Cristian Guzman is in and Jon Garland is out. Actually, Garland was never in. The 32 year-old rehabbing right-hander had agreed to a minor league contract last week, but now has backed out after refusing to take a physical on Monday at the Tribe’s spring training facility in Goodyear. Garland was 1-5 in nine starts with the Dodgers last season before succumbing to a shoulder injury that forced surgery. The Indians were holding a locker spot for Garland, which is convenient because they’ll need one for Cristian Guzman.
Guzman signed Wednesday and will compete for a reserve infield spot with the major league club. The soon to be 34 year-old was on Manny Acta’s Washington Nationals teams and the two appear to have a good relationship. Guzman did not play last year because of a shoulder injury. He is a career .271 hitter over 11 MLB seasons with the Twins, Nationals, and Rangers. This is the third time in his career that Guzman has played in the same organization as the Clippers. He started in the Yankees system, recently Washington, and now Cleveland.
There are now 62 players in the Indians camp, 27 pitchers and 35 position players.
With Garland out of the fold, the Indians fifth starter spot (the only one up for grabs) will be decided between Kevin Slowey, Jeanmar Gomez, David Huff, and Zach McAllister. MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian has more on that competition, created by the arrest of Roberto Hernandez (the former Fausto Carmona).
Have a great day!
As we start to look ahead to the season, let’s take a look at some of the top pitching prospects that we may see at Huntington Park this year. These pitchers are not listed in any particular order, but all are considered the “best of the best” in their respective organizations. All of these pitchers seem to be headed to Triple-A this season.
Drew Smyly (LHP) (22 years old) – Detroit Tigers
Smyly signed in 2010 after the Tigers scooped him up in the 2nd round out of Arkansas. The former Razorbacks pitcher will battle with fellow youngsters Jacob Turner and Andy Oliver for the final spot in the Tigers rotation, with Turner looking like the favorite. Smyly combined 21 starts between High-A and Double-A and thoroughly dominated with a 2.07 ERA. His fastball, curve, slider, change-up repertoire already makes him a formidable opponent for hitters in the upper levels if the minors, despite having logged only one professional season. Mud Hens fans will enjoy watching Smyly and Oliver pitch at the top of the rotation, especially competing in the same division with the Clippers excellent young arms like Zach McAllister, Jeanmar Gomez, Scott Barnes, etc.
It’s worth noting that the Louisville Bats will be sans RHP Brad Boxberger, who would have been Cincinnati’s top pitching prospect, but he was traded in the deal that sent Mat Latos to the Reds for Yonder Alonso, Edinson Volquez, and Yasmani Grandal. That leaves the Reds without any upper level pitching prospects.
Kyle McPherson (RHP) (24 years old) – Indianapolis Indians (Pirates)
McPherson is the Pirates 14th round draft pick from 2007 and should be ready to get his feet wet in the International League after posting a 3.02 ERA in Double-A last season. He features a mid-90s fastball with a curve and change-up that he used to garner the Buccos Minor League Pitcher of the Year Award last season while leading the organization in strikeouts. McPherson should benefit from pitching at Victory Field, the largest ballpark in the league.
Matt Harvey (RHP) (22 years old) – Buffalo Bisons (Mets)
Harvey is on the fast track to the majors after the Mets selected him with the 7th overall pick in the 2010 draft. His first professional season was split between High-A and Double-A, where he combined for a 13-5 record with a 3.32 ERA. Harvey struck out 10.3 batters per nine innings and added a change-up to his arsenal of fastball, slider, and curve. He will be in the Bisons rotation, trying to improve his command and develop the change-up.
Jhan Marinez (RHP) (23 years old) – Charlotte Knights (White Sox)
Marinez has an interesting story to tell. He made his Major League debut on July 16, 2009 with the Marlins and pitched in four games that season. Since then, he hasn’t pitched above Double-A. Marinez was traded in the off-season to the White Sox as compensation for Ozzie Guillen becoming the manager in Miami because Guillen had one year remaining on his Chicago contract. Last season, Marinez pitched 56 games in relief for Double-A Jacksonville of the Southern League (3.57 ERA, 74K, 42BB, 58IP). He throws a 96mph fastball and a deceiving slider and will be a “go-to guy” in the Charlotte bullpen.
Chris Archer (RHP) (23 years old) – Durham Bulls (Rays)
A former Cleveland Indians farm hand, Archer has risen to the top of the Rays always impressive minor league system. He went from the Indians to the Cubs before the 2009 season, dealt for Mark DeRosa. He became Chicago’s #1 ranked prospect before being traded to the Rays for Matt Garza last winter. He can touch 97mph with his fastball and compliments it with a dynamite slider. He also throws a change-up, which is a work in progress. Archer made two regular season starts with Durham last year, his Triple-A debut, and lost his only playoff game against the Clippers in Game #2 of the IL first round (5.2IP, 5ER, 7H, 3BB, 11K). If Matt Moore makes the major league club’s rotation, Archer will be the ace.
Julio Teheran (RHP) (21 years old) – Gwinnett Braves (Braves)
The Braves think Teheran, the reigning “International League Pitcher of the Year” could be their ace of the future. He features a 97mph heater, a remarkable change-up, and solid breaking pitches (slider and curveball). Atlanta’s player development staff has worked to temper his deliver, making it less violent and therefore reducing his risk of injury. That will be a point of emphasis again in 2012 as Teheran will probably start in Triple-A, waiting for his name to be called in Hot-lanta. He did pitch in five games (three starts) with the Braves at the end of last season.
Randall Delgado (RHP) (22 years old) – Gwinnett Braves (Braves)
Delgado will be attempting to capitalize off his outstanding September in the majors when he competes for a rotation spot with Atlanta. He made a couple of emergency starts last year and parlayed that into an extended stay (1-1 with a 2.83 ERA in seven starts). Delgado throws a 94mph fastball, curveball, and change-up. He only made four Triple-A starts after pitching in 21 Double-A games to start last season. The quantity of arms in Atlanta may keep in Gwinnett a little longer. The Braves have a boatload of pitching between MLB and Triple-A, so there’s a log jam that could give the G-Braves the best staff in the International League for the second straight season.
Phillippe Aumont (RHP) (23 years old) – Lehigh Valley IronPigs (Phillies)
Aumont pitched in 18 games for Lehigh Valley last year, the 6’7” French-Canadian reliever’s first taste of the International League. He was the Seattle Mariners first round pick (11th overall) in the 2007 draft, but was sent to Philly in the December 2009 Cliff Lee trade. He throws a 96mph sinker, solid curve, and has a change-up that doesn’t get much use. He was placed on the Phillies 40-man roster this winter and will get plenty of work from IronPigs skipper Ryne Sandberg. Meanwhile, two of the Phillies top pitching prospects, Trevor May and Jonathan Pettibone, will likely start in Double-A.
Alex Wilson (RHP) (25 years old) – Pawtucket Red Sox (Red Sox)
Wilson turned things around in his sophomore season of Double-A ball and now seems poised for a spot in Boston soon. He was 4-5 with a 6.66 ERA in 16 starts with Double-A Portland in 2010, but returned last year and went 9-4 with a 3.05 ERA in 21 outings. He also made four starts with Pawtucket. Wilson’s fastball is considered the best in Boston’s minor league chain, reaching 97-98mph. He also throws a great slider and decent change-up. He’ll probably be in Pawtucket’s rotation come April, but could wind up as a two-pitch reliever in the majors.
Liam Hendriks (RHP) (23 years old) – Rochester Red Wings (Twins)
The Australian born Hendricks was the Twins 2011 Minor League Pitcher of the Year and got his first taste of both Triple-A and the majors. Since signing in 2007, he’s overcome knee injuries and an emergency appendectomy to pitch a career-best 163 innings last year. Hendricks throws a low 90s fastball that he complements with a curve, slider, and change-up. With names like Pavano, Liriano, Baker, Blackburn, Duensing, and Marquis ahead of him on the depth chart, Hendricks looks to be on target for Rochester’s rotation.
Manny Banuelos (LHP) (20 years old) – Scranton Wilkes-Barre (Yankees)
Banuelos was an international signing in 208 by the Bronx Bombers and he’s just about ready to make his Big Apple debut. The Mexican-born southpaw made seven starts for the SWB Yankees last season after carrying a 3.59 ERA in 20 Double-A appearances. He can touch 95mph with his fastball and has great break on his curve. The addition of a change-up gives Banuelos everything he needs to make the next step. He’ll get the ball every fifth day for Dave Miley club until New York calls, probably sometime soon.
Dellin Betances (RHP) (23 years old) – Scranton Wilkes-Barre (Yankees)
Betances pitched in two games, making one start for New York last season. He’s a 2006 Yankees draft pick (8th round) that has struggled with command during his six-year career, but his ability to reach the upper 90s with a heater has made Betances lethal. The key will be controlling his curveball and fine tuning the change-up. He pitched 136 innings last season and should get that again with SWB in 2012 if he’s healthy.
Did I miss anyone? Let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org
That’s all for now, but stay tuned… I’ll take a look at some of the top position players around the league later this week!
The other day on MLB.com, they posed an interesting question to fans. Who would you put on your baseball Mt. Rushmore? A neat exercise, but as soon as you begin, you realize what you are up against. Four faces to represent the game of baseball? An impossible task, yet it’s one anyone can do and be just as right as anyone else (within reason).
Working in the front office of a baseball team, these discussions come up from time to time, usually in the off season when we are pining for the games to start, or when the news of the day leads into it, such as Hall of Fame voting, major retirement announcements, player deaths.
Top player lists are rivaled only by “Is He a Hall-of-Famer?” debates for their ferocity. You could go to just about any number in the top player lists and the bigger the number, the more room for argument there is. A top 10 or 20 will be filled with names that few could say don’t belong, but the argument is how can you put player A in above or instead of player B. Expand to a top 50 and you have the same problems, but the pool of candidates swells a lot because even though Pete Rose and are likely not on any respectable top 10 list, he’s got to be in the top 50…right? What about admitted PED users? Should a thoroughly feared hitter like Frank Thomas be considered even though he spent half of his time at DH? Should you include pitchers or make a separate list for them? These questions are one of the things that make baseball such a great part of the American landscape. Everyone has their own interpretation of the qualifications and even then, their personal bias can shade opinions. Here’s my top 20 list. I’ve concentrated on just position players and listed them alphabetically. We’ll see if we can get Leo to chime in with a list of his own, then we can argue!
Feel free to share your top 10 or 20 or 50. With Spring Training here, baseball talk is back!
Pitchers and catchers report today and that is cause enough for a national holiday, but it also happens to be Presidents Day. American Presidents have been a big part of baseball in our country. Abraham Lincoln loved the game so much, he had a field built on the White House grounds. Though Teddy Roosevelt didn’t care much for the game, he encouraged his sons to play because it was America’s Game.
Presidents and baseball are most closely linked by the ceremonial 1st pitch. William Howard Taft began the tradition of the President throwing out the ceremonial 1st pitch in 1910 and every President since has thrown at least one 1st pitch, whether at the season opener, an All-Star game or World Series. Not all were strikes. FDR hit a camera man in 1940. Harry Truman threw one pitch right-handed and one southpaw before the season opener in 1950. In 1976 Gerald Ford became the first President to throw a 1st pitch at the All-Star Game. Ronald Reagan threw out the 1st pitch in Chicago in 1984 then sat in on the radio broadcast for a while (he was a former play-by-play man). He also threw out the 1st pitch before game 3 of the Japan Series in 1989. George H.W. Bush threw out the first season-opening pitch outside of the US in 1990 in Toronto. Bill Clinton was the first President to successfully throw a 1st pitch from the top of the pitcher’s mound. In 2001 George W. Bush, a former owner of the Texas Rangers threw out the 1st pitch before the the first World Series game in New York following the 9/11 attacks. He wore a bullet proof vest under his NY Fire Fighter jacket. in 2010, Barrack Obama celebrated 100 years of Presidential 1st pitches by taking the mound at Nationals Park.
There are many quotations from Presidents about baseball, one of my favorites is from President Truman -”I couldn’t see well enough to play when I was a boy, so they gave me a special job – they made me an umpire.”
With Spring Training upon us, the excitement is palpable. Before long there will be intra-squad games, then games against other teams, the roster moves will then come fast and furious and before you know it, rosters will take shape and it will be time to play ball for keeps. Keep coming back as we will do our level best to keep you updated on the things that matter for the Clippers and the Indians and other levels as well. Late in Spring Training, Scott and I will head to Goodyear to get a firsthand look at how things are going and we will bring you all the news fit to print as the Indians get ready to vie for the Al Central crown.
The Chris Gimenez – Eric Wedge marriage seems to be over, probably for good this time. The former Clippers utility man opted for free agency this week after being designated for assignment by the Seattle Mariners. Gimenez, 29, played 24 games with Seattle last season, he hit .203 with one double, one homer, six RBI and ten walks.
In total, he has logged 97 games in the majors over the last three seasons.
Gimenez can catch and play the corner infield/outfield positions, something that endeared him to former Indians skippers Eric Wedge a few years ago. A 19th round draft pick by the Tribe in 2004, Gimenez climbed the minor league ranks, reaching Triple-A in the later stages of the 2008 season.
The story is that during the opening weeks of 2009 spring training, Wedge was hitting fly balls to several players and while most were moving at a light pace, Gimenez was sprinting across the field for every batted ball, making a few diving catches on the quiet Goodyear practice fields. Wedge was so impressed with the blue-collar work ethic of Gimenez, that he called him up to the bigs later that season.
Wedge was fired by the Indians after 2009 and took the reins in Seattle last year, while Gimenez was removed from the Indians 40-man roster after the 2010 campaign. Gimenez and Wedge reunited last season as Chris signed with the Mariners via free agency.
Seattle recently acquired Jesus Montero from the Yankees, bumping Gimenez off the roster. Even though Wedge and the Mariners offered him a chance to start in Triple-A, he declared free agency and signed with Tampa Bay.
He will now go to Rays spring training with Jose Lobaton, Robinson Chirinos, Stephen Vogt, Nevin Ashley, Craig Albernez and Mark Thomas all vying for the chance to join Jose Molina as the major league catching tandem. Lobaton and Chirinos are the favorites, so there is a decent chance Gimenez could start the season with Durham.
Gimenez has been one of my favorite players to cover because he’s extremely intelligent, self-aware, and forthcoming. He truly loves baseball, understanding his limitations, and works very hard to overcome all the obstacles he faces. Those attributes have served him well during his career and hopefully will help in his new organization. I’ll be rooting for him and something tells me Eric Wedge will be too.
Over the next few weeks, as the 2012 season draws near, I’ll be taking a look at the International League. I’ll post on everything from the top prospects in the league to the best places to each in each city. Consider it your “everything you really need to know” guide to the 2012 IL season.
The International League is heading into uncharted water this season with six new managers. It’s the largest turnover in recent years for the 128 year-old league.
All four playoff managers return for the 2012 season as skippers in Columbus, Lehigh Valley, Durham, and Pawtucket try to return to the post-season. Managers that have a Governors’ Cup Championship on their resume return in Gwinnett and Scranton Wilkes-Barre and things remain unchanged with Toledo and Indianapolis as well.
Of the six new managers , two have previously led other IL clubs.
Here they are:
Buffalo – Wally Backman
Backman takes over for Tim Teufel, who was promoted to third base coach with the Mets. The 52 year-old played on the 1986 Mets World Series Championship team. He’s entering his tenth season as a manager, his third with the Mets organization. Last year, Backman’s Double-A Binghamton club finished 65-76 in the Eastern League.
Charlotte – Joel Skinner
Skinner replaces Joe McEwing, who was named the third base coach with the White Sox. He last managed in 2010 with Cleveland’s Double-A club in Akron. The 51 year-old was on the Oakland A’s staff last season. Skinner has big league managerial experience; he took over for Charlie Manuel as the Indians’ interim manager in 200. He was a catcher in the Cleveland organization when Charlotte was the Triple-A affiliate.
Columbus – Mike Sarbaugh
The two-time defending Triple-A National Champions have Mike Sarbaugh back as manager. He was the 2011 Manager of the Year and the IL’s Triple-A All Star Game skipper. Sarbaugh, 44, enters his 23rd consecutive season in the Indians organization as a player, coach, and manager. He led Double-A Akron for two seasons prior to joining Columbus. Sarbaugh has won five championships in eight seasons.
Durham – Charlie Montoyo
Montoyo returns for his sixth season in Durham, coming off a fifth straight IL South Division title. The 47 year-old led the Bulls to the Governors’ Cup and Triple-A Championship in 2009. He was named the 2009 Baseball America Minor League Manager of the Year. This will be his 16th season as a manager, all within the Tampa Bay farm system. Montoyo led the Double-A Montgomery club to the Southern League title in 2006.
Gwinnett – Dave Brundage
The Braves manager returns for his sixth season, holding a 231-199 record with Gwinnett and was the manager for two seasons in Richmond for the team relocated. The 47 year-old Brundage guided the Richmond Braves to the Governors’ Cup in 2007, his first year in the league, and wild card berth in 2009. His coaching career began as a player-coach for the Triple-A Calgary Cannons in 1993.
Indianapolis – Dean Treanor
Treanor is back for his second season as the Indianapolis manager after serving as the club’s pitching coach in 2010. The Indians finished 76-68 after starting 9-21. The 64 year-old enters his 24th season in baseball, his eighth as a Triple-A manager. He joined the Pirates in 2009 as the manager of Double-A Altoona.
Lehigh Valley – Ryne Sandberg
The Hall of Famer returns for his second season with the IronPigs after leading Lehigh Valley to a Wild Card berth and the Governors’ Cup finals. Before joining the Phillies organization, Sandberg spent four years as a manager in the Cubs farm system. He managed Triple-A Iowa in 2010. Sandberg, 52, was inducted into Cooperstown in 2005 for his 16 year playing career that included ten National League All Star selections and seven Silver Slugger awards.
Louisville – David Bell
The Bats welcome a new manager for 2012 as David Bell takes over for Rick Sweet. Sweet transitions into a roving catching instructor role and Bell starts his Triple-A managerial career. He was the Reds Double-A Carolina skipper for three seasons. Bell, 39, played parts of seven seasons in the majors. He is the youngest manager in the International League.
Norfolk – Ron Johnson
Johnson is no stranger to the International League, despite being the new Tides skippers. Johnson managed Pawtucket from 2005 to 2009. He takes over for Gary Allenson, who is now the Class-A Aberdeen manager. Johnson, 55, was Boston’s first base coach for the last two seasons. This will be his 19th season as a minor league manager.
Pawtucket – Arnie Beyeler
Beyeler returns for his second season with the Paw Sox, after guiding the club to the first IL North Division title since 2003. He has managed eleven seasons in the minors, eight in the Red Sox system. From 2007 to 2010, Beyeler was the Red Sox Double-A Portland manager. He served as the Clippers pitching coach during a three year stint in the Yankees organization from 1997 to 1999.
Rochester – Gene Glynn
Glynn takes over the reins in Rochester after serving as a scout for the Tampa Bay Rays for the last five seasons. Tom Nieto, Rochester’s manager last year, is now the Yankees Gulf Coast League manager. Glynn has managed five seasons at the Class-A level and has 13 seasons of major league coaching experience with the Rockies, Expos, Cubs, and Giants.
Scranton Wilkes-Barre – Dave Miley
Miley returns in hopes of guiding the Yankees back to the playoffs after their streak of four straight North Division crowns ended last year. The 49 year-old led SWB to the Governors’ Cup Championship in 2008 and earned IL Manager of the Year honors in 2007. Prior to joining the Yankees, he spent 26 years in the Cincinnati Reds organization, including four seasons with Louisville (2000-2003). He managed in Indianapolis from 1996 to 1999 when the Indians served as the Reds top affiliate. He has won 1,092 games in Triple-A. In July 2003, Miley was named the Cincinnati Reds manager, a role he held until June of 2005, posting a 125-164 mark.
Syracuse – Tony Beasley
Beasley takes over in Syracuse for Randy Knorr, who is now the bench coach for the Nationals. He managed Washington’s Double-A Harrisburg affiliate to a record of 80-62 with a post-season appearance. He was the Nationals third base coach in 2006 and joined the Pirates major league staff for three seasons before returning the Nationals in 2011. His teams have made the playoff every year in six seasons as a minor league manager, five with the Pirates. He has been named Baseball America’s Low Class-A Manager of the Year twice and Double-A Manager of the Year once.
Toledo – Phil Nevin
Nevin returns for his second season with the Mud Hens, after a 67-77 finish last year. The 41 year-old joined the Tigers organization in 2012, managing the Double-A Erie club. His only previous managing experience came in 2009 in the independent Golden baseball League. Nevin played twelve seasons in the majors with the Astor, Tigers, Padres, Angels, Rangers, Cubs, and Twins. He also spent two seasons as a broadcaster with the Padres and ESPN.
1. Dean Treanor – 64
T2. Gene Glynn – 55
T2. Ron Johnson – 55
T4. Wally Backman – 52
T4. Ryne Sandberg – 52
6. Joe Skinner – 51
7. Dave Miley – 49
8. Arnie Beyeler – 48
T9. Dave Brundage – 47
T9. Charlie Montoyo – 47
11. Tony Beasley – 45
12. Mike Sarbaugh – 44
13. Phil Nevin – 41
14. David Bell – 39
By Career Wins (minor leagues):
1. Dave Miley – 1,722
2. Ron Johnson – 1,261
3. Charlie Montoyo – 1,031
4. Dave Brundage – 1,024
5. Arnie Beyeler – 723
6. Mike Sarbaugh – 622
7. Dean Teanor – 581
8. Tony Beasley – 452
9. Joel Skinner – 448
10. Wally Backman – 408
11. Ryne Sandberg – 364
12. Gene Glynn – 190
13. David Bell – 176
14. Phil Nevin – 133
By Winning Percentage (minor leagues):
T1. Mike Sarbaugh – .585
T1. Tony Beasley – .585
3. Joel Skinner – .574
4. Dave Miley - .555
5. Wally Backman – .528
6. Charlie Montoyo – .522
7. Dave Brundage – .520
8. Ryne Sandberg – .516
9. Arnie Beyeler – .511
T10. Ron Johnson – .499
T10. Gene Glynn – .499
12. Dean Teanor – .487
13. Phil Nevin – .465
14. David Bell – .424
By Governors’ Cup Championship:
T1. Mike Sarbaugh – 2 (2010 & 2011)
T1. Dave Miley – 2 (2001 w/Louisville, 2008 Scranton/WB)
T2. Charlie Montoyo – 1 (2009)
T2. Dave Brundage – 1 (2007)
By Triple-A National Championship:
1. Mike Sarbaugh – 2
2. Charlie Montoyo – 1
I have dug deep to find the best Valentine’s Day baseball names, enjoy!
Bobby Valentine – Boston Red Sox manager, former skipper for the Rangers, Mets, and Chiba Lotte Marines in Japan. He played 12 seasons in the majors with the Dodgers, Angels, Padres, Mets, and Mariners. He interviewed for the Indians managerial job after the 2009 season when Manny Acta was hired. He was ejected from a Mets game in 1999 and returned to the dugout in sunglasses and a fake mustache disguise.
Corey Hart – Milwaukee Brewers outfielder, two-time All Star selection. He hammered a career-best 31 HR and produced 102 RBI in 2010. This Corey Hart should not be confused with the Canadian-born singer that produced “Sunglasses at Night” in the ’80′s.
Pete Rose – The “Hit King” batted .303 over 24 seasons with the Reds, Phillies, and Expos. He finished with 4,256 career hits and managed in Cincinnati from 1984-1989 before receiving a lifetime ban for gambling. Rose won three World Series titles, one NL MVP, one World Series MVP, three batting titles, and was the NL rookie of the year in 1963.
Rick Sweet – former Louisville Bats manager, winningest skipper in Louisville history. He played parts of three seasons in the majors with the Padres, Mets, and Mariners from 1978 to 1983. Sweet has transitioned into a catching instructor role with the Reds. At Huntington Park, he once argued a close call at second base that he never saw because he was in the bullpen warming up his pitcher. Louisville was short on catching help so Sweet decided to throw on the gear. He also has the ability to grow one of the best mustaches in the game!
Tyler Flowers – Charlotte Knights/Chicago White Sox catcher. Originally drafted by the Braves in 2008, he was traded along with Brent Lillibridge, Jonathan Gilmore, and Santos Rodriguez to Chicago for Javier Vazquez and Boone Logan. Flowers hit his first major league homer last August.
John “Candy Man” Candelaria – pitched from 1975 to 1993 with the Pirates, Angels, Mets, Yankees, Expos, Twins, and Dodgers. He was a member of the 1979 “We are Family” World Champion Pirates club.
What do you think? Are there other Valentine’s Day baseball names? Send them to me at email@example.com
It sounds as though the Cleveland Indians have come to terms with pitcher Jon Garland on a minor-league deal pending a physical to be conducted later this week in Goodyear, AZ. Garland has been one to of the upper-level (though not premiere) starters in baseball over his career, which spans 12 seasons. He’s 32 years old, but coming off of a shoulder surgery that ended his 2011 season in July. The timetable for return from his injury should put him in line to be ready for Spring Training.
If he’s healthy, I’d guess he has a good chance to make the rotation, but that means there’s a domino effect. Kevin Slowey was the favorite to snap up the 5th spot yesterday with David Huff Jeanmar Gomez and Zach McAllister in the mix. If Garland does make the squad, Slowey may make the bullpen and push someone else out.
This continues the off-season of depth for the Indians with a bevy of minor-league deals with Spring Training invites. The Tribe will have 60 on more players in big league camp vying for playing time with what is probably 5 or 6 spots open for competition.
The Indians GM Chris Antonetti today told the Cleveland Plain Dealer that the team will from now on refer to the former Fausto Carmona as Roberto Hernandez, which has been determined to be his real name. And so too, shall I.
Check out the new look to our friend Tony Lastoria’s website Indians Prospect Insider.
The Indians still have not announced a compensatory 40-man move for the signing of Casey Kotchman. It should be coming soon, and will likely come from the group of Nick Weglarz, Kelvin De La Cruz, and Corey Kluber. All would be intriguing to other teams when/if exposed to waivers.
The Oakland A’s have signed Cuban defector Yoenis Cespedes to a 4-year $36 million contract and have also released a book entitled Moneyball 2: In Case You Didn’t Notice, the Last Philosophy Didn’t Win Us Squat So We’re Just Going to Throw Insane Amounts of Money at Unproven Mystery Players. It’s a bit wordy, as book titles go, but it seems to summarize the book nicely.
The final leaf has fallen, twice.
The little known Murray State Racers of the Ohio Valley Conference lost to Tennessee State last week ending their run as the only unbeaten college basketball team in the country. The Racers were a perfect 23-0 entering that game and looked, I believed, to be poised for an unbeaten season. The Racers were closing in on the (for me, highly-anticipated) ESPN U “Bracketbusters” showdown with St. Mary’s (CA) this Saturday, which seemed to be the Racers last real test. Then they lost to Tennessee State, a team they had won eight in a row against.
There has not been an undefeated team through the regular season since St. Joseph’s in 2004. I wear my mid-major college basketball hat with pride and was hoping the little school from Murray, Kentucky was headed to 30-0. Oh well, maybe they’ll at least be one of the teams that makes a run during March Madness. My bracket filling-out out hands are ready…
The Indians and Asdrubal Cabrera agreed to a one-year, $4.55 million deal closing the books on the club’s 2012 arbitration-eligible players. Cabrera, 26, is fresh off his best season of a five year major league career. The Venezuelan shortstop hit .273 with a career-best 25 HR and 92 RBI. The 25 homers are a Cleveland franchise record for his position. He was the American League’s starting shortstop in the All Star Game.
The Indians have not been to arbitration with a player since 1991, a streak that will now continue. The club had already struck deals this winter with Shin Soo-Choo, Justin Masterson, Chris Perez, Jack Hannahan, Joe Smith, and Rafael Perez. Cabrera was the lone hold-out, reportedly asking for $5.2 million while the team countered with an original offer of $3.75 million. There was speculation that a long-term deal was in the works, but that never came to be. Interestingly, no players have guaranteed contracts past this season. There are club options for Ubaldo Jimenez, Travis Hafner, and the pitcher formerly known as Fausto Carmona.
This will probably conclude the Tribe’s off-season business and now all attention turns to actual baseball. Pitchers and catchers report in one week.
For more of Cabrera’s signing….
No long-term deal, but Asdrubal signs for 2012 (Jordan Bastian, MLB.com)
Cleveland Indians sign SS Asdrubal Cabrera to 1-year, $4.55 million deal to avoid arbitration (Paul Hoynes, Cleveland Plain Dealer)
Indians sign Asdrubal Cabrera to $4.55 million, one-year deal (Sheldon Ocker, Akron Beacon Journal)
Have a great week!
Professional athlete. Think about that term. They manufacture nothing, they service nothing, they produce nothing. There job is to be marveled at. Those with the genetic predisposition and/or work ethic to make them able to perform physical feats that most people cannot have been put into a position whereby they can exploit that talent for sometimes immense financial gain. Because we as a culture have ascribed significant value to being entertained, there is a select group of people who can succeed in the world by virtue of being physically dominant at a recreational activity. Whether or not that is a good thing or not, is not the subject here. I don’t begrudge anyone for making their living at what they are good at.
Some of the things that allow for success in the arena of sport are the same things that open the doors for some athletes to make decisions to do things that seem inexplicable to those of us watching from the couch. They also open the doors for some athletes to make decisions to do wonderful things.
Dennis “Oil Can” Boyd recently opined in an interview on WBZ Newsradio that he was under the influence of cocaine for about 2/3 of his outings in the Major Leagues. Not that anyone would be shocked to hear that a baseball player in the 80’s partook of the nose candy, but to hear Boyd talk about how prevalent drug use was during his time in MLB clubhouses may help people understand the culture that sees athletes do things that are against the rules and law without much concern for the consequences.Boyd said, “I wasn’t doing anything that hundreds of ballplayers weren’t doing at the time, because that’s how I learned it.”
Professional Athletes are generally young, have immense self-confidence, and have been training in the culture of locker rooms for most of their lives. Often they have been held in higher esteem by their peers and communities than other people they know. When a person has been told since high school that they are better than the rest, it is easy to fall into a self-image of superiority and invulnerability. Most teenagers and young adults have this to begin with, but coupled with the societal view of pro athletes, those who are inclined to buy into their own press are likely to foster those views and make decisions under the impression that they can handle whatever they do, and that if it’s against the rules, they won’t get caught, and even if they do, there won’t be ramifications. These personality types are not limited to athletes of course; they exist everywhere, but in sports, this is cultivated by agents, entourages, fans and media. The money and fame that accompany being a professional athlete opens virtually any door.
While some athletes see success, money and fame as a reason to indulge their every desire, others see it as a responsibility and a means to contribute to the betterment of others. The drive to succeed on the athletic field takes conviction, dedication and often a sense of accountability. When an athlete sees himself as a part of a community, rather than above it, these traits can produce great things.
When it comes to success, fame and money Albert Pujols is near the top of the list. He could do just about anything he wants, but his values have led him to donate time money and effort for various charities here and in the Dominican Republic. Curtis Granderson is renowned for his dedication to the community. Justin Masterson was named a Roberto Clemente Award finalist for his charity and community work after making multiple trips to the Dominican Republic to help the impoverished.
Most of the professional athletes I’ve known are regular people with an irregular talent. Most of them are basically good people. I’ve seen how the trappings of being a professional athlete can change how a person behaves, but generally, people who grew up with strong moral fiber and values of decency aren’t likely to become drug users or social deviants just because they become rich and famous. Oil Can Boyd’s drug use is not a result of him being a Major League Baseball player, nor are Justin Masterson’s community efforts. They are only magnified by their high-profile spot in our society. Unfortunately, the spotlight shines more often on the negative things. Probably because those who do good things for others usually aren’t doing it for the publicity.