April 24, 2014

MLB Rumor: Tim Hudson drawing interest from Indians

With today’s qualifying offer deadline, the MLB offseason is just getting started. Teams are being forced to make decisions on whether they’d like to protect certain players and potentially add a draft pick should they sign elsewhere.

In Atlanta, catcher Brian McCann is expected to receive the $14.1 million offer while starter Tim Hudson is not. The Braves have countered with a different one-year offer to Hudson’s representatives. But MLB.com’s Mark Bowman reports that Hudson is receiving interest from as many as 10 teams, with the Royals and Indians leading the pack.

Bowman writes that Cleveland manager Terry Francona spoke on the phone with Hudson earlier this week. The 38-year-old veteran misssed the final two months of the 2013 season with a fractured right ankle. If his rehab continues well, he could be cleared to resume throwing within the month.

The Indians extended a qualifying offer to Ubaldo Jimenez earlier today, but not Scott Kazmir. In the meanwhile, the team will likely be bargain hunting for an extra starting pitcher to go alongside the four pitchers locked into the 2014 rotation: Justin Masterson, Corey Kluber, Zach McAllister and Danny Salazar.

Hudson was 8-7 with a 3.97 ERA in 21 starts this past year for the Braves. In his 15-year MLB career, he has a 3.44 ERA, 6.1 K/9 and 2.7 BB/9. He is a three-time All-Star. He seems like a solid player for the Indians to target, although his price tag is a bit uncertain at the moment.

[Related: Brian Sabean messed it up for the rest of us]

Braves 3, Indians 1: An offensive sweep leaves Tribe searching

Ubaldo JimenezTalk about a series to forget.

The worst case scenario for your Cleveland Indians heading into the toughest nine-game stretch of their season was a slow start in Atlanta. I said beforehand I would take 5-4. After last night’s 3-1 loss to the Braves, it will take a sweep and another series win against the Tigers and the Orioles to even get to that five-win number. The way this offense continues to flounder and the way the Tigers and Orioles mash, there are serious concerns that by the time next week rolls around, the Indians could possibly bury themselves completely.

Terry Francona knows it. The front office knows it. The players know it. Something has to change. The month long offensive slump is killing this team. They are dead last in the AL in almost every hitting category for the month of August. Throwing extra salt in the wound is the fact that the Tribe starters are keeping the team in the game seemingly each and every time out and this kind of strong pitching is getting completely wasted.

“The whole series came down to their ability to get big hits and we didn’t,” said Francona. “They were low scoring games and they found a way to get a big hit and we didn’t.” [Read more...]

Braves 2 Indians 0: Offense again goes dead silent as triple does Tribe in

Drew StubbsStop me if you have heard this one before: The Indians pitched well enough to win, but could never muster enough offense to overcome the deficit they faced.

In what has become a disturbing trend, the bats continued their drought as the Indians were shut out in Atlanta 2-0 by lefty Alex Wood and four relievers. It is not like they didn’t have their chances. Wood walked four and gave up five hits in five and tw0-thirds, but the Tribe never could come up with a single big hit to change the game. Let us count the missed chances, shall we?

Michael Bourn singled to open the game and with two outs Carlos Santana walked. Both were stranded when Mike Aviles popped out.

Asdrubal Cabrera led off the second and was quickly erased on Michael Brantley’s double play ball. Drew Stubbs then walked but pitcher Danny Salazar was due up so naturally that inning fizzled. I want to say once again for the record how absolutely ridiculous it is to have American League pitchers hit in National League parks during interleague play. Here we are fighting for our playoff lives and Salazar has to bat for the first time in years? Makes a ton of sense! [Read more...]

Report: Indians in the market for OF Michael Bourn

A bit of surprising news on the free agency trail today: The Indians are reportedly on the short list of teams “in the market” for OF Michael Bourn, according to a tweet from ESPN and XM analyst Jim Bowden.

Tony Lastoria, writer for the newly rebranded Indians Baseball Insider, followed up to Bowden’s tweet to say that the Indians reportedly were interested in trading for Bourn at the deadline in 2011. This is the first his name has been connected heavily to Cleveland this offseason, as the Tribe usually has been related to their courting of OSU alumnus Nick Swisher.

But, Bourn is significantly younger and likely a better fit for a possible long-term deal than Swisher. A soon-to-be 30-year-old speedster, he batted .274/.349/.391 with 26 doubles, 10 triples, 9 homers and 42 steals in 155 games for Atlanta in 2012. The 6.0 WAR was the best of his career, but he notably also produced a 4.7 and 5.3 in 2009 and 2010, respectively.

The Phillies, Rangers and Mariners, also on Bourn’s short list, have been rumored to be in the market to spend money on a marquee outfielder this season. So the Indians are likely a long-shot for now — especially if Swisher’s power is indeed their preference — but it’s no doubt intriguing to see they’ve thrown their hat in the race.

[Related: The Pitch To Swish]

Indians’ Derek Lowe Surprises with Hot April Start

Entering today’s game against the Los Angeles Angels, the Cleveland Indians remain in first place in the AL Central with a 10-9 record. That’s quite an odd feat alone, but then one must discern which individual has been the most impressive thus far for the Tribe. After looking around a little bit, I’ve got a top four candidate, and it’s someone no one expected to be in this position.

Derek Lowe, a 38-year-old starter, made his way to Cleveland in a small late October 2011 trade with the Atlanta Braves. After notably collapsing down the stretch last year while the Braves faltered to miss the playoffs, Lowe was pretty much given away to Cleveland. Atlanta ate up $10 million of his $15 million salary, and hardly got anything in return (just Single-A LHP Chris Jones). [Read more...]

Indians’ Attendance Grows With Team Success

Maybe the most obvious headline ever, I know. Then again, how scary would it be if that statement was false?  Today, the Indians announced that Saturday’s game against the Reds is officially sold out.  It is the first sellout since the home opener.  Of course we all remember the crazy number of articles written about the seven games that the park has had under 10,000 patrons in attendance. [Read more...]

Where have you gone Pronk?

pronk2.jpgBottom of the 9th inning, two runners on, one out. The Tribe still doesn’t have a hit, but coming to the plate is Travis Hafner. First pitch down and away for ball one. Travis is in the driver’s seat against the young Braves pitcher. Second pitch low and now the count is 2 balls no strikes. Third pitch comes in low, but it has the inside of the plate and Hafner decides to take his cut. He drops the head of the bat down and attempts to go the opposite way with the ball. He succeeds, or at least he sends it as opposite field as Hafner can. The ball slices just left of center field and drifts right into the glove of the center-fielder, about medium deep. Hafner fails to deliver.

Obviously we’re talking about an early spring training game. Nobody is pointing to this at-bat and pressing a panic button. Unfortunately for this Tribe fan, the first baseball that I got to see reminded me a little too much of the last time the Indians were on the field. A series in which Hafner hit .148 with 12 strikeouts and 2 RBI. Hafner’s ’07 season certainly was a disappointment for him, and one that he is looking to put behind him. [Read more...]