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Making sense of the Tribe’s left field: “The Indians have around a dozen outfielders in camp that technically are in the running for the job, but really the only true candidates for a more expanded role appear to be Shelley Duncan, Aaron Cunningham, Ryan Spilborghs, Fred Lewis, and Felix Pie…One guy that may be a dark horse in the left field mix is Spilborghs. In fact, right now he is probably near the top as far as favorites to make the opening day roster. He had plantar fasciitis last year which slowed him down (.210 AVG, .588 OPS), but prior to last season he was a productive player in five seasons with the Rockies from 2006-2010 (.281 AVG, .794 OPS). He is supposedly completely healthy and ready to compete for a job this spring, and his right-handed bat and versatility would be a good fit in a platoon in left field.” [Tony Lastoria/Indians Prospect Insider]
Browns should take an aggressive approach in free agency: “The Houston Texans’ Mario Williams should be just as desired as Robert Griffin III. The former No. 1 pick has more than come into his own since entering the league, and he has the ability to line up as a defensive end or outside linebacker. He isn’t exactly the best-kept secret in free agency; if he does leave the Texans, he will get calls from half of the league’s teams. Still, a player like him is exactly what the Browns need: a veteran pass rusher who can make a difference within a talented but inexperienced unit.There is no doubt that the defense needs to be addressed through free agency.” [Alex Lubetkin/Dawg Pound Daily]
Some Tribe lineup discussion: “Kipnis hitting third might raise some eyebrows as well—especially since Manny Acta says he’ll hit seventh—but I think it makes perfect sense given his skill set. On-base percentage is less important for a No. 3 hitter than for anyone else in the middle of the order because he leads off so infrequently (think about who usually hits in the second inning). OBP isn’t a weakness for Kipnis, but it’s not a strength to the same degree that power is. So the No. 3 hole seems like a pretty good place for his bat. My other unorthodox suggestion is hitting Brantley last—it’s just where he fits best.” [Lewie Pollis/Wahoo’s On First]
Some interesting presentations from SSAC, and some things to keep in mind as the Cavaliers build: “Putting a pure point with a dominant center may not be as effective as pairing a versatile wing with a little shooting ability with the same dominant center.
The explanation: This calls into question the idea of the point-guard-big-man fit. For example, Dwight Howard, it has long been thought, needs to play with a great pure point guard. But his greatest success has been with a versatile three who could run the pick and roll and had some three-point shooting ability, in Hedo Turkoglu during the Magic’s 2009 run. The analysis suggests that Howard would do better with, say, Andre Iguodala, who can defend, distribute, rebound, and score when called on, versus say Deron Williams. This doesn’t mean that the two aren’t a good fit. It just says it’s possible that if you consider Deron Williams and Andre Iguodala equal talents in terms of their relative skillsets, that Iguodala and Howard might find more success from a production standpoint.” [Matt Moore/CBS Sports]
Yikes: “The Indians don’t want to talk about it, but Asdrubal Cabrera showed up in training camp in less than ideal condition. The shortstop has long battled weight problems. He was in pretty good shape last spring, leading to his breakout season (.273, 25 HR, 92 RBI, .792 OPS). But this spring, he is heavier than a year ago … although I can’t find out how much.” [Terry Pluto/The Plain Dealer]
Brendan is a weekend editor at WaitingForNextYear. He has been writing for the site since March of 2009. He went to college in Boston during a run of insufferable Beantown championships that only served to reinforce his Cleveland allegiance and fandom which he transcribes to you here at WFNY.