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Evaluating Heckert- “The Browns, who are well under the cap, were not aggressive last offseason and don’t expect much to change this year. Heckert is not a go-for-broke type GM like Phil Savage. Think patience. I know that is a word Browns fans get sick at the sight of, but Heckert’s plan is not a quick turnaround. He is aware the Browns need offensive playmakers. He said so toward the end of the 2011 season, but throwing money at the hot free agents is not his M.O. The Browns are building for long term and not looking to repeat the one-year wonder like 2007.
Last season, Young wasn’t an impact player and Jackson got hurt. Heckert took to resigning current Browns players and we’ll see if that trend continues this offseason with the likes of Peyton Hillis, Phil Dawson and D’Qwell Jackson. The only grade to give Heckert at this point is incomplete because, well, the Browns’ roster is just that. He seems to be an improvement over past Browns GMs when it comes to the draft, but the Browns roster is far from complete.” [Delco/Orange and Brown Report]
“Perhaps it could be argued that the Indians should have been the ones taking the risk on Cespedes, given their talent on hand (and I could easily make that argument) just as the 3-year deal with a player like Josh Willingham seemed to represent a plausible risk for the Indians this off-season, given their short-term needs and their long-term shortcomings. But for now the question for teams like the A’s – or more acutely (in this space) the Indians – is how small-to-mid-market teams acquire talent to compete even periodically and, more importantly given the talent that is about to congregate in Goodyear, retain that talent in the current market and structure.
To that end, and bringing this to the corner of Carnegie and Ontario, it’s worth looking again at how the Indians find impact players as the they’re starting to see some fruit borne of the draft (Kipnis, Chisenhall, Pestano and eventually Lindor…hopefully) and have mined other organizations’ talent through trades (Santana, Masterson, Cabrera, Choo, C. Perez…this could go on for a while) to create this group of similarly aged-similarly controlled players that figure to head Northeast from Arizona. For teams like the Indians, FA isn’t the way that they’re going to fill out their roster anymore as the impact players are out of reach (although, again, the argument could be made that this was the year to extend that reach) and the Indians have assembled a group of non-roster invitees (notably Garland, Wheeler, Spilborghs, and Ray) in the hopes that they hit on one or a couple of those players the way that they did last year with Hannahan and Duncan.” [Cousineau/The DiaTribe]
Updates from Arizona. Get used to them here in www- “One little news item: the talks between pitcher Jon Garland and the Indians are still ongoing. Cleveland is still working through some details and it now seems unlikely that Gardland will take a physical on Monday, as initially thought. The Indians reached an agreement with Garland last week on a Minor League contract that includes a spring invite. The team is not anticipating having an update on his status until later this week. So, stay tuned.
Right now, there are 61 players in camp, including 21 non-roster players. Camp is so crowded that the Indians actually had to pair up four players to share two lockers. For those thinking the Indians cornered the market on non-roster invitees this winter, though, know that the Twins have 26 NRIs this spring, including 20 who were signed to Minor League contracts over the winter.” [Bastian/MLBastian]
“J.J. could be great if he ever finally gets it,” were words often spoken inside the locker room. The Cavs finally gave up on him in July, when Hickson was traded to Sacramento for Casspi (and a conditional first-round draft pick). Casspi was solid during his first two seasons in Sacramento, but has struggled mightily in Cleveland. He has appeared unsure of himself and been shaky on the court. Not long ago, he admitted he’s thinking too much instead of just playing — and it shows.
Too often, Casspi wears the confused look of a man who has been standing in the rain for hours, only to learn he’s at the wrong bus stop. But again, as much as Casspi has struggled with the Cavs, Hickson has been every bit as bad with the Kings. And maybe even worse.” [Amico/FSO]