And damnit it can't come soon enough, especially after the avalanche that fell on us in the East. I know other places got it bad... but up here in Northeast Ohio... Hot damn.. or Cold Damn..
Two Weeks. Two Long Weeks before our little Indian pitchers and catchers report to Goodyear, Arizona for what will be the start of the 2010 cycle.
Well...with that, we will begin the annual Spring Training Primer!
I'm changing it up this year and looking at it in a different way.. Here is the schedule.
Wednesday February 10th: Non-Roster Invitees
Tuesday February 16th: 40 Man Pitchers
Thursday February 18th: 40 Man Position Players
Sunday February 21st: Final Overview - Position Battles, Projections/Depth Chart, Injury Watch, 5 Questions, and More.
Instead of the three lead-up pieces that I did last year, I'll highlight every player that will be in big league camp, starting with the Non-Roster Invitees. One thing that will remain the same from last year is the full-blown preview at the end. Chock full of all the position battles, injuries to watch, 25 man and lineup projections and a whole lot more. That will happen Sunday morning, the day Pitchers and Catchers report.
Before all that though, we've got a few links to take care of.
I'll make quick mention of the latest Paul Hoynes mailbag and point out the whole "retiring of numbers"/"hall of fame cap" deal that I don't think I've ever addressed.
I fall in line with the thinking that Omar Vizquel should be a hall of famer, eventually, for his glove work and longevity. The game isn't just about offensive numbers, even though he isn't totally lacking in that aspect.
I think it's no question that if Vizquel where to get in, he'd go in with a Tribe cap. Jim Thome, if that were to happen, I think would also have an Indians cap as his better years came with them and when you look at his career as a whole, He was with Cleveland forever, then he bounced around.
I always though Manny Ramirez would go in as a Red Sox, but now, if he even gets in, which seems to not be much of a lock as it used to be... I could see him WANTING to go in with a Tribe cap. But as we know, it isn't up to Manny Ramirez. He won two rings and had some phenomenal years for Boston, yet it didn't end in a great way, so I can see him having some animosity there. But again, it's not up to Manny.
I think those are the three that have the best chance going in that the Indians could get cap recognition for. As for retiring numbers. I'm not for that, unless they reach legendary AND rock star status. A few guys, like Kenny Lofton have that rock star status, but until he gets into the Hall of Fame (and it will be a tough road for Kenny), I don't think his number should be retired.
Jim Thome isn't much of a rock star anymore and I think most fans in Cleveland have some animosity towards Manny still, plus there's someone named Grady Sizemore wearing his number that I think people appreciate more than they do Manny.
That leaves Little O. I have no problem putting 13 up in the rafters and letting Asdrubal Cabrera continue on with the number and be the last Indian to wear it. Ideally, I'd like to see Cabrera match Omar's career and do some sort of tandem retirement for Cabrera and Vizquel.
But... That's all for discussion down the road, when Vizquel actually retires.
And I can't blame him... If I was a team on the brink of contention out there that needed an outfielder or DH, I'd be going after Jermaine Dye. I know teams like Seattle and Atlanta recently opted for cheaper options... But Dye's price keeps coming down.
The guy can still slug it if you ask me.
The Cubs went after Dye, which would have been perfect, but he felt three million was too low, so they gave that three million to a rehabbing Xavier Nady... Now Dye may get considerably less. That's bad economics on his part if you ask me. Slots are filling up, who's going to give you more money at this point?
Because of the fact that the Mike Brantley train is still rolling, I'm not sure how open the Indians would be to clogging things up with Jermaine Dye. I will say this... If they don't think Brantley is ready yet, I'd cut Austin Kearns immediately and instead of making him the stop-gap, I'd get Jermaine Dye on the cheap for the stop-gap. That is if he wanted to sign for cheap.
Pluto also brings up the Jonny Gomes name... I'm sorry but no. Bring him in on a minor league deal, which is probably all he will get this year, but there's people you offer jobs to and there's people you don't offer jobs to.
Circumstances dependent, I'd offer a job to Jermaine Dye... I wouldn't clog things up with Jonny Gomes or Austin Kearns. Which is why those guys get minor league deals and no more.
Same with Russell Branyan. The guy hit a lot of home runs last year, but his situation is different. He's going to get a major league deal, but he's a first baseman. We need a guy in case Matt LaPorta isn't ready, and in that case, you sign someone to a minor league deal who you can cut or bring up. Not someone who takes up a 40-man roster spot.
Terry did use this opportunity to talk about the AL Central pay-rolls. My numbers are going to look correct once I get the details up to date as they roll in, but $65 million sounds right. That will be the lowest in the Central, as even the freakin' Royals are bumping up salary. They're expected to be in the $80 million range!
So the interest in Branyan and Orlando Hudson continues to baffle me.
I really want to know if these sources exist. They offered him two years and ten million dollars? Now what?
Hudson was smart to take the one year deal because he just needs to establish himself and hope for the economy to be better next year (yeah same position he was in last year). Taking a two year deal with the Indians would be bad business.
I just refuse to take much stock in Rosenthal's sources. It doesn't make sense to me. It just doesn't make sense to me.
One last Pluto note: MarkGrudzielanek has been working out with third base coach Steve Smith and it appears he's healthy, which is good news for us in terms of looking for a utility guy. I still think Grudz is the best option for that as he's also a veteran with a dependable glove.
That's it for me... Don't expect to hear anything until Wednesday when I post the first part of the primer. I've got a paper, a class outline, some readings for three classes, and preparation for a presentation, all for Monday and Tuesday.. Plus today is the Super Bowl, which means I'm virtually going to do a few things today and put it all off for tomorrow, as always.
I've got the Colts, 35-30, but I'm also the genius that picked the Cowboys over the Chargers when the playoffs started, so I have no clue. Enjoy the last football game for awhile, but shift your focus to baseball come Monday, because damnit it's time.