Monday, December 31, 2007

The same old refrain

There's no crying in baseball, or football for that matter. But there is a lot of whining, at least in Cleveland.

The Browns came up short in their bid for the playoffs, and they did it all on their own - last week in Cincinnati. That is when the season was blown. So please save all the whining about how this kind of stuff (a playoff-bound team playing its scrubs to keep the first-stringers healthy) only happens to Cleveland sports fans.

Once the whining stops, probably by sometime late Monday, the next phase will begin. The "well they did better than we ever thought they would," and "it was a good season and we should be happy with what they accomplished" phase.

It happened when the Indians let a pennant, and a very doable World Series win, slip out of their hands. It will happen with the Browns fans, as I said, sometime late Monday night. Tuesday at the latest.

Having lived the first 27 1/2 of my 51 years in Cleveland, I know the scenario all too well, and I find myself falling into the same old habits myself.

But having lived in New York for the past 23 1/2 years I know what would happen if the Browns or the Tribe played there.

The fans would be merciless and the media would pounce. There would be endless talk about choking, or at least letting a good opportunity slip away.

The fans and the media demand winners in New York, and they get them.

Here in Cleveland, after the initial whining is over, pretty good becomes good enough. And that is why "this keeps happening to us over and over again."

If you want a winning team, don't let the owners think that pretty good will do.

If you want a winner, say so.


The Beaver County (Pa.) Times reported Sunday the Indians and Pirates appear to be at the top Matt Clement's list as the once-dominant pitcher-turned -reclamation project looks for a place to play next season.

It seems Clement, who missed last year rehabbing from shoulder surgery, has built a new home in Butler, Pa. and would like to stay close to home if possible, according to the report.

Clement would be a classic Tribe signing, much like the Kevin Millwood signing in 2005. Clement has a lot of upside and may not even fetch himself a major league contract heading into spring training. If the Tribe were to offer him a major league deal, it wouldn't be for a whole lot of money. He's worth the gamble, whether he takes off after one year or not.


We haven't quite rung in the New Year yet, but Yahoo Sports' Steve Henson has his new power rankings out for MLB. You might think the Tigers would have leapfrogged the Tribe and possibly unseated the Red Sox with their big-time acquisitions this off-season.

But Hensen, who's top five are all from the American League, has the Tribe ranked second, a tiny bit ahead of the Tigers, who are third. Boston is ranked No.1, while the Yanks are No. 4 and the Angles No. 5.

Of course all that can change with Johan Santana still on the block and three months-plus to go for pre-season deal-making.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Santana trade winds blow toward Yankeeland

Hope you all had a merry.

Time to check out what little is going on in baseball.

Judging by some recent stories, it appears the odds of Johan Santana packing his bags for the Bronx are growing larger.

The New York Times reported today the Twins appear to be cutting the asking price for Santana, at least as far as the Yankees go. While Minnesota is still insisting Phil Hughes be included in a Santana trade, the paper reports they no longer are holding out for Ian Kennedy as well. As of this moment, the two youngsters are expected to make up 40% of the Yankees rotation in 2008.

Meantime, the Star-Tribune out of Minneapolis is reporting the Twins might lower the price to the point that they would accept defective (or at least ineffective) Japanese import Kei Igawa as the extra pitcher in the deal.

Talk about your after-Christmas sales!

Over the weekend, David Ortiz told the Boston Herald he doubts his good friend Johan will follow him from the Twin Cities to Beantown.

Heading to the homeland tomorrow. Will spend the day on I-80. Santa brought me a laptop, so I just may be able to put up a post or two while I'm in town over the weekend.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Happy Holidays From Yankeeland

To all Tribe fans, whether you find yourself living in the Motherland or some distant shore - or even New York City.

May Santa bring us all a CC signing and a new left fielder who can hit.

May the new year bring that long-elusive trophy we've all been seeking our entire lives.

By the way, I'll be in town next weekend for a family holiday visit. Anyone want to buy my four tickets to the Browns game?

Sorry, I had to let at least some of it go after today's debacle. Let's enjoy Christmas Day anyway.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

The Tribe's Silva Lining

UPDATE: Since first posting this item, definitive word on Silva's contract surfaced. He's making $48 million over four years, not $44 million, which further proves my point.

The Tribe has seven guys to fit into five rotation spots, and for that Indians fans should be thankful as we head into the holidays.

Especially given the news recently about two of the "top" pitchers available in this year's free agent market - Carlos Silva and Kyle Lohse.

The money these two guys are getting is just plain crazy. Neither would crack the top four in the Tribe's rotation and would have trouble cracking the top three in most rotations in baseball.

Silva was 13-14 with a 4.19 ERA last year. Not bad, but is that worth $44 million over four years?

Lohse was 9-12 with a 4.62 ERA for two teams last year, and that was one of his better years in the recent past.

There's even a rumor floating about that one of the few pitchers really worth something out there - Johan Santana (who would be a trade-for-and-sign guy) - might be looking for a seven or eight year deal. And he certainly WILL be looking for at least $20 million a year.

Glancing at the other headlines of the day, the Tigers are said to have inked a three-year, $29 million deal with newcomer Dontrelle Willis. This is for a guy too young to have reached the free-agency stage yet.

And reliever Ron Mahay is reportedly heading to Kansas City for $8 million over two years - that's $4 million per for a reliever with a 3.77 lifetime ERA.

So given a glance at just one day's headlines, is it any wonder that the Indians' brass is adamant about holding on to its young, cheap, high-ceiling arms?

As I've already said in previous posts, for a guy like Dan Haren I probably would have pulled the trigger - since he has already proven himself and makes virtually no money in comparison to guys like Lohse, Silva and Cliff Lee.

But there also is something nice about having plenty of spare parts to plug in if the originals blow out or malfunction.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Haren to D'Backs

So much for the Dan Haren-to-Cleveland dream.

Haren was sent to Arizona in an eight-player deal that pretty much emptied the Arizona farm system.

In another deal,
Mike Lamb signed with the Twins.

It's past my bedtime, so we'll leave it at that for now.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

WHEW! No new Tribe names on Mitchell list

Good news for Cleveland fans with today's release of the Mitchell report on the use of performance-enhancing drug in baseball. (click link for full report)

Only Paul Byrd's name from the current roster is on that list, and we all found out about that on the morning of Game 7 of the ALCS. (click link for player list)

There are just a few surprises on the list, guys that don't fit the pattern of someone's who's performance, suddenly spiked, or who broke down early and/or often, or some complete nut job.

Roger Clemens was mentioned on nine pages of the report. His pal Andy Pettitte was kind of a surprise. Then, there's Jason Giambi from last year's Yanks club as well. So three Yanks from 2007.

Brian Roberts was kind of a surprising name to me.

Here are the former Indians who made the list. Most fall into at least one of the above categories. I'll let you decide who falls into which:

  • David Segui - one of the stars of the report is mentioned on several pages
  • John Rocker - roid rage?
  • Tim Laker
  • Mark Carreon
  • Jason Grimsley - also one of the most often mentioned in the report
  • David Justice
  • Glenallen Hill
  • Ron Villone
  • David Bell
  • Paul Byrd
  • Matt Williams
  • Kent Mercker (I don't remember him playing for the Tribe, but the report says he did).
There's also an interesting story about a bag that may or may not have belonged to Juan Gonzalez that was detected at the airport in Toronto. The story is on pages 95-98 of the report. In this case, Mitchell reports - you decide.

Just a note to remind you that these guys were not said to have taken performance-enhancing drugs while with the Tribe necessarily. These are just guys who are in the report who also happened to pull on an Indians jersey in a real game at least once in their career.

The rest of the report is all over the Internet. My main concern was whether any current Tribesman would be named. You can check the rest out on your own if that's your thing.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Sharin' the news on Haren

The Indians interest in Oakland's Dan Haren is being more-widely reported today, with some news twists.

The San Francisco Chronicle reported today the A's are keying on Asdrubal Cabrera as one of the players they'd like in return, though, the paper reports, the Tribe might be able to sidestep the A's interest in Cabrera by adding more pitching. I, for one, would be reluctant to see Cabrera included.

The Chronicle reports the Reds may turn their attentions from Baltimore's Erik Bedard and chase Haren as well. Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal is reporting the same thing.

Monday, Rosenthal listed Cleveland and Arizona as the two teams with the best chance of landing Haren. In today's column he doesn't mention the Tribe and backs off a fair amount on Arizona.

Outfielder Carlos Gonzalez, a centerpiece of the Diamondbacks' offer for Haren, does not appear to be a good fit for the A's due to his lack of plate discipline. Gonzalez struck out 109 times while drawing 38 walks at Class AA and AAA last season, but one executive points out that he just turned 22. His on-base percentage could improve as he matures, and he projects as a potential 30-homer man and above-average defender-Ken Rosenthal, Fox Sports,

And the Plain Dealer finally joined in on the speculation. Paul Hoynes lists the Yankees, Dodgers and Diamondbacks as having the "inside track."

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Haren to the Tribe?

Been away from the computer the past couple of days. A bit of surgery for a family member. For those of you who know me, not to worry. Nothing serious but something that needed immediate attention.

Anyway. I'm here now and I apparently missed a BIG rumor, though so far that's all it is.
Good thing my friend Pat Tabler over at the DiaTribe was on the prowl - as he always is - for Tribe news.

It seems the Tribe is quietly -
at least until Ken Rosenthal's column on the FOX Sport site yesterday - one of the leaders (along with Arizona) in the in the Dan Haren Derby.

Rosenthal writes:

The Indians' advantage is that they can offer superior major-league ready pitching, including righty Adam Miller, who projects as either a top-of-the-rotation starter or closer, and lefty Aaron Laffey, a sinker-baller who could develop into another Mark Buehrle.

Haren, the starting pitcher for the American League in the 2007 All-Star Game, could form a potent trio with C.C. Sabathia and Fausto Carmona in Cleveland — and protect the Indians against the loss of Sabathia as a free agent at the end of the season.

This would be the type of blockbuster the Tribe would most likely be inclined to do - involving a top-flight player, but one who comes at a reasonable salary and under the team's control for a while. Under circumstances such as those the Tribe is more likely to part with prospects of the caliber of Miller and Laffey.

Haren is due to be paid $4 million next year and $5.5 million the following year. There's a club option on his contract for $6.75 million in 2010.

To put that in perspective, that's not even half of "Cliff Lee money," at least not 'til the option year.

This is one of those rare times when, for a team in a Cleveland-like market, that a can't-miss-prospects-for-star deal is a no-brainer.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Tribe makes a post-meeting deal

I presume you are already sitting down since you are at the computer. But if you are a "weirdy-freak," (as my daughter likes to call people - mostly me) and read your computer standing up, please sit down.

We've got a blockbuster end-of-winter-meeting deal for the Tribe to tell you about.

Or at least so says

Yes, THE Jamey Carroll is coming to Cleveland.

Carroll was the utility infielder in Colorado this year and hit .225 for the Rockies.

He's not exactly Mike Rouse and he's certainly more capable at SS than Chris Gomez, so that makes him a better defensive utility guy.
But the Tribe has plenty of versatility in the infield and I kind of liked Gomez's bat off the bench even though he was merely capable in the field.
The Tribe will give up a player to be named later and add $2.3 million to its payroll for the utility infielder.
Not sure I get it, but to be honest I haven't seen much of the Rockies or the Nationals/Expos over the years, so maybe I'll see what the Tribe sees after watching Carroll play a little.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Oh those crazy Tigers; Plus - Bay trade is dead - again.

So you'd think the Tigers would be content to pack up their bags and head out of Opryland, having opened all their Christmas presents early. But NOOOOO...

Now there's talk the Tigers may be looking to re-route the D-Train to Queens.

The theory behind the rumor is the Tigers would send Dontrelle Willis and Pudge Rodriguez to the Mets to lop off some if its recently added payroll.

But Booth Newspapers' Danny Knobler quoted a Mets official as saying there's nothing to the rumor, although there was talk of a three-way deal sending Willis and Pudge to NY in last night's blockbuster.

The Mets official more or less says the Tigers couldn't wave filet mignon under their fans noses than replace it with sirloin.

``There's no turning back now for them,'' a Mets official said tonight. ``If anything was going to be done, it had to be done before (the trade became public). They've energized their fan base now. They can't go back.''

No word on who the Tigers would be looking for from the Mets.


And so, for the second night in a row, the Jason-Bay-to-the-Tribe deal is being declared dead, this time not only by the Indians, but the Pirates as well - at least for now.

We get this quote from Pirate GM Neal Huntington via the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review:

“Today, it's dead. Forty-eight hours from now, four weeks from now, who knows?"

Tribe jolted back to life by shocking Tiger deal

The Indians apparently have been roused from their complacency by last night's blockbuster trade that brought Miguel Cabrera and the D-Train to Detroit.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette says the Tribe and Pirates are talking Jason Bay again, and this time the Tribe seems to be serious and moving quickly.

The paper reported this morning that the framework of a deal is in place, but I'm not sure I like it.

According to the report, the Tribe would get Bay and catcher Ronnie Paulino for Franklin Gutierrez, Kelly Shoppach and a pitcher -- either Cliff Lee or a prospect.

I'm not a fly on the wall in Nashville, but my guess is it's the pitcher that's holding things up, with the Tribe trying to foist off Cliff Lee onto the Buccos and the Pirates -quite rightly from their point of view - seeking someone younger.

Paulino hit .263 with 11 HRs and 55 RBI in 133 games with the Pirates last year. His OBP was just .314 and his slugging average just .389.

Earlier this week, in a Post-Gazette story, Pirates GM Neal Huntington questioned Paulino's fire.

"We need to see the hunger, the fire, a guy who's in better condition, a guy who has better motivation." - Neal Huntington on Ronnie Paulino

In addition to watching his average drop from .310 in his rookie year to .263 last year, Paulino's defense took a turn for the worse as well.

Presumably, based on his fine rookie season and with a change of scenery, Paulino would be a decent replacement for Shoppach.

I don't mind giving up a starter in this deal. My preference would be Lee, Sowers, Laffey - in that order.

But here's the part I don't get.

By trading for Bay, the Tribe fills the void in left field and gets a needed right-handed bat. But by trading Gutierrez, aren't they just shuffling their left field mess to right field?

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

UGH!! Cabrera, D-Train headed for Motown; Also: Cliff Lee: 'pitch me or trade me'

By taking just one step forward (signing Japanese reliever Masa Kobayashi) the Tribe appears to be taking a big step backward this off-season.

That's because it looks like the Tigers are putting all their chips on 2008 - and the pot is sweet indeed.

The latest word is the Tigers have a deal in place with the Marlins to acquire 3B Miguel Cabrera and starter Dontrelle Willis for promising starter Andrew Miller, top-rated young outfielder Cameron Maybin and four other prospects.

The deal would clean out the Tigers' farm system, but wow what a big-league club they would have.

Having already acquired Edgar Rnteria to play short (a move to allow Carlos Guillen to 1B full-time), and Jacque Jones to platoon in left field, the Tigers today are making a huge "now's-the-time" move here.

If the move is made, here's their everyday lineup:

C Pudge Rodriguez
1B Carlos Guillen
2B Placido Polanco
SS Edgar Renteria
3B Miguel Cabrera
LF Jones/Thames
CF Curtis Granderson
RF Magglio Ordonez
DH Gary Sheffield

Do you see an 'out' in that lineup? - because I don't.

In giving up Miller, and Jair Jurrjens in an earlier deal, the Tigers may be digging themselves a pitching hole about three years from now, but at the moment they're pretty well set in the starting rotation.

Jeremy Bonderman
Justin Verlander
Dontrelle Willis
Kenny Rogers
Nate Robertson

Chad Durbin/Denny Bautistsa (just picked up today) would be in the hole.

It's not the 1971 Orioles - there is probably one possible 20-game winner rather than four - but with that lineup this rotation is more than good enough.

The bullpen is still somewhat of a mess, but if Joel Zumaya is able to make it back fresh and healthy in the second half, that would be a big boost for the Tiges (as Ernie Harwell used to call them).

For now, if I'm the Tribe, I looking to spend a little of that excess at starting pitcher to get myself a real left fielder.

You can say that you can't let what others do dictate your own actions, but sometime you have to bend to that notion. This may be one of those times.

The Twins are loading up too, but with young guys - unless they end up settling for Coco Crisp in a Santana deal. We'll take a look at their active off-season if/when one of the 87 rumored Santana deals gets done.


Cliff Lee's agent says the Tribe lefty wants to be a starter for the Cleveland Indians. If not, he wants to be gone.

"Cliff's preference is to be one of the five starting pitchers for the Cleveland Indians," said Darek Braunecker. "If that's not the case, he wants to be one of the five starting pitchers for somebody else." -- from the Plain Dealer Web site.

The New York Post reported today that the Tribe was trying to get Alex Rios from Toronto, with Lee part of the package. But the Indians have debunked that. Of course he was also rumored to be part of a deal for Jason Bay, but that just made no sense for the Pirates. And there continues to be talk of a deal with Seattle involving Raul Ibanez and Lee. But there's nothing to that either, the Indians have told the PD.

Then there's this rumor that popped up today: Lee to the Cardnals for Anthony Reyes a/or catching prospect Brian Anderson. (click the link and then scroll down to 4:13 p.m.).

The only way the Anderson part of that makes any sense is if the Indians have plan to trade Kelly Shoppach.

In 20 starts and 22 overall appearances with the Cards last year Reyes was 2-14 with a 6.04 ERA and a 1.41 WHIP

Uh, no thanks!!!!

Tribe-Bucco 'Jason' talks at bay

About the only thing certain about the Jason Bay trade talks is they haven't resulted in a trade of the slugging left fielder to the Tribe.

If you read this morning's Plain Dealer you were told the talks "ended without a deal being reached."

That sentence appears in the middle of a lengthy story about upcoming contract talks between the Tribe and CC Sabathia. The sentence stands alone, with no further explanation.

Several paragraphs later is another orphaned sentence.
"The possibility of the Indians acquiring the right-handed-hitting Bay died before the Indians and Pirates arrived in Nashville."
Again, nothing to back that up. No explanation of how or why or when the talks "died."

As a member of the mainstream media myself, I'm not one of those blog guys who jumps all over newspaper guys just for sport. But in journalism 101 you learn that if you make a statement you need to back it up with something.

Hunting for that something, I took a look at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Their piece was almost as fuzzy, but not nearly as final.

The Gazette reports that neither Mark Shapiro nor the Pirates' Neal Huntington spoke specifically about a Bay deal.

Here was Huntington's response:

"If you'd hit me two weeks ago, I would've thought we had a good chance to make a trade before the meetings. If you hit me again in two weeks, I could tell you we've got a chance to make a trade the next day. The ebb and flow of trade talks is absolutely amazing. You might seem perfectly aligned, and another club comes in and shifts things."

The paper then quoted Shapiro as saying two recent near-deals "aren't even active," any longer.

The Gazette reports it got confirmation of a report that the White Sox were "really" interested in Bay, but that those talks didn't get very far. The Sox seemed to move on to fill their left field need with the acquisition of Carlos Quentin from Arizona.

That same source told the Gazette:

"I really see this as Pittsburgh and Cleveland. Or nothing at all."

Then there was that report yesterday of a Bay for Charles Nagy and Kelly Shoppach deal. (click the link and scroll down to the 3:09 p.m. entry).

Is it any wonder the Pirates didn't do that deal, if it was even seriously considered?

I presume the Pirates are considering a trade of Bay in the hopes that he'll bring a load of young talent that will develop into solid major leaguers. I think it's pretty clear they're not expecting to win anything in the next year or two.

Kelly Shoppach is a man looking for an opportunity. He'd fit in nicely with the Pirates' plans to build for the future.

But why would they want Lee? He'll be 30 during the upcoming season, was sent to the minors without a recall in mid-season this year, was a non-entity when the rosters expanded in September and was left off the Tribe's playoff roster.

If the Pirates were a team making a run this year and in need of another starter to bolster their chances, taking a shot on Lee might make sense.

But in the position they are in, and given the Tribe's abundance of young pitching, you would expect the Pirates to be looking at Aaron Laffey or Jeremy Sowers, not Cliff Lee.

It appears the Johan Santana sweepstakes winner may be drawn soon, and the likely winner will be the Red Sox.

A Boston Globe blog reported officials of the Twins and Red Sox went to bed late last night with visions of a big deal dancing in their heads.

In exchange for Santana, the Twins would get pitcher Jon Lester, center fielder Coco Crisp, pitcher Justin Masterson and infielder Jed Lowrie.

A further indication that something big may about to boil over is a story in this morning's (NY) Daily News, which says the Yankees appear to moving on from Santana to Oakland's Dan Haren.

The Twins, meanwhile, appear to be in full rebuild mode, as they apparently have also begun taking offers for closer Joe Nathan.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Bay Watch

A note to readers:

It's been a while. Been struggling with a virus that won't go away, a series of assignments for my grad school class, a ton a crap at the job I get paid to do and some other issues that I don't need to get into here.

Needless to say, the blogging wouldn't be taking a back seat unless it were absolutely necessary.

Thanks to those who keep checking in looking for something new. Today there's finally something here.
The Winter Meetings get under way Monday. In fact, the principles are all pretty much gathered in Nashville, and it's not to see Merle Haggard.

For the Indians, this year's meetings should be an episode of Bay Watch, only lots more interesting. Will they or won't they pull the trigger on a deal for Pittsburgh's slugging left fielder Jason Bay?

The Pittsbugh Post-Gazette had a story Sunday which seemed to indicate Xavier Nady would be more likely to go than Bay. As the paper tells it, the Pirates are looking to move one of the two outfielders, were hoping to get a huge haul for Bay but are finding the interest to be not as great as they thought it would be.

The Pirates had sought to get two strong prospects, perhaps a pitcher and catcher, in the type of deal that successful, low-spending teams often make. But the Cleveland Indians are the only party known to have had firm talks with the Pirates, and their interest is not to that extreme.-- Dejan Kovacevic, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Nady hit .280 with 20 homers and 72 RBI despite missing about one-fourth of the season to injuries last year. Nady made $2.15 million in 2007 and would likely come in north of $3 million in arbitration. He can become a free agent in 2009 and - and this is the real minus - he's a Scott Boras client.

Back to Bay. The Boston Herald reported over the weekend that talks between the Tribe and Pirates about Bay have been "heating up" and that the Pirates have made Kelly Shoppach a part of the price tage.

Bay had an off year - a very off year - last year, hitting just .247 with 21 homers and 84 RBIs. But in each of the two previous seasons he bested the 30 HR, 100 RBI marks. In 2006 he hit 35 HR and had a .532 slugging percentage. In 2005 he hit 31 dingers and slugged at a .559 rate.

Today's Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article quoted one official from an American League team as saying Bay is not a hot commodity because of his poor 2007.

Right now, nobody wants Bay," another American League executive said. "That will change if he shows he's right again. But not now. He's got to get out there and be Jason Bay again."

The tendinitis he battled much of the year didn't help him much at the plate and it certainly isn't helping his trade value.

Bay's contract is not a huge problem. He's due $5.75 million next year and $7.5 million in 2009.

Nady, meanwhile, had never hit 20 homers until last season. His previous high was 17. His career slugging percentage is roughly 100 points lower than Bay's and his biggest RBI year prior to 2007 was the 63 he put up in 2006. The Tribe has that kind of 'talent' already hanging out in left field.

The Pirates are said to be taking a passive approach. Waiting to see who offers what for whom. It's kind of a strange approach - if you ask me - for a team as awful as the Pirates and with a new general manager who, you would think, would be anxious to do something, even if it is to blow things up and start from scratch.

As far as the Tribe is concerned, Xavier Nady is not worth spending much time on. If they're going to do a deal for a Pirate outfielder, it should be for Bay or it shouldn't be done at all.
As far as what could have been, Paul Hoynes reported Sunday the Indians were after Delmon Young until he got traded to the Twins. One reason the Twins got him and the Tribe didn't - according to Hoynes - is the Twins were willing to give up top pitching prospect Matt Garza but the Tribe was not into the idea of trading Adam Miller.
The Tribe decided against offering arbitration to Kenny Lofton, Trot Nixon, Chris Gomez and Keith Foulke.
No surprises here. Lofton would possibly accepted, adding to the muddle in the outfield. I think the Tribe would like Lofton back, but only if they don't get a Bay-like player or if they can cull the herd of outfielders they have now by sending some of them away in trade.
The decision on Trot Nixon was a no-brainer.
I kind of like Chris Gomez - he's a nice stick off the bench and knows how to play the game. But, since the Indians rarely go to arbitration with anyone I couldn't imagine they would do so with a player of Gomez's skill set.
The really interesting one is Foulke. I'm not surprised the Indians don't want him after what he pulled last winter. The part that surprises me is that a team could conceivably find itself at an arbitration table with a player who - one year earlier - wussed out on them when they needed him.
The Johan Santana sweepstakes will make the headlines nationally as the meeting progress.
The story changes day-to-day and hour-to-hour.
The latest rumors I've read is that the Yankees will pull their offer off the table by Monday if it's not accepted.
The offer is now said to include Melky Cabrera and Phil Hughes - one the the elite pitching prospects in the league - and one other top prospect. I even read in the Minneapolis Star Tribune that the Yankees were willing to make that third player Ian Kennedy, who - like Hughes- is slated for the Yanks rotation as of now. You'll notice in that story the little sentence marked "UPDATE," which, when journalism was really journalism, would have said "CORRECTION" instead. It seems the reporter got a little overzealous on the Ian Kennedy thing.
Meanwhile the Providence Journal reports that Santana is doing just about everything he can to force the issue, saying not only that he wouldn't waive his no-trade clause in-season, but also that he won't wave it for anyone but the Yanks and Red Sox. Kinda puts the handcuffs on the Twins no?
And so the meetings are underway. In addition to the Bay watch, I'd look for the Tribe to try to add yet-another bullpen arm. I've said it before, but it's worth repeating: Bullpen guys, no matter how good, have a history of showing serious fatigue a season after they've been worked to death in a deep playoff run. It may not happen to the Tribe, but then again it just might. The more arms the better.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

What Johan's stance means for the Tribe

It's been a few days. The holiday, a knock-you-on-your-butt case of bronchitis and a lack of Tribe-related news has kept me from my keyboard.

Thanks to those who have been checking in.

The biggest baseball news since we last posted was the
signing of Torii Hunter by the Angels. Two keys here for the Tribe. It takes Hunter out of the division. It also puts an end to nasty rumors that Hunter would end up with the White Sox, or even Kansas City.

Bigger news for the Tribe? Johan Santana has decided that a four-year extension at an average of $20 million per is not enough.

Santana wants a six-year extension. Santana will be 29 when the season starts, so he'd be 35 when a six-year contract ends. Plus you have to assume that $20 million per is a bit short of Santana's mark as well.

So what will a certain lefty who is nearly a year-and-a-half younger than Santana and beat the Twins' lefty three times this past season command?

It's true that the Indians are a top-tier team that has invested in its key players, while the Twins are coming apart. Torii Hunter is gone and closer
Joe Nathan is talking about splitting after next season. So Santana has a much bigger incentive than CC to leave his current situtation.

Whether CC will be looking around the locker room at his talented mates or looking at dollar signs at decision time, only time will tell.


In other Central Division news:

  • The White Sox made a big upgrade in their pen by signing Scott Linebrink, but unless there's more to come it's little more than a finger-in-the-dike move.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Tribe starts holiday shopping

The Indians placed the first check on their holiday shopping list today, signing Japanese reliever Masahide Kobayashi.

Having no access to the Japanese league on my DirecTV, I can't really tell you any more about him than what you can read in the story on the Tribe's Web site.

I do know the Tribe site is already offering you the chance to "customize a Kobayashi jersey," so you'll want to run right out and do that at $200 a pop or so, I'm sure.

He's been a closer for most of his career with the Chiba Lotte (can you buy one of those at Starbucks?) Marines of the Japanese Pacific League, has at least 20 saves in each of the past seven years, has an 89-91 mph fastball and a good cutter (or so they say). His lifetime ERA in Japan is 2.79.

The Tribe isn't saying what they plan for Kobayashi, except to say they will use him in the back of the bullpen.

This is just my opinion, but I don't think he's being brought in to replace JoBo as the closer, though I do believe he is being brought in as an insurance policy in case Borowski falls off that tightrope he walked all last season or if JoBo or one of the other late-inning mainstays has a down year after being used to death deep into the playoffs.

Even If everybody pitches up to snuff, it's still great to have another solid arm at the back end of the pen, as we found out this year the deeper the Tribe got into the post-season.

Now, about that left field situation.

Depending on what you read and where, Torii Hunter is all but signed and sealed for the White Sox, or he is not. If they were to add Hunter in center along with the acquisition of Orlando Cabrera at short and a possible move of Juan Uribe to second, the Sox would be very strong up the middle - both on offense and defense.
However, they have a three-deep rotation right now. The plan for the Sox this winter is to go back to the pitching-defense approach that got them a World Series title in 2005. So far they seem to be getting the defense part right.

There was some talk that the Rays might be interested in Uribe, but maybe not so much.

And there's also word that the Sox are still in on the Miguel Cabrera sweepstakes.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Wedge is AL Manager of the Year; Gabe Paul in the Hall?

There are two bits of news on the Indians Web site tonight.

One is nice, and probably not surprising. But other than to say "congrats" to Eric Wedge for being named A.L. Manager of the Year, I don't have much reaction.

It's another piece of off-season hardware for the Tribe - a Gold Glove for Grady, a Cy Young for C.C. and Executive of the Year for Mark Shapiro are the others.

But what we really need is some post-season hardware. The big one! The off-season awards may be an indication that we're on the right road. Let's hope we get there - and soon. I'm not that young anymore.

One honor that may be in the offing baffles me. But I guess that's because I measure this person by the work (damage) he did with the Indians for so many years and not his overall career.

Paul spent about 30 years in baseball, 19 of them with Cleveland- with some World Championship time in the middle in New York and a pennant won in Cincinnati early on.

During his 20 years at the helm of the Tribe he - and sidekick Phil Seghi - were responsible for 30 years of awful baseball. It was during their tenure that the Tribe became the joke of baseball - the late-century version of today's Kansas City Royals, only worse.

In Paul's first go-round with the Tribe, 1962 - 1973, the team had two winning seasons, one .500 season and losing seasons for the rest of the period. They finished anywhere from 14 to 40 games out of first place during those seasons. Their best season at the gate was 1965, when they drew 934,786; their worst was 1963, when 562,507 watched the Tribe in person.

In Paul's second coming, 1978 - 1984, the Tribe finished two seasons out of seven above .500, 1979 (81-80) and the strike-shortened 1981 (52-51). Excluding the strike-shortened season, the closest they came to first place was 17 games, in 1982.

Mostly I'll remember Paul for one thing. The role he played in two of the Tribe's worst-ever deals. Over the period of about 18 months the Indians sent slugging first baseman Chris Chambliss and powerhouse third-baseman Graig Nettles to the Yankees for what amounted to Charlie Spikes, a pair of spikes and a bag of balls. A few months after the Nettles deal he joined the Yankees' front office. A short time after joining the Yankees, he picked up Chambliss. Hmmm?

Plus Paul is said to have played a key role in the sale of the Yankees by CBS to George Steinbrenner.

It's not exactly betrayal of Art Modell proportions, but it smells a bit doesn't it?

To be fair, the Paul-led Tribe teams were backed by some of the worst ownership groups (Ted Bonda, Vernon Stouffer) in the game's history, but four winning teams in 19 seasons?

Sounds like Hall of Fame material to me.

Time for Shapiro to deliver the right pitch

"I've been an Indian my entire career. I grew up here, and I've been here since I was 17 years old, so I really can't see myself leaving the organization. My agent is meeting with the team, and hopefully they can get something done real soon."

That's CC Sabathia as quoted on XM Radio yesterday - the day he became the first Indian pitcher to win the Cy Young Award since 1972.

"We have the utmost respect and appreciation for C.C. and have a strong desire to keep him here. C.C., I think, shares that desire. The only question is can we find a business deal that works for the Indians organization and C.C.? We're going to take the next three months to find that out."

That's Tribe GM Mark Shapiro as quoted in the Plain Dealer this morning.

The Cy Young Award is nice. A contract agreement between the two men would be much, much nicer.

I base this on nothing but a gut feeling - and believe me, optimist is not my middle name, especially where Cleveland sports are involved - I just have a hunch the Tribe and CC will work something out.

There seems to be plenty of goodwill between the two sides. Sabathia is clearly happy in Cleveland and the team members seem to enjoy being out there together and know they have more work to accomplish.

Management seems to know it will take a lot to keep Sabathia, yet they keep saying they think they have a shot. So maybe they're going to be willing to pony up.

I know that all sounds pollyanish - after all who expected Mr. Aw Shucks himself, Jim Thome, to grab Philly's last buck - but there's just something in my gut that tells me CC will stay.


Nothing major to report here. The Twins acquired Craig Monroe for a minor leaguer. The Tigers re-signed Todd Jones since last we spoke and picked up Jacques Jones. The Jacques Jones trade was a pretty good one for the Tigers, but not the kind that will set the division on its ear.

With the Yankees signing Jorge Posada and the Mets about to pounce on Yorvit Torrealba, the rumors of interest in Kelly Shoppach have quietly disappeared.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Wanted in New York: Kelly Shoppach

Kelly Shoppach is a wanted man in New York - for his baseball skills.

With Jorge Posada and Paul Lo Duca free agents this winter, both the Yankees and Mets are looking for a starting catcher.

Both teams are said to be going hard after Posada, and there is a scenario out there where each New York team will sign the other's 2007 catcher for the upcoming season.

However, if either of the two heads out of town, one of the teams is going to need a catcher.

Both are said by the Web site Gotham Baseball Magazine to be looking at Kelly Shopppach to fill one of those musical chairs.

The Mets' needs are more immediate, as their interest in Yankees' backstop Jorge Posada are a bit "overblown" said one agent. Though Mets GM Omar Minaya's talks with Cleveland GM Mark Shapiro this past week were said to be more about Tribe starter Cliff Lee, as many as three industry sources have told GBM that "Shoppach's name came up more than once." --Gotham Baseball

The Web site said the Tribe is not hot on the idea of trading Shoppach but would listen if Mike Pelfrey or Aaron Heilman were involved.

Pelfrey has not show much at all and Heilman has bitched and moaned about being in the bullpen. Unless the Tribe has figured out a way to get Heilam into the already-crowded roation, I'd pass.
Metro Canada reports today the Indians are hottest on the trail of Pirates outfielder Jason Bay, with the Orioles also in pursuit. (Bay is Canadian, hence the interest in him north of the border).
Catching up with an old friend. Former Tribe outfielder Jody Gerut is tearing up the Venezuelan Winter League, strenghtening his bid to make a comeback in the majors. Gerut is hittting .422 with a .495 OPB. Knee injuries have kept him sidelined since 2005.
Adam Miller is getting his head handed to him in the Arizona Fall League - his ERA is 7.44 in 12 2/3 innings.



The Johan Santana rumors continue. Newsday reports that if the Yankees want the Twins' lefty, Robbie Cano may have to be a big part of the package.

The Twins have all but abandoned hope of re-signing Torrii Hunter, and are targeting Coco Crisp, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

Carlos Silva, the free agent pitcher from the Twins, has been getting interest from the Mets, Phillies, Royals and Tigers, according to the Star Tribune.

Tigers/White Sox

However, the Palm Beach Press reports Willis is likely to remain in Florida, while 3B Miguel Cabrera is much more likely to be traded. Ken Rosenthal reports the White Sox are in the mix for Cabrera, though the scenario he describes seems a bit of a longshot.

For the White Sox to acquire Cabrera, they probably would need the Red Sox to re-sign third baseman Mike Lowell, the Angels to balk at moving second baseman Howie Kendrick and the Dodgers and Yankees to focus on pitching instead. -- Ken Rosenthal, Fox
EDITOR'S NOTE: I'm going to do something I vowed not to do with this blog when I started it. Mix football with pleasure. I just have to say Romeo Crennel can put that "L" today 100% on himself. How on earth do you waste TWO timeouts on one extremely questionable replay challenge? If you -stupidly - think there is any chance you win the challenge on that Steelers' touchdown, throw the flag. Lose the time out. Don't call a timeout to decide whether or not to throw the flag. That opens the possibility that you lose two timeouts. Nothing short of buffoonery. Absolutely stupid. Even if you win the challenge, the Steelers are going to score there eventually, then you get the ball back with even less time left. One of the stupidest things I've ever seen on the football field and I've been watching the Browns for a long, long time. And while we're at it, the offense may be good enough to carry the team into the playoffs, but with such an awful defense, what is the point? It'll be one and out.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

A glimpse at next year?

The GM meetings are over and the off-season chatter is in high gear.

As far as the Tribe goes, some of what came out over this week was expected. Some was not. In fact, with them GM meetings concluded and the Winter Meetings just ahead their are some hints the Indians might make more noise than we originally thought.

First of all there was that curious mention of Miguel Cabrera in the Plain Dealer the other day. I haven't seen anything else about it, except for people repeating the PD article. The Tribe certainly has prospects, and could afford to trade Jhonny Peralta to the Marlins (where he would make the eventually inevitable move to 3B), but pretty much every newspaper in the country has a story about how and why their team should pursue Cabrera.

And then there was this crazy thing about the Indians being interested in Luis Castillo - but only if they trade Peralta somewhere. (click the link and scroll down about halfway)

Could the rumors of Cliff Lee and Castillo have a connection?

Early in the week there was talk about Jason Bay coming to the Tribe. That is a pretty exciting bit of information and was not on the radar before this week.

One other bit of surprsing news - the Tribe would consider bringing Kenny Lofton back for next season if they can clear up the clutter they have in the corner outfield spots (and presumably if nothing happens on the Jason Bay front).

Of course the expected also happened. We found out Mark Shapiro is readying a contract extension to present to CC, and theTribe picked up options on Paul Byrd, Joe Borowski and Aaron Fultz.

Other Central Division teams were mentioned in the week's rumors. Here's a team-by-team rundown:



White Sox


Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Byrd, Borowski, Fultz stick around

Well, the Executive of the Year has started off this offseason by doing what he said he'd do - taking three steps to keep last year's team together for next year.

The Indains today exercised their options for next year on Paul Byrd ($8 million), Joe Borowski ($4 million) and Aaron Fultz ($1.5 million).

None of the moves is a huge surprise and none is particularly controversial, but each has at a few question marks attached.

The question about Byrd - of course - revolves around his use of HGH and whether he did so at a time the substance was banned by baseball. He could be suspended for 50 games if that is found to be the case.

I still think this is a good decision by the Tribe. Byrd is a good fourth or fifth starter and comes at a decent price. He was probably the Tribe's best starter in the post-season (admittedly not a ringing endorsement) and he had a solid year last year.

If they lose Byrd for 1/3 of the season they have enough depth in the rotation to fill the hole. Like last year's injuries to Cliff Lee and Jake Westbrook, a Byrd suspension might bring a Fausto-like surprise, or at least allow Jeremy Sowers or Cliff Lee an opportunity to re-establish themselves as legitimate options in the rotation.

The question about Borowski is whether the Tribe would have been better off seeking a door-slammer for the position. Mariano River is the only one out there who qualifies - since Eric Gagne went AWOL in September and October, creating doubt about his abilities - and Mariano is about to cost the Yankees $40 million over three years at age 38. So, Borowski it is.

Fultz is the cheapest sign, and he's a lefty. His numbers for last year look good on paper (2.92 ERA), but he was nearly unusable in the last two months and awful in a spare-part roll in the playoffs. If I question any of the three signings, it's this one. There are lots of other relievers out there who could do as well or better for not much more money. If the signing of Fultz prevents the signing of one of these other candidates, then it was a bad signing.


One other reliever that is out there that would fit the Tribe's needs quite well is Brian Fuentes, the former closer and current setup man of the Colorado Rockies. Fuentes is not a free agent, but The Denver Post reports he could be had for a starting pitcher.

Can anyone say Cliff Lee?

Fuentes may get up to $6 million in arbitration, according to the paper. That's awful steep for a reliever on the Tribe's payroll. But trading Lee would save a lot of money that appears - in hindsight I'll admit - to have been questionably spent, given Lee's poor season and questionable status.

In addition to shedding Lee's salary, the positive thing about signing Fuentes is his ability to close. Should Borowski get hurt, or falter, the Tribe would have an insurance policy without having to move Raffie Betancourt out of the set-up spot he has done so well in.


Three players from the Tribe organization were sent packing in the past couple of days. Utility infielder Luis Rivas and relievers Matt Miller and Mike Koplove were released. Rivas is a solid utility infielder, but the Tribe has no need there. Miller and Koplove both have had successful stints in the majors, but Miller hasn't been healthy since '04. I'm not sure why Koplove wasn't given more of a shot mid-season, when the Tribe was thrashing about trying to find a middle reliever that could get someone out.


A few days ago I suggested the Tribe might want to look into Jose Guillen as the bat they need to fill an every-day role in left field. Never mind!! One possible HGH/steroids suspension on the team is more than enough. Former Tribe 3B, Matt Williams is also implicated in the San Francsico Chronicle story linked above.


I still think the Tribe's best bet for left field is to find an every-day player who can hit. Which brings us to Jason Bay. The Most Valuable Networks' Tribe Report had a nice piece on Bay and what it might take to bring him to Cleveland. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Sports Editor Jerry Micco was quoted as part of that post:

"I have no idea who they’d get as far as prospects, but I’d imagine Neal Huntington knows that organization better than any other. I think if you’re going to trade one of those guys, you need to get a major-league ready outfielder in return and at least a guy who can be a very good AAA pitcher. Bay should command that, even after a down year. Nady is a bit younger, so his upside may be higher. But mind you, Bay has proven he’s a big-time bad and he was probably injured more than he let on last season. When you give up on either of those 2 guys, you need to get high quality in return. Anyone below AAA, to me, is unacceptable."

A major league-ready outfielder? How about Ben Francisco? A very good AAA pitcher? Does the name Sowers come to mind? I'm pretty sure the Tribe would have to throw someone else into the mix too. Even though Bay had a down year last year, he'd fit in with the Tribe's need and his contract is not a negative.


Those A-Rod-to-the-Tigers whispers won't go away. SI's John Heyman has the Tigers high on the list and moving up. He also reports the Tigers may have an interest in Eric Gagne, thinking Gagne may have had trouble adjusting to a set-up role in Boston but would be a good replacement for the injured Joel Zumaya at closer.

The Kansas City Star reports the Royals have three slugging outfielders on their list of priorities this off-season: Torrie Hunter, Geoff Jenkins and Jose Guillen. The story was written before the story broke tying Guillen to baseball's steriod investigation. The story also says the Royals prefer a right-handed batt, which Jenkins is not. Torii Hunter is being pursued by just about everyone - and rightly so - so you have to wonder if anything will come of any of three as far as Kay-Cee is concerned.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Omar and The Hall

I was scrounging around for some news today when I came across a somewhat inconsequential item.

The Giants are looking to re-sign Omar Vizquel.

This is not a big deal in the scheme of the things. But for me it is good news.

I've always liked Omar and that is especially true since he was one of the few key members of the 90s Tribe teams who had to be nudged to leave Cleveland rather than grabbing a big bag of cash and heading for the door.

After his rather poor season at the plate this year (.246, 54 runs, 51 RBIs), and given his age ( almost 41), and the obvious logic for the Giants to tear it up and got A LOT younger (which they apparently aren't inclined to do based on their off-season rumblings), I though it might be the end of the line for Omar.

He's two Gold Gloves behind Ozzie Smith right now (13-11), though that could change by one in the next couple of weeks when the 2007 season awards are announced.

I had been hoping he'd catch Smith so there could be no argument against Omar's making the Hall of Fame. And now, it appears, he'll have that chance.

But in looking into things further, I think Omar already has Ozzie beat because his numbers are better overall.

Take a look at the fielding numbers against Ozzie and some of the other Hall of Fame shortstops who got in based on their gloves as well as their bats.

  • Player Games Chances Fldg % Gold Gloves Years
  • Omar 2588 11,484 .984 11 19
  • Ozzie 2511 12,905 .978 13 19
  • Rizutto 1649 8148 .968 n/a 13
  • Aparicio 2599 12,930 .972 9 18
  • Reese 2014 10,319 .962 n/a 16
Rizutto and Reese did not play during the era of the Gold Glove award. Aparacio's first two years were also outside that era. In fact, Aparacio was the first American Leaguer to win the award.

Looking at the stats, Omar has the best fielding percentage among the group.

Both Ozzie and Aparacio had more chances, but if Omar plays two more years he will come just short of closing that gap. Omar's averaging about 9.5 errors a season. If you add 1200 more chances (about two year's worth) and 19 more errors, it wouldn't budge his fielding percentage.

Omar's fielding percentage is not only tops in this group, but also tops among all 21 shortstops in the Hall of Fame and in fact TOPS OF ALL TIME. That alone should get him in the Hall.

Among the same group of defensive minded shortstops mentioned above, Vizquel trails only Aparacio in hits -2598 to 2677, a deficit Omar should erase even if he plays just one more year.

Omar leads the group in batting average at .274, just ahead of Phil Rizutto at .273 and 5 to 10 points ahead of the others.

In the group,Vizquel trails only Pee Wee Reese in runs scored (by just one) and RBI (885-869) - again very much erasable with one more season of play.

Vizquel is well behind Reese and Aparacio in homers:

  • Vizquel 77
  • Aparacio 83
  • Reese 126
and he trails Aparacio and Ozzie in stolen base:

  • Ozzie 580
  • Aparacio 506
  • Omar 380
I'm going to cede the offensive stats to Aparcio and Reese, but I think Omar comes out on top ahead of Ozzie and Rizutto:

  • Player Hits Runs HRs RBIs BA OBP
  • Omar 2598 1337 77 869 .274 . 340
  • Ozzie 2460 1257 28 793 .264 .337
  • Rizutto 1588 877 38 563 .273 .351
So among the shortstops who are in the Hall of Fame for their gloves as well as their bats, Vizquel has the best stats on defense and comes out ahead of Rizutto and Ozzie on offense as well and he's darn close to Aparacio.

So, whether Omar plays in 2008 or not, I'd say he should be a lock for the Hall of Fame.

I think even could do a sumersault or two out on the field - just like Ozzie - and he'd probably be able to barehand a ball mid-flip and throw somebody out.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

CENTRAL ISSUES:Zumaya out for half a season

Joel Zumaya - the fearsome Tiger reliever who was in line for the closer's job - will miss the first half of next year with an injury to his throwing shoulder.

The Associated Press reports Zumaya hurt the shoulder while moving household items during the recent California wildfires.

Zumaya, who underwent surgey on the shoulder yesterday, lives just south of San Diego.

The injury makes it much more urgent for the Tigers to resign their closer of the past few years, Todd Jones, who -
as we passed along yesterday - is looking to play closer to his home in Alabama.


Chicago Sun-Times is reporting today the White Sox plan to meet with free-agent outfielder Torii Hunter, who has spent his entire career with the Twins.

The Times reports Hunter is a top priority for the Sox this year. If a deal happens, it would of course keep the multi-talented centerfielder in the Tribe's division.

According to the paper the White Sox may also be interested in free agent shortstop
David Eckstein.

Meanwhile, T
he (New York) Daily News reports today the Yankees have shown an interest in White Sox 3B Joe Crede. Crede played in only 47 games last year due to injury and is more than ependable du to the play of his replacement Josh Fields, who hit 24 dingers.


The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that former Indians pitcher and front-office type John Farrell is strongly leaning toward staying in Boston as the Red Sox pitching coach, meaning the job of Pirates' manager is still wide open.

Tribe 3B coach Joel Skinner is a serious candidate for the Pittsburgh job.The paper reports Skinner's interview was scheduled for today.


During the recent playoff run, I got lots of e-mail from fans in the same boat as me - a Tribe Fan in Yankeeland - who wanted to know where in the New York area they could watch sports in a Cleveland-friendly atmosphere.

Given that I am already a grand uncle (though -thankfully - not yet a grandpa) I don't spend much (any) time in sports bars.

However, I recently discovered that Jack, at the Tribe Report, is one of us- a Cleveland sports fan living in Brooklyn (and not the one attached to Parma). I posed the question to him. Here, edited a little, was his suggestion. Hope it helps. And please let us know if you know of others.

  • Blondies, Blondies, Blondies! There are two: Blondies East and Blondies West. Both are home to things like the NYC chapter of the Browns Backers, the OSU Alumni club (I'm an OSU Alum, btw). They're home to other similar groups as well for Michigan State, U of M, Detroit Lions, Penn State, etc. It gets kind of cloudy at times as to where the allegiances are at the two bars, but I can say that Blondies East was like being in a bar in Euclid, Ohio during the recent playoff run! It was pretty cool. Meeting people, finding out you know some of the same people back home, watching the Tribe together. Was pretty cool. A simple google of "Blondies NYC" will get anyone the info they need. I will say, though, that for something big like the OSU/Mich game or if the Browns go to the playoffs (actually any Browns Sunday is like this) you'll need to call and make reservations and say you're there for that particular game.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Schilling puts Cleveland on list of possible new homes

Curt Schilling has put the Indians on the list of teams he'd like to play for if he doesn't re-sign with Boston.

Schilling put the list on his blog, and, in fact, listed the Tribe first - though it's not clear if the teams were listed in order of priority.

Schilling says his priority is to sign with Boston, but he has also begun writing letters to Sox teammates, since, he says, he may not be playing with them again.

"I actually broke out a pen and paper the last couple days," Schilling said Tuesday in his weekly radio appearance while driving to Fenway Park for the Red Sox victory parade. "There's a very realistic chance I won't ever play with them again."-- quoted by Rotoworld

Now comes the big question. Why would Cleveland want him?

He has the reputation - with results to back it - of being the big-game pitcher that neither CC nor Fausto has proven to be to this point. But he'd be the third man in Cleveland's rotation and it is money much better spent on trying to resign CC. If it were 10 years ago, it might be a different story.

Here are two pitchers I think the Tribe should seriously look into:

  • David Riske - Declined his mutual option with the Royals. He's only 31 and had 2.45 ERA in 70 innings in 2007.

  • LaTroy Hawkins - Rockies declined his $3.75 million option. Hawkins was dismal in April -probably because he was injured. After coming back in late May he had a 2.63 ERA over 48 innings in Colorado, which is no pitcher's paradise.

The pen was great in 2007, but you can NEVER have enough good arms out there, especially in the year after your best relievers were overtaxed in an extended playoff run.

And what about that "big" bat for left field. The Brewers set Geoff Jenkins free by declining his $9 million option. The name is tempting, but he hit only 255 with 20 home runs in 2007. He's a lefty and his numbers are solid against right handers. But the Tribe would have to trade David Delucci for Jenkins to fit in, and I'm not sure he's a big-enough upgrade to bother. He's also a very streaky hitter and his troughs can be scary.


With the Tigers turning over the closer role to Joel Zumaya next year, Todd Jones has turned his sites on Atlanta as a possible new home.
The Detroit News reports the Tigers hope to re-sign Jones to set-up Zumaya and act as an insurance policy if Zumaya doesn't work out in his new role. But, according to the paper, Jones hopes to pitch closer to his home in Alabama.

The News also reports the Tigers also hope to re-sign starter Kenny Rogers.

Torii Hunter has told the Twins he would not negotiate with them until all teams can joint the bidding. reports the Houston Astros have already told Hunter they're interested when the time comes to talk money.

Darin Erstad got his walking papers yesterday when the White Sox decided not to pick up his option for next year.

Tribe killer Mike Sweeney is also a free agent. The Kansas City Star reports the oft-injured slugger was placed on hold by the Royals until after the Winter Meetings next month, when both sides will have a clear idea what the market is for Sweeney.