12.20.2010

The Kearnal is Back, Indians add two outfielders

It is seriously the busiest day of the offseason today. Not only have the Indians inked Travis Buck to a minor league deal with an invite to spring training, they've brought back Austin Kearns into the mix with a guaranteed major league deal worth a little over $1 million.

The Indians were searching for a right-handed compliment to their trio of left-handed outfielders and Kearns fit the bill. We brought up the fact that he made his residence in Cleveland not too long ago and with the guaranteed deal from the Indians, it seems to be a perfect match for the two sides.

Kearns signing likely means that Shelley Duncan is going to get designated for assignment, which sucks because we've all grown to love Crazy Shelley. But the only other options include designated Justin Germano, a bullpen arm, or Trevor Crowe, a player Manny Acta really likes.

I personally would get rid of Crowe, but the club probably thinks they'll retain Duncan's services so that will likely be the move. Plus his status on the roster becomes sort of duplicated by Kearns being there.

This is probably the need the Indians had to fill least out of their three big ones, but it was the one where they were readily available options on the cheap. Plus Kearns has a relationship with this team and the city from last year and it makes all sort of sense.

Kearns was dealt to the Yankees before the trading deadline last year for Zach McAllister, who was placed on the 40-man roster prior to the Rule V Draft. So in the end of it all, the Indians end up with both McAllister and Kearns on their roster. Very rarely do you see that type of situation happen, but it finally has.

The Indians also added another outfielder in Travis Buck, the former Athletics player who's ultra injury prone, to a minor league deal. Who knows what purpose Buck serves, other than a warm body for spring training, but let's just hope he doesn't have to play in the freezing cold.

Everyone get your guns out, time to salute The Kearnal...

Hired Ni-guns and Carmona Market

I enjoy the fact that Christmas is on the weekend this year. I know everyone in high school and below are not grateful for that, because they've probably done the math (the one time they do math, amiright?) that tells them they'd get more vacation days out of Christmas being on a weekday.

I'm past that point though and on break regardless of when Christmas is, so I'm all about what is most convenient for me. And really who wouldn't love Christmas on a weekend? I know the working class would probably like it on the weekday for the same reasons as the children in school, but with Christmas on the weekend, our normal flow of life isn't really disturbed. So you begin to buckle down on your week a little earlier and by Thursday you are starting to wind down.

Well guess what, Thursday is when I wind down. It fits my schedule, so neh, it works for me.

Why I've dedicated two paragraphs to this is beyond me. This isn't a blog about Christmas on the weekends, nor is it about the Indians on the weekends. It's a Monday and we have plenty of Indians-related news to discuss, so let's discuss.

[SIGN 'EM UP]

The Indians ventured off into the Japanese import area of the market last week and signed 25-year-old right-hander Toru Murata to a minor league deal.

A little about Murata. He's a former first round pick of the Yomiuri Giants with a fastball that reportedly reaches about as high as 92 MPH. He comes armed with a slider, cutter, curveball, forkball, and a change. Those Japanese pitchers always have more than four pitches. He was released by his Japanese club earlier on this month and according to this link, there is a press conference announcing the deal with Cleveland on Wednesday.

Last year when we signed youngster Takafumi Nakamura, we all got educated on the basics of a shuuto pitch. That was fun. This year, our Japanese Professional Baseball lesson will be on Ichi-gun and Ni-gun.

What? Guns?

Yeah, Ichi-gun and Ni-gun are the distinctions between top level and lower level of the Japanese professional baseball realm. Essentially, Ni-gun is the minor leagues and Murata spent his three years pitching in Japan's professional leagues in Ni-gun.

His numbers in three years?

41 Games, 2-10, 96.2 IP, 42 BB, 64 K, 4.58 ERA

Well Japan minor leagues, that isn't awesome by any means. It certainly isn't horrific looking. Either way it is a deal in the mold of the Nakamura signing last year. This guy is going directly into the system. He isn't going to get offered an invite to spring training and while he may be in a level higher than Nakamura, there may be less room to grow.

If you had to compare him to CC Lee or Nakamura, I think it would probably be closer to Nakamura, but obviously we're dealing with a former first round pick that is still young, so who knows? IPI has embedded video and Tony says he'll either be in Kinston or Akron to start the year.

I want to throw the Adam Everett deal back out there... A lot of casual's... Hmm.. We need a name for these people... Casual, Sissies.. Cassies.. Got it... A lot of cassie's are p-to-the-o'ed about signing Everett. Not so much because it is Adam Everett, but because to them it signals some sort of continued effort to "suck" as bad as possible.

Look people, what do you want? Everett isn't going to start at shortstop, but given how bad the defense was when Asdrubal Cabrera went down (and even how bad it was when he was there) it makes sense to have a backup who can play some good defense at the position.

Stop whining and complaining about these signings. They aren't meant to push the Indians over the brink into contention form and they are signing these guys for practically peanuts. Every team signs these types of players, the difference with the Indians is that they try and sign the best of them because they'll likely be backups or depth options down in Columbus in case of injury. And these are the only people they sign.

At least this season.

[GOODBYE GREINKE]

I guess Indians have two reasons to be happy about the Zack Greinke trade. The first being that the Yankees didn't get him and the second being that he is now in the National League, far away from the American League Central.

And now the Royals are set-up to be doormats again this season.

Greinke's 2010 wasn't as awesome as his 2009 was, that's for sure, but he struggled against the AL Central, especially the Twins who beat him all four times they faced him. He did pick up two wins against the Indians, the most against any AL Central team this season, but check out his numbers the past two years.

Greinke Vs Indians 09: 2-0, 5 GS, 2.16 ERA, 44 K, 1.110 WHIP
Greinke Vs Indians 10: 2-1, 4 GS, 5.32 ERA, 21 K, 1.732 WHIP

And just because we can...

Greinke Vs Indians Career: 8-9, 22/27 GS/G, 3.80 ERA, 120 K, 1.402 WHIP

Granted once again, Greinke's entire career hasn't exactly been a model of consistency due to his issues... The numbers don't indicate complete dominance. Yet you'd assume the best is yet to come with the kid and if anything the Indians are missing out of the best years he has yet to put in and that is certainly a plus.

On an aside, I think the Royals made out well. A lot of people are going to bash the deal and a lot of people are going to praise it. A lot of people bashed the CC and Cliff deals and a lot of people praised them. You'll get your share of both. Anyone can think anyway they want, but the fact of the matter is prospects were involved and it will be awhile before we fully we know. Hell, we still have no clue how the Sabathia deal works out because we can't definitively answer any of the questions that the deal brings up.

The people who hate the Greinke deal are going to call Cain a fourth outfielder, Jeffress a problem child, Escobar a defense-only shortstop and Odorizzi a young gamble.

Lou Marson is a backup catcher, Jason Donald is a utility infielder, Carlos Carrasco is a number four in the rotation, and Jason Knapp is a young gamble.

Sound familiar?

Of course, because I like the deal for KC doesn't mean anything either. Some scouts have said the Royals already deep farm system is as good of a farm system as there ever has been.

If that is the case and that could be hyperbole, who knows, but if that is the case... Well the Royals may just be an unseen hitch in the Indians plans of rebuilding and contending in the approaching future. What if the Indians deep farm system pans out as well though? Could the two bottom-feeders turn out to be the kings of the AL Central for a run of time? Who knows. Knowing our luck as well as the Royal's tendency to suck regardless of what they do (maybe like a mini-curse?) probably not.

[STILL THERE?]

You would think with yet another desirable target off the board, Fausto Carmona would look even more attractive to a team like the Yankees who have still yet to make a move for a starter. Unless of course you count bionic Mark Prior as a move.

Let me first reiterate something...

The Indians will not shop Fausto Carmona. And as Tony at IPI points out, Carmona is not on the block and probably never will be.

Okay, so why the discussion? The discussion is here because teams are going to call on Carmona and the Indians most definitely should listen. This is a definite case of listening on a player but not pulling a deal unless someone completely blows you away and offers you something you cannot possibly turn down.

But who is going to do that? The Yankees would have to be incredibly desperate. For Kansas City it was all about "finding a match." If you listened to Dayton Moore's press conference, he sounded like a GM not hell-bent on trading Greinke, and if you believe him, he didn't call a single team about his Cy Young winner.

But you can't discount the idea that in the back of his mind, he was thinking he was going to trade Greinke. They wanted a perfect package, or close to a perfect package that including a shortstop, a center fielder and pitching to replace Greinke.They got that. Did Moore get blown away? I don't think so, but he was more apt to trading Greinke than the Indians are in regards to Carmona.

So not only will the Indians need their perfect package (what would that be?) they would need to be overwhelmed. I can't see that happening right now and I think the Indians probably don't see it happening either. Which is why they are and should be perfectly content going into 2011 with Carmona as their top-dog pitcher.

[RANDOM RUNDOWN]

We've got more light shed on this Bartolo Colon thingamajig. Paul Hoynes has been busy with Jordan Bastian on vacation getting all the scoops about Murata and Colon and he has an e-mail from manager Manny Acta. The visionary says Colon has been throwing the ball well and because of the Indians desire to at least explore the market of experienced starters, they felt he'd be worth a look.

Acta says he's been anywhere from 89 to 94 on the gun. Does anyone really think that this is going to happen? Like, for real?

I'm not going to bother linking the latest effort from Hoynes in terms of a mailbag. It is getting so nauseatingly unbearable to read the questions and the circus-like responses. The lead-off question was someone asking if the Indians attending the Winter Meetings. As if they were supposed to do something big but didn't come away with Cliff Lee or Carl Crawford like we all thought they would. Right.

Going off the idea of adding an experienced starter to the rotation, possibly, Terry Pluto says the Indians have had internal discussions about Kevin Millwood, former Tribe great for one season. I wouldn't mind a Millwood signing, but I wouldn't give him any guaranteed deal because I don't think he'll get a guaranteed contract anywhere else. But the devil man is his agent, so I'm sure he'll run into $5 million dollars and some mystery team.

It is looking ever so likely that the Indians won't add an experienced arm. Maybe on a minor league deal in case there are some injuries and they need filler in Columbus. But the Clippers rotation looks to be stacked with capable arms as a result of the Indians rotation being loaded with options. I think we are at a point where we just need to keep giving these guys a shot so we can weed out the starters who are not the answer.

Pluto also notes that it looks like Jason Donald is becoming even more of a real possibility at third base. With Jayson Nix not working out so well in Puerto Rico at third, it could be Donald who goes over to third and Nix the man at second.  Nix returned to the lineup of San Juan on Saturday and was 0-for-3. The point is though he hasn't gotten optimal time at third so we are still at the same point we were a few months ago. I think this whole thing will get scrapped and they'll try and work Donald in at third. I'd ultimately look at Cord Phelps as having more of a shot to make the roster because of this though.

I don't know if the Everett signing signals the end of their pursuits for Nick Punto, but who is going to give that man a guaranteed deal?

This article for the Boston Globe by Nick Cafardo notes that the Red Sox have made an attempt to reacquire Justin Masterson to fit into their bullpen but have come up unsuccessful, obviously. I can only wonder what the Red Sox have offered and what the Indians have turned down. Regardless of what has been offered, the Indians seem to have a lot of faith and hope in Masterson being a fixture in the rotation and I can only hope that hope and belief pays off in a big way.

There is something in there. Regardless of if it is as a starter or a reliever, the Red Sox see it too or else they wouldn't have tried to get him back. I doubt the Indians pull the trigger on any deal, like Carmona, they'd have to be bowled over and who is going to bowl them over for Justin Masterson? Do the Red Sox really covet him that much? Don't think so.

A few notes, one that Tony Lastoria noted in his notebook that I linked to earlier. Dave Hudgens has moved on from his post as a coordinator with the minor league system to take the big league hitting coach job with the Mets. Congratulations to him.

Count me in as one of the supporters for the idea of pitchers wearing the Feller-styled socks on certain days in an effort to honor Feller. It would look ultra-cool. Some other ideas I've seen thrown around include not throwing out the first pitch this spring for the first game (since that was always Feller's job) and renaming one of the street's near Progressive Field that includes Feller's name. I think that is a marvelous idea. I don't think you could get to a point where there is too much in terms of honoring Bob Feller this season, so whatever they do, however much they do, I'll support.

Former Indians signing elsewhere... Chris Gimenez has left the building, he's off to Seattle to join Eric Wedge, possibly. Good luck to my favorite cue-ball.

Kerry Wood is returning to Chicago in an awesome story. I know a lot of people in Cleveland are sour towards Kerry for one reason or another (some valid, some not), but he took way less money to return to Chicago. He really should have never left the Cubs and I'm sure Indians fans would have rather he didn't.

I offered a deal in which the 400th follower of mine on Twitter will receive a signed picture of Andy Marte. It wouldn't be signed by Andy Marte, but rather myself, but hey, who owns a signed picture of Andy Marte that isn't actually signed by Marte? And no I wouldn't sign my name, but I would indeed forge his signature. It does not come with a certificate of authenticity.

Similarly, I'm so desperate, I will offer a signed picture of Luis Valbuena to the 20th person who likes the Facebook page*.

* I make no promises on this one... Sure it requires little effort to print out a picture of Luis Valbuena and sign it how I think he would, but... nah.

12.17.2010

Bob Feller Remembered, Cliff Lee Revisited

A year ago, I don't think anyone thought Bob Feller would go as quickly as he did. John Perrotto's thought is pretty much spot on.

"Bob Feller was the one person who I really thought would just live forever."

The man was a beacon of health even at old age, but just in the past few months things started to hit him all at once. I think we've all been prepared for this outcome since we learned of him being moved to hospice care, but in the idea of him cutting back his appearances at Progressive Field and his bout with leukemia the past few months, this has all been real sudden.

We are at a point where Indians fans that witnessed Bob Feller pitch are few and far between. Not many of us can sit here and say we remember Bob Feller pitch. Feller pitched so long ago that there is minimal video of him in action.

But Indians fans, young and old know Bob Feller. Anyone who walks into Progressive Field has seen Feller. There are legends of the Indians organization and then there is Bob Feller.

I think the biggest thing the fact that Feller is much like most of us. He's a fan. He used to be a player and a damn good one at that, but now he's just like us. He's a fan of the team. He would sit at Progressive Field and just take in the games, wanting to see the Indians win.

Not only is he the greatest pitcher in the history of the Cleveland Indians franchise, in an era that our pitchers leave after 6-7 years, he is the pitcher we long for. We knew he wasn't going anywhere. He may not be on the field, but he is there with us.

Read the different accounts out there on Feller. From Joe Posnanski to Paul Cousineau.I think everyone has an opinion in terms of what Feller meant to them or what he stood for. For me, that is what he stood for. He was the living legend, but he didn't act like it. That's a rare combination. If Bob Feller pitched today, he would be a mega-star, a guy who the media talks about and opposing teams chase after.

But he didn't pitch in this era, he pitched in another era and he pitched very well. And not only that he pitched for the Cleveland Indians. Not only is he that living legend, he is OUR living legend.

Unfortunately, even though Perrotto thought Feller would be one to live forever, not everyone actually can do that. Feller is no longer our living legend, but living or not, he is still our legend. And as long as his statue is out there in front of Progressive Field, I think his presence will still have a feel over the park.

Indians.com has a a great page dedicated to the life and career of Bob Feller, with video, audio, photos and many many different stories and thoughts on the Indians great.

Thanks for everything Mr. Feller, especially for being a fan with us these past few years.

[ALWAYS SUNNY IN CLIFFADELPHIA]

I cannot believe that "#mysteryteam" was real...

For days SI.com's Jon Heyman was boasting this mystery team's existence and how they had a legit shot at signing Cliff Lee. As I pointed out in my long piece on Choo and Boras, this whole mystery team business is a tactic. The point is to make other team's bidding for your client's services that they have competition.

With all the media out there, it is near impossible that a mystery team actually exists because it wouldn't be long before a mystery team becomes a real suitor. Why would Heyman boast about this mystery team and not name them? He got straight up ragged on for all the talk of this mystery team. Remarkably though, Philadelphia remained a mystery and in the end it was revealed to be true.

Anyway none of this really has to do with the Cleveland Indians, other than the fact that Lee used to pitch for us. He also used to pitch for Philadelphia and that was, to most's opinion, the reason he decided to sign with them. He and his wife Kristen just loved the place that much.

The Lee signing though likely ends Lee being shipped off to new teams and thus ends the list of prospects and players that Lee has been traded for. Fellow TCF writer and IPI contributor Al Ciammiachella ranked every player that Lee was traded for, from Texas to Seattle to Philadelphia to Cleveland. In his estimation the Indians made out okay but not as good as they could have, Seattle got the blue-chipper in Smoak, but Philadelphia got absolutely "fleeced" in their deal. Which is just disappointing for them considering they ended up signing the guy when all was said and done.

[THE DOMINO EFFECT]

The Lee signing with Philadelphia opens up a very interesting situation for the Cleveland Indians. Since neither the Yankees or Rangers got their man, they both are assumed to be in the market for a top-flight starting pitcher. The problem is the next best option on the market is Carl Pavano and he is certainly not going back to New York anytime soon.

Many believe (including myself) that Royals ace Zack Greinke is a bad fit for New York thanks to his past troubles with anxiety disorder. He would be Carl Pavano-Part II at its finest. The Yankees options are few and far between so the brilliant people around the rumor mills have brought up Fausto Carmona's name.

The point is that Carmona would be a cheaper price than Greinke for the Rangers and not the skeptical pick-up Greinke would be for the Yankees. Before Lee signing, Carmona shouldn't have been traded because the Indians wouldn't really benefit from a deal.

But if a team out there gets a little desperate, you need to hear them out. I'm not saying trade Carmona, but you just never know how antsy or impatient (despite what GM Brian Cashman said about "Plan B" being patience) the Yankees may get to add another solid pitcher to their rotation. Sergio Mitre or whatever it is they'll throw out there? Yeah, they might overpay to get someone like a Carmona and it would be at that point that the Indians should see what they can get, just for the sake of curiosity. You don't know where it may lead.


[RANDOM RUNDOWN]

Speaking of curiosity... There is some strange curiosity in freakin' Bartolo Colon, who's pitching down in the Dominican. Manny Acta down in his home of the DR took in Colon's start. There are "reports" that the Indians and Pirates have garnered interest in the hefty former Cy Young winner. Yeah no thanks, pass, this would be disaster.

Speaking of disasters... Adam Everett is pretty much a near-disaster with the bat, but he can really field well. Everett is the newest Indian. With Nick Punto talks still up in the air, the Indians have at least added someone to compete for a utility job and he is quite the slick fielder. He started in Detroit mainly because he could play shortstop really really well. He couldn't hit a lick, but he sure could field his position.

This seems to be the theme for the Indians. It works quite conveniently considering all the good hitters cost money where as the good defenders don't. Anyway Everett gets a minor league deal with an invite to spring training. Worse comes to worse and no one else has a big league opportunity for him right away, he could be your starter in Columbus.

Big news out of Kinston. The Kinston Indians franchise has been sold to Carolina Mudcats owner Steve Bryant. The new owner's first order of business is to move Kinston to Zebulon after the 2011 season. So this season in Kinston will be the last.  With the Mudcats (Double-A) moving to Florida, Bryant went out and got himself a new Carolina franchise.

Doesn't Zebulon sound like an alien planet? Maybe because it sounds like Nebulon and Nebulon sounds futuristic alienish.

If the staff of the Indians and the fans have anything to say about it, Kinston will not be without baseball. GM Ben Jones said it was important for the community to support the team in this final year so they can keep baseball in Kinston. It could be a tough road for them though.

You may be wondering what this means for the CLEVELAND Indians franchise and how this effects them. Not so much. They still have their player development contract with the Kinston franchise and even though it is moving, the entity is still an affiliate of the Cleveland Indians. The only thing it means is that our High-A team will be in Zebulon, not Kinston. Here is Ross Atkins on the move.

We've had a great run over the past 25 years. We've had a great relationship with Kinston," Atkins said. "We're going to miss working with the City, Cam McRae, North Johnson and others in their ownership group. At the same time, we're excited about the opportunity to play in Zebulon, a great market with a stadium built to Class AAA standards, and to work with Steve Bryant."

The stadium (Five County Stadium) that the Indians will be moving into is classified as state-of-the-art and seats 6,500. The facilities are much better than the ones at Kinston and who is going to argue with that?

More importantly, what are they going to be called? They won't be Kinston, that is for sure... Will they take a name with Zebulon? Probably not. They'll likely call themselves Carolina something... But will the Mudcats franchise take their Mudcats name? Will Steve Bryant decide to keep the "Carolina Mudcats" franchise tradition going and just rename the new franchise to that?

I don't know if I want to buy a Carolina Mudcats hat.... Of course that is my first thought.

HAMMY! Tom Hamilton is up for the 2010 NSSA Ohio Sportscaster of the Year award. Good luck Hammy!

A New New Indians Inbox went up on the Indians.com site. Not only is a new Indians Inbox, it is a new era of the Inbox with Jordan Bastian taking over. He cunningly threw out three questions about Manny, Thome, and Vizquel in an effort to "get it out of the way." Unfortunately he'll probably still get questions about them.

12.12.2010

Here's your developmental team...

The snow hit us hard and heavy this week and now as it ends, we are greeted with.......... RAIN?!

It's raining right now. I'm not complaining, I don't have a problem driving around in rain. Snow, I hate. But it is rather weird, with some parts of the United States getting pounded and apparently rumors of another big snow storm coming to Northeast Ohio in the next day or so, that we have this rain. Is it not cold enough for the rain to turn to snow?

Will it get cold enough?

Will Choo sign his... Okay whatever..

Two administrative notes. Please check out the latest edition of The Tribe Daily Not So Daily Podcast, which I recorded just this morning. A lot of the stuff in this blog update are in there, but if you want a nice recap of what happened at the winter meetings and can't be assed of reading the past week's worth of news from all around, I've sort of wrapped it up nice and quickly into 30 minutes with my annoying Italian voice.

Also... I'll keep barking about it for awhile, but like the blog on Facebook. Help support the blog anyway you can, it makes me feel like a better man than Andy Marte. I also won't add you as a friend in case you were worried about that. I'm not weird, I have less than 200 friends on Facebook, so I'm not one of those serial "friend adders" that adds people they meet on the street.

I also don't go clubbing on Friday nights, that could be another reason.


[WINTER RUNDOWN]

Winter Meetings 2010 ended in a non-flurry, sort of. How about that call on Carl Crawford signing soon and it actually happening? Ah? Ah? Good right?

The Crawford signing just adds to the onslaught of crap that Chobras (Choo + Boras) will throw at the Indians not only in terms of an extension, but in discussions for this one year contract he has to sign to avoid arbitration.

Which leads me to believe Boras will end up taking the Cleveland Indians to arbitration and Shin-Soo Choo will be the first Indian to visit the arbitration courtroom (is it a courtroom?) in a long long time. Since the Indians aren't going to sign any free agents, the idea and the discussion centers around maybe signing one of their own.

And that is why Scott Boras is in the news when it concerns the Indians. He went as far as to call the Indians a developmental team. Hogwash. Even if it were to be true, what a pompous ass Boras is. More on this in my newest piece on TCF coming out sometime this week.

If Choo really wants to be in Cleveland long term, that would be a breath of fresh air. But someone who signs Scott Boras as his agent isn't looking to make friends with teams. He's looking to get paid.

Chris Antonetti said talks of an extension would come up naturally when they discuss his one year deal, but I wouldn't expect those talks to go anywhere. Apparently there is hope that the two sides can talk about Choo with the Winter Meetings over. It did not seem to be a priority for either side this past week.

There was some chatter about Nick Punto at the meetings and it looks like discussions between the Indians and Punto's agent will resume at some point.

The Luis Valbuena interest that Seattle had was non-existent. Shocker? A big reason for the Indians to not consider dealing Valbuena leads us to the next topic.


[LOSE TWO RULE FIVE]

The Indians ended up losing just Josh Rodriguez and Jose Flores in the Rule V Draft that was completed at the conclusion of the Winter Meetings. No one was selected during the minor league phase and the Indians did not make any additions themselves, even in the minor league phases.

Tony at IPI has some follow-up thoughts on the draft and he comes to the conclusion that I believe as well. Josh Rodriguez is as good as gone. He'll catch on with Pittsburgh in some capacity. They could really use him and have no reason to send him down unless he turns out to be really bad.

He is as baffled as anyone else is in the Flores pick by Seattle. The Lumberkings, the team the Captains defeated in the Midwest League Championship are actually the affiliate of Seattle. And Seattle got a good look at Flores and the rest of the Captains. Perhaps there was something in their viewing of the games that stuck out to them, but Low-A to the Majors is an incredible jump for someone as young as Flores with little professional experience.

More than anything though, the loss of Rodriguez and even Rivero getting claimed by Philadelphia, really puts the Indians at a need for some shortstop talent at the upper-levels of the system. The only real "prospect" they have now is Juan Diaz, acquired from Seattle in the Branyan trade. Tony Wolters probably won't be fast-tracked, which means the chain could be very stagnant.

[RANDOM RUNDOWN]

Shin-Soo Choo has won the Man of the Year award from Cleveland's Chapter of the Baseball Writers Association of America for the second straight year. Manny Acta has received the Frank Gibbons-Steve Olin Good Guy award.

Not much from Terry Pluto this week, but he goes off a projected lineup that an e-mailer sent in. Cord Phelps was listed at third base, which is an interesting turn. Especially given that Jayson Nix has been sidelined in Puerto Rico the past few days after getting hit by a pitch, Phelps may have a shot at third base.

Speaking of Winter Leagues.. Valbuena hit a grand slam last night for Lara. He's been hitting lately, and has his average up into the .200's, which is fantastic considering how horrible he was hitting earlier in the winter.

The headline and lead question of the latest Hey Hoynsie! tells you everything you need to know. Why should fans support a Cleveland Indians team? Um, because they are fans?! MAYBE?!

Finally, best wishes out to the ambassador of the Cleveland Indians. Bob Feller is in hospice care and it just keeps hitting the poor guy. Leukemia and the pneumonia. Hopefully he can get through this and be there for spring training to throw out the first pitch as always. Great blog entry by Castrovince on his relationship with the living legend.

12.10.2010

Baseball Bloggers Alliance Day

I'm working today and with the Winter Meetings wrapped up, no planned Tribe posts until later this weekend. Today however is BBA Day and I wanted to have something go up to do my part for this great group that this blog is a part of.

The Baseball Bloggers Alliance was a group formed a little over a year ago by Daniel Shoptaw of C70 At The Bat. We are basically the bloggers equivalent of the baseball writers association. The overall goal is to just get the word out about each other and also to produce the fine BBA awards that you've seen featured here on this blog the past two seasons.

I've struggled what to put out here for this post. Basically it comes down to this for me. I've actually just completed a class on this very issue of new media. Blogging is a force. Trained journalists are more widely using blogs. I mean just look at the guys covering the Indians for MLB.com. Castrovince and Bastian both have blogs.

The BBA is part of the new age. If you know me personally, I make no secret about my aspirations. I'm rounding the corner here on my college career and long to be a member of the baseball media one day. But I'm pretty cognizant of the future and you'd be naive to take one look at the Baseball Bloggers Alliance and simply shrug it off.

If the baseball writers feel the need to e-mail you because they don't want you using their intellectual property in the form of award names, you have some reach. That reach is growing. If you are a blog out there that is interested in joining, just visit the web page to find out more.

I'm proud to say that this blog is the president of the Cleveland chapter and as long as this blog is being operated, I plan on being a BBA member. If you would just take some time to visit not only some of the other Cleveland Blogs (Indians Prospect Insider, The B List, Deep Left Field) in the BBA, but BBA blogs in general.

Also check out a great Q&A with Daniel about the BBA.

12.09.2010

Rule V Draft: Josh Rodriguez Selected By the Pirates First Overall

The Indians have lost infielder Josh Rodriguez to the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 2010 Rule V Draft. The Pirates selected Rodriguez with their first pick.

Seattle followed that up with the pick of Jose Flores, who will have to jump from A-ball all the way up to the majors if that is going to work. Puzzling.

With the Rule V Draft completed, these were the only two players the Indians lost. Not a single player was taken from the Indians in the two minor league phases and the Indians themselves did not make a selection.

Josh Rodriguez
Selected: 1st Overall
Pittsburgh Pirates
Positions: SS, 2B, 3B, OF
B/T: R/R
6'0" 185
Drafted: 2006, 2nd Round out of Rice

Now that is has happened, it isn't a shocker that the Pirates would select someone like Rodriguez. Not only does general manager Neil Huntington have ties to the Indians minor leagues, the Pirates are one of those teams in a position to make a pick like this.

Rodriguez could very well have been rostered by the Indians. If there wasn't such a need a third, they very well might have. Rodriguez is a versatile guy not just with the ability to play the middle infield positions, but the ability to go out into the outfield, something he picked up this past season in Akron.

Rodriguez was on track to be that second baseman of the future for the Indians, until he had a down year in 2008 and then injuries pretty much derailed his 2009 season. With Jason Kipnis and Cord Phelps around, Rodriguez was sort of left on the outside looking in. But after finding ways into the lineup in Akron, Rodriguez put himself back into the conversation.

Let's not forget that he's a former second round pick,, he has talent. That versatility also makes him that much more attractive to a team like the Pirates who can afford to carry him since he can play different positions.

It would not shock me to see Rodriguez stick with his new club and even have some immediate success. It's a shame to see him get selected, but if it furthers his career, that's great for him. Of course as Indians fans, I think we all hope the Pirates end up having to return him.

Rodriguez hit .297 between Akron and Columbus with 13 home runs and 30 doubles. He had an impressive .378 on-base percentage between the two levels in a little over 100 games.


Jose Flores
Selected: 2nd Overall
Seattle Mariners
Positions: Relief Pitcher
B/T: R/R
6'3" 185
Signed: 2008 out of Venezuela

This is perhaps the most shocking pick of the entire Rule V draft. Jose Flores has not been past the Low-A level, he's only 21 and even though he pitched well in the minimal time with Lake County last season, Low-A to the majors is a big jump.

Now as is the case with a lot of Rule V picks, the Mariners, if they really like Flores, can just stash him in the back of their bullpen all year and try and acquire him that way. But you have to wonder why someone with so little seasoning.

Is there something that they see in Flores that they believe they can't pass up? You would have to think that is the case to make a pick like this.

The immediate reaction is that Flores won't even sniff 25-man roster out of spring training and that he'll be returned (whether the Indians would be willing to work out a deal to let him stay is another story) before the season starts. But you just never know. It is a bit of a curious pick, but maybe the Mariners are taking a gamble they feel really good about.

What is the most interesting is the fact that Tony Lastoria at IPI had listed Flores as a bubble guy for Lake County in his first depth chart projection. He also said Flores had "no chance" of being selected in the major league portion, but could have been had in the minor league phase had he been left unprotected. Interesting move from Seattle indeed.

Flores was 1-1 with a 2.14 ERA in 42 innings last season with the Captains. He struck out 51 hitters and only walked 7, so he certainly sports some impressive numbers.

12.08.2010

Seattle looking for a Baby Louie?

Just a good old reminder to like the new fan page on Facebook if you are a reader of the blog. It would really help me out, thanks! If you don't want to be bugged by the three-five posts a week appearing on your news-feed, just turn the updates off. Thanks chaps!

[WHO WANTS A BABY?]

The hot rumor surrounding the Tribe is the interest that Tribe West (Seattle) has in one of their former prospects.

No it isn't Shin-Soo Choo or even Asdrubal Cabrera.

Hell it isn't even Zeke Carrera.

It's Luis Valbuena?!

Yup, Baby Louie has drawn interest from Seattle, for some ungodly reason. The Big Chicken Wing Paul Hoynes has reported that the Mariners have interest in the former Mariner prospect, however they have yet to make a pitch. Why would they have interest in a prospect they once had who has now fizzled?

Of course, our good pal Eric Wedge is likely swinging the flag to bring Valbuena aboard. Or at least that's the assumed connection. Why would a GM that traded him away want him back after he put up a horrendous offensive season in 2010? Buy low?

Buy low indeed, but it has to be Wedge pining to bring in Valbuena. It has to be.

Meanwhile Valbuena hit a solo home run and walked twice last night for Lara, as if he knew people were talking about him. This is just the leverage the Indians need to pull King Felix out of Seattle's grasp!

Yeah, no. I really wouldn't mind trading Valbuena. It would open up a roster spot and if Josh Rodriguez survives Rule V, more on that in a second, then I think he'd be a suitable replacement for Valbuena as a backup utility option. He can actually play shortstop without completely botching things.

[WINTER RANDOMS]


The Bastian has a few updates, one of them being that the Indians met with the agents for multiple players, including new third base target Nick Punto.

They are no longer interested in Edwin Encarnacion. I think someone told him that he can't play defense. Bless you unknown individual for helping them see the light.

Going off what Tony Lastoria said on Tuesday, Bastian says Jeff Francoeur is out of the Tribe's price range. Just as I kind of said yesterday. Yeah. Another former Brave, Matt Diaz, who was Paulie C over at The DiaTribe brought up, signed with Pittsburgh. Here is a Bastian article on the outfield with some quotes from Antonetti.

Manny Acta and Chris Antonetti are both disinterested in adding a veteran starter just for the sake of adding a veteran starter. I'm finding it ever-so-unlikely that the Indians actually add a starter to the rotation, even if it is just on a minor league deal. Maybe a Tomo Ohka, Matt Ginter-like depth option for Columbus in case of injury, but anyone to "compete" for the rotation in spring? Yeah I think this is a young man's battle.

It is seeming more likely, and ever so more if Valbuena is actually moved, that Cord Phelps could not only compete for, but win a roster spot out of camp. He'll certainly be in the mix.

The other guy I mentioned is Josh Rodriguez, who I personally think stands as good of a chance as anyone on eligible for the Indians to get selected in the Rule V draft tomorrow. Adam Miller is probably the only other one that I think has a chance that gets selected, Rodriguez is healthy and provides versatility. The perfect type of a pick for someone just looking to grab a cheap utility player.

Tony has a full preview on IPI about tomorrow's draft. He tackled the Miller situation yesterday and he puts the percentages of Rodriguez getting picked anywhere from 25 to 75 percent.

Finally, the big exciting news, which is exactly why I saved it for last, yep. Is the signing of catcher Paul Phillips. Or at least the near signing of Paul Phillips, can't say that is for sure yet, some team like the Pirates might come in and offer him a major l.. Yeah that isn't happening. Phillips will get a minor league deal with an invitation to Spring Training. He's in his early 30's and has played with several organizations, including two in the Central, Kansas City and Chicago.

I'm going to guess he'll backup Luke Carlin at Columbus, if anything. It could mean the end for Chris Gimenez with the organization as well.

12.07.2010

Winter Meetings Up and Moving, Tribe Kinda Not

A few site notes that I'd like to update with before we get into the latest concerning the Tribe.

I created a "fan page" on Facebook. It's different from the current profile that the blog has on the Networked Blogs or whatever it is. I did this so the posts automatically get updated and whoever "likes" the page gets those updates.

Anyway my goal is to get the site more promotion. I think I've done a less than average job in terms of promoting the blog and that just goes with my personality. I'm not big into self-promotion and really all traffic that comes to this blog is all by luck or connection. I'm going to try and up the effort on the promotion part and getting people to the blog, because that is the overall goal.

So if you are on Facebook, go ahead and like it... I added a box to the side at the way bottom for you to just do this right from the blog so you don't have to search. I'd really appreciate it.

Also, with the winter meetings this week, thinking of going with a Podcast this weekend. I work Friday, so it will probably be up sometime Saturday morning-ish. We'll have a lot of ammo for that. Speaking of ammo, we got a lot today.

[WERTH THE IMPACT]

While Jayson Werth signing a silly stupid deal with the Nationals has nothing to do with the Cleveland Indians, it actually does. It not only will dictate the bananas dollars the teams pursuing Carl Crawford will be willing to shell out, it dictates what that loser Scott Boras is going to say when the Indians approach him for a contract extension about Shin-Soo Choo. More on that in a second.

And don't kid yourself, they will approach him about a contract extension in some capacity. Will they get one done or explore it heavily? Who knows, but Antonetti would not be doing his job if he didn't at least ask.

Anyway, long term this is a bullet in the Tribe's balloon in terms of trying to get Choo to not only a long-term deal, but signing him to his arbitration contracts. A right fielder like Werth getting a seven year deal worth $126 million? Are you kidding me! Let's look at Werth's past two seasons compared to Shin-Soo Choo's.

Jayson Werth's Numbers
2009: .268 AVG, .373 OBP, 36 HR, 99 RBI, 20 SB, 26 2B
2010: .296 AVG, .388 OBP, 27 HR, 85 RBI, 13 SB, 46 2B

Shin-Soo Choo's Numbers
2009: .300 AVG, .394 OBP, 20 HR, 86 RBI, 21 SB, 38 2B
2010: .300 AVG, .401 OBP, 22 HR, 90 RBI, 22 SB, 31 2B

My first thought when hearing Jayson Werth signed for that deal? The Nationals are stupid....

My second thought? DAMN YOU WASHINGTON!

How could this possibly be good for the Cleveland Indians when you compare those numbers. Scott Boras is going to approach Antonetti and be like.... Look at Jayson Werth. Look at those numbers. Look at Choo's. They're similar in many aspects and if they aren't similar, they are either still pretty damn good or better than Werth.

Then he will show the Indians want Carl Crawford also gets as a left fielder and he'll say.. Hey, these outfielders just got big money, our boy Choo deserves to get paid. Even if it is just a series of one year deals.

I think you will see the arbitration streak broken this year. Shin-Soo Choo and Scott Boras are taking the Indians to arbitration. Mark it down.

This Werth signing is horrible news for the Indians. We shouldn't be blaming the Yankees and now the stupid Nationals for paying tons of dollars to acquire these players, but we should blame them for being stupid enough to inflate the price of other players.

[WINTER UPDATES]

I really think Carl Crawford is the next big domino to fall. I think Lee will take his time (he's the only big time pitcher out there, he can let Texas and New York bid for him) and wait. Crawford meanwhile will probably strike while the iron is hot. Again, not good for Choo.

In the meantime, the Indians are more focused on a few cheaper outfielders. Say what?

New guy Jordan Bastian is showing us what he's all about on day one of the winter meetings by digging up some dirt about Fred Lewis and Jeff Francoeur.

It seems that this whole right-handed bat in the outfield has picked up steam and Francoeur would fit that mold. Lewis not so much since he is a lefty, but the man they call "Frenchy" would definitely give the Indians the best pair of laser rocket arms in the right field with Choo.

Anyway I don't see that happening either. Especially if there are other teams involved. One of them will give him a guaranteed deal and I see the Indians staying lax on the guaranteed deals this winter. For what it's worth Tony Lastoria is saying the rumors are not true.

Bastian did get some quotes from Chris Antonetti and Manny Acta though. You can also watch a video of Acta on an MLB Network Winter Meetings Program.

Antonetti had little to say other than they met with a few guys from Toronto, namely former Indians John Farrell and Tony LaCava. In other words, it was a catch-up between old friends session, not really a deal-striking meeting.

Anyway, Antonetti updated the Choo situation. He said that they would obviously have to meet with Boras to discuss the arbitration situation and that the extension talks would come naturally in that regard. Again, Antonetti wouldn't be doing his job if he didn't at least broach the subject.

Antonetti also made mention of the third base situation but again, a whole lot of nothing. They want a strong defender at third, but if there is someone offensively they can get, they wouldn't rule it out.

Manny Acta talked about the injuries to Grady Sizemore and Carlos Santana. He said Sizemore passed a checkup on Sunday. He went into how good Choo could be in the video if he has Sizemore and Santana both healthy and hitting around him.

Keep an eye on Bastian on twitter. If there is any Tribe news, and there probably won't be much, he'll likely have it quickly.

[TARGETS SIGNED]

A few targets that I listed on our Offseason Outlook board have been picked up.

Pitching wise, while injury risks Justin Duchscherer and Brandon Webb garner interest from the likes of Pittsburgh, Aaron Harang has signed a one year pact with San Diego. Love that signing for the Padres personally, as someone who pitched in that launching pad in Cincinnati like Harang is going to enjoy the switch to PETCO. I don't think the Indians had much of a shot at Harang even if they were interested.

Third base, the options are just flying off the board. Geoff Blum was signed awhile ago by Arizona to a two year deal and now Melvin Mora, the aged veteran gets a two year deal from the same team. What are they trying to do? Not an official target, but do note that the Orioles swung a deal for Mark Reynolds. Guess they didn't need him with Blum and Mora?

We've got Jack Hannahan though, so suck on that. I'm pulling the Nick Punto train, which would give us the awesome new-three headed monster of Punnahanix. Do it!

I briefly threw in the late update on Saturday bout Jack Hannahan signing. I had read unofficial news of that while making the post, but didn't want to act as if it had actually happened. Then a little after I posted, IPI and official sources came through with the news.

I like the addition. I think these are the types of signings the Indians are going to and should make at third. I'm dead serious about Nick Punto. I know people are not really going to get all excited about these pick-ups, but these guys are solid defensively. I think a guy like Punto would help more than you think, even though he can't hit worth a damn. You can't can't can't CAN'T underestimate what good infield defense does for a pitcher, especially a bunch of ground-ball pitchers that this staff has.

[COACHING STAFF CHANGES]

Ross Atkins and the Indians have made several changes, as well as filled some vacated roles in their development staff. With Charlie Nagy and Joel Skinner moving on to major league jobs in Arizona and Oakland respectively, those were two vacancies needed filling. The club also did some tinkering that now sees Travis Fryman stepping out from behind the dugout as Scrappers manager and into a more active role with the entire organization.

Columbus: Mike Sarbaugh is sticking around as manager and Lee May Jr. as hitting coach. While the pitching coach position vacated by Nagy will be filled by Ruben Niebla, who was on the major league staff last year.

Akron: Taking over at manager is Chris Tremie, the farm system catching coordinator from last year and manager of the Arizona League Indians. Tremie also was the manager of Lake County in years past. The Akron staff will be entirely different hitting coach Rouglas Odor and pitching coach Tony Arnold have been promoted from Kinston.

Kinston: Aaron Holbert is returning for Kinston as the manager and he'll be joined by the pair of Mickey Callaway as pitching coach and Phil Clark as hitting coach, both getting promoted from Lake County.

Lake County: Ted Kubiak is also staying put as manager of Lake County for the second year. He will get Jeff Harris, promoted from Arizona as pitching coach. Jim Rickon, Akron's hitting coach from last season, will serve as that for Lake County.

Mahoning Valley: David Wallace, not former CFO of Dunder Mifflin Inc., but former bullpen catcher extraordinaire will get his first managing gig as the head man of Mahoning Valley and be in charge of the catching system as catching coordinator. Wallace has spent the past two years on the major league staff. Gregg Hibbard, Akron's pitching coach from last season will do that for Mahoning Valley.

Arizona: Another first time manager will be Anthony Medrano, who will oversee the rookies in Arizona. He'll be joined by newbie coach Junior Betances and Dennis Malave.

Coordinators: Dave Hudgens, Dave Miller, Bruce Fields, Grady Thurman, Jhonny Goryl, Minnie Mendoza, Jake Beiting, Julio Rangel, and Lino Diaz will all return. But perhaps the biggest change is Travis Fryman taking over as fielding coordinator. Presumably this will give him a little more responsibility in terms of the overall picture and not just manager of the Scrappers. One would think a natural progression for someone like Fryman with major league potential is a full-season squad. But really this seems like an important move for Fryman. Maybe it shows he's ready to start taking on some different aspects of coaching and getting ready for a possible full-time gig.

Oh and 20-year-veteran of the organization Ken Rowe is stepping back from his usual pitching coach role for any team and simply acting as an advisor.

Along with Tony's update on coaching staffs, he has posted a new 2011 depth chart projection for the four minor league levels and the major league roster.


[RANDOM RUNDOWN]

The Rule V Draft is quickly approaching, which means its time to ramp up the discussion on Adam Miller getting selected. We've discussed this at length in the past and the last time I brought it up, I ended up comparing him to Josh Hamilton and his situation.

Tony at IPI has a great piece on Miller and he says it isn't as much of a lock as people think it is for Miller to get picked. Not only that, he gives us some good perspective that Miller isn't even the "comeback" case we are all hoping he is, yet. He still has plenty of work to put in and a long road ahead, even though the Indians have said he is "in the mix" for a roster spot.

That more than anything leads the unlikeliness he gets picked in the draft this week. Tony also notes that there are pricey medical bills that the club will have to worry about with Miller, things you don't take into account on the surface. It's more than just that $50K gamble. Give the entire piece a read, it really gives you perspective on Miller and the Indians decision to not roster him and overall, it states an incredible and logical case for why it looks doubtful that a team picks up Miller.

It looks like our crazy guy Shelley Duncan is sticking around for at least spring training and maybe beyond. So I took some time to profile the guy and give everyone a little background on the man we think is such a lunatic.

Quick winter league recap on Jayson Nix. While he is trying to play third and get a grasp on the position defensively, they're still keeping him sharp at second. So there is nothing new to report in terms of his defensive progress. There is also nothing more to report in terms of his hitting as he is pretty much sticking with his pace of one hit every 12 at-bats. Yuck.

Meanwhile, Asdrubal Cabrera is heating up for Caracas in Venezuela the past few games. He has six hits in his last three games with a pair of RBIs. He's now hitting .289 over the course of 10 games.

These are really the only players of note left in winter ball. Roberto Perez is still around, but everyone else for the most part has gone home. Luis Valbuena meanwhile has actually got that average up to .226, so he isn't looking totally pathetic lately. Acta was asked by reporters about Valbuena and he said it was important for Baby Louie to just get confidence while playing before he gets back. Yeah .226 in Winter Ball isn't quite going to do that.

Valbuena is hitting .313 over the past 10 games, so he's turned it around, that is for sure.

12.04.2010

Andy Marte would like to thank a few people and we'd like to thank the Pirates

Whoa has it been a week already since the last update?

Since we last talked, snow fell and it fell on December 1st. I feel as if I was a reason for this. We survived a relatively snow-free November for the most part.

The little bits of snow have arrived just in time for Snow Days getting into high-gear. Funny thing, the Indians have roped Apolo Ohno into this video to give them a little shout out. They may have been criticized heavily by select fans, but you can't argue with the thumbs up they've gotten thus far in the effort. We won't really know if it was a "wild success" but judging by the fact that people have talked about it and you haven't really heard any bad things, I'd say it certainly was a worthwhile venture. We'll probably know better if and when they decide on doing it again.

We all knew Acta went down the Batterhorn last week, but now there is video of this historic event and as he promised way back when Snow Days was announced, he went down WITH Slider. Even better is the momentary snub of Mustard.

Anyway, I've reached the exhale point of the semester. The end! I have finals week left to go, but with so many group projects due last week, I literally have nothing to do this upcoming week other than a presentation and two days of work.

So, a lot more time to do some stuff. Including a head first dive into the offseason happenings.

[CALLED IT!]

I'd just like to say that in a way, with my latest piece at The Cleveland Fan, that I called the Andy Marte to Pittsburgh move. Was I being a little facetious? Just a little but I also called the pursuing of Nick Punto.

Rewind, first with Marte. Kind of interesting. They have Pedro Alvarez at third, so he's certainly not needed there. Looks like Marte will probably be either fighting for a backup 1B/3B job like he had here last year or starting third baseman at Indianapolis. So in some strange way, he's still going to be an Indian next year. Who would have thought?

Fast-forward to part two of CALLED IT! Nick Punto. This is seriously a name I keep bringing up, so even though it was in fake conversations, it is not a shock to me that it is a real conversation. Punto has made all sorts of flashy plays in the past as an infielder. Does that make him a stud defender at third? No, but Punto is adequate at least and didn't just move to the position this past year.

Not only that, I doubt anyone else offers him more than a minor league deal. If I were the Indians, I'd give him that minor league deal with an invite and if someone else offers him a guaranteed contract, let him take it. Punto doesn't hit well enough to merit any sort of guaranteed deal.

I've now upped Nick Punto to an official target on the board. I've also added Jack Hannahan at third base and since they were non-tendered, Edwin Encarnacion and Josh Fields, even though I think that is unlikely they sign or pursue Encarnacion. Jordan Bastian reported that there was interest in Jose Lopez, especially if he got non-tendered, but the Mariners dealt him to Colorado. The Encarnacion non-tender (which is baffling after they traded FOR him) likely means the A's intend on keeping Kouzmanoff, which decreases the likelihood the Indians are in on him.

Speaking of non-tender, the Indians decided to offer Super-Two eligible Jensen Lewis a contract and he signed for a very reasonable $650K price tag. The Tribe tendered contracts to the rest of their arbitration eligibles and avoided any sort of long process with Joe Smith by agreeing to a deal worth $870K with incentives. Lewis was the one name on the bubble in terms of getting offered a tender and I'm glad they decided to do so. Not just because it was a really cheap price they got him back at, but I really like Lewis if he's given a consistent opportunity with a defined role (other than long relief, stupid).

Smith's price tag is okay. It tells you though that everyone left is going to get salaries over $1 million, including Rafael Perez.

The discussions with Nick Punto are assumed to take place at the Winter Meetings in Lake Buena Vista. Don't expect much other than that though, as we've been over in the past.

And finally, while I certainly sort of called Andy Marte to the Pirates, I wasn't good enough to uncover this magnificent rare piece of media of Andy Marte's full page ad in the Cleveland Plain Dealer to Cleveland Fans, thanking us for 858 great plate appearances. Brilliant work by Andrew at Let's Go Tribe.

I think I lost it when he thanked "Manager Rick."

[ACTA SPEAKS]

After taking in a Browns game and going down the Batterhorn with Slider, Manny Acta took some time to do the media rounds. He spoke to reporters and he was on All Bets are Off this past Monday. I tweeted a snippet of him saying that he expects Lonnie Chisenhall to be in big league camp and Alex White to be in the rotation at Triple-A.

Manny also addressed other things such as the health of Grady Sizemore and Carlos Santana.

Mainly though he said that Antonetti is exploring the market, but the club is only going to do anything that makes sense. The belief is the guys they have are going to be additions.

"I think we saw how much just one guy can change a lineup when Carlos came up [in June]," Acta said. "Now, imagine two guys. It just helps your lineup so much. You really push people back to the bottom who are probably hitting where they belong. It's less pressure, and everybody helps each other out." 

It's a good point and one we can't forget. But these guys, Sizemore especially, are coming off surgeries to the point where you don't know what they'll be like. Remember Matt LaPorta and how he just wasn't quite there the entire year. Some players can bounce back and just hop right into the fray, with others depending on the surgery and the injury, it could take time.

He also reaffirmed that for now, Grady Sizemore is the center fielder.

And if Acta has his way, Peyton Hillis will probably be his backup catcher and backup designated hitter.

[RANDOM RUNDOWN]

Hey new, very cool feature over at The Cleveland Fan I ask you to check out. It's called Hitting the Fan. A blog-sort of wire type aspect of the site. It's a nice compliment to the feature articles, with now a source for having quick things not worthy of being talked about extensively.

It has produced this lovely post from Paulie C where he found a video of Shin-Soo Choo on Korean television with his wife. I can't get over the Korean script that pops up on the screen and the sound effects that come with it. It's like Pop-Up Video.

In three games with Puerto Rico, Jayson Nix is 1-for-13 at the dish and he committed an error in his first game at third base. No errors since then. Recently non-tendered Josh Fields also put in time for the same Puerto Rican team and he committed just one error in 22 games, but hit .300 with no home runs.

Much hoopla over the whole LeBron thing. Castrovince actually covered the game and wasn't the only Indians related person there. Travis Hafner and Jensen Lewis were at the Q, with Hafner living in Cleveland being basically a transplant and Lewis actually a big fan of all things Cleveland. Hafner, according to Castro, had a custom Cavaliers jersey and he and Lewis were a part of pre-game with a bunch of other "Clevelanders" as an obvious dig at LeBron.

That will be about it for today. Expect some stuff throughout the week tomorrow and I have a great piece coming down the pipeline at TCF about Shelley Duncan, since he's still around.

Edit 11:00 AM: I didn't want to say anything because I couldn't find a concrete link, but Tony Lastoria says the Indians have signed Jack Hannahan to a minor league deal.