11.28.2010

Comparing Adam Miller to Josh Hamilton for the Rule V Draft

I think it has become a goal of mine (even though I have no control over it what-so-ever) to see November end without a heavy snow or anything like that. Sure it has snowed, somewhat, but it hasn't exactly been Snow Days.

Which has apparently been a huge hit and that's a great thing. I mean, our freakin' manager was going down The Batterhorn on an inner tube!

Manny wasn't lying when he said he wanted to go down that thing. I'll say it again. Who knows if Mannny Acta is going to turn out to be a championship manager, but he is one hell of a championship guy. Which perfectly leads into this great piece by Castrovince on Acta and his ImpACTA Kids Foundation.

[A LOOK AT MILLER]

One hot topic of debate, at least around the minor league community is the probability of Adam Miller being selected by a team in the Rule V Draft next month.

I point to one blog entry from SBNation's Pirates blog, Bucs Dugout. I've never read Bucs Dugout, I don't know how knowledgeable they are, but just reading the part on Miller, they seem to have done their research. To that end, I think this is a good gauge in terms of the outside opinion on Miller, which is something I think we all need.

We tend to overvalue or over-think things with some of the talent that plays for our team and even undervalue or under-think in some situations as well. With Miller, it wouldn't be out of the realm of possibilities that everyone who thinks Miller is a sure-fire-lock to get selected in the draft is over-valuing Miller and not putting themselves in the position of an outside scout.

By no means is Bucs Dugout an outside scout, they are an outside look at Miller. I think the beginning of the section on Miller is the most telling in terms of how scouts and hardcore fans of other teams who know of him, view Miller.

"I have to admit that even writing about Miller creeps me out a little bit. A few years ago, he was one of the very best prospects in all of baseball. High school star from Texas, upper 90s fastball that sometimes hit triple digits, upper 80s atomic slider, above-average coachability and pitchability. He made BA's Top 100 prospect list five times... which is in and of itself a sign of trouble. I went to my bookshelf and got down my 2007 BA guide just for this entry, and looking back on his entry feels like stepping on a grave: 'His delivery is free and easy, so there's no reason his health should be an issue down the road...It's only a matter of time before Miller makes an impact in the major leagues.' "

It feels like stepping on a grave. Say that a gain.. It feels like stepping on a grave.

I shudder every time I read it. It is so true. Look at what BA said in 2007. Again 2007! That was the year this team went to the ALCS and even after that they were expected to only get stronger with the addition of their best prospect.

Not only has Miller's career gone downhill, the Indians have as well. Miller hasn't thrown a pitch, the Indians haven't been to the playoffs. They are brothers in misery.

If anything a big reason for perhaps the whole re-tooling deal could be a result of Miller never throwing a pitch. I'm not saying the whole thing is Miller's fault, but I can't help but think how things may have been different if Miller panned out and was able to team with CC Sabathia and Cliff Lee in the rotation.

Back to the reason I brought this up though.

The entry on Miller goes on to say that "word says" Miller is healthy again, further proving that no one has information on Miller's actual health status. Granted, scouts don't have the info, so why would a Pirates blog have any? The point is, the scouts can't get their hands on this information and it will really impact their ability to make call on if their team should take him in the draft.

The final question the author of this blog proposes sums it up. Can you pick a guy based on a hope, a rumor, AND a three-year-old memory? Can you? Has it been done before?

Remember the Cincinnati Reds picked Josh Hamilton based off a hope, a rumor, and a three-year-old memory. Well they actually traded for him after the Cubs had picked them (but they struck that deal based off the fact that the Reds wanted him), but they got Hamilton after a three year absence from baseball.

The situations are completely different, but in a way they are similar. The differences set them a part just enough that you can't definitively say if someone picks Miller, it won't be in the same vein that the Reds took Hamilton.

But it is interesting to consider. Hamilton was out of baseball from 2004 to 2006. He wasn't injured, he was troubled. He wasn't a pitcher, he was a highly talented outfielder.

Now did Hamilton have a fantastic year? No, but he showed promise and he was valuable enough to remain on the roster the entire year. More than anything the Reds were not really in contention so they had no reason to give up on him. In the end the Reds traded Hamilton to the Rangers and got quite a pitcher in return for him, so in the end, the deal worked out for them.

Who is to stop a team like a Pittsburgh, who probably won't contend this season, from taking a chance on that hope, rumor, and three year old memory?

Especially after they've let now former-potential Indians target Zach Duke go in a trade to Arizona, the Pirates could be open to adding pitchers to their 40-man roster, which currently stands at... 40. They would have to clear space, but so would most teams in the Pirates position.

The Pirates are just an example (and a convenient one at that considering their GM used to work for the Indians, that hasn't resulted in much these past few years, but you can't forget it) but any team could like the Pirates could take him.

We'll definitely re-visit this closer to Rule V time, but it is an interesting aspect to think about. Hamilton was more than Miller was in terms of a prospect and that is saying something considering Miller was the top prospect in the Indians system for years. The problem with Miller isn't the same as Hamilton though. Any team could believe they can help a guy in his battle with drug and alcohol addiction (especially if they bought into the rumors that he had put that part of his life to rest) but no team can believe they can help a guy recover from a career-threatening finger injury to his throwing hand.

Unless of course you are the guy that built Inspector Gadget or the Bionic Man.


[RANDOM RUNDOWN]

There is a reason I continually refuse to acknowledge Hey Hoynsie week after week. It doesn't have so much to do with Hoynes as it does the ridiculous questions people continue to ask him. The first two in the latest edition prove my point.

Do we even have to go into the Hafner thing again? I mean this is like a constant thing. Blah Blah Blah, Hafner sucks and his contract sucks worse. WE KNOW! What we didn't know is that he'd get injured after he signed that contract. No one did, so why does this continue to be an issue?

Move on people. Just move on.

And then as if it was a coincidence that they put this question right after the last one, someone brings up the quote Paul Dolan made about spending money. Which is valid, I will admit. But adding on this bit of opinion makes you just like all the other fans that e-mail in to voice your displeasure with the Dolan family.

"I believe if the Dolan family spend money on good free agents they will make more money on their return because fans will support the team at the gate."

Now I'm not going to call the "Benny" the guy who asked this question a hypocrite or anything because I don't know him. Hell, he may very well stay true to that word and support the team more if they do spend money on free agents.

But that is hogwash for 95% of the fans who say that and we've been over this countless times before. And to Hoynes' credit (I do give him credit when credit is due, I'm not a monster) he pointed out the fact that in 2005 when the Indians won 93 games, they still ranked 24th in attendance and the year after they fell another spot to 25th. Ditto that pattern in 2007 and 2008 when they fell a spot after ranking 21st.

Speaking of annoying questions... I covered this very issue in my latest (and first in a few weeks) piece on TCF. With the semester coming to an end, expect more stuff on TCF from me.

And with the thought of those Dolan comments in mind. Both Tony Lastoria and Paul Cousineau had it best in regards to the Dolan comments. Was he right? OF COURSE he was right... But should he have said it that way, if that, at all? No he did not.

Also worth noting from Tony's TRIBE Happenings is the mention of Austin Kearns. Lastoria says it is believed Kearns will get nothing more than a minor league deal, which as we know by now is the Indians budget in signing players.

Kearns now lives in Cleveland, fills a desired need for the club and is a veteran that from all indications liked his time with the Indians last year. Keep an eye out on that.

Tony also has tweeted that Nick Weglarz and Josh Judy are done with their winter league stints with Weglarz playing in just four games. Yeah that wasn't the plan. Weglarz had a collision in the field and suffered a back injury. Precautionary measures have the Indians simply shutting him down from winter league play. Judy meanwhile was simply done with 12 games under his belt and five saves.

In other winter league news, Asdrubal Cabrera made his Caracas debut in Venezuela. He played in a double header and had one hit in six at-bats. He DHed in the second game.

The AFL is over, so there isn't much other than these Winter Leagues going on. But we've got winter meetings and the Rule V coming up, so there will be some stuff to talk about. Thankfully.

11.24.2010

Victor Martinez Paid His Stripes

I have to give credit where credit is due to WFNY's Jon Steiner for this tweet.

Before I even saw it though, I thought the same thing. Jon just put it into words in a far better way that I could have. Interesting how the day after Choo gets his military reprieve, South Korea gets attacked.

Let's get down to business, not that there is much of it. Which is why we are going rando most of the way.

[V-TIG]

Why not start with the news that has absolutely nothing to do with the Cleveland Indians, unless you count the fact that the player Detroit signed, ya know, was brought up through this system.

The De-twa Tigers will give Victor Martinez $50 million dollars over the next four season to play, catcher? First Base? Designated Hitter?

EH? We all know Martinez's numbers best translate when he's behind the plate, not to mention the Tigers have a MVP caliber hitter at first who will probably need a bunch of time at designated hitter because he is...well large.

Not to mention you have Carlos Guillen who is the DH every year, only to get moved to a new position on the diamond, one he hasn't played before.

And who is the catching tandem in Detroit right now? Alex Avila and Wide-Eyes Gerald Laird?

This is the team that played Jhonny Peralta at third until Brandon Inge came back, then moved him back to his lovable position of short. Who knows where he is going to play, but for the first few years of the deal, at least next year, it pays to be a good signing.

Its beyond next season that you start to worry about a catcher who is already 31-years-old. I think the Red Sox were right in line with a three year deal worth 36 million. More-so for the length more than anything.

But we are talking about the Detroit Tigers and the Boston Red Sox, teams who love to spend the cash.

It will be weird seeing Martinez 18 times a year in that ugly uniform, but I think in the long run, it may hurt the Tigers, which is certainly a boon for the Indians.


[RANDOM RUNDOWN]

Al Ciammaichella of IPI has a great wrap up for the Arizona Fall League, which ended with Mike Sarbaugh's Peoria Javelinas falling 3-2 to Scottsdale in the AFL title game. Guess not EVERYTHING Sarby touches turns to gold, but silver as a backup isn't bad.


Cord Phelps had a good game and has been playing third, making him more of a legitimate option at the spot now than he was a month ago.

It is a sad day for lovers of Jose Constanza, which is just about anyone who's heard of the guy. Constanza exercised his minor league free agent rights to sign with a new team, the Atlanta Braves. It's a shame because I personally love Constanza. Granted we have never seen him at the major league level, but I've seen Trevor Crowe and quite frankly, I've seen enough. With Zeke Carrera (pretty much the same skill-set) on the 40-man and the glut of other outfielders, it was going to be tough for him to break through here.

Best of luck to Jose with the Braves. In one light you hope he makes it, but in another light, you would be entirely angry with the Indians if he does.

Naturally, after one annoying question gets answered, another one has to be prevalent. Such is the main question in the second to last edition of Anthony Castrovince's version of the Indians Inbox. The question is one of our favorite's from last season. Will Justin Masterson be moved to the pen?

Oh for the love of Christmas still being a month away.

I'm going to be putting up a piece on The Cleveland Fan rather soon in regards to some of these "questions." It will be a joy. Meanwhile as noted earlier, the Indians were officially notified from the Korean Baseball Office that Shin-Soo Choo has received military exemption. Go to bed, that's one question I'll be glad to never hear again.

Bartolo Colon's name came up in the Inbox. Then Manny Ramirez's did. Is this 2000? I'm 11 again? Please I thought that phase of my life was over.

Moving swiftly along, I received an invite to attend the Media Olympics yesterday as the Indians officially unveiled Snow Days for first time use. Snopening Day is not until Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, but there was a sneak peak on Tuesday. I had something we call second to last week (or in to appease Castrovince, the penultimate week) of classes, which means I'm about ready to pull my hair out. So far it sounds like a hit, but I haven't even busted out the winter coat and its almost December. I'm holding out hope I can spend at least next Wednesday without the bitter temperatures.

Finally, behind baseball, at least for me, is college football. And this weekend is one of the greatest weekends in all of sports. It is pretty much rivalry weekend up and down with the Big Ten doing the right thing and moving their last game of the season back a week. Ohio State and Michigan join the likes of other rivalries to truly form an all-out rivalry weekend.

If you have read this blog in the past, or know me in anyway, you know which side of the ledger I fall on in this rivalry. And in the interest of my side being uncompetitive in this "rivalry" the past few years, I will provide no trash talk what so ever.

But, Zach Putnam, former Mascot, falls on my side. Actually, I fall on his side since he not only grew up a fan, lives in Ann Arbor, is from Michigan and oh yeah, went to the school. IPI has a great piece up on Putnam recapping the past season, but also talks about his unique position as Michigan Man in an Ohio system.

Oh what the hell.. O-H... N-O!!! Go Blue.

Please don't murder them this weekend. :(

Stay cool Tribe fans and have a Happy Thanksgiving. Eat lots of turkey and stay up with things on the old Twitter.

11.20.2010

The Golden Choo; Indians Protect Five

Homework cannot stand in my way right now, even though it is something I probably should get crackin' on.

But we have a lot to talk about here! So, skipping the theatrics.


[AND THE FIVE ARE...]

The moment of truth has finally arrived and we've finally learned who the Indians decided to protect with their five free roster spots.

For one, they didn't surprise us and only add four, but they used all open spots. Like we thought, they added four pitchers and a position player... But they did surprise.

I had a feeling I would be wrong when Tony Lastoria was getting word about a surprise pick, however I thought that would probably be Josh Rodriguez as I think a lot of people thought Jared Goedert would be the pick.

BUT the surprise was actually Zach McAllister.

Joining Goedert and McAllister were the obvious ones, Corey Kluber, Nick Hagadone, and Josh Judy.

So did it come down to Godert Vs Rodriguez and McAllister vs Adam Miller?

No, according to Lastoria it came down to McAllister Vs Not-Rostering and Goedert was a pick all along.

I can't say I'm outraged or confused or anything about McAllister over Miller. In the end I believe the Indians did their homework and they have their instincts on what they have to do in this situation. They want to protect their trade acquisition in McAllister and that is understandable.

But what about protecting the years of effort and work that I've been talking about? Who really knows, that's the thing. Do we know everything there is to know about Adam Miller? I don't think so. The Indians probably know something that we don't about Miller and that is leading them to not roster him.

Does that mean he wouldn't get selected in next month's Rule V draft? No, not at all, but they must believe in something.

As for Goedert getting the spot. Look I thought not rostering him in September said something, but I guess they really just didn't want to extend his season. They must really value Goedert and you know what, don't think the fact they have few third base options does not factor into this. I didn't think it would happen, but does that mean it doesn't make sense? Of course not.

Goedert could very well have been picked just as he was rostered, so the Indians are keeping their options around just in case.

What about Rodriguez? I'm not sure, he has versatility that any club would love. But other teams may have a Josh Rodriguez of their own. I think there is a chance he gets picked, but I think Adam Miller has more of a chance.

In the end, position players are selected less than pitchers, but if there was an infielder to get taken, one who can play multiple positions like Rodriguez would certainly be one who teams would look at.

In the end, Antonetti gave us the usual Shapiroese on the issue.

"There were certainly more than five guys that were deserving to be added to the roster, but this is the group we ultimately settled on and feel good that they all have the chance to be good Major League players for us." 

Remember this though. At this point teams have to take these players on and keep them on their roster all year. Players can get returned before the season even starts. We'll explore other aspects closer to the draft, but for right now, I really have no issue with the picks. I would have picked Miller over McAllister, but again, the Indians must know something.

Oh and as for not leaving a spot open. i want to throw in that Lastoria said the Indians expect an addition or two, so a roster spot will be needed. I think Justin Germano is the definition of roster fodder and I'm completely surprised to see him still even around. I think he's option one, two and three if the Indians do need to add someone. I think they made the right choice in protecting five players.

[CHOO GOES GOLD]

Done, over, finished, thank you, enough, thanks for coming.

Kiss the military questions goodbye. Shin-Soo Choo was sick of them, Mark Shapiro and the Indians were sick of them, I'm sure even the media (outside of Paul Hoynes maybe) was sick of them and I most certainly know I was sick of them.

With South Korea's gold medal victory yesterday, Shin-Soo Choo has seemingly gained the military exemption he's been seeking. The Indians have yet to hear from the Korean government, but it was assumed that they already told the players they would honor the idea of an exemption if they took home the gold in the Asian Games this year.

"We have not received official word from the K.B.O. that he's been granted a military exemption," Antonetti said. "But, based upon our understanding prior to the Asian Games, as well as past precedent, it's our understanding that Choo's military obligation will be waived." 

Two things have to be running through Choo's mind. The idea of representing his country, but more pressing, the idea of continuing his dream of playing in Major League Baseball.

"I am kind of dreaming right now," Choo told Korean reporters. "Honestly, if [I told you] I didn't think about the military service, I might be a liar. But it wasn't the primary reason to join in national team. I love baseball, and whenever I put the national flag on the shoulder, I am really proud of my nation and myself. That's why I want to play [for] this team. I am representing all the Korean baseball players." 

I think Choo pretty much nailed it. He is prideful to play for his native land, but this has been several years of pressure building up, how could he not think about that military thing?

And how about how he performed under those circumstances? I know Choo is the only major leaguer that was playing and Korea pretty much dominated all five games they played, but Choo might have been playing like a man possessed. A man on a mission. over .500 average, three homers in five games. Knocked in 11 runs and scored eight times?

That's rising to the occasion, regardless of what level of baseball you are playing on. And I think this was a decent stage. Choo has a lot to be proud of and now he can finally put this all to rest.


[RANDOM RUNDOWN]

First things first, I recorded the first podcast for the blog yesterday. You can listen to it here. I've added a button on the side and I'll make it known next time I'm doing one. The timing was right. I'm on the verge of losing my voice, so it did not go as I had planned, but it was the first one. I'll get things ironed out and we'll be better next time out. As I said on the podcast, I don't plan it to be a frequent thing in the offseason, maybe once every few weeks or so, or depending on what is going on. But that kind of is the plan, to have no plan. At least in the offseason. There is definitely no set schedule.

Chris Antonetti had an update on Carlos Santana and Grady Sizemore. He said both are on track, Sizemore though is being cared for more delicately due to the microfracture surgery. Both are expected to be on track for opening day, but I think we are still ways out in terms of getting a good grasp on how they'll be for Spring Training. They're both going to get into baseball activities in January, if things continue to go as planned.

New beat report Jordan Bastian has wasted no time getting in on the action. I know "Notes and Quotes" is not the most original thing in the world (and something I will change next year, because I always do that), but it now doubles as the name of Bastian's rundown feature and our in-season run down feature as well.

Castrovince also gave us the return of Excruciating Minutiae, the GM meeting edition.

How great is it to now have two capable sets of hands following the Tribe instead of having to rely on one?

Bastian gave a nice little rundown of things going on lately, but not anything not covered in one of the larger stories. One interesting quote he did post was from Antonetti on the idea of adding depth at catcher and outfield (the right-handed hitting variety).

Castrovince recounts his journey to Orlando where he sat near Eric Wedge and the news that Manny Acta had jury duty last week.

Finally, I know everyone is going to be rushing out to get their opening day tickets on Monday. I'm sure a good portion will actually do just that, but it is sad that it probably won't be as big of a deal as it has been in the past.

11.15.2010

Kouzin Offseason; Korea, Choo take steps towards Gold Medal

I think... I think I'm going to go crazy. If I get through this week, I pretty much get through the semester. I have four, count 'em, four group projects this semester. In a way, it is nice because I don't have a single final exam (I did, but I already took them) but man are group projects agonizing. I also have a feature series due next Monday in my feature writing class. That is the big one there.

So now that I shared some irrelevant information with you, I might as well share some relevant information as well, considering that irrelevant information will probably prevent me from sharing more relevant information the rest of the week. See I had a point!

[THE KOUZ?]

How he thinks of these things, I'll never know, but Paul Cousineau of The DiaTribe added an interesting name to the third base mix that I had not thought of... Kevin Kouzmanoff

Now keep in mind, Kouzmanoff is not a free agent, but no one is untouchable when they play for the Oakland Athletics and Kouz's OBP doesn't exactly fit the Billy Beane mold. What he does do really well is flash the leather (who would have thought?) and that is something the Tribe desperately needs.

So in that instance, the whole poor OBP thing may work in the Indians favor. If Kouzmanoff were to be available (in a trade, or as a non-tendered free agent, more on that in a second) he could come to the Tribe at a manageable price. Read: Cheap.

Now when Paul posted this idea, it was before the Athletics even acquired former Red and Blue Jay Edwin Encarnacion on waivers. I think it becomes even more apparent now that Kouzmanoff could be available. The question now becomes, what is his price? We know it would be cheap, but what kind of cheap?

I will say this. If the Tribe were to attempt a trade this offseason for a third baseman, this is the only guy I could conceivably see them dealing for and this is the only team I could see them dealing with. Terry Pluto makes note that the Indians feel as if they have strong depth in the system at the middle infield and relief pitching positions. I'm not sure if there is anything enticing there for the Athletics, but if the price is a reliever like Zach Putnam, Rob Bryson, or Bryce Stowell, I would pass. I think it goes without saying Jason Kipnis is also a pass. If it was anyone else, I think I'd listen.

Then again, those three and Kipnis are probably the Tribe's most attractive chips at those areas and it would probably take one of those four to get any sort of a deal started.

With that in mind, I'll add Kouzmanoff to the offseason chart and we'll proceed with a watchful eye in Oakland to see if there is any movement. I'd be interested to see what kind of price tag Kouzmanoff would command on the open market as a non-tender, considering he does provide good defense, but last year his numbers offensively were a bit of a disappointment.

Poor OBP and average aside, he hit 16 home runs with his home ballpark being that piece of crud in Oakland. Remember as well that this is a guy who's hit 18 home runs in three season in which his ballpark was PETCO, a hitters nightmare, and has knocked in at least 70 runs in each season since being traded from Cleveland. That wouldn't be a bad guy to stick at the bottom of your lineup, especially if he can play great defense and really help out this pitching staff.

It's funny, the Indians traded Kouzmanoff to San Diego for Josh Barfield (who remarkably ended back up with San Diego, so why shouldn't Kouz end up back here?) with part of the reason being his durability. Guy has been pretty durable in his major league career, notching 140 games for the past four years.

I've also added Nick Punto to the list, as I wasn't aware he was a free agent, but he'd be a good fit too. Great defender. If you wanna say Kevin Kouzmanoff doesn't have much of a bat (which is far-fetched) then Nick Punto swings a toothpick.

And finally I received an interesting e-mail from a TCF reader in response to my offseason preview article. He suggested that we play Carlos Santana at third instead of first. The Indians will be putting Santana at first when he isn't catching to keep his bat in the lineup and also preserve Santana for the long-haul. Makes sense. But Santana did come up as a third baseman, so he already knows the third base position. Why not make that his backup spot?

It is a good thought and there is a lot to like about the idea seeing as he has played third before, a lot more than he's played first. But that overall doesn't solve the issue of who's going to be starting there a majority of the time. Santana's numbers are better when he's making a majority of his starts behind the plate, that is a given, and even then his numbers probably look better backing up at third. But who's going to make the rest of those starts there? The Indians still need someone to play third base regularly and play good defense.

[RANDOM RUNDOWN]

Couple of randos for you about actual baseball action. Shin-Soo Choo had quite the first game for Korea in their win over defending Gold Medal winners Chinese Taipei. Choo blasted a pair of two-run home runs as his native land won 6-1. Choo's team wasn't done as Korea clobbered Hong Kong, China 15-0 yesterday. Choo doubled and knocked in a pair.

If Choo's Korea team wins the gold medal, he won't have to serve his mandatory two year stint in the military. Korea plays their final game of pool play against Pakistan on Tuesday. The semi-final game would be Thursday and if Korea makes it, the gold medal game will be played the next day on Friday.

Of course, all the CPD cares about is a contract extension.

Mike Sarbaugh's Peoria Javelinas are atop the West division at 18-8 and Jason Kipnis is starting to really heat up. He was off to a dismal start in terms of hitting and when he did hit, it happened to be a run producing hit. Now he's just hitting everything in site. On Saturday he went 4-for-4 with three doubles and three RBI. the day before that he had two more doubles and the day before that he doubled and knocked in two. He's had four straight multi-hit games and he leads the team with 18 RBI.

The man Sarby replaced in Columbus has finally got a major league job. Torey Lovullo went from Boston's Triple-A squad to Toronto as he followed John Farrell. That makes a whole lot of sense with those guys being in the Tribe system a few years ago and then Boston last year. It will be interesting to see if there is and Indians connection there now. This now puts a lot of the guys that were in it for the Indians job last year in major league uniforms. Acta of course, Lovullo in Toronto, Don Mattingly as the guy in LA, and Roenicke was hired by Milwaukee. And of course, the guy they wanted, Farrell is now the guy in Toronto. It just goes to show you that a lot of the guys the Indians zeroed in on were hot commodities, hopefully they got it right.

Speaking of former Padre players and PETCO Park... One of this blog's favorite relievers of all time, Edward Mujica, was dealt to Florida the other day with another reliever for Cameron Maybin. The unlinked part of that statement is not true. I've never heard of Ryan Webb, but he better be pretty damn good. Then again Maybin is sort of a fallen prospect and has never lived up to the hype, so, there ya go there. I'm convinced Mujica benefited from San Diego's spacious PETCO Park, but certainly things didn't work out in Cleveland as well as they could have.

I will never apologize for creating the Mujica Meter though. That was one of my finest moments.

Oh and I'm not even going to dignify the Manny Ramirez story with more than this statement that scoffs at the idea of even talking about it further.

Probably won't see another post until the roster deadline approaches this Friday. Enjoy your week, I know I won't.

Speaking of deadlines... The Indians activated Grady Sizemore and Carlos Santana off the disabled list, officially adding them to the 40-man roster and putting the number at 35. Thank you department of finally official, but we knew all along.

11.12.2010

95 Days To Go

What is this weather?

Seriously, with this weather, let's fire things up and play a few games! Why waste it? Of course this would be the year we have two teams in the World Series that don't play on the east coast and this weather is a waste.

This weather has given me a late opportunity to give one last car washing before the cold sets in, snow starts falling and my white car becomes ultra-filthy.

There's some soccer being played tonight in Akron though, the first round of the MAC tournament, the last few tuneups for the Akron Zips before they begin their journey to the College Cup.

Might as well take advantage of the weather with some outdoor sporting events, right?

RIGHT!

[CACTUS LEAGUE SCHEDULE]

The Indians have announced their 2011 Cactus League schedule and we now have a solid date for the most glorious day of the baseball offseason.

The day it ends, February 15th, when Pitchers and Catchers report! 95 days from now! That doesn't seem all that long really. It's double digits now and 2010 is coming to a close. Before you know it, things will be here.

The first game will be on February 27th against the Reds, as we should start to be accustomed to for now and the future. They'll get three straight games at Goodyear after two contests against Cincinnati and then a visit from the Dodgers. Their first road game is in Phoenix against the Athletics.

They'll total 18 of their 30 games in Goodyear.

They won't be traveling anywhere like they did last year when they went to Dodgers Stadium to face Los Angeles in an exhibition game. They're little road trip will be that game we made mention of a few weeks ago with themselves, or I should say, the Columbus Clippers.The Wednesday before the season starts, the exhibition season ends in Columbus. It gives them a day off and then the season starts on Friday

They have a game against Cincinnati in Goodyear a day before, but you have to imagine they'll probably fill it with guys who won't participate in the Clippers game and if someone does play in that game against the Reds, they probably won't play the next day in Columbus.

The first full-squad workout by the by is February 20th, a few days after everyone is supposed to report.

[KINSTON REVEALS NEW LOGO]

I covered the new road jersey and uniform changes earlier this week. We know the Captains redid their stuff and all we had left was the Kinston logo reveal.

Well, Kinston didn't change a whole lot. If anything they did what you could tell they were trying to do for a little bit of time now. They incorporated the feather a lot more.

Of course the new logo set means new hats and uniforms. But for the most part it is the Kinston look we are used to.

Here is a link to the new uniform combos.

The home jersey is white with script Indians over a bat and the newer feathered K logo on the navy blue cap. The road jersey is gray with the newer script Kinston over a bat and the newer K logo on the navy blue cap. They'll also sport a blue alternate jersey with that same K logo on the upper left side of the jersey. They'll use the home cap with the newer feathered K logo.

That newer feather they've been using is staying as their batting cap and I think they will keep that red alternate hat around in some capacity. The one with the I and the feather, the one I actually purchased. That one is awesome in my opinion.


[RANDOM RUNDOWN]

Castrovince has a piece up on Jayson Nix and his preparation for playing third base in Puerto Rico. The next 95 days should really roll for Nix considering he'll get half the break everyone else does.

Looks like they've finally got to the bottom of things with that whole Grady Sizemore Vanessa Hudgens moment. A 19-year-old from Minnesota has been charged in the stolen Grady Sizemore nudie picture case. I'm not really sure how it ends up being a girl from Minnesota, but let's not be shocked it was a girl who stole the pictures. Kind of scary that they knew this girl viewed Brittany Binger's Facebook and Twitter accounts. Guess you shouldn't go hacking e-mail accounts though.

Paul Hoynes was a little late to the party on this one.

More importantly though, we are more focused on the November 19th roster deadline that is a week away. Tony Lastoria made his Rule V protection predictions and they pretty much mirror what I said, giving me ultra confidence in what I originally said. naturally. The one surprising thing to me though is the fact that he named Corey Kluber as a lock but he brings up a good point. The Indians aren't going to specifically mention Kluber in their season ticketholder letter and risk losing him. Anyway, Tony pegs Hagadone, Kluber, Judy and picks Rodriguez over Goedert for the same reason I did, versatility. He does name Adam Miller as more of a wild card and says they could go with McAllister or Goedert instead. Ultimately I think those two are the only other names worth rostering, so if anything, they have five spots for seven legit players, so it won't be much of a heartbreaking process.

Hey real quick, don't look now but Jason Kipnis is heating up. He's now got 3 home runs and 14 RBI, the most of any Indian participating in the AZL. Cord Phelps is still hot, with a .487 OBP.

Oh the offseason board is up, go check it out. I'll start breaking it down soon, but really we'll wait until there is some lapse in news.

11.09.2010

New Road Jerseys and Unfiorm Combos

Yesterday the Indians showed off their uniform changes. We were aware something was in the works, but I don't think anyone expected totally new road jerseys.


The regular home whites with red brimmed Chief Wahoo cap will continue to be used for home games Monday through Friday. The cream home alternates will still be used on Saturday and Sunday home games, as well as special occasions (opening day, fourth of July, etc.).

But the creamies are getting a new hat. The navy hat with red block C isn't going away, but rather moving to the new road jersey that is based off the current home creams. The creamies are now getting a red hat with navy blue block C and I must say it looks rather cool.

The new road jersey is in the style of the home alternate with block lettering CLEVELAND across the front. The Indians are keeping around their blue road alternate and moving the all-blue Chief Wahoo cap (the old road hat) to being paired with that blue jersey.

At least they are keeping two of the script Indians jerseys, I still like those. I like the new road one too and I think the Indians have found a good balance. Sure that's four different combos, but they aren't Oregon or anything.

This is an interesting conversation to me because a lot of people believe the Indians are TRYING to phase out Chief Wahoo. They thought that when the Script I was starting to take over with a hat and the prominence it was given at the stadium and what not. But the Script I no longer has a hat. Are they trying to phase out Chief Wahoo? No, I think they're just trying to change it up and this whole retro style has gained in popularity around the game.

So they're going with a little more of the Block C. With Shapiro in at president, I think he's behind this initiative. The block C is the main logo on their 2011 pocket schedules. So it's kind of like the momentum the Script I had a few years ago.

You will notice though, that Chief Wahoo is on the sleeves of all four jerseys. So if they are trying to phase him out, they're doing a horrible job of that.

As for the hats... I know some people may not be a fan of the red hat, but I am. It will be the first time since 1970 that the Indians will wear a red hat. I have a red K-Tribe hat though (they too are changing things up) and I'm quite fond of the all-red. It's definitely going to be on my list to get.

I'm more curious as to why they switched. I know the red stars and stripes hat they wore a few years ago worked well with the creamies, so that makes sense. But I think in an effort to give that navy block C hat more time, they paired it with the road jerseys. Again, it goes back to having that balance.

The Captains have a new look, the Indians are changing things up, and the K-Tribe is getting some new changes. Who said the offseason wasn't going to be interesting?

11.07.2010

The Roster Shake-Out: Arbitration, Super Two's, and Andy Marte

I woke up and looked at my clock and it said 9:01...

Then I remembered instantly that it wasn't 9:01, but actually 8:01. My cellphone confirmed this.

I've never been more thankful for that extra hour. I got my required sleep and I get an extra hour to complete tasks. That is fantastic since I have multiple tasks to complete today.

I sound odd saying "tasks" don't I?

The coinciding of daylight savings time (does it end or begin? does it even matter? I just know fall back, spring forward) and the MLB Free Agency season is quite interesting. It gives teams an extra hour to negotiate with free agents, which they can now do as of last night. What did those agents and general managers do last night when the clocks changed? I always wondered what it would be like to be awake during this change. Does the universe temporarily explode? Do people just change the clock back at 2 and then wait for 2 again?

How can they be sure its actually the first time it is 2 AM and who's to say someone doesn't keep changing the clock back to 1 AM?

Now that I've rambled on, let's talk about the Indians, because I'm pretty sure that's what we still do here.


[SAVE THE DATE]

Today is the first official day of free agency, but that matters absolutely none to us here in Cleveland, so let's recap a few more relevant dates.

November 16th - This is the first day of the General Manager meetings in Orlando. Don't confuse this with the Winter Meetings, but when you put a bunch of GMs together, who knows.

November 20th - Date teams must protect players for the Rule V Draft.

December 2nd - This is the deadline for teams to offer contracts to arbitration eligible players. We have plenty of those.

December 6th - This is the first day of the Winter Meetings, where everyone is gathering in Florida to go hog wild and sign and trade and do all sorts of stuff. It isn't so important to us, other than the fact the final day was used to conduct the Rule V Draft. There was some talk that the recent MLBPA and MLB changes to the offseason (mainly moving dates up) was going to change this, but as far as I can tell, its still the final day of the Winter Meetings.

And really, that's all we need to be concerned with right now, yes?


[ROSTER SHAKING OUT]

It would appear that the Indians have cleared all the space they are going to clear for the aforementioned Rule V Draft. I expected five spots, because I expected five players to be added. Long story short, I see: Josh Rodriguez, Adam Miller, Josh Judy, Corey Kluber, and Nick Hagadone. My offseeason plan on TCF will be up soon and I'll cover all of that.

I'm shocked the Indians actually pulled the plug on Andy Marte. Quite frankly, I'm not going to defend keeping Marte, but rather ask this question.

Are we really valuing Justin Germano more than Andy Marte?

Now this doesn't signal the end of Andy Marte in Cleveland (it does) but for the fact that they don't have a third baseman, is Justin Germano really needed to be kept over Marte?

I understand we are arguing over peanuts and pecans, but really? I'd rather use Marte as the guy we have to get rid of because we've made a roster addition, not Germano. Germano is easily replaceable. So is Marte, but Marte at least plays a position we need.

Because Marte was outrighted at the beginning of LAST season, now that he's been outrighted a second time he is eligible to become a free agent. Ditto with Chris Gimenez. It would not shock me to see him go elsewhere, especially since he's searching for a fresh start, even if there is opportunity here.

The Indians also outrighted Chad Huffman, Wes Hodges, Carlos Rivero, and Drew Sutton this week. Sutton is a free agent with Marte, Gimenez, Anthony Reyes, and Luke Carlin.

Hodges and Huffman are safely with Columbus.

And Carlos Rivero is a member of the Philadelphia Phillies. Say whaaaaat?

The Phillies claimed Rivero, making him the one cut the Indians made that didn't survive the waiver process. In fact, the Phillies were one of the last teams on the order, so he was a mere few teams away from making it through.

This puts us at 35 with the impending additions of Carlos Santana and Grady Sizemore to the 40-man roster, so that leaves five spots to fill. I gave you those five names I thought.

Good news is that it was initially expected that Rob Bryson would be eligible for the draft and therefore likely to be added. But a CBA change has allowed Bryson an extra year because he was a draft and follow signee in May of 2007, rather than being signed in 2006, the year he was drafted.


[I'M THINKING ARBY]

Horrible... That's something ESPN's front page would do, clever play words. Har Har.

Anyway there is a lot of arbitration players this year, something I mentioned earlier.

Two have actually qualified for Super Two status.

As we knew, Shin-Soo Choo and Asdrubal Cabrera have reached arbitration, no surprise there as they are likely the two most expensive players the Indians will have outside of their signed players (Hafner, Sizemore, Carmona). Joe Smith is also eligible for arbitration for the first time.

Rafael Perez will be eligible for the second year and he'll be joined by relievers Jensen Lewis and Chris Perez, who are eligible for Super Two status.

I was actually under the impression Perez was going to be eligible this year anyway (miscalculation of the numbers?), so in a way this is a surprise, but a semi-good surprise in that we have him under control for four more years rather than just three. But we have to pay him more for those four years.

Lewis is a surprise but both were in the top 17 percent of players in major league service time between 2-3 years of service.

This could make the process of Lewis being jettisoned easier. Sure he won't require a higher salary, but are the Indians going to want to pay Lewis a salary that is above the minimum considering they may end up cutting him?

If you ask me, Lewis is a prime candidate to be traded if there is a club out there looking for someone like him. You won't get much, but perhaps he could be a part of a package if the Indians want to jump in a a deal a-la Gutierrez-Joe Smith deal like a few years ago.


[THE NEW CAPTAIN]

I'm pissed.

I bought that cool looking dark gray fitted hat with the Captain and his little telescope thing and the LC on it. Bad...Ass...

But the Captains have unveiled a new "identity."

In other words, my hat is outdated AND on top of it all, the new "identity" is even more bad ass than the old one.

Not to mention, Kinston will be unveiling their new look this week. Still that bad-ass red hat with the I and the feather will never be outdated, because its an alternate and it rocks.

The Captains have a new set of logos and a slight color scheme tweak. That means new jerseys and hats and the whole thing.

"We feel the new logo and color scheme provides us not only with a great updated image that will be popular in our community, but it also honors the local nautical theme by which our team is named for."

Traditional whites will be the home uniforms and traditional grays on the road. Captains will be on the home jerseys and Lake County on the road ones. They will have one primary hat with their new C light-house logo but they'll also sport an alternate hat with a bad-assed mustached captain logo and a yellow brim. They also have blue batting practice jersey's with an alternate C Logo and a batting practice cap with the same logo.

You can check out the new logos and colors, here.

You can purchase new Captains gear at the Cargo Hold and as soon as I start working again this winter, 25 bucks is going aside for that new bad-ass hat.

[RANDOM RUNDOWN]

A few links to clean up with here. With Free Agency starting today, all 30-teams have their offseason primers up on MLB.com and AC has the goods with the Indians.

I'm in the process of putting together of our version and my TCF thing, so it may be a slow week, especially since I'm getting pounded with school work and I'm in the process of putting together stuff for an internship opportunity. The board is just about ready to go though.

Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com has an organizational review up and he names Jason Kipnis and Matt Packer the organization's postseason selections for players of the year.

Speaking of Kipnis, Tony Lastoria has a new piece up on Kipnis on IPI and Kipnis has been updating his AFL blog, so check both out. In his latest entry, Kipnis says this is the most he's played in a calender year and that will certainly prepare him for the long-grind of a 162 game season, which I absolutely love.

Your winter league update...

Kipnis hit just a disappointing .173 in 13 games for Peoria in the AFL. Meanwhile Cord Phelps lit it up since arriving, hitting .347 with 12 additional walks.

In case you were wondering, Luis Valbuena and Andy Marte are doing jack, and Jared Goedert left a little earlier than expected due to a elbow injury.

Its good to see the pitchers having success. Scott Barnes has pitched a lot of innings, and while he's got a 4.34 ERA he's only walked four hitters in those 18 innings pitched. Eric Berger hasn't given up an earned run in six innings.

Finally, Hey Hoynsie asks the important questions in life, like "Do you think a GM needs to have played baseball?"

How many current GMs have played the game on a level above college? The answer is single digits.

I have never played organized baseball outside of gym class, does that make me unqualified to sit here and talk about the Indians in this blog?

No, there are other reasons that make me unqualified. But sometimes I just wonder.