Leo: “Clippers Mailbag”
As I am writing this, the pitchers and catchers are on Field #2 at the Indians Goodyear complex stretching and jogging… that’s right, the first spring workouts are underway! The first OFFICIAL team functions are slated for Thursday. With that excitement also brings the year’s first “Clippers Mailbag” (please hold your applause).
Here is a small sample of questions I received during the off-season, most of them are recent:
Q: Who are some of the free agents that we’ll see in Columbus this year? (Mike S.)
A: Mike, the Indians minor league free agent acquisitions have been few and far between this winter. However, there is a decent chance you’ll see a couple of the following at Huntington Park: CA Paul Phillips (Rockies), INF Jack Hannahan (Red Sox), INF Adam Everett (Tigers), RP Doug Mathis (Phillies), OF Travis Buck (Athletics).
Don’t forget the Tribe also acquired OF Chad Huffman from the Yankees last September. Huffman will battle for a spot as well.
Q: Why does the Clippers web site have players listed on the 40-man roster that are not listed on the Indians 40-man roster? Wes Hodges, Luke Carlin, and several more. (Joe Martinez)
A: Joe, the roster portion of the Clippers site is operated by Minor League Baseball, not the front office or broadcasters. The correct 40-man roster can be found here, through the Indians site. There will be another 40-man adjustment when the Orlando Cabrera signing is made official. Once the season gets closer and the Columbus roster is finalized, I’m sure the roster will be corrected.
Q: Which Clippers are invited to Indians spring training? (Unknown)
A: All 40-man roster players will start camp at the major league facility. You can take a look at this list of non 40-man spring training invitees to see the others.
Q: Are you following Manny Acta on Twitter? (Mark)
A: You know it! The Indians skipper can be found here. My twitter account is here. I’ve become a tweeting, facebooking, texting, blogging, social media machine over the last couple seasons, so while we’re at it, here are some ways to stay in touch with the Clippers:
Q: Where can I find the Clippers spring training Schedule? (Josh)
A: Right Here…
Fri. March 18 at White Sox
Sat. March 19 at Reds
Mon. March 21 vs. Dodgers
Wed. March 23 at Brewers
Thu. March 24 vs. White Sox
Sat. March 26 vs. Brewers
Sun. March 27 vs. Reds
Mon. March 28 at White Sox
These games all start at 1:00pm local time. Non-game days or “camp days” are reserved for inter-squad scrimmages, simulated games, extra batting practice, bullpen sessions, etc.
Q: Will the Indians/Clippers exhibition game be televised? (Terry)
A: Yes Terry, the game can be seen live on SportsTime Ohio. However I suggest you click here, buy some tickets, and call in sick to work (you can always DVR the broadcast).
Q: Would you consider a short write-up (your words) on former Clippers “Home Run Hitter” Steve Balboni’s journey to and recent selection into the International League Hall of Fame?
A: Unfortunately, I never had the privilige of seeing Balboni play. His career spanned from 1981 to 1983 in a Clippers uniform and spent parts of eleven seasons in the majors. Clippers historian Joe Santry often says that “Bye Bye” Balboni delivered some of the most impressive home run blasts that Cooper Stadium ever witnessed. He slugged 92 homers in three seasons with Columbus, including 33 (a single season record at the time) with 98 RBIs during the Clippers championship season on ’81.
Balboni’s best year in the big leagues came in 1985 with Kansas City. He played 160 games; hit 36 HRs, with 88 RBIs on a team that won the World Series over Interstate rival St. Louis.
For me though, more impressively than any of that, every single Clippers fan in their 50s or 60s tell me the best players they’ve ever watched were Balboni and Marshall Brant in the early 1980s. That’s a statement considering all the great baseball talent Columbus has seen.
Q: What will the Clippers Opening Day lineup look like? (Jim in Columbus)
A: Ah yes, the most frequently asked question this time of year. I’d have a better chance winning the lottery than correctly guessing the Clippers roster, let alone the starting lineup. So, while the correct response to this question is “I have no idea”, I say let’s give it a whirl:
1. Ezequiel Carrera CF
2. Lonnie Chisenhall 3B
3. Jason Kipnis 2B
4. Jordan Brown 1B
5. Nick Weglarz LF
6. Cord Phelps DH
7. Matt McBride RF
8. Luke Carlin C
9. Luis Valbuena SS
I’m not even sure where to begin explaining this lineup. Obviously, it’s assuming everyone is healthy on April 7 (a rather large assumption).
The infield has the hardest positions to solve so let’s focus on that for now. The projection is based upon newly acquired Orlando Cabrera, Jason Donald, Asdrubal Cabrera, and Jayson Nix making up Cleveland’s infield roster. This would push Valbuena, Kipnis, Chisenhall, Everett, Hannahan and Goedert onto the Clippers roster. However, there still isn’t enough room for everyone is this group in Triple-A!
The Indians will want Chisenhall and Kipnis to play every day and get as many plate appearances as possible, so I’ve got them batting #2 and #3. Plus, (in case you haven’t heard) they’re both pretty good with the bat.
Jordan Brown will see plenty of time this spring back at first base and he along with Wes Hodges, serve as backup options behind Matt LaPorta.
Cord Phelps was the Clippers most impressive offensive player last season, so he’s my DH. He’ll spell Kipnis at 2B also added 3B to his resume this winter.
Jared Goedert would play at the hot corner on days Chisenhall is the DH or resting.
That’s enough roster dissecting for now, so there you have it, my “way too early” looking at the Clippers starting nine. I’ll ask Clippers manager Mike Sarbaugh what he thinks of my lineup when I get a chance.
Also, you may notice the name of the blog has changed. We’re going with “Scott’s Thoughts” for now. Congratulations to the winning e-mailer who sent that suggestion. I’m thinking of changing the name every few weeks, so keep sending suggestions to email@example.com.