Archive for the ‘Cleveland Indians’ Category

MLB: Chicago White Sox at Cleveland Indians

Public negotiations are never easy. What somebody says to the media (or to “sources”) isn’t always a fair representation of what really happens at the negotiating table. Players swear up and down that family considerations hold equal weight when planning their future but, as we’re told over and over, it’s all about the money.

Justin Masterson is set to become a free agent at the end of the season. Earlier this winter, it appeared inevitable that the big righty would work out a deal with Cleveland. Masterson joined the Indians in 2009 and has four up-and-down seasons under his belt. Masterson’s public comments suggested he wanted to stay in Cleveland and was willing to take a shorter deal to facilitate it.

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MLB: Cleveland Indians at Oakland Athletics

Yesterday, the Cleveland Indians signed outfielder Michael Brantley to a four-year contract extension, worth $25 million with an option for a fifth year at $11 million. It’s a fine deal for the first-year arbitration eligible player, buying up his three remaining arb years and possibly two of his free agent years.

It is a mostly unremarkable deal for a mostly unremarkable player. After a signing bonus of $3.5 million, MLBTR reports his annual salary will grow as follows: $1.5MM (2014), $5MM (2015), $6.5MM (2016), and $7.5MM (2017). Again – a wholly unremarkable deal.

We probably could credit Cleveland for inking their 26-year old outfielder now before his arb rewards grow or maybe we can simply wonder why?

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Cleveland_Chief_Wahoo_c224_large

It appears Chief Wahoo’s time is coming to an end. Recent evidence suggests the Cleveland Indians and Major League Baseball have been eliminating the logo from various marketing materials and merchandise over these past few months.

True, seeing signs that the Chief may be replaced someday isn’t exactly anything new, it’s more the speed at which things have been happening in 2013 that’s raising an eyebrow with me. The Indians have been oh-so-slowly introducing various logos to be used in concert with Wahoo for over a decade. It started with an alternate cap featuring a cursive “I” logo in 2002, moving on to a block “C” cap in 2008 which eventually managed to kick Wahoo off of the Indians’ road ballcaps altogether in 2011.

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Menacing!

Menacing!

Adjustments. I feel like a broken record at this point and we aren’t even into the division series yet. They are a much bigger part of baseball than I ever considered. How does a team adjust? Who adjusts first?

The Tampa Bay Rays adjusted first tonight. They adjusted first and they adjusted better. And they won the game, moving on to face the Boston Red Sox in the American League Division Series.

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MLB: Cleveland Indians at Oakland Athletics

There was a time when Ubaldo Jimenez was the best thing. He was the [Insert Awesome Pitcher's Name Here] of 2010, spawning GIFs in the nascent days of turning our entire world into one long animated yet soundless image. He threw harder than most guys with more movement than most guys – a deadly combination and treat for the eyes.

Unfortunately, Ubaldo could not match his performance over the first half of 2010. He was eventually traded from the Colorado Rockies to the Cleveland Indians in 2011 as Cleveland made their first of two ill-fated first half charges. It looked like a good deal at the time for both sides, as Colorado received some well-regarded prospects and the Tribe picked up a potential ace on an attractive contract.

Not only did Jimenez fail to replicate the form of his 2009-2010 run of domination, when he posted more than 13 rWAR over 439 innings, he started looking like he might be a non-tender candidate. He was a below replacement-level starter for Cleveland across his first 40 or so starts in the American League.

As Cleveland geared up over the winter for a potential dash toward the playoffs, their rotation was the biggest question mark. What could they reasonably expect from the unpredicatable likes of Justin Masterson, Ubaldo Jimenez and the rest of a middling group of starters? More to the point: which Ubaldo would show up?

Over the last month of so, Cleveland has happily watched as the Ubaldo of old returned, leading the Tribe to within a half game of the AL Wild Card. Not a moment too soon, either.

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Cleveland Indians v Texas Rangers

One of the shibboleths of contemporary baseball analysis is that teams, especially “small market” teams, must grow from within. No team can completely ignore the free agent market, or the waiver wire, or trades, but the most affordable impact talent comes through the cost-controlled players brought up through the team’s own system. Especially these days, when even teams with bigger payrolls are more loathe than ever to give up prospects, the importance of drafting future stars (not to mention international free agents) seems obvious to all. Everyone acknowledges the importance of the farm system, especially in the aftermath of hey another over-hyped MLB draft (really eager to find out which of these guys is going to pan out in three years, ya’ll!).

That is not to say that having a well-regarded farm system is itself a guarantee of future major-league success. Scott McKinney’s important historical study of top prospects established that fact in the wake of a certain team’s farm system being declared the Best in the History of Whatever, and this year a certain team confirmed the implications of McKinney’s work, as even more optimistic analysts acknowledge.

I am not here to refute the notion that, generally speaking, a good farm system built through amateur talent is essential to any team on any budget — even the Yankees, whose two best position players thus far in 2013, Robinson Cano and Brett Gardner, were both drafted and developed internally and are yet to reach free agency. However, there is one team that has put together a good group of position players while on a small budget without drafting almost anyone in the current group: Cleveland.

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A very strange situation at Cleveland’s spring camp in Goodyear, Az today as their closer, Chris Perez, was scratched from the lineup for today’s Cactus League battle with the White Sox.

No word was offered initially for Perez’s scratch. His bizarre behaviour on the way out of the facility fuelled speculation that perhaps the free-agent-to-be was traded.


Alas, Chris Perez is not traded. He is injured, suffering a subscapularis strain in his throwing shoulder. As Jordan Bastian reports, Perez will not throw for seven to ten days, with a goal to return to games in three or four weeks.

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