Cleveland Indians News Roundup: Jordan Brown’s Surgery, 40 Man Roster, Lineups, and Kerry Wood Trade Rumors

Cleveland Indians Logo O-BOk, enough Browns talk for the day. Lets wrap this day up with some Indians news, seeing as how the Tribe gets their regular season started in just a few weeks already. I’ve made no secret of my general disgust with major league baseball and the way they continuously foster a system of complete competitive imbalance, but I’m such a sucker for spring time. The 5 foot snow piles here in Columbus are beginning to finally melt away, we’ve had our first successive days in the 50s this week, and hope springs eternal.

As excited as I am for baseball season to start, I figured I’d finish things up today by looking around at some of the latest Indians news stories. 

First, Jordan Brown had his surgery to repair his medial meniscus today at the Cleveland Clinic. By all accounts, the surgery went well and Brown is expected to miss 4-8 weeks of actions. I’ve always been a huge Jordan Brown fan on a personal level. I’ve seen plenty of interviews with the guy and he’s a really likable person who has done a remarkable job of keeping his head up and excelling on the field in the minors despite being consistently overlooked by the Indians. I’m hoping Jordan’s recovery goes smoothly and he can finally get his shot at the bigs this year.

Next up, per Clippers broadcaster Scott Leo and his View From the Booth site, the Indians have finalized their deals on the 40 man roster:

RHP Hector Ambriz
INF Brian Bixler
OF Michael Brantley
INF Asdrubal Cabrera
RHP Carlos Carrasco
OF Shin-Soo Choo
OF Trevor Crowe
LHP Kelvin De La Cruz
INF Jason Donald
RHP Jeanmar Gomez
INF Wes Hodges
LHP David Huff
INF/OF Matt LaPorta
LHP Aaron Laffey
RHP Jensen Lewis
CA Lou Marson
INF Andy Marte
RHP Justin Masterson
RHP Chris Perez
LHP Rafael Perez
INF Carlos Rivero
RHP Hector Rondon
CA Carlos Santana
LHP Tony Sipp
RHP Joe Smith
LHP Jeremy Sowers
RHP Mitch Talbot
RHP Jesse Todd
CA Wyatt Toregas
INF Luis Valbuena
OF Nick Weglarz
RHP Anthony Reyes

The remaining 40-man members under contract are as follows:

RHP Fausto Carmona –  $4.9M (’10), $6.1M (’11), club options for ’12-’14
RHP Jake Westbrook – $11M (’10)
RHP Kerry Wood – $10.5M (’10), $11M (club option for ’11)
CA Mike Redmond – $850K (’10)
INF Russell Branyan – $2M (’10), $5M (mutual option for ’11)
INF Jhonny Peralta – $4.6M (’10)
OF Grady Sizemore – $5.6M (’10), $7.5M (’11), $8.5 (club option for ’12)
DH Travis Hafner – $11M (’10), $13M (’11), $13M (’12)

On a similar note, Steve Gardner of USA Today’s Fantasy Windup blog tries his hand at projecting the starting lineups for every AL team. For the Indians, there are no real surprises as far as I’m concerned with the batting order:

  1. Asdrubal Cabrera, SS
  2. Grady Sizemore, CF
  3. Shin-Soo Choo, RF
  4. Russell Branyan, 1B
  5. Jhonny Peralta, 3B
  6. Travis Hafner, DH
  7. Luis Valbuena, 2B
  8. Michael Brantley/Matt LaPorta, LF
  9. Lou Marson, C

What’s interesting to note, though, is something else he noticed about the Indians’ starting lineup:

One of the more interesting clubs is the Cleveland Indians, who may only have one player hitting in the same spot he did last season.

Sizemore missed a good chunk of last season to various injuries, but he appears to be 100% again. However, he won’t lead off anymore. That distinction goes to Cabrera, who had a solid .361 OBP last season.

Sizemore moves to the second spot to give him a chance to hit with runners on base more often. (Of his 75 home runs the last three years, 45 were solo shots.)

On one hand, you might think it hard to be successful with so much turnover in your batting order, but on the other hand, the Indians’ record was pretty terrible and they have a new manager coming in, so changes could not only be expected, but also something to be desired.

Finally, for those of you who have not heard, the Minnesota Twins’ closing phenom Joe Nathan is likely to have season-ending surgery after tearing up his elbow. With the Twins hoping to contend in the AL Central this year, they will be looking for a closer to take his place.

This is where the non-contending and salary-slashing Indians come into play. It seems only natural that trade rumors will start picking up, as Kerry Wood to the Twins seems like a natural trade option for both parties. Anthony Castrovince has an excellent piece up on MLB.com about Wood and how he is dealing with the trade rumors:

Wood and his $11.5 million contract for this season don’t exactly mesh with the Tribe’s trim payroll and young, developing roster. Furthermore, the Indians would clearly rather not see Wood’s 2011 option, worth $11 million, vest on their watch. It vests if Wood finishes 55 games this season.

[…]

The 32-year-old Wood is not oblivious to his place in the rumor mill, but he’s not paying much attention to it, either.

“I’ve never dealt with [trade speculation] before, and I don’t want that to change,” Wood said. “I don’t want to deal with it. I’ll go out and get ready to go every day. And every time I get a chance to save a game, I’ll go out and do my job.”

Castrovince points out that the Indians would only trade Wood if the Twins would take on almost all of his salary, and that it’s unlikely the Twins would do that. So, it’s not like a trade is imminent or anything, but it’s certainly something to keep our eye on.

I realize Kerry Wood was far from great last year, but I still think there’s a chance he can be a great closer in Cleveland. And in the spirit of today’s themes of spring time and hope, I’ll allow my inner optimist to take over and consider the possibility the Indians shock the world and contend this year. That will only happen if the Indians have a stellar, reliable closer, and that’s where Kerry Wood comes into play. Hopefully the Indians can be patient and see how the season goes before they start shopping Wood and his $11.5 million contract.

  • http://www.msblsim.com boogeyman

    Sizemore grand slam in 8 run fourth to make it 9-1 over Padres.

  • mgbode

    our team certainly seems like it will be able to hit this year…so that is nice.

    If we trade Kerry Wood to the Twins, would we actually expect players to come back to us? wouldn’t we be so relieved to not have to pay him that we would trade him for an all-u-can-eat night at the ballpark when our scouts are up in Minny this year?

  • CP

    I know it’s the Spring Fever talking, but I’m very excited to watch this team develop…and perhaps surprise some people. It would take some luck, overall health, and some unexpected numbers from a few SPs, but I can see this team rallying for a .500 season.

    Again…very easy to think this way at this time of year. You’d think I would have learned a thing or two over the years.

  • http://www.msblsim.com boogeyman

    If I was the Indians I wouldn’t be giving Wood to a division rival until I’m sure my team isn’t going anywhere. Besides that it’s not like the Twins will give up anything of significance.

  • Lloyd Braun

    That’s a solid lineup. I expect the Tribe to be in the top half of the league as far as runs scored.

    It’s the pitching that will be scary.

    I doubt the Twins trade for Wood now. I bet they try to find someone interanlly and if they can’t and are still in contention near the trade deadline, then I think they would consider Wood.

  • MP34

    As soon as I heard ‘Twins closer injured’, I thought ‘Wood’. Then I heard that the injured Twins closer is scheduled to make $11 mil this year and that is something like 1/4 of Minnesota’s payroll.

    Hard to believe they’d want to invest $22m in closers by taking on Wood.

  • LeBernie

    Somebody tell me if I’m crazy or not, but why can’t the Indians compete for the Central this year? The rest of the Central is not that strong and the pitching this year can’t be as bad as it was last year. The bullpen with both Perezes, TSipp, Smith and Wood (if he is still around) is not that bad of a bunch.

    The starting pitching MIGHT be solid. Westbrook and Carmona has shown flashes of brilliance in the past and Masterson, Huff, and Lewis should be serviceable (they are all too young to count out completely).

    We will be able to hit, and Choo, Sizemore, and Asdrubal can all be All-Stars with Hafner and Branyan being the wild-cards as well as Brantley/Laporta/Valbuena.

    Somebody stop me soon, I am starting to think 90 wins are in play. I am like an eager Metallica fan thinking every new album is going to be like Kill ‘Em All, but on the release date (or Opening Day) we all realize that what we want to love is just a giant poop sandwich.

  • JM

    Ah I knew the ever optimistic Tribe fan would come out sooner or later.

  • saggy

    Liriano = new Twins closer. they don’t need Wood, who has nearly identical history to Francisco.

  • Turk

    Sorry, but Jordan Brown has not been overlooked. He’s just been… not worthy of sniffing a MLB roster.

  • Karsten

    @8 Just the way I knew the grossly pessimistic chump would come out.

    The guys are looking real good in spring. The pitchers who are slated to start at the ML level this year are handling business well. Youth, athleticism, and positivity that radiates from the manager on down are huge assets.

    On one hand, I truthfully almost hope all the naysayers stick around, as sick as it makes me, because then they have a chance to shock everyone. On the other hand it’d be great for people to show a little love now and then, and stop trying to shut people down every time a glimmer of hope or good news emerges.

    Finally, @6 The Twins’ payroll for this year is closing on $100 mil. FYI.

  • typo

    I don’t understand. Without being condescending in any way, I want to know what exactly has people excited about baseball? @cp, really? Following spring training cuz we may be 500 if all breaks right? I want to follow baseball. I was a huge fantasy baseball guy. But I can’t even get excited about our young players anymore. Marson, laporta, that catching dude etc. Will all be taken from us eventually. Not to mention asdrubal and grady. I have no problem supporting a losing team. See browns, cleveland but I just can’t bring myself to muster any interest in baseball at all. I think I finally mastered spill check

  • LeBernie

    I am most definitely in the minority on this one, but a Tribe World Series would trump a Browns Super Bowl or an NBA Championship. I root for the team, not against them because of a cheap owner (which he most definitely is).

    All the Tribe bashing is disgusting especially given their success in the 90s and earlier last decade. I am 26 years old and good Indians baseball was all I knew while growing up, so all these haters (and yes, the majority of them followed the Indians when they stunk on ice), should realize that the team will not contend for the playoffs every single stinking year. The nineties and early aughts (by the way I despise that term for the 2000s) are the exception and definitely not the rule

  • typo

    * spell chick

  • LeBernie

    @12 your spell check bit and your name is ATROCIOUS, not the least bit funny.

    I bet you are the same guy complaining 6 years ago that we traded Bartolo “The Cheeseburger” Colon for three unknowns that just so happen to turn into two all-stars and a Cy Young winner. The last catching dude prospect we had only turned into The Stick.

    I can’t stand arrogant Browns fans (I’m talking about the mullet-haired drunks with an awful mustache from Parma with fat wives and daughters that think they should awarded for following the losing Browns (disclaimer: I LOVE THE BROWNS AND ARE NOT BASHING THEM))

  • brwnsgrl

    @10 – Could you please explain your Jordan Brown comment? Not wanting to start an argument or anything, I’m just wondering why you think that…

  • http://waitingfornextyear.com Denny

    Manny Acta, COMIN ATCHA

  • Lars

    I’m convinced that LeBernie is a fake user.

    If Westbrook bounces back, if Good Fausto shows up, if Laffey stays healthy, if Masterson can last as a starter then sure, we probably have a shot. But honestly, does anyone in their right mind really think that will happen?

    I’m fairly confident the offense can produce… but I’m also fairly confident that this starting rotation will have the fewest quality starts / innings pitched in the AL this year.

    Sadly, the bullpen might actually be decent… too bad it probably won’t matter.

    I’d be far more surprised to see 90 wins than I would be to see 100 losses. The first week of Spring Training games mean absolutely nothing. Less than week 4 of the NFL Preseason nothing.

  • LeBernie

    @18 – What is a fake user?

  • JM

    @11- whoa whoa whoa pessimistic chump? I didn’t say anything to even warrant that comment. All I said was ever optimistic Tribe fans came out, the same ones who have been waiting since 1948 for a winner. This pessimistic chump happens to like the lineup they will have. Can you name the starting rotation? Will Westbrook deliver? Will Carmona at least win more than he loses? How will the bullpen hold up? It’s not being pessimistic, I am just being a realist.

  • MattyFos

    “continuously foster a system of complete competitive imbalance”
    I appreciate the shout out Andrew. You mentioned me in the above sentence.
    I took my nap and I’m back.. Does anyone know how Andy Marte did today? I think he may be hitting his groove about 5 years too late. Better late than never.

  • mitchum man

    @ labernie, someone who thinks an indians world series would trump a browns super bowl is a fake user. And your 26?

  • MattyFos

    I think the lineup has some pop. I wish we wouldn’t have picked up Branyan. But we all make mistakes. I trust Acta. I think Acta will do a way better job at grooming prospects. You know the famous Wedge mindset. Play Marte one game, then sit him for 2. Play Marte 3 games and sit him for a week.
    Acta isn’t the idiot Wedge was. He will give our young guys a chance to grow with consistent playing time.
    I like Westbrook and Masterson. They will be very good pitchers this year.

  • b

    Breaking news! Sandy Alomar is apparently part cyborg. That is some dealie that replaced what I remember as a perfectly normal left forearm.

  • ClevelandSouth

    I hate that I love baseball

  • bluedawn

    Jake Taylor: I play for the Indians.
    Chaire Holloway: Here in Cleveland? I didn’t know they still had a team!
    Jake Taylor: Yup, we’ve got uniforms and everything, it’s really great!

  • JM

    I agree with Matty. Cabrera, Sizemore, Choo will solidfy the top of the lineup. I really like Manny Acta so far too. He seems genuinely excited to be here and I appreciate a manager like that.

  • http://www.msblsim.com boogeyman

    For some reason I don’t take solice in being undefeated in spring training I can’t help but envision starting 0-? in the regular season, call me cynical. I know one thing Cliff Lee and Victor Martinez would still look good on this team but oh well…so who’s going to be the Browns QB? ;) Thank goodness for the Cavaliers.

  • Karsten

    Some of you people need to keep your mouths shut if you have nothing new or useful to say. No hate, just being honest. Accept the fact that some of us are in love with the sport of baseball, and we can’t help but live for the game that shaped our history, our childhoods, and our dreams. I agree 100% that a World Series would be greater than a Super Bowl or NBA championship, and I won’t get into the reasoning but I could care less about the Browns right now – apart from them being a pro Cleveland team, they are at the bottom of the barrel until they can prove something and get me excited via actual contention.