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2.09.2011

The Return of the Spring Training Primer

Nino Colla | Wednesday, February 09, 2011 | | | | | | | | | | | | Best Blogger Tips
Happy morning to you all.. I come with a big announcement.

Well not really. But yeah, it is kind of a big announcement.

Why is it so big? The announcement itself is not big, but it is rather the thing that the announcement is about, is big...

So I have an announcement on a big thing.

The spring training primer returns, TOMORROW! Spring training is indeed, that big thing.

Tomorrow we'll kick off the primer as usual with the preview of all the Non-Roster Invitees. But guess what, we are hitting things full-on.

Friday, the primer continues with a preview of the 40-man pitchers and on Monday, the 40-man position players

All of this leading up to the big piece on the big thing. The big overview part of the primer the day that pitchers and catchers officially report.

Four week days, four editions of the primer. Can you wait? No, you can't, which is why it all starts tomorrow. Now onto our FINAL... Yes.. FINAL offseason news link roundup thingamabob of the offseason. I told you this was a big deal.


[SANTANA READY TO ROCK]

The happy news of the week is about Carlos Santana and the status update we've received concerning him and this whole, spring training is coming thing. The Indians have received full clearance from Dr. Rick Parker in regards to baseball activities with no restrictions. In other words, Aye Carlos, VAMANOS!

He can catch bullpens and take batting practice, go full-on in his workouts and even play in games once they start on the 27th. Spring is here and Santana is ready, this is great news. When I talk about this team, I keep forgetting about this incredible stud behind the plate and if there are no troubles stemming from this surgery, the middle of the order is going to be exciting.

Speaking of lineups, that was a main point of contention in the latest Bastian Mailbag. You know that is a main part of the primer, so that will be up for contention here next week, but Bastian says Choo and Santana will make up the 3-4 spots and for now, Hafner will claim the fifth spot.

[MILLWOOD, BONDERMAN, OR BLAH]

With less than a week to go now before pitchers and catchers report, there should be some urgency for players negotiating deals to get those deals done. Yet with Scott Boras, he probably will find a way, despite not being in much of a position of power, to get Kevin Millwood a major league contract for 2011.

I hope to the heavens above it is not the Cleveland Indians.

The latest on Millwood is that he is talking to the Indians, Yankees and Mets. Seems like a perfect scenario to me as those two will. Bastian says that the Indians could be tempted into making a major league signing, it would probably be Millwood considering no one in their right mind is offering Bonderman a major league deal, which means the Indians shouldn't and won't.

The sudden re-opening of the Millwood rumors seem to be coming from the fact that things have come to a stop with Bonderman. Again, the guy wants a major league deal, but no one wants to give it to him. Why would you?

I'd rather have neither of these guys if one of them was going to get a guaranteed contract. Especially if you wanted to give $5 million to Millwood. A guy shouldn't make the same number of millions as his ERA three of the past four years.

I'd rather let David Huff go out there and give the same production for 1/00th of the price...

[SPEAKING OF...]

I seem to forget about my 2010 man-crush on David Huff. I was all over the guy, he was the guy who was going to make Jeremy Sowers a distant memory and make us think that spending picks on soft-tossing lefties wasn't a bad thing, because Huff wasn't as soft of a tosser and he actually could throw a breaking-pitch.

Take a look at the case made over at Let's Go Tribe for David Huff to not be given up on quite yet.

"But of course we all know Huff's real sin is that he is a soft-tossing lefty.  Although actually he is not.  Ben Lindbergh put together the 2010 data a week ago and it turns out the average major league starting LHP has an average fastball velocity of just 89.4 mph.  Huff's was an above-average 90.6 in 2010, up from 90.1 in 2009.  If Huff can tweek his change and slider, regain some of his (excellent) minor league control, and figure out how to use his pitches more effectively, Huff can still be a major league pitcher. "

He isn't a soft-tossing lefty. At least not in the realm of Jeremy Sowers. He can hit 90 mph on a consistent basis, not once every five starts. And as mentioned in the post, he actually has had above-average off-speed and breaking pitches in the past.

We have redemption stories all the time. I really would love to see this be Huff's redemption story as everyone has counted him out. You always get production from unexpected places and who's to say 2011 won't get some unexpected production from the guy people have counted out?

I wouldn't give up on Huff. I know some are and I may have at one point last season. Maybe it is the optimism of spring or whatever, but Huff is not Jeremy Sowers repeated. Does that mean he'll turn out to be successful? No, but he won't be the incredible half-season fluke that turned into utter crap that Sowers was.


[RANDOM RUNDOWN]

Here is your primer for the primer with Jordan Bastian's Spring Training Preview. I say, sure the Indians didn't add much, but they certainly didn't lose much either (check the end portion entitled "Long Gone" for a nod of approval).

Last Friday was moving day for the trucks. The equipment loaded up and shipped off to Goodyear. Is there any other situation in life that we get excited about equipment trucks leaving? I mean really? Are we that sad?

The answer, is yes... We are that sad. And it feels good to be sad.

MLBTR first broke through with the link and Tony at IPI has since confirmed it, but the Indians were one of six teams to sign a Dominican League prospect. Kevin Calderon has been signed to a deal worth  $80K. Calderon is a 16-year old catcher and the word from, whoever is giving out the word, is that he is good defensively.

Speaking of prospects, go ahead and check out my fellow TCF writer Al Ciammiachella and his Top 50 Countdown list. He's got 40-31 up and it looks like today he'll cover 30-21.

Look, if you have twitter and you aren't following me, I can forgive you. But if you aren't following Chris Perez by now, we're going to have issues. The man has an arm like a FN cannon, so why would you disrespect him in this way?

In all seriousness, follow the man. We've finally got an Indian on Twitter that is not just interactive, but he is really engaging in what he tweets. You know I love Jensen Lewis, but the guy tweets nothing but shutouts to his friends, Josh Cribbs, and Las Vegas.

The big news, as far as I'm concerned, is the fact that Chris cut his hair. Fear not for he still has a nice long base and surely by the time the season rolls around, he'll be back to a more normal badass length that intimidates and frightens hitters.

You might also miss the excellent commentary provided by Castrovince on the rooms CFP decides to snap these photographs in. No one dare make fun of him for having a room with a Finding Nemo mural though, because we know how that would end for you.

Finally, I missed this, but Assistant GM Mike Chernoff (get used to seeing him a lot more as he takes over the Antonetti duties) attended SABR Day. If you don't know what SABR Day is, don't worry, I'm not sure what it is either and the thought of celebrating numbers scares me. But Chernoff shared quite a bit about the team and fielded some questions. Check out everything he had to say.

Most interesting comments... The Cliff Lee-Matt LaPorta situation comparison. It is a given that LaPorta is poised for a break out, but will it happen? Also how all the teams call about Michael Brantley. That should give us a nice bit of hope, that others teams also see Brantley as a viable major league center fielder.

There's also some great things about Drew Pomeranz and Alex White.. So go ahead and check it out. One of the most informative things you'll read all offseason.

Set your DVRs for tonight.. Or just don't... I don't care. Will I watch "Hot in Cleveland" tonight just because Grady Sizemore is going to make a cameo appearance? If I remember and there is nothing else on, then maybe I will. Or I'll just wait for a Youtube clip to surface, because watching an entire 30-minute program just for a few seconds of Grady is not how I envision spending a Wednesday evening.

Now if you could guarantee me a leaked nude picture joke from Betty White... Then I might give in.

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