing what he brings to the table as a coach. We all know the work he's done so far has been praised and the credentials he brings are all good, but he hasn't coached at the major league level. It will be a test for him, no doubt.

AC is searching for a nickname for the guy.

ACTA = Advancing Cleveland to ALCS.
-- Bob B., Palm Harbor, Fla.

If that's the case, they should have aimed higher and hired a guy named Actw.

We're going to settle with "Actavision". Which was offered up somewhere, but I forget. Actavision works, not just because it's clever, but his vision is different and it's certainly what we're looking for.

The Gold Gloves start coming out today in the AL and if Asdrubal Cabrera doesn't get one today, I think the Indians will be unrepresented this year in the MLB Awards.

The guy certainly deserves the nod at either short or second, because he's clearly one of the best defensive players in the entire game. But he doesn't have the name recognition and the switch mid-season to short may impact that.

Either way... It's unlikely a Tribe player takes home hardware this year.

Fausto Carmona was supposed to continue the run of Indians and their Cy Young Award Winners, but we know how that goes.

Grady Sizemore's run at Gold Glove will most likely take a little bit of a year off after he missed considerable time.

And of course the chance to have two comeback player of the year award winners went away when the Indians traded Carl Pavano, even though he didn't win the award.

And despite all the Rookies the Indians had... You can forget about that, but like I mentioned when we did BBA voting, Tony Sipp should get some votes somewhere.

The options have been picked up Victor Martinez and Cliff Lee, while Colorado has declined theirs on Rafael Betancourt and offered him a two year, seven million dollar deal. He promptly declined, which may or may not be smart for him considering he is a Type B Free Agent. Will anyone give him better than a two year seven million dollar deal? I don't know.

Finally... We need to tackle the latest Hey Hoynsie, because he threw out a Jody Gerut mention.

Hey, Hoynsie: Are you aware of any changes as to how the Indians will evaluate amateur and pro talent? Didn't Albert Einstein say the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results? -- Joy Darville, Camden, Ohio.

Hey, Joy: Actually, the first person I ever heard say that was former Tribe outfielder Jody Gerut. He stole it from Colorado manager Clint Hurdle, who must have stolen it from Einstein.

We're all aware that Jody went to Stanford. Those Stanford folk...I can actually see Jody saying this.

Anyway... That had nothing of interest in it, but it's Hoynes, what do you want?