April 19, 2014

MLB News: Indians return Chris McGuiness to Rangers

Based on the series of roster moves announced Monday night, Indians fans had to expect a few corresponding moves coming later this week. This is just one of those moves: Since he wasn’t going to make the Opening Day roster or last all season, the Tribe has returned 1B Chris McGuiness to the Texas Rangers.

Per Jordan Bastian at MLB.com:

“I’ve said it before, I wish he wasn’t a Rule 5,” Indians manager Terry Francona said on Tuesday. “It’s hard for a position player to skip Triple-A and come to the big leagues. It’s not altogether fair to expect them to be able to put up numbers. There’s so much to like about him.”

Cleveland spent $50,000 to select the 24-year-old McGuiness in the Rule 5 Draft. Players added in that manner must remain on the acquiring team’s 25-man roster all season or be offered back to the original club at half the cost. It became clear this spring that McGuiness — with no career at-bats above Double-A — was not going to make the Indians’ roster.

McGuiness will turn 25 years old in two weeks. A 13th-round selection in the 2009 Draft by the Boston Red Sox, he was traded to Texas the next year at the trade deadline in a deal for catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia.

In 123 games for Double-A Frisco in 2012, he batted .268/.366/.474 with 25 doubles, 23 home runs and 77 RBI. That home run total would have led all minor leaguers in the Indians organization, out-pacing Russ Canzler (22) and a handful of others. He then was named the Arizona Fall League MVP this offseason.

MLB.com had McGuiness ranked as the No. 14 prospect in the Indians organization. He certainly would have provided a much needed boost in the power department as well as added competition at Triple-A Columbus. It appears that the Indians were unable to reach an agreement with Texas for him to remain in Cleveland.

With this move, the Indians’ 40-man roster currently stands at 39. The final spot is expected to be IF/OF Ryan Raburn, who will be officially added by Opening Day.

Going back to the Rule 5 Draft, the Indians lost RHP Hector Rondon to the Chicago Cubs and LHP T.J. McFarland to the Baltimore Orioles. Rondon, plagued since 2010 by injuries, has made the Cubs’ 25-man roster and appears to have a long-term role as a middle reliever. Per the Baltimore Sun, the Orioles are still deciding on McFarland’s future.

[Related: Roster Is Set, Any Concerns?]

The culture and roster have changed, so what’s the Tribe’s next move?

It has been quite the offseason for the Indians. From the day Manny Acta was fired, the Dolan Family Ownership pushed forward with a new era for their downtrodden organization. Many scoffed (me included) when it was decided that Team President Mark Shapiro and GM Chris Antonetti would stay on board to oversee the changes that were about to come. Just over three months later, Antonetti has come through with a vengeance.

The hiring of Terry Francona changed everything for this organization. He was quoted as saying he only took the job because of the the opportunity to work with two men who would be his bosses, Shapiro and Antonetti. It was never said, but it is widely assumed now that Francona received some sort of assurances from ownership that there would be money to spend to upgrade the roster. Armed with Tito’s sterling reputation as a manager everyone wants to play for, the Indians began the transformation.

[Read more...]

Tribe Loses Two, Gains One in Rule 5 Draft

The Major League phase of baseball’s Rule 5 draft was just completed.  For those who aren’t familiar with it, it works this way, per MLBTradeRumors.com:

Players are eligible for the Rule 5 Draft if they aren’t on the 40-man roster four or five years after signing, depending on the age at which they signed. Teams draft in the reverse order of the previous season’s standings but aren’t required to make a selection. If they do choose a player, they pay his former team $50K and must keep that player on the Major League roster all season or offer him back to his original team for $25K.

This morning, the Indians lost two players from their organization. One time top prospect, Hector Rondon, was selected second overall by the Chicago Cubs. Rondon spent almost three full seasons recovering from a multitude of injuries before, but was said to be pitching well and a potential bullpen option for the Indians late in the 2013 season. Instead, he will be a Chicago Cub, unless they don’t like what they see. The Tribe also bids farewell to 23 year old left-handed starter T.J. McFarland, who was taken 23rd by Baltimore. The soft-tossing lefty went 16-8 with a 4.03 ERA in 27 starts between Akron and Columbus.

Don’t fret – if the Indians were that high on either player, they’d have been protected on the 40-man roster.

On the other side, the Tribe took 24-year old first baseman Chris McGuiness from the Texas Rangers with their Rule 5 pick. The left-handed hitting McGuiness was just named MVP of the Arizona Fall League who spent the 2012 season in AA Frisco. He hit 23 homers and drove in 77 runs with an OPS of .840 in 123 games. He is said to be a solid defensive player but with the Rangers system loaded with talent, he was left off their 40-man roster.

The Tribe has now loaded up with low-budget options at first base should they not find what they are looking for in trades or on the open market. McGuiness, Mike McDade (added from Toronto), Lars Anderson, and Russ Canzler are all on the 40-man roster.

[Source - MLB Trade Rumors]