Opening day is almost here and we’re excited about the renovations happening at Progressive Field. Here are a few photos of the progress down on Carnegie & Ontario.
No. Or at least I hope not.
Rumors were swirling on Twitter about Bobby Abreu making a comeback to MLB. He didn’t play all of last year and is currently in Venezuela playing winter ball. He is hitting .322/.416/.461 with 10 doubles, three home runs in 50 games played in the Venezuelan Winter League. His numbers weren’t that great during his last stint with the LA Dodgers and Angels in 2012. In 257 at bats he hit .242/.350/.342 with three home runs and six stolen bases.
Now at age 39, his batting average against lefties has plummeted, he’s never been very good in the outfield and his power behind the plate has all but disappeared. With newly signed David Murphy & Jeff Francoeur, Michael Bourn and Michael Brantley in the OF, they don’t need Abreu.
Let’s hope Hoynsie is right that the Tribe is not interested.
The Indians have been pretty quiet this winter. Their biggest signing so far was when David Murphy agreed to a two year deal. They also traded Drew Stubbs for LH reliever Josh Outman. I wouldn’t think that the Tribe is done this offseason. They still need need to add to their pitching staff and take a look at adding a big bat to the lineup.
Who’s left to sign?
Kendrys Morales – after his leg injury he sustained with the Angels, he’ll be relegated to a DH role. And with the amount of walk-off wins the Indians have had this past season, I would think that that puts Morales at high-risk of getting injured once again(sarcasm).
Grand Balfour – The Orioles decided not to sign him after his physical so that could bring his price tag down and make him more affordable for the Indians.
Bronson Arroyo – He’s been consistent and hasn’t been injured as much as our pitching staff in the past. He could make a huge impact in Cleveland and the longer he stays on the market, the greater the chance that the Indians could sign him.
The Dodgers have signed Chris Perez to a one year deal, Kazmir has signed with Oakland, and Joe Smith signed a three year, $15.75M contract with the Angels. Ubaldo Jimenez is unlikely to return to Cleveland after testing the free agency waters. Cleveland’s bullpen with have to rely on Vinnie Pestano & John Axford to bounce back and have a good year.
There are a lot of question marks with the Indians pitching.
- Indians Eyeing FA Closers (livingwithcle.com)
- MLB Winter Meetings: FA’s, Trades & Inflated Contracts (livingwithcle.com)
Even though the Tribe hasn’t made any big splashes during the Winter Meetings, you should remember that they signed Nick Swisher around Christmas time last year and they didn’t sign Michael Bourn until February.
Chris Antonetti recently said that he wants Justin Masterson to be an Indian “long term”. This is a tricky situation for the Tribe’s front office right now. They are trying to sign Masterson to a multi-year deal so that he doesn’t disappear during free agency, but they are also weighing their trade options just in case they feel he may leave. Cleveland fans hope that a trade isn’t likely to happen, but that won’t stop Antonetti from listening to offers for his number one starter.
If the Tribe were to deal Masterson, it would leave the starting rotation in disarray and would signal from the front office that last year was a fluke, not a building block to another postseason appearance. The Indians have already lost Scott Kazmir to Oakland and it looks as though Ubaldo Jimenez is not going to re-sign.
“Part of my job is to listen and understand how the industry and other teams value our players. There are a lot of guys we’ve talked about – and you guys have asked specifically about for three years – and all of those guys are still here and our answer is the same.” Antonetti told the Plain Dealer.
Cabrera is also a trade target. He’s also scheduled to become a free agent the same time that Masterson is.
This morning Bob Nightengale with USA Today indicated that the New York Yankees were interested in Masterson and that Brett Gardner could be moved to acquire him. Since the Indians have no need for another OF, another team would have to be involved.
All this trade talk might make one think that the front office is serious about trading Masterson, but if they want to win next season (and I believe they do) then he’ll stay in a Cleveland uniform for at least one more season. Time is on Masterson’s side – his agent indicated he’d like to see where the FA market for pitchers end up. It’s likely if the Indians lure him away from free agency it will be with a $65 million deal or more for at least five years.
But don’t forget our past trades: C.C. Sebathia & Cliff Lee. They were both our number one starters at one time and close to free agency before being traded…let’s hope Masterson doesn’t leave the same way.
It is a well known fact that ball clubs around major league baseball will overpay for their starting rotation. Look no further than the deals that have come about in the past few weeks: Jason Vargas signed a 4 year, $32 million deal, Ricky Nolasco signed a 4 year, $49 million deal, Tim Lincecum received a 2 year, $35 million deal, and Tim Hudson signed a 2 year, $23 million deal.
There are three pitchers who are not on the list and who will be looking for even bigger contracts: Matt Garza, Ervin Santana, and Ubaldo Jimenez. Winter meetings start on Sunday and it could mean that the asking price is about to get a lot bigger for these three. If the market for starting pitchers stays hot then I bet these guys will receive inflated contracts and Ubaldo does not sign with the Tribe. But if teams are unwilling to meet their demands, we may see him in an Indians uniform next season.
There was a lot of chatter about Cleveland signing Tim Hudson, but since he has gone to San Francisco and Scott Kazmir opted for Oakland, the Indians will have to look elsewhere for a starting pitcher. For another team to sign Jimenez means we receive their first round draft pick. There aren’t many clubs that are willing to do that.
To be ready for next season, the Indians will have to sign one more starting pitcher and another relief pitcher to bolster their bullpen. Salazar will fill the void left by Kazmir, but if Ubaldo does not come back to Cleveland, we’ll need another pitcher for the back end of the rotation.
Another option since Kazmir has gone is trading for Brett Anderson. This morning, Buster Olney from ESPN.com posted a tweet saying the Indians & Mariners were interested in signing Anderson.
A lot will be happening in the next few weeks around MLB. Check back here for more updates or follow us on Twitter: @LivingWithCLE.
This past season was a big one for Kazmir. He finished 2013 with a 4.04 ERA and 9.2 K/9 in 158 innings. His fastball was at 92.5 mph, his highest since 2005. Whether Oakland felt that it would be difficult to resign Bartolo Colon or that they felt there was more upside in the younger Kazmir remains to be seen. Colon was rumored to be signing with Cleveland and it still is a possibility that the 40 year old could end up here.
There are still some options in the off season for Cleveland: They could trade for David Price, Brian Wilson is still on the market and could fill the gaping hole that Chris Perez has left, they could also lean on Danny Salazar to make more starts in 2014.
Mike Zagurski is another pitcher that was recently invited to minor league camp by the Tribe. He has split his MLB career with the Yankees, Pirates, and Athletics. His Triple-A record was 6-3 with 2 saves and a 3.04 ERA in 45 relief appearances.
After releasing Chris Perez, the Indians are on the hunt for a new pitcher to fill the closing roll. The Tribe has talked about trying out Bryan Shaw or Cody Allen, but with a large pool of free agents I expect them to make the attempt to sign one.
GM Antonetti is scheduled to talk to the agent of Brian Wilson and Fernando Rodney. Rodney’s asking price is going to be high and who knows what Brian Wilson will want. He made $1 million this past year, but in 2012 he was owed $8.5 million by the Giants. He was lights out when he came back from the DL putting up a 0.66 ERA in 18 appearances.
The Indians still need a true cleanup hitter who can produce runs. There is a large pool of free agents and hitters on the trade block to go after and I wouldn’t expect Antonetti to attempt to sign Wilson or Rodney right away.
A Cleveland Indians manager hasn’t won the Manager of the Year award since 2007 when Eric Wedge receive the nod. The Tribe racked up 92 wins this season and was led by Francona to a Wild Card game against Tampa Bay. Their September record was an amazing 21-6. It was a huge turnaround from last years’ record when the Indians went 68-94.
The Plain Dealer quoted him: “I really don’t feel I won this award over anyone else,” said Francona. “This is an organizational award. That’s what makes me so happy. I think we did this together all year.”
In case you want to relive 2013 in all its glory:
Cleveland Indians’ Kenny Lofton ties the record for consecutive games with a run scored, has four hits including a game winning, walk-off homer and steals five bases!