Cut Bait and Bait Already CutI'm tired, I'm lazy, I have homework to complete this morning.
Yet we must not fall behind in the latest happenings in this land of the Tribe.
The main to-dos have a lot to do with the cuts the Indians made and the cuts that are likely to be made in the coming weeks. This is probably as active as the Indians will be this offseason, we might as handle it.
[THREE DOWN, HOW MORE TO GO?]
The Rule V Draft is an interesting part of the offseason, especially with the Indians because of all the players that we all think could get swiped. The reality is, there ends up not being a whole lot to swipe every year. Last year we lost Chuck Lofgren, gained Hector Ambriz. This year, we first look at what spaces we can clear up before we even look what we have to protect.
The Indians got themselves a head start when they outrighted Hector Ambriz and Chris Gimenez off the roster. They also outrighted Anthony Reyes and he now becomes a free agent if he clears waivers, free to sign with any team. He would have been arbitration eligible if he remained, but let's be real, he hasn't pitched in two years.
Also because Gimenez has been outrighted for the second time in his career, he can actually elect free agency if he clears waivers. Hector Ambriz remains the one guy definitely in the Indians control if he clears waivers.
Now the Indians kept Ambriz on their roster all year just so they could keep control of him, so why you ask would they do this after all that? Well the injury is going to keep him out all season, so it becomes pointless to clog your 40-man up with someone who isn't going to contribute to any team, let alone the major league team. Who is going to claim him? They have to go through the same thing you will, so this is really an extremely low-risk, like .001% risk move.
Gimenez is a gamer and I'm sure the Indians would love to keep him around because of his versatility and the depth he provides. But it no longer becomes up to them if he stays or not. If he isn't claimed, and he won't be, he can opt to go elsewhere.
Reyes on the other hand may owe it to the Indians to re-sign. After all the work they've put into him getting back, I would think Reyes, if unclaimed, and he likely will not be, would be inclined to re-sign with the Indians on a minor league deal.
So that clears up three spots, for now. Remember that Carlos Santana and Grady Sizemore are 60-Day DL guys that need their 40-man spots back, so in a way it only clears up one spot (and they're still over the limit since two of the guys they outrighted were on the 60-day DL). Where will the Indians clear up more space?
On Thursday, Tony at IPI put up a nice piece about all the potential cuts.
Basically, this is who is left in terms of that bubble.
C Luke Carlin, 1B Wes Hodges, 2B Luis Valbuena, 2B Drew Sutton, SS Carlos Rivero 3B Andy Marte, OF Shelley Duncan, OF Chad Huffman, RP Justin Germano, RP Jess Todd.
I'll go right ahead and say right now that Luke Carlin and Justin Germano are slam-dunk removals. That's two more spots. It would appear that Wes Hodges is as close to a slam dunk as you can get without being a slam dunk considering they already removed him once only to reacquired him after he was claimed by Colorado and they attempted to do what the Indians trying to do. I would also think that Carlos Rivero is just as close as gone as anyone who is a prospect who hasn't exactly produced.
So figure those two are gone too. Remarkably Drew Sutton seems to have some hope, like an Andy Marte, but I would think the Indians have enough utility garb flowing around to bother with that. The major questions surround Valbuena, Marte, Duncan, Huffman, and Todd.
Those are five names right there. Say you get rid of the five previously mentioned, you have only opened up four spots on the 40-man roster. Now I doubt the Indians add a free-agent, so it is likely that every space they clear up will be used to protect prospects. Are there really only four people you need to protect?
Probably not. But mainly you don't need all five of those guys on the roster. Chad Huffman is such an interesting twist because he was added so late. A team doesn't add someone like Huffman that late just for giggles. He was basically added when the Clippers won the championship, so there really was no point in bringing him in at that point. So he must be serving a greater purpose. Let's assume the Indians have a purpose and assume he's save.
I think Todd is someone they'll keep around and Valbuena sadly still has some sort of weird value to the front office, or at least it is thought he does. In a way, hope hasn't been given up.
That squarely for me leaves Shelley Duncan and Andy Marte. With all the third base problems, it would seem like Marte has some hope, even if the Indians are trying Nix at third this offseason. Sure the Indians could sign a million third baseman to minor league deals, but they could also sign a million Shelley Duncans. Hell Chad Huffman might be a Shelley Duncan.
So when it comes down to it, of those ten remaining names, I think you see five definitely axed where as with the other five, there are some questions and circumstances that are just not determinable because you don't know what the Indians are thinking.
Last week, we mulled over the sudden poaching of Charlie Nagy and Joel Skinner. This week, we look back at what they did and look forward to what to do. Considering it looks like that is all we'll lose this offseason in terms of coaches, those are two major spots that the Indians need to fill in their organization.
Atkins said Nagy had an impactful year as the C-Bus pitching coach and Castrovince goes on to say that internal candidates are the pitching coaches at Akron and Kinston, Greg Hibbard and Tony Arnold. IPI mentions Hibbard, assistant Jason Bere (think Tim Belcher pre-coaching job role), or Ruben Niebla. The later is currently on the big league staff as an assistant, but remember missed a portion of the season after hurting himself in the outfield.
As for the spot in Akron, we talked about it last week when discussing the idea that Sandy may leave, it looks like he's staying, so in turn Sarbaugh likely stays in Columbus, meaning there is just one spot to fill. Again it would seem like Fryman would be the first option if he wants it. After that, it is anyone's guess.
Last week the question in the Indians Inbox seemed to be who would play third base. This week it was second base. It's interesting because it seems like more of a question that I didn't think was under consideration. What if Nix doesn't work out at third? What if Jason Kipnis or Cord Phelps make it impossible in spring training to keep them off the roster?
Would the Indians even let that happen?
Or is it wrong for us to assume that this job is for Jason Donald and no one else?
Small notes... Cool thing happening in Columbus next spring. One of the Indians final exhibition games before the season next year will be against themselves, sort of. In what will likely be a fantastic treat for those in Columbus, the Indians will play the Clippers, or at least that is what we think we will be seeing, at Huntington Park. If anything it is nice for the Clippers fans to see some of the bigger names that the Indians have all at once.
Gregorio Rosario is gone. I know your hearts are broken over that news.
I do know that Jhonny Peralta expected to ink a two year deal also warms your heart. Instead of picking up that option for one year, the Tigers a ready to sign up for two years of the Jhonny Peralta experience. God bless their little hearts.
A few profiles worth reading. The first is on second round draft pick LeVon Washington. Castrovince catches up with Washington and he explains what it was going to take to get him to sign and a quote from Atkins on what the Indians like from instructional leagues.
The other is a long put-together piece by PD's Bill Lubinger on General Manager Chris Antonetti.
We learn that his favorite ballpark food is chicken fingers, get quotes from former GM's John Hart and Shapiro, legendary Georgetown coach John Thompson, Neal Huntington, and a elementary school friend.
Okay so that was all sidebar information that I read.. But the article goes into him almost taking an enticing offer from St. Louis after the 2007 season, how he met his wife through current farm guy Ross Atkins, his childhood as a Yankee fan (and most interestingly, a huge Don Mattingly fan), and his time as a student assistant to the Georgetown basketball team. It is a very long piece that goes into stuff beyond that, but ultimately not much is really discussed about this upcoming season. Give it a read if you want to learn more about the guy that is leading the charge into the future.
What can you expect this week on the site? I'm not sure, maybe a few updates. I'm working on the offseason board and as you can see the payroll chart is in the process of being updated. Maybe a few posts. I'm aiming to have an offseason plan article ready for TCF by the end of the week and will certainly lay out a plan for the blog within the next week or so. This stands to be a busy week for me class-wise though.
Hope you enjoyed all the recaps, the feathers, the all-daily team and all that. Furthermore, I promised to update on the BBA awards handed out. Josh Hamilton, Felix Hernandez, Rafael Soriano, Neftali Feliz, and Ron Washington won the AL Awards. Those were all the picks the Cleveland chapter made, outside of the Ron Washington pick, who we had second to Gardy in Minnesota.