You are reading the fastest growing blog in the baseball universe. It was brought to my attention that we were the 46th most viewed MLB Pro Blog in October! In addition, there were only a handful of blogs covering a minor league team that had more viewers than this one. I’m curious to see how we stack up going forward… I feel like a movement is underway…
- There is a great new deal on tickets and Clippers championship swag! Get a Triple-A National Championship hat, a National Championship shirt, and two reserved tickets for only $40! (that’s a $60 value) This offer is available in-store ONLY at the Cargo Shop on December 3rd from 10AM-4PM.
- All single game tickets go on sale Thursday at 10AM!
- Every Monday will be Dime-A-Dog Night in 2012!
- All ticket prices remain the same: Box Seats- $12 in advance, $15 day of game Reserved Seats- $10 for adults, $7 for children (12 & under) & seniors (60+) Bleacher/Lawn/SRO- $6 for adults, $3 for children/seniors
- We are 128 days from the April 5th “Opening Night” against the Louisville Bats.
- Speaking of Louisville, David Bell has been named the new manager of the Bats. He replaces Rick Sweet, the all-time winningest skipper in Bats history. He’ll now transition to the role of Reds minor league catching coordinator. Bell was previously the Reds Double-A manager with the Carolina Mudcats.
- Former Clippers/Indians pitcher and renowned funny man Jensen Lewis has signed with the Arizona Diamondbacks. He’ll be reunited with former Clippers pitching coach Charlie Nagy.
- The Indians are scheduled to announce the organization’s minor league “Players of the Year” on Wednesday.
- Happy Birthday to broadcasting legend Vin Scully. The unmistakable voice of the Dodgers is 84.
- The minor league umpires have agreed to a new contract. This may not seem like a big deal, but I remember the 2006 season when the umps were on strike. We saw such madness as Razor Shines (the Charlotte’s manager) ripping up his lineup card and Torey Lovullo (Buffalo’s skipper at that time) dropping a rule book at the feet of a replacement umpire. Oh, the memories…
- There has been a lot of chatter this week about Urban Meyer accepting the football coaching job at Ohio State, but very little talk about Urban Meyer the baseball player. Did you know Meyer, a 13th round draft pick by the Atlanta Braves in 1982, played two seasons of pro ball? He was a .182 hitting shortstop, so not nearly as impressive as his football coaching resume.
I’ll have more later in the week!
The Indians traded Luis Valbuena to the Toronto Blue Jays for cash considerations on Saturday night.
Valbuena was one of the Clippers most valuable players in 2011, hitting .301 in 111 games with a career-best 17 HR and 75 RBI. He struggled in the bigs, however, going 9-for-43 (.209) in 17 games.
Entering this season, Valbuena was a .279 hitter in the minors, but just .226 in the majors.
Valbuena, 25, was designated for assignment on November 18.
His exit of the organization clears a path for Juan Diaz to be Columbus’ everyday shortstop. Diaz, recently added to the 40-man roster, joined the Clippers during the post-season, he batted .255 with 9 HR and 60 RBI in 133 Double-A games. He stole nine bases.
Diaz is very tall shortstop (listed at 6’3) that provides very good range. He’s currently playing in the Dominican Winter League trying to improve his offense.
Diaz will likely pair with Cord Phelps as the Clippers middle infield. Phelps, however, will get a chance to win Cleveland’s utility infielder job along with Jason Donald.
* Luis Valbuena and Jared Head were the Clippers best players in 2011 and neither will return in 2012. Head has signed a minor league contract with Detroit, so look for his return to Huntington Park in a Mud Hens jersey.
* Lehigh Valley announced that Ryne Sandberg will return as manager. Sandberg led the IronPigs to the Governors’ Cup Finals in his first season.
* Gene Glynn was named the new manager in Rochester. Glynn, 55, was a scout for the Tampa Bay Rays since 2007.
Have a great week!
First, I want to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving. I’ll be spending the day with family and I hope you get to do the same.
I’m thankful for many things, especially the Clippers staff and fans. The people who I interact with at the ballpark are, without a doubt, the best part of the job.
* As expected, the Indians re-signed Grady Sizemore. The deal is reportedly one year and $5 million. The Tribe originally declined a $9 million option on Sizemore’s previous contract. Cleveland will remove someone from the 40-man roster next week to officially add Sizemore.
* If you’re doing some “Black Friday shopping”, there is a sale at the Clippers Cargo Shop. ALL MERCHANDISE is 25% off from 9:00am-11:59pm on Friday. Pick up some Clippers gear for the holidays! The store will also be open Saturday, Dec. 3 from 10:00am to 4:00pm.
* Cory Burns has been named to the Topps All Star Team for his work in Double-A. Burns saved 35 games for Akron, a franchise record and the most in Double-A baseball.
* The Indians will unveil some minor uniform changes on Friday.
* Do the Indians have interest in Twins outfielder Jason Kubel? What about after the Sizemore signing?
* Tony Lastoria of “Indians Prospect Insider” has given his thoughts on the recent 40-man moves.
That’s all for now. Have a nice long weekend!
The Indians filled up the 40-man roster last week with the additions of three minor league players and since then many have asked me, “What does all this roster stuff mean?”. So here’s the
long and short of it.
All minor league players that are not on the team’s 40-man roster after four years of experience are eligible for the Rule 5 Draft. The draft, held during the winter meetings, allows every team to select “unprotected” players from another organization and place them on their roster. Those drafted players must stay on the major league roster (25 -man) or be offered back to their original team.
Notable players eligible for the Rule 5 draft this year are LHP Eric Berger, RHP Paolo Espino, RHP Bryce Stowell, INF Beau Mills, OF Trevor Crowe, OF Chad Huffman, OF Tim Fedroff, and OF Donnie Webb.
With the upcoming re-signing of Grady Sizemore, the Tribe will need to open a roster spot because Cleveland recently added LHP Scott Barnes, RHP Danny Salazar, and INF Juan Diaz which took the last three available.
Here is the current Indians 40-man roster.
“Why does it matter if a minor league player is on the 40-man roster?”
It matters because the team can call that player up without making a 40-man move. That player can be “recalled” (called up) and “optioned” (sent down) unlimited times during the season. This can happen for three years. If a player is taken off the 40-man roster, they are “designated for assignment” and if they’re DFA’ed twice, they must go on waivers and can be claimed by another team.
Whan the major league roster expands in September, any player on the 40-man roster can be added to the team.
It also likely means a better salary. Baseball’s new Collective Bargaining Agreement will raise the minimum salary for minor leaguers on the 40-man roster to $78,250 in 2012, $79,900 in 2013, and $81,500 in 2014.
This is, however, still well below the major league minimum salary which will go to $480,000 in 2012, $490,000 in 2013, and $500,000 in 2014.
The world off baseball transactions can be a messy business, but stay tuned and we’ll try to keep you in the loop.
Clippers single game tickets go on sale December 1st. Check out the 2012 schedule and then buy some tickets as a stocking stuffer!
Cleveland made 3 additions to the 40-man roster yesterday. Scott Barnes was added as expected, but more surprising were the additions of Juan Diaz and Danny Salazar. Diaz, a big shortstop with a lot of development left only played at the Triple-A level during the Clippers championship play-off run. Before that he had played at Akron for the 2010 season with unimpressive stats. Salazar is a right-handed pitcher who will be 22 next season has never played above Low-A. I doubt either of these guys were in danger of being selected in the upcoming Rule-5 Draft, so the Tribe must have other reasons for rostering them.
The Indians yesterday also outrighted Luis Valbuena off of the 40-man roster. He will have to clear waivers before he could be sent to the minors and I doubt that will happen. Luis has had great Triple-A numbers and some team will assume that they can make that translate to the Major Leagues.
With the DFA of Valbuena, the Indians roster now sits at 40. That’s another reason the rostering of Diaz and Salazar seems strange to me. If the Indians want to aquire any Major League players, they would have to clear space on the 40-Man. There has been recent chatter about the Indians reuniting with Grady Sizemore with a more palatable contract and if that were to occur, somebody else would have to be taken off the roster. It has also been said that the Tribe want to upgrade other areas as well. These things have a way of working themselves out and I’m sure Chris Antonetti has a plan in mind.
The Cleveland Indians are getting closer to completing the minor league coaching staff, but they’re still searching for a Triple-A hitting coach.
Lee May Jr. left the organization to become the Seattle Mariners minor league hitting coordinator last week. Alan Zinter was recently hired to fill that same role for Cleveland. The hitting coordinator oversees all the hitting coaches and travels around to visit each affiliate during the season, working with players on an individual basis.
May, 43, spent the last two seasons as the Clippers hitting coach. Columbus finished first (.285) and third (.264) in International League batting, respectively.
He spent 2007-2009 with Double-A Akron, managed Lake County in 2006, and split the 2005 season as hitting coach and manager with Class-A Burlington.
As a player, May was the 21st overall selection of the 1986 draft by the New York Mets. He played eight seasons, advancing as high as Triple-A.
The new hitting coach will be the first for Mike Sarbaugh since 2007, his opening season in Akron.
In other coaching news…
- Edwin Rodriguez was named the Carolina Mudcats skipper. Rodriguez, 51, was previously the Florida Marlins manager from June 2010 to June 2011. He compiled a 78-85 record. Carolina is the Tribe’s new Class-A affiliate, replacing Kinston.
- Joel Skinner will be the Charlotte Knights new manager. Skinner managed six seasons in the Cleveland minor league system and nine years on the big league staff. Skinner was the Indians’ interim manager in 2002. Rich Dotson will remain the pitching coach and Andy Tomberlin takes over as Charlotte’s hitting coach.
- Wally Backman is Buffalo’s new manager. Backman enters his 10th season in the Mets organization. Last season, he managed Double-A Binghamton to a 65-76 finish. He was a member of the Mets’ 1986 World Championship team.
Are you following the Clippers on Twitter? If not, you’re missing out on the most informative and entertaining Twitter feed in minor league baseball!
Enjoy the weekend!
The 2012 Clippers roster is a long way from completion, but one pitcher that could play a huge factor in Columbus’ run towards another championship is Scott Barnes.
Barnes, 24, was acquired in 2010 from San Francisco for Ryan Garko. He was selected by the Giants in the 8th round of the 2008 draft, out of St. John’s University.
The lanky, 6’ 4” lefty was stellar this season before suffering a torn ACL on July 10th. Barnes was pitching in Toledo that day, and suffered the injury while trying to field a bunt on the third base line. He was sent to the Cleveland Clinic for surgery and two weeks of rehab before heading to Arizona to continue his recovery.
Typically, a torn ACL means 6-8 months of rehab, so hopefully he’ll be ready for spring training in February.
At the time of the injury, Barnes was enjoying an outstanding rookie Triple-A campaign. He ranked 4th in the league in strikeouts (90), 7th in batting average against (.240), 10th in wins (7), 17th in ERA (3.68), and 19th in WHIP (1.30). He started the season in Akron before getting a May promotion to Columbus.
His career record is 31-23 with 435 strikeouts in 423 innings.
It is likely that a healthy Scott Barnes will be a key part of the Clippers starting rotation.
Clippers battery mates?
If Barnes is ready for Opening Day, he could be throwing to Michel Hernandez.
The former Clippers catcher re-signed a minor league contract with an invite to major league spring training. Hernandez, 33, was signed by Cleveland on July 1st and spent most of his season in Double-A, but did appear in seven games with the Clippers (.304, 7-for-23, 1 HR, 4 RBI).
He is a 14-year minor league veteran with 45 games on major league experience. He is the second minor league catcher signed by Cleveland this off-season, Luke Carlin has also inked a deal for 2012.
Hernandez already had some Clippers-ties before this season; he played for Columbus in 2002 and 2003 as a Yankees farm hand.
For the first time in modern baseball history, the Red Sox, Cubs, and Cardinals are all simultaneously looking for a leader. Three of the most storied franchises in baseball are trying to start a new chapter, hoping the person they hire will be the right fit to win championships.
In addition to those clubs, the White Sox made a change this offseason, hiring Robin Ventura. Ozzie Guillen went from Chicago to the Marlins.
Concerning the candidates for the open jobs…
Lehigh Valley IronPigs skipper Ryne Sandberg, the Cubs Hall of Fame second baseman, was told immediately that he wouldn’t be considered for the Chicago job. He is, however, in the mix for the Cardinals post.
Former Clippers skipper Torey Lovullo is set to interview for the Boston job, he spent the 2010 season as Pawtucket’s skipper before going to Toronto as first base coach.
Cleveland Indians coach and former Tribe star Sandy Alomar Jr. is being considered for the Cubs and Red Sox jobs, maybe others as well.
Mike Maddux withdrew himself from consideration in Boston, but has interviewed with the Cubs.
Terry Francona left Boston, but is being considered in St. Louis.
Is your heading spinning yet???
All of this managerial madness leads me to this question, what is the best managerial job in baseball?
In terms of Triple-A baseball, Columbus has to be one of the best places to manage. Mike Sarbaugh has mentioned this on a few occasions. It’s a great sports city, tremendous ballpark, and an affiliate of the Indians, an organization with a solid player development reputation. In my mind, you’d be hard pressed to find a better place as a Triple-A skipper.
What about in the major leagues?
Is it New York Yankees where the resources are seemingly unlimited? The pressure to win a championship every season make that a difficult place to succeed.
Is it a place like Pittsburgh where there is only the only direction to go is up? The Pirates have endured 19 consecutive losing seasons, so (in theory) it wouldn’t take as much to win the hearts of the fans and front office.
The larger market clubs will typically spend more on a manager, so that plays a role too. What about ownership and front office situations? Every manager has to examine their confidence in the ownership, general manager, or others that will help make the decisions can ultimately lead to the success/failure of a skipper.
Which of the three current MLB openings is the best situation?
* The Red Sox finally broke the “Curse of the Bambino” in 2004 and the fans in Beantown have large expectations in a tough AL East Division.
* The Cardinals are coming off a World Series title and are looking to replace a soon to be Hall of Fame skipper.
* The Cubs haven’t won a championship in 103 years and some very good managers have tried there and failed.
Send me you managerial thoughts and ramblings at email@example.com
* The Indians are reportedly interested in 34 year-old Japanese pitcher Shinobu Fukuhara.
* Jonah Keri has this story on Grantland.com about Cleveland’s acquisition of Derek Lowe and the outlook in Cleveland for 2012.
* Former Clippers outfielder Melky Cabrera was dealt from Kansas City to San Francisco for Jonathan Sanchez. Cabrera played parts of the 2005 and 2006 seasons in Columbus. Sanchez pitched four seasons at Ohio Dominican University in Columbus. He threw four no hitters and once recorded 16 strikeouts in a game. I once interviewed Cabrera in english while he answered only in spanish, it was Clippers radio gold!
* Jason Donald will be battling for a spot on the Cleveland roster in spring, Jordan Bastian has this story on the trying season that Donald endured.
* Pitching prospect Cory Burns discusses his unorthodox delivery in this Arizona Fall League video.
* I hope you’ve been listening to the weekly “Tribe Talk” radio program with Indians broadcaster Jim Rosenhaus. I’ll have a Hot Stove Q & A with Rosenhaus posted here on the blog next week.
* Travis Buck has signed with the Astros.
That’s all for now. Talk to you soon!
RING YOUR BELL!
When you are a baseball broadcaster, 6 months out of the year your free time is virtually non-existent. When you are a baseball broadcaster with a wife and three young children, you try to make up for that lack of family time in the remaining 6 months. That leaves very little time for building and maintaining friendships and social circles. At one of my kids’ soccer games last week, I was invited to play basketball with a group of the dads. My wife strongly suggested that I go so I could make some new friends and get out of the house a little.
I’m not a basketball guy. I wrestled in school, I’ve coached wrestling for a decade. I’m 5’9 on a good day. My vertical leap can be described as wrestler-esque. When I played pick-up games in college I was the guy who rarely shot, played crazy-hard D and tried to contribute with tenacity and hustle because I couldn’t do so with any court skills. I hadn’t set foot on a basketball court for a game with others in over a dozen years, I’m totally out of shape, I’m 36 years old- this should be good for a laugh
Last Sunday night, I got to the gym and stretched, introduced myself to the guys, stretched, ran some warm-up laps, stretched, shot around (hit about 18%) and finally stretched some more. I was determined not to pull a hamstring or a calf.
We split up sides by the color of our shirts, sparing half of us the indignity of having to go “skins” and played the 1st game. My grays lost 11-4. Bad, but at least I didn’t puke on the court. It felt good to be doing something athletic and they seemed like a fun group of guys. The second game started much like the 1st, the grays were down pretty good, but then we rattled off a few buckets in a row and it was a 2-point game. As I stood out beyond the 3-point arc to the right of the basket, I saw an opening to the hoop and saw the ball coming my way. I broke for the rim with visions of a score in my mind.
Then someone chopped me in the back of the right leg and the floor dipped a few inches. As I fell forward, questions raced through my mind at super-speed. How did someone get back there without me seeing? How did they make the floor drop? What was that popping sound? Is the halibut my wife was making for dinner going to be any good?
As I hit the ground, all of the questions had been answered in my own mind. I KNOW no one was back there, therefore no one hit me, and therefore I’m injured. I didn’t roll my ankle but I can’t move my foot. This is bad, really bad. That popping sound had to be my Achilles tendon snapping in two, that’s why the floor seemed to drop. And the tastiness of the fish doesn’t really matter because I’m not going to be home for a while.
It hurt a lot, but I was very calm. In all of the years spent on the wrestling mat, I was used to injuries happening, sometimes to me. As a coach, I had to be the one who stayed calm to reassure the kids when they were scared. I think that’s why I was able to keep cool. After being helped to the bleachers, I called the wife to come take me to the ER. This may be a cheap plug but my Sprint phone was the only one with service in the gym. Thanks a million to Bill Cashman and the folks at Sprint for that!
The irony of this injury is that it is one of the few sports-related injuries that have always made me physically cringe to think about. Bone breaks, knee tears, gashes, those are all bad, but the thought of a ruptured Achilles, the snap and roll-up-gave me the shivers. Once it happened and I knew before being told what it was, I didn’t cringe; I just accepted that I was in a really bad situation. It’s depressing, but what can you do?
I am scheduled for surgery next week to repair the tendon, followed by many weeks of casts and then more months of rehab. Fortunately much of my off-season work can be done from my laptop and cell phone from home because driving is out for a long while.
At the end of this week, I’ll be accompanying my oldest kid to a father-daughter dance along with many of the guys I played with. I might be able to manage a dance on crutches or from a chair, but I’ll have to pass on the limbo I’m afraid. The guys all felt really bad for me. Of course it’s nobody’s fault, but don’t tell my wife I said that, I’m planning on milking a lot of guilt out of this for her making me go try to have a good time.
As for the Clippers, hopefully my convalescence will allow me some time to devote to the blog. The organizational coaching staff announcements should be forthcoming in pretty short order. When we find out, we will pass it along as well as all other pertinent info that you clippers fans need.
Don’t forget to get your 2012 season tickets! Call Scott or Eddie at 614-462-5250.
Tickets to The Ohio State-Michigan game can be had for as little as $5.00 and go on sale Monday at 10:00am on Indians.com. Of course, it’s the outdoor hockey game at Progressive Field on January 15th. Check it out here.
The game will be on the penultimate day of the Tribe’s Snow Days festivities, which will run from November 25th –January 16th.
Check beck frequently for Clippers and Tribe updates!
Jerad Head is among the long list of players who filed for minor league free agency last week. Head was outrighted off the Cleveland 40 man roster for the second time, giving him the option to declare free agency.
Head was one of the Clippers most consistent hitters and was, without a doubt, the most clutch. He was involved in at least half a dozen last at-bat victories for the Clippers, either driving in or scoring the winning run.
Here are a few that came less than four weeks apart:
* His three-run homer highlighted a six-run eighth inning during a 6-3 win over Toledo on July 7th.
* He scored the winning tally on a Paul Phillips sacrifice fly, a 10-inning victory over Indianapolis on July 15th.
* His RBI single snapped an 8th inning, 4-4 tie with Indy on July 17th. The Clippers won 6-4.
* He hit a walk-off homer to beat Scranton Wilkes-Barre 7-6 on July 18th.
* He scored the game-winner on Chad Huffman’s 9th inning single, beating Norfolk 8-7 on August 1st.
Jerad batted .284 with 24 HR and 70 RBI in 114 games this season.
In his rookie Triple-A campaign, he was the 2010 Triple-A National Championship MVP.
Head’s numbers were nothing short of remarkable at Huntington Park, so logic would say that Head will at least consider re-signing with Cleveland.
There are three good reasons: He’s played well in Columbus,won two championships, and there could still be more major league opportunities for him on Lake Erie.
Head’s agent Mark Kligman tweeted that he will get “lots of interest” and I think he’s right, his phone will be ringing.
Jerad Head joins RHP Joe Martinez, RHP Jason Rice, RHP Adam Miller, LHP Jeremy Sowers, CA Paul Phillips,CA Michel Hernandez, 1B Nick Johnson, INF Cristo Arnal, INF Argenis Reyes, and OF John Drennen as Cleveland minor leaguers joining the free agent ranks already. Baseball America has this list of free agents compiled. RHP Mitch Talbot also elected free agency after the season.
- Former Clippers infielder Brian Bixler was claimed off waivers by Houston last week. Bixler played for Columbus in 64 games during the 2010 season.
- In the wake of Grady Sizemore’s departure, Paul Hoynes takes a look back at the 2002 Bartolo Colon trade.
- There are new photos available from the end of the Clippers season.
- Tom Brunansky has been hired as the hitting coach for the Rochester Red Wings. He was previously the Twins Double-A hitting coach.
- Tony Lastoria, Indians Prospect Insider, has posted his organizational depth chart and payroll info.
- Do you have your 2012 Clippers Season Tickets yet? If you answered no then you have a phone call to make. Call Scott or Eddie at 614-462-5250 and ask about full or partial plans.
- The Boston Red Sox have been given permission to interview Sandy Alomar Jr. for their managerial vacancy.
- New York Yankees slugger Nick Swisher donated $500,000 to the Ohio State baseball program and the Buckeyes have named the field at Bill Davis Stadium after him. ABC 6 has the story.
- Jim Thome signing with the Phillies is history repeating.
- The Clippers Cargo Shop is getting ready for the post-thanksgiving sales rush. Check out some of the inventory and make your holiday wish list,like the retro brand long sleeve and crew neck shirts.
- The Florida Marlins officially become the Miami Marlins on Friday.
That’s all for now. Have a great week!