Choo Military Service, Sandy the Coach, and Acta Speak in Full Force

I think the offseason is unofficially over for the Cleveland Indians.

You see we don't have much money in the first place. So I've officially ended the offseason free agent chart. If you click on the side for the Offseason Outlook, all the free agents that were potential signings are either signed or blah. So we're going to move on. I'm trying to catch up on some of the other things. Some of the minor league free agents may be signing or re-signing soon.

The most interesting of those minor league free agents is Josh Barfield. But we'll visit that when we know more.

Let's get into the links floating around.

Yesterday was the start of the Winter Press Tour and today is Day 2. The Caravan stopped in Akron, Youngstown, and Erie, PA and today will visit Toledo, Sandusky, and Mansfield. Brian Bixler may be in attendance at Sandusky's stop, but he could be there as a citizen. I'm kidding, please, there's no budget for that. Tomorrow, the tour wraps up with Columbus, Lima, Elyria and Wooster.

The talk of the town was from Monday though. One Manny Acta did a town hall Q&A type deal that has become a tradition every offseason with season ticket holders. It's a chance for them to not only talk to the manager, but even people like Mark Shapiro and Paul Dolan and other front office dudes about stuff.

This was solely Acta though as far as I can tell and the man is a hit. One season ticket holder started an ovation for Acta before the questioning even got underway. Always humble, Acta of course said that we'll see about that in September.

Let's pull some quotes from what went on. Acta did the 30 minute special for STO and apparently was so willing to continue, answered questions for an extra 40 minutes after the taping. No wonder people love him.
"Fans don't know about these guys because they haven't been interviewed for the job here," Acta joked. "I did my homework. When I meet these guys, I tell them, 'I made my decision [to come to Cleveland] based on you guys.' We have a chance to put a good club together like we had in the '90s."

"We have to make sure our guys are aware of what's going on," Acta said. "Even in Spring Training, we need to stress that winning is important. I feel better going to the showers after we win, even if it's an exhibition."

"It's a totally different culture," he said. "I know that. I'm not going to take it personally, because that's the way we were taught. But we have to keep encouraging these guys to adjust to our culture. That's the role we play."

Those all stood out. Castrovince added an entry to his blog with some extra notes and quotes.

The biggest thing we take out of this? Among all the nice quotes and stuff about what kind of team he's going to run, we've got some minor clarification on Shin-Soo Choo's situation.

The military obligation has sort of gone to the side. It was never really something that seemed to bother Mark Shapiro and we now know why.

Acta was wrong in the instance that Choo is in the process of becoming an American citizen, but Antonetti and Shapiro have been pretty adamant that this issue will not present any problems. Either way, Choo probably will begin the process in becoming an American citizen, because if he's flat out skipping his military obligation, he's going to need to be a citizen of this country.

Rafael Perez's start/relieve debate continues to grow legs. Obviously he's not going to start the year as a starter and he'll definitely need to be eased into the process. But the more that it comes up, the more it seems like the Indians are willing to explore this option depending on the situation and even regardless of the situation.

Perez's performance during the year will definitely dictate a lot of things before we can even think of that possibility though.

I think Acta did sum up the Mike Redmond addition better in a few words than I think I did in many more.
"He's going to be great for this ballclub. I don't look at his age. He's coming in fresh. Not too many backup guys hit at the clip he's hit at. When you're backing up Joe Mauer, you don't get to play that much."
Point blank. That's it. Believe it.

Acta confirmed the Indians offered Jamey Carroll a contract. I'm skeptical as to if it was even legit though. As if they only did it to say they did it. I couldn't have seen them seriously consider bringing back Carroll like that, unless it was at a really cheap price.

Read more of the quotes in CastroTurf's entry, but let's transition to Sandy Alomar. Acta said this about Sandy.
"You guys know him as a great player, but let me tell you something. This guy's going to be a tremendous coach, too."
We dig deeper into Sandy the Coach. Sandy was on hand for the first day of the press tour and he sort of explained the catching program that he's devised and will be implementing for Lou Marson, Wyatt Toregas, Carlos Santana and to a less extent, Mike Redmond.

"I don't want our catchers to be surprised by a play in the game," said Alomar. "You have to have game-speed practices. You have to re-evaluate every day.

"We basically want our guys to be prepared in the first inning. You don't want the first inning to come by and the catcher can't throw the ball to second base because he wasn't loose."

"Everything I was taught about catching was based on repetition," he said. "My question is 'when do you do you repeat stuff in a game?' ... Once you made an error, that play isn't going to come back. You have to do different things. Not just repeat, repeat, repeat.

"You need to repeat to get the foundation of the play, but after that, you start switching back and forth. You have to make your body aware of different situations. That's what I came up with. Making catchers aware of different situations in practice ... not just one."

The guy knows what he's doing. I think it's clear. We know Sandy so much as a player, but I can't wait to get to know what he's like as a coach. He has a plan, he seems to know what he wants out of his players and everyone has said good things about him from this position.

It's going to be fun to see him not just help develop prized jewel Carlos Santana, but if he can also have a big impact on Lou Marson.

So, looking forward to seeing more of Sandy the Coach.

Finally, a new edition of the Indians Inbox is up. Issues tackled: The future of Third Base, Brian Bixler, Aaron Laffey and Jordan Brown. One thing I do want to point out.

I believe I was under the impression that Bixler didn't have options or he'd be thrown away if he doesn't make the club. That isn't the case as Castrovince points out the possibility Bixler can be optioned to the Minors if he doesn't make the club. So I think I was wrong, depending on what I said in terms of Bixler's future with the club beyond spring. He has options left or option, unknown.

I'm cutting it short today, because I'm rather busy and lunch is calling me. Back tomorrow for sure with some awesomeness.

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