I’ve sifted through the spring training rosters of every Major League team to compile a list of former Clippers playing elsewhere. I’ve listed them by “graduation class”, the final year they played in Columbus.
Here are the Clippers alumni in the National League spring training camps:
2010 (Cleveland Indians)
OF Jose Constanza (Braves)
INF Brian Bixler (Nationals)
*INF Josh Rodriguez (Pirates)
CA Damaso Espino (Dodgers)
2009 (Cleveland Indians)
INF Andy Marte (Pirates)
INF Michael Aubrey (Nationals)
*RHP Rafael Betancourt (Rockies)
*INF Jamey Carroll (Dodgers)
2008 (Washington Nationals)
*RHP Brian Sanches (Marlins)
*OF/INF Emilio Bonifacio (Marlins)
LHP Michael O’Connor (Mets)
RHP Shairon Martis (Nationals)
*RHP Colin Balester (Nationals)
*RHP Tyler Clippard (Nationals)
*RHP Garrett Mock (Nationals)
*RHP Craig Stammen (Nationals)
OF Wily Mo Pena (Diamondbacks)
2007 (Washington Nationals)
*LHP John Lannan (Nationals)
*CA Jesus Flores (Nationals)
*OF Roger Bernadina (Nationals)
*RHP Joel Hanrahan (Pirates)
RHP Tim Redding (Dodgers)
2006 (New York Yankees)
*INF Carlos Pena (Cubs)
*CA Wil Nieves (Brewers)
* RHP Jeff Karstens (Pirates)
* Indicates 40-man roster
NOTE: I’ve included players that were in Columbus during an injury rehab assignment (Jamey Carroll, Rafael Betancourt, etc.)
I’m sure there are a few that I’ve missed so don’t hesitate to send additions to firstname.lastname@example.org
I’ll have the American League alumni list tomorrow.
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.
It seems the Indians are poised to sign free agent SS Orlando Cabrera. The veteran hit .263 in 123 games for Cincinnati last season but was essentially replaced by Edgar Renteria.
Asdrubal Cabrera has been the shortstop in Cleveland for a couple of years now, but came up as a 2B. Orlando has only played 33 career games at 2B. Who plays where is an interesting situation and what it means for the Clippers roster is too.
Heading into spring, Columbus didn’t have a clear Shortstop option, but this move may clear things up. Unless he completely outperforms Jayson Nix, look for Jason Donald, who still has minor league options, to be back in Triple-A at least to start the year. Luis Valbuena might be a good bet to lose out on a spot as well if Adam Everett plays well in ST. If that happens, Luis V might be out of luck in Triple-A too where the infield is going to be a crowded house. Valbuena’s 2010 season (.193 BA 3-1 K-BB ratio) did him no favors, but a very solid rookie campaign in 2009 (38 extra-base hits in 103 games) might be enough to keep him on the utility radar if Everett and Donald falter (though he was terrible at 3B).
Valbuena came up as a 2B, but was rounded out the last few years. Donald is a shortstop by trade, but projects more as a 2B, where he looked comfortable. With Jason Kipnis as the 2B of the (maybe near) future and Lonnie Chisenhall poised to move on 3B, shortstop might be the best bet for young players looking for a regular spot on the Cleveland infield. Asdrubal Cabrera had a very good 2009, but his range last year was down and his overall play might not justify where his salary is going to go in the next few years.
Of course, if the Indians are out of the play-off race in July, look for O. Cabrera to be a trade chip for Chris Antonetti in a TLC Flip-This-House move for the future. Do people still flip houses?
Questions & comments to firstname.lastname@example.org
If the Clippers get a chance to defend their Triple-A National Championship, they will have to log a few more miles than last year. The National Championship game has been moved from Oklahoma City, OK to Albuquerque, New Mexico. Columbus beat the Tacoma Rainiers last season to become Triple-A National Champions, the Clippers 1st such distinction.
The contest was formerly known as the “Bricktown Showdown” after the name of the RedHawks home, Bricktown Ballpark. As an exercise in beating the cursed cold, I open to you, who pine for June nights at the ballpark, the chance to come up with a name for the battle of the International League and Pacific Coast League Champions in “The Land of Enchantment.” It won’t be official, but we can certainly use different terms throughout the year to talk about the contest and it should be fun.
Bonus Points for getting the title of this post.
Comment here or send emails to email@example.com
It’s hard to imagine sipping on a cold beverage on a warm summer evening at Huntington Park when you’re busy scrapping ice off the windshield of your car, but (believe it or not) baseball is right around the corner. Pitchers and catchers will be working out under the desert sun in Goodyear next week and Clippers “Opening Night” in Indianapolis is two months from today!
So, in the spirit of preparing for better (and warmer) times, here is the first 2011 edition of baseball’s favorite bullet-pointed blog segment:
* Thanks to all that have submitted possible names for the “Leo” portion of the blog. Here are some of my favorites:
Leo’s Roars (“Leo the Lion” themed… nice)
The Skinny with Scott (I am also extremely thin, so it fits)
The Red-Headed Stepchild Report (the hair sometimes causes me grief)
Easy Eddie Leo’s Everyday Thoughts (inside joke…I was once called Eddie by a fan)
Leo’s Lip (playing off the legendary Leo Durocher)
Scott’s Hot Shots (also a baseball broadcaster term, well done)
Leading off with Leo (it has a ring to it)
Scott’s Scuttlebutt (this one is also fun to say)
Leo’s Lowdown (this one makes it sounds like I’ve got the “scoop”)
Scott’s Thoughts (I’m a fan of anything that rhymes)
Keep the suggestions coming to firstname.lastname@example.org. I’ll make a selection this weekend and send a Clippers prize to the person that has the winning name.
* Our friend Tony Lastoria (Indians Prospect Insider) is featuring his Top 50 prospects which include Jess Todd, Ezequiel Carrera, Vinnie Pestano, Jared Goedert, and Jordan Brown. Keep checking Tony’s site for more!
* Recent reports suggest the Indians are in talks to free agent pitchers Jeremy Bonderman and Kevin Millwood. It’s unlikely the Tribe would sign both, but one addition to the big league staff could make it tough for Josh Tomlin, David Huff, Jeanmar Gomez, and others to make the big league rotation. Fausto Carmona, Justin Masterson, Carlos Carrasco, and Mitch Talbot seem to have a strong hold on the other four spots.
* Doctors have cleared catcher Carlos Santana to start spring training on time, so there is no reason to believe he won’t ready for Cleveland’s Opening Day. However, it’s not a lock that Lou Marson will be his back-up. There is one school of thought that Marson could start with the Clippers in order to play every day and improve his offense. That could mean that either Luke Carlin or Paul Phillips land in the bigs. There is still a possibility that the Indians will add a veteran catcher (i.e. Mike Redmond last year) as late as the end of spring camp (once other teams make some cuts).
* Grady Sizemore won’t be playing in any Cactus League games until at least mid-March so there’s a chance that he won’t be ready for Opening Day and might see some time on the rehab circuit, similar to Russell Branyan last year. Stay tuned…
* The Triple-A National Championship Game is on the move. It will be played in Albuquerque in 2011. Here is the new logo:
Well, the pressure is on now. With the blog becoming something like dueling banjos, I’m going to have to dust off the ole’ writing skills that Mrs. Haensch helped develop many years ago. The fact that she allowed me to write my final paper on Rickey Henderson in senior AP English class deserved a shout-out at some point, there it is.
I’m quite happy to be joining the blogosphere. Like most other writers in it, I have plenty to say that most people could go a lifetime without hearing. Let’s get right to it.
“Pitchers and catcher report.” Are there 4 sweeter words in the English language? Let’s see.
-”Congratulations, it’s a boy/girl!” That’s right up there, but with the contraction, it may not qualify.
-”Will you marry me?” It could take several years to see how that deal turns out.
-”Snow day, no school!” We have a contender.
-”Too legit to quit.” I think it’s safe to say… no.
The equipment truck has left Cleveland for Goodyear, Arizona. Reporting date for Indians pitchers and catchers is February 15th. There are not as many position battles as you’d think for a team that just finished off as bad a season as did the Tribe. With a 69-93 record in 2010, one would expect the first few days of spring training to look like the scene in Major League when the players roll into the desert under the watchful and confused gaze of Lou Brown (RIP). That will not be the case. Cleveland went with youth last year, which resulted in the usual growing pains. This season, the question changes from “who’s this guy?” to, as the great left-hander Jimi asked “Are you experienced?”
In 2011, Matt LaPorta will be back at first base, Asdrubal Cabrera will be the shortstop, and the Jasons, Donald and Nix will likely man second and third base in some order (I know, Nix spells his with a “Y” cut me some slack). A fully healed Carlos Santana and Lou Marson will be the catching tandem again. The outfield will consist of Shin-Soo Choo, Michael Brantley and if healthy, Grady Sizemore. Austin Kearns, because he has a guaranteed contract, has a spot until new Indians GM Chris Antonetti can flip him to the Yankees for another pitching prospect. With the $13 million man Travis Hafner in the locker room, that leaves two bench spots up for grabs with Trevor Crowe, Shelley Duncan, Adam Everrett, and Luis Valbuena the front-runners. All but Everrett were Indians most or all of last year.
The pitching staff is more interesting because there is a lot of talent for Manny Acta to sift through. Fausto Carmona, Justin Masterson and Mitch Talbot have a spot in the rotation. Carlos Carrasco would really have to falter in Arizona to miss out on the 25-man. If Jeremy Bonderman joins the fold, he slots into the rotation, completing things there and sending the whole group of David Huff, Jeanmar Gomez, Anthony Reyes, Josh Tomlin and Zach McAllister to Columbus unless one of them can stay on in the bullpen. That won’t be easy because the pen might be the strength on this team. Chris Perez proved dominant as a closer in the second half last year. Rafael Perez, Tony Sipp and Aaron Laffey all seem to have a spot. That’s three lefties in the pen, but none in the rotation. Then you have Joe Smith, Jensen Lewis, Justin Germano and Frank Herrmann from last year’s group. Throw in Doug Mathis, Joe Martinez and it will be tough for Clippers relievers from 2010 to break in. The Tribe will give a good look to Vinnie Pestano, Josh Judy and Zach Putnam.
With just a few spots up for grabs and barring a rash of injuries, the Clippers stand to benefit with an opening day roster that will look pretty similar to the one that resulted in an International League and Triple-A National Championship last season. A couple of anticipated additions should make the Columbus roster fun to watch. A first look at Lonnie Chisenhall and a more extended stay for play-off phenom Jason Kipnis is causing a buzz around Huntington Park. The Clippers rotation looks to include Huff, Gomez, Tomlin, McAllister, Alex White and Corey Kluber. That’s six guys for five spots and doesn’t even include Reyes, Johan Pino or Paolo Espino. These things have a way of working themselves out by trade, injury or creative roster positioning. The bullpen will likely be anchored again by Pestano, Judy and Putnam. Bryce Stowell returns from injuries that shelved him a couple times in 2010. Some of the guys that lose out on the big-league roster race will slot here as well.
Paul Phillips and Luke Carlin will likely share the catching duties in Columbus. The infield will have Jordan Brown at first if he can’t find his way back onto the Tribe roster. Second base belongs to Kipnis and Chisenhall will be at third. Where does that leave Jared Goedert and Cord Phelps? Goedert has a shot to make the big club where 3B is anything but certain. If not, he can back up at first and third as well as DH. Phelps will play 2B, 3B and DH. He was really good in 2010 and I think he’s a keeper, unfortunately for him, he’s blocked everywhere by more highly touted players. The title “Utility Player” could be in his future. Shortstop is a mystery for the Clippers after Josh Rodriguez was taken by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the Rule V draft. The mystery will be solved when either Luis Valbuena or Adam Everrett are trimmed form the Tribe roster. Jack Hannahan and Wes Hodges are in the mix here.
The outfield is as crowded as the Indian’s bullpen. If Sizemore is ready to go on opening day, you have Travis Buck, Ezequiel Carrera, Trevor Crowe, Jerad Head, Chad Huffman, Matt McBride, and Nick Weglarz in the running for four spots.
By its nature, the Clippers roster will see plenty of turnover, but at least as things look on paper (where games are rarely played) Columbus has a very good Triple-A team to throw at the rest of the International League. Mike Sarbaugh returns for his second season managing the Clippers. Lee May Jr. will be the hitting coach again and Ruben Niebla joins the staff as the pitching coach replacing the departed Charlie Nagy.
Most of the above mentioned folks will be at Huntington Park on March 30th when the Clippers host the Tribe for an exhibition game at 1:05 pm. Tickets are available at clippersbaseball.com or by phone at 614-462-2757.
Your questions and comments are welcome. You can reach me at email@example.com.
Here’s to the beginning of a beautiful…on second thought, let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves. Just check back often.
We are off and running with the new look to our award-winning (not really) Clippers blog! Ryan will be delivering the first “Mitchell Report” very soon and I’m sure you won’t be disappointed.
However, I need your help. I need a name for my portion of the blog. Right now, we’re going with “Leo’s Liners” because it was suggested by a collegue, and frankly, I couldn’t come up with anything better.
So here is your chance to floor our other readers with your creativity. Use your brain and send me suggestions for the “Leo” portion of this space.
E-mail suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll post some of the best candidates. Thanks in advance for your help!
PS – The first pre-season edition of “Clippings” is right around the corner!
While most of the Ohio is covered in snow and ice, I figured I would pass along this photo taken last season by Clippers intern John Hughes. Just a reminder that the long, warm days of summer are not too far away…
The beginning of February is typically the blog’s “Opening Day” as I begin to post stories, player profiles, season previews, etc…
That will continue this season, but we’re also welcoming my broadcast partner Ryan Mitchell to the blog. Ryan is beginning his third season on the Clippers broadcast team and is taking a on a more prominent role within our operation. He and I will share this space to keep you informed of all the happenings surrounding our Hometown Heroes!
The blog will have a different look soon and will contain twice as much information, multimedia, links, and more on the Columbus Clippers, International League, Cleveland Indians, and more!
Talk to you soon!
The Clippers have ten games remaining in the regular season and tonight they host Indianapolis…
1. Doug Bernier 1B
2. Akinori Iwamura 3B
3. Alex Presley CF
4. Brandon Moss RF
5. Mitch Jones LF
6. Erik Kratz DH
7. Pedrom Ciriaco SS
8. Jason Jaramillo C
9. Brian Friday 2B
P – LH Dana Eveland (0-2, 10.69)
1. Jose Constanza CF
2. Drew Sutton 2B
3. Wes Hodges 1B
4. Jordan Brown LF
5. Matt McBride RF
6. Jared Goedert DH
7. Luke Carlin C
8. Josh Rodriguez SS
9. Argenis Reyes 3B
P – LH David Huff (7-1, 3.98)