July 31, 2014

Tribe Talk: Murphy, 40-man additions, and the Kinsler/Fielder trade

David Murphy

It has been a big week here in Wahooland, so let us get right into it.

The Tribe signs outfielder David Murphy

It is not quite the needle-moving deal that everyone hoped for, but it is a start. GM Chris Antonetti gave former Texas Rangers OF David Murphy two years and $12 million dollars, along with a club option for 2016. The left-handed hitting Murphy will most likely be in a right field platoon with last year’s big surprise, Ryan Raburn, who is also signed for the next two seasons. I’ve seen many a Tribe fan already compare this to a new age Jason Michaels/David Dellucci situation.

That can’t possibly happen again…I don’t think.

Murphy is 32 years old and coming off of his worst season since becoming a regular in 2008. After a 2012 season where he hit .304/.380/.479 and was a 3.2 WAR player, he struggled in his free agent season. .220/.282/.374 was not what the Rangers were looking for. His 0.2 mark was his worst WAR since 2011. The same goes for his career low .227 BaBIP – well off his .302 lifetime number.

His splits are interesting as well. Murphy hit .296/.348/.461 vs. righties in 2011 and .296/.375/.487 in 2012. He dipped the past season to .219/.286/.399. The road/home splits are a tad of a concern. The Ballpark at Arlington is a known hitters haven and Murphy made the most of his time there. Over the past three seasons, Murphy’s home slash line was .286/.345/.470 while on the road he went .248/.319/.371. [Read more...]

About Those Indians Pitching Prospects: Ranking the Relievers

My series on the top pitchers in the Cleveland Indians minor league system continues today with a look at the best prospects out of the pen heading into the future.

Relievers are a tricky pick in the prospect world, because very rarely – especially in the Cleveland Indians development system – are pitchers developed to come out of the bullpen.

Generally, after being drafted or signed, young arms remain as starters in order for minor league coaches to fix all their little kinks and test out their abilities in that role. Then in this usual mold, if a pitcher is not deemed as a “can’t miss” starter, then he is relegated to the future career path as a relief pitcher.

That’s why it is often incredibly much more difficult to rank minor league relievers in a baseball organization, mostly because there are hardly ever any prospects in this realm. But that’s definitely not the case for the Indians heading into the 2011 season. [Read more...]

Acquiring Young Talent through Trades—Part One: The Pitchers

On Tuesday I tried to make you feel good about the 2011 Indians.  I told you how if things go just right, this team can compete in the AL Central.  It was a shiny, happy day.  Today I might end up making you feel sort of crummy about the 2007 Indians.  Yes, it’s a weird exercise, but bear with me.

Let’s start with the sell-off that was precipitated by those 2007 Indians underperforming in 2008, taking a team from within one game of the World Series to competing with the Royals for last place.  By and large, there seemed to be two major reactions to the moves of CC Sabathia, Cliff Lee, and Victor Martinez.

The first reaction was one of alienation from MLB as a whole and the Indians in particular.  Any system that encourages the sort of talent-exodus that took place in Cleveland cannot and should not be supported, or so the argument went.  [Read more...]

Aeros Reliever Nick Hagadone Re-Adjusting to Familiar Role

Before the 2010 season started, Baseball America named Nick Hagadone the third-best prospect in the Cleveland Indians system. A dominating presence on the mound at 6’5″, 230-lbs and a left-hander, it made perfect sense for the publication to view him in such a fashion.

He was arguably the player with the most upside acquired from Boston in last year’s Victor Martinez deal alongside Justin Masterson and current teammate Bryan Price. The Red Sox clearly viewed him as a top prospect earlier as well, selecting him as the 55th overall pick (supplemental first round) in the June 2007 Draft after a successful career at the University of Washington.

Unfortunately, June 2008 Tommy John surgery on his left elbow limited his development process. He resumed pitching last season but remained on a strict pitch count up through this year as well. Struggling to find his consistency in his few innings as a starter, it then made a ton of sense for the Indians to decide to shift Hagadone into a more natural role as a reliever last month.
[Read more...]

Trade Analysis: Indians Deal Victor Martinez to Boston Red Sox as Trade Deadline ends

victor-martinezIt has been tough working on this article. It has been tough writing much about the Indians over the past week, and I sincerely believe that this will be a difficult year for the front office as they struggle with attendance numbers that will more likely than not go down even further in 2010. That said, it is time to recap what has just happened in the organization after yet another trade involving one of the most popular players on the team, and one of the most loved Cleveland players in the last decade.

Victor Martinez will go down in history as one of the best catchers ever to wear the Indians uniform, right up there with recently inducted Sandy Alomar. In 821 games for Cleveland, he batted .297 while averaging 20 home runs and 102 RBI per full-season. He will be very much missed by NE Ohio fans, but with this trade in hand it is important to look at how stacked the organization’s pitching depth stands. The Indians acquired a top Boston prospect but not the one many fans wanted, as Justin Masterson came to town instead of starter Clay Buchholz. While Masterson could eventually project as a starter, I want to recap all the pieces that the Indians have traded away thus far this season.

Between Mark DeRosa, Ryan Garko, Ben Francisco and Martinez, GM Mark Shapiro has traded away 33.7% of the team’s current plate appearances this year. Additionally, in trading away Rafael Betancourt, Cliff Lee he also traded away 20.0% of the team’s current innings pitched, showing how much of the team in pure numbers have been given away for prospects. [Read more...]