April 24, 2014

Seahawks’ Russell Wilson to dress for Rangers against Tribe

russwils

Russell Wilson’s baseball career will live on, at least for one more day.

Wilson, a former second baseman who spent two years in the Colorado Rockies’ farm system before giving up baseball and pursuing a career in the NFL, will be in uniform  and in the dugout for the Texas Rangers during their upcoming exhibition game against the Cleveland Indians.

The Rangers, as you may recall, selected Wilson from Colorado in the minor league phase of the Rule 5 Draft back in December. Texas essentially bought the rights to a Super Bowl MVP for what amounted to a $12,000 fee.

The team has not indicated whether or not Wilson will get an at-bat or not. He batted .229 with five home runs over 93 professional games up to Class A with Colorado before focusing on things like turning around a franchise and winning a Super Bowl.

Indians avoid arbitration with lefty Josh Outman

Colorado Rockies v St. Louis CardinalsNew left-handed reliever Josh Outman agreed to a $1.25 million deal in 2014 with the Cleveland Indians, the first of likely many arbitration-eligible deals to be announced shortly.

Famously, Cleveland has avoided going to an arbitration hearing since 1991. This season, six total players filed for arbitration — ace Justin Masterson, outfielder Michael Brantley, right-handers Vinnie Pestano and Josh Tomlin, and the lefties Marc Rzepczynski and Outman.

The 29-year-old, acquired in a trade from Colorado for Drew Stubbs, has a 4.61 ERA in 121 games (32 starts) in his MLB career. Last season, he posted a 4.33 mark in 61 relief appearances, striking out 53 batters in 54.0 innings.

Outman’s platoon splits have surprisingly become very much more pronounced in the majors, as I shared on Twitter last month. The website MLB Trade Rumors estimated him to receive a $1.8 million salary this season, so it’s a slight victory for the Indians in the negotiations.

Stubbs is expected to receive a $3.8 million salary this season. After the Indians signed free agent David Murphy to a two-year $12 million deal, Stubbs became the most expendable outfielder for the Tribe. With the assumed departure of veteran Rich Hill, they were in need for another proven MLB lefty reliever.

If necessary, arbitration hearings are scheduled to take place from Feb. 1-21. Thus, we should likely more news and reports in the coming weeks about the remaining Indians left to be officially signed for 2014.

[Related: The Diff: Reviewing Indians pitching moves this offseason]

Photo: Dilip Vishwanat, Getty Images

MLB Trade News: Indians trade Drew Stubbs to Rockies for Josh Outman

UPDATE: The Indians are getting pitcher Josh Outman from the Rockies.

—————————-

According to Ken Rosenthal on Twitter the Cleveland Indians have sent outfielder Drew Stubbs to the Colorado Rockies. It is not yet known what the Indians got in return.

For the Indians, this cures what could have been a logjam in the outfield. The Indians have Michael Bourn, Michael Brantley, Ryan Raburn, Nick Swisher and added David Murphy.

When that Murphy deal was rumored, Jacob said the following about the Indians’ outfield situation.

It’s a bit of a surprising deal for the Tribe, who already have over $30 million committed to outfielders Nick Swisher, Michael Bourn and Ryan Raburn for 2014. Incumbent right fielder Drew Stubbs is a potential non-tender candidate, as he’s expected to garner about $3.8 million in arbitration, per MLBTradeRumors.

Murphy has averaged 130 games for the Texas Rangers over the last six seasons. During this time, he’s averaged a .272/.335/.436 line with 1.7 WAR per year. He’s been primarily a left fielder and had by far his worst season in 2013, batting just .220/.282/.374 in 142 contests. He earned $5.775 million in his final arbitration season this past year. A lefty hitter, he seems to be a good fit in a time-share with fellow veteran Raburn in right.

We will obviously update this when we find out what the Indians got in return.

[Related: Pluto: David Murphy’s BABIP incredibly low]

WFNY Stats & Info: Ubaldo Jimenez emerging as Indians ace

Yet again, I can’t help but share how amazing Ubaldo Jimenez has been for the Indians over a nearly five-month span.

First, in early June, I wrote about some of his best starts in a Cleveland uniform. Then, again in a stats headline, I wrote about his incredible continued improvement here in early September. Man, did Jimenez remain hot again last night against the Houston Astros.

And, consider: While the Houston Astros are now 51-102 and MLB’s worst team in nearly 60 years against .500+ squads (tweet), their offense isn’t that bad. Entering Thursday, Houston’s 3.92 runs per game ranked fourth-worst and .685 OPS ranked second-worst in the American League. This season, it’s been their pitching that has been their biggest downfall en route to the league’s worst record.

So Ubaldo Jimenez again deserves a ton of credit. With his latest fine outing he now has six consecutive quality starts, a new Indians personal record. Again, here’s a look at the former Colorado Rockies’ career stats in two splits with Cleveland:

First 46 starts with Indians — 13-23, 5.63 ERA, 7.6 K/9, 4.6 BB/9, 59.1% strikes, .269 AVG
Last 26 starts since 4/29/13 — 12-7, 2.65 ERA, 10.0 K/9, 3.8 BB/9, 62.0% strikes, .240 AVG

There is no doubt about it: From one of MLB’s worst regular starters from 2011-onward, he is now emerging as the owner of the AL’s second-best ERA over a near five-month span in a baseball season. The strikeouts are among the league’s best too, and thanks to decreasing walks and hits, he’s not letting up many mistakes either. He’s not the over-poweringly dominant starter he once was in the National League, but boy, Jimenez is very close to ace-quality.

As many have shared before, he’s lined up to be Cleveland’s fifth-to-last starter of the regular season. That would line him up perfectly for the team’s first post-season game, whether it be a one-game wild card playoff or a one-game tiebreaker situation. At this point in time, based on how he has pitched, it would seem that’s what the team and front office would actually prefer. How could have one ever guessed that?

[Related: Royals 7 Indians 2: Defense does Tribe in]

Indians’ Struggles By The Numbers

Taking a page from Rick’s book today, I’m here with some illustrious stats about the Cleveland Indians. These aren’t the prettiest, so you might want to spare your kids from seeing these.

-51 – Indians’ run differential this season, sixth-worst in MLB. The team with the sixth-worst record is Houston at 32-43 (.427).

12-3 (.800) – CLE’s record in one-run games, the best percentage-wise in MLB. Baltimore is second-best at 13-6 (.684). This might explain how the team is shockingly still at .500 on the season. For comparison’s sake, no team has finished with a win percentage better than .636 in one-run games over the past three seasons.

10-9 (.526) – Indians’ record in two-run games, tied for 12th-best percentage-wise in MLB. San Francisco is best at 11-5 (.688). While this isn’t sensational, it’s still above average. [Read more...]

Indians acquire RHP Esmil Rogers

From the Indians-

“The Indians announced today that the club has acquired RHP ESMIL ROGERS from the Colorado Rockies in exchange for cash considerations. To make room on the club’s 40-man roster, Cleveland has also designated C LUKE CARLIN for assignment.

Rogers, 26, has made 23 relief appearances for the Rockies this season, going 0-2 with an 8.06 ERA (23 ER/25.2 IP). The right-hander is averaging 10.2 strikeouts-per-9.0 innings, fanning 29 batters against 18 walks. He has also held left-handed batters to a .235 (12-51) clip. Rogers, who is out of options after pitching in parts of 4 major league seasons, is scheduled to join the Indians in the coming days. He was originally signed by Colorado in 2003 as a non-drafted free agent out of the Dominican Republic and has gone 34-30 with a 4.65 ERA (293 ER/567.2 IP), 445 strikeouts and 190 walks in 104 career games/101 starts at the minor league level.

Carlin, 31, has spent the bulk of the 2012 season at Triple-A Columbus, batting .231 (18-78) with 3 doubles, 2 homers and 12 RBI in 23 games. He has registered a .990 (2 ER/193 TC) fielding pct. in 22 games behind the plate, throwing out 8-of-26 (30.8%) attempted base-stealers. Carlin also appeared in 4 games with Cleveland (3-for-14, 2B, RBI, 2 R) after having his contract purchased from Columbus on May 26 (optioned back on June 6). The Indians have 10 days to trade, release or outright Carlin to the minor leagues.”

Shoulder shrugs all around.

Indians’ Jimenez to Appeal Suspension

Ubaldo Jiménez, who was suspended five games and given an undisclosed fined for intentionally throwing at Colorado’s Troy Tulowitzki during a Spring Training game, will reportedly appeal the ruling handed down by Major League Baseball.

Jiménez, who did not speak with reporters following the ruling, initially stated that the fastball which hit Tulowitzki in the elbow merely “got away” from him. His body language, however, was a bit more animated as the pitcher immediately stepped toward the plate following the dropping of his glove. Benches intervened and no ejections were handed out — Tulowitzki’s X-Rays were negative.

The appeal will allow Jiménez to pitch on Saturday against the Toronto Blue Jays. He finished Spring Training with an ERA of 7.43 in seven games, striking out and walking 15 batters through 23 innings.

[Related: Two Days Until The Opener, and I’m Worried]

Rockies’ Tracy: Ubaldo Commited “Most Gutless Act in 35 Years”

The Colorado Rockies, led by manager Jim Tracy, are none too pleased by the plunking of shortstop Troy Tulowitzki by Indians starter (and former Colorado ace) Ubaldo Jiménez.

Alleged “lingering ill will” between the two players came to blows on Sunday after the Indians starter hit the All-Star infielder in the elbow with a fastball in the first inning of the picther’s final Cactus League start. After hitting Tulowitzki, Jimenez reportedly stepped toward the plate, motioning for Tulowitzki to come toward him. Players from both teams quickly joined the two players as benches emptied.

Issues allegedly stem from Jiménez saying that he felt “under-appreciated” by his former team, referencing the contract extension provided to Tulowitzki and outfielder Carlos Gonzalez, later claiming that Cleveland was “heaven” compared to Colorado. Following the game, Rockies manager Jim Tracy went on a bit of a tirade.

“It’s the most gutless act I have seen in 35 years of professional baseball. I have lost all respect for him. To do something like that and walk down off the mound, and if there’s any suggestion whatsoever that the ball got away, I don’t want to hear any of that [expletive]. I am going to be very disappointed if he doesn’t get suspended.”

Jiménez claims that Tulowitzki was audibly calling out the pitcher from the batters box and that the pitch was merely an inside fastball, one with no malicious intent aside from brushing the batter away from the plate.

“I mean, I’m a man,” said Jiménez. “If somebody calls me out, I have to go. He was calling me chicken. He was calling me names.”

Tulowitzki immediately left the game following the incident. X-rays revealed no structural damage, but the Rockies do not know if he will miss playing time until he’s evaluated again Monday.

[Related: Is Ubaldo’s 2010 Fausto’s 2007?]

(Source: Denver Post)

Video: Ubaldo Jimenez beans Troy Tulowitzki

We only had pictures of the incident before now. This video is so new that it is still loading a bit slowly, but here it is!

(H/T @KevinKaduk on Twitter)

Ubaldo Jimenez Drills Troy Tulowitzki in Possible Retribution

We may not have gotten an ace out of the Ubaldo Trade, but it sure looks like we might have gotten a hot-head bent on eternal revenge.

In today’s Spring Training game between the Rockies and Indians, Ubaldo Jimenez drilled his former teammate Troy Tulowitzki in the first inning on the first pitch to the Colorado SS.  No big deal, right?

Except that last week Tulowitzki made some unflattering comments to the local press concerning Ubaldo’s departure from the Rockies last season.  And that was after Ubaldo totally told a Colorado reporter how playing for the Indians was like “heaven” compared to the Rockies clubhouse.  Evidently this animosity goes back some time, at least since Tulowitzki received his massive contract extension (and Ubaldo did not) and perhaps all the way back to that one time when Troy stole Ubie’s favorite crayon during art class and then totally lied about it at lunch later that day.

Evidently the Bald One took notice.

Tulowitzki was removed from the game and taken to the clubhouse for X-rays.  Jimenez stayed in the game and let up 6 ERs, 5 BBs, 4 hits and 2 HRs over 4.1 innings pitched.

[Related: Is Ubaldo’s 2010 Fausto’s 2007?]

Is Ubaldo’s 2010 Fausto’s 2007?

Everyone in the baseball universe has essentially said the same thing about the chances for the Indians to compete with the Detroit Tigers for the AL Central crown. They will not be able to hang unless Ubaldo Jimenez finds his old form and pitches like the the top of the rotation starter that Chris Antonetti thought he was getting last summer. Not that anyone has forgotten, but the Indians sent their top two pitching prospects – Alex White and Drew Pomeranz – to get him.

When the Tribe made the deal, there were whispers that Jimenez was hurt. His velocity, which when healthy was regularly in the 95-96 range, was more like 90-91. The command was very up and down. From start to start, the Rockies didn’t know which Ubaldo was going to show up. On top of that, it was well known that Ubaldo was not thrilled that the Rockies had taken care of their other young stars Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez long term, yet he was still looking for his extension. Adding all of those things up, Colorado GM Dan O’Dowd decided to put his ace on the market with two and a half years left on a club-friendly contract.

The Indians, still right in the hunt for the AL Central, bit. The company line was they were acquiring an in his prime, top of the rotation starter with two and a half years left on his deal. I was on board with the deal when it came down. I saw what Antonetti was trying to do. He saw a two-year window and he was going all in for it. The Tribe’s top positional player prospects are essentially all here. The rest are in A ball level. The time to contend is now. [Read more...]

Former Indians Pitcher Alex White Facing “Extreme DUI”

Alex White, the former first-round selection by the Cleveland Indians, may be staring at an extreme case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Otherwise considered a “choir boy” by his current general manager Dan O’Dowd, White could be facing charges of “extreme” DUI – Driving Under the Inflence — after recording a blood-alcohol level of .174, more than double the legal limit of .08 and exactly 50 points shy of Grady Sizemore’s 2011 batting average.

Pulled over in Scottsdale, Arizona, the term “extreme” is something derived via Arizona state law to magnify any influence-based arrest that involves any BAC levels north of .15.

White admitted to having two drinks prior to his arrest, occuring just after 9pm on Saturday.

“It’s very unfortunate, and I’m completely embarrassed,” said White. “It was very stupid, and I let down a lot of people, most important my family, this organization and the fans. That’s not the type of person I am.”

White was traded to Colorado in 2011, along with pitcher Drew Pomeranz, in a deal that netted the Indians right-handed pitcher Ubaldo Jiménez.

[Related: Significant Nothings: Thoughts on The Indians & Spring Training]

(Source: Denver Post)

MLB Rumors: Indians Likely to Sign OF Ryan Spilborghs

In a move that will by no means satisfy the team’s need for a power bat, the Cleveland Indians are reportedly linked to former Colorado Rockies outfielder Ryan Spilborghs.

The versitile veteran outfielder is coming off of a season where he hit .210 in 223 plate appearances and a WAR of -1.1. However, as has been the theme of the last several months, Spillborghs has a considerably successful career against left-handed pitching where he has hit .273 with an on-base percentage of .357 and an OPS just shy of .800.

Those looking for power, however, will have to look elsewhere as Spillborghs had an 2011 isolated power figure of .095 in 98 games, and that was with the Colorado Rockies, a city where offensive numbers can err on the inflated side. The Indians continue to be rumored to be in the hunt for a veteran first baseman to compete with last season’s option in Matt LaPorta.

(Update: Yahoo! Sports’ Tim Brown reports that this will be a minor league deal and will hinge upon the team’s review of the player’s medical records)

[Related: Report: Indians Sign RHP Jeremy Accardo, OF Fred Lewis]

(Source: Troy Renck, Denver Post)

Indians Beat Royals on LaPorta Walk-Off Homer

What a wild night for Indians fans.  As the Indians offense looked like it was about to be shut out for the 3rd straight game, the trade deadline rumors were exploding around an Indians deal for Ubaldo Jimenez.  Maybe news of the developing trade reached the clubhouse and woke up the bats as the Indians came alive in the final two innings to break a 3 game losing streak.

Matt LaPorta, who’s had a rough week, ended the game in the bottom of the 9th with a 3 run walk-off homer to left.  The lined shot just cleared the top of the 19 foot wall and slammed off the railing.  After such a miserable week in which he closed his twitter account because of fan abuse, it was a feel-good scene at home with LaPorta getting mobbed.

[Read more...]

While We’re Waiting…Indians Land Ubaldo Jimenez, Colt McCoy in the AFC North

While We’re Waiting serves as the early morning gathering of WFNY-esque information for your viewing pleasure. Have something you think we should see? Send it to our tips email at tips@waitingfornextyear.com

Going all in: “To question how Ubaldo fits into the Tribe’s rotation (or any rotation) is akin to insanity, but it doesn’t dismiss the idea that there are very real reasons to be wary of Jimenez – from Colorado’s still-unknown reasons for making a 27-year-old “ace” available, to reports that the Yankees backed away from the Ubaldo sweepstakes when they were allegedly stonewalled in their attempts to obtain medical reports.

That said, the Indians’ Front Office – oft-maligned for their inactivity, their proclivity to sell “tomorrow” instead of “today”, and crucified for “unmet” promises – weighed the risks in acquiring Ubaldo (and there are many) and parted with their two prized arms, with one having already contributed to the parent club and with the other one following the same fast track. In giving up Pomeranz and White, the Indians are gambling that the performance of Jimenez over the next 2+ years is enough to balance out the club control that they held over Pomz and White, and the potential that each arm contained.” [Paul Cousineau/The DiaTribe]

[Read more...]

MLB Trade Rumors: Indians “Strongly in the Mix” for Ubaldo Jiménez

The Cleveland Indians may have not faired well in the bidding for Carlos Beltran, but they have not given up their pursuit of acquiring talent to help them in the hunt for the 2011 MLB Playoffs. Per FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, the Tribe front office is one of three teams considered to be in serious contention for Colorado’s Ubaldo Jiménez.

Sure, the Indians need a bat more than anything. And sure, Jiménez, the hard-throwing right-hander, is having a rather pedestrian 2011 campaign, sporting a record of 6-9 with an ERA 4.20. While these may not be glaring signs of a starting pitcher one would want to trade away pieces to acquire, there are several factors to consider:

[Read more...]

While We’re Waiting…Cavs Interested in Lighty, Browns Workouts, Greg Little Background

While We’re Waiting serves as the early morning gathering of WFNY-esque information for your viewing pleasure. Have something you think we should see? Send it to our tips email at tips@waitingfornextyear.com

More Draft analysis and looking at how to rebuild this roster: “My reaction to the Cavs’ draft is confusion. Draft day started with so much promise. The Cavs had the 1st and 4th picks, two second rounders, a huge trade exception, and an owner willing to spend money. The options seemed limitless and, at a minimum, it appeared the day should end with the Cavs having two long-term starters and a quality role player in tow. Something completely different happened. No picks were bought or traded for; instead a pick was traded away. At #4, the Cavs reached for a player that most had in the 8 – 10 range; who also plays the same position as two of their three best players under the age of thirty. Of their fifteen players, the Cavs have four point guards and six power forwards. Are the Cavs trying to remake themselves as the Minnesota Timberwolves? The trade exception expires in two weeks. Surely a trade is coming. This can’t be the last memory prior to a depressing lockout, can it?” [Kevin Hetrick/Cavs:TheBlog]

[Read more...]

WFNY Night at the Tribe Game!

Thanks to our ticket partner, Tiq IQ and the Indians we have set aside a block of tickets for the Wednesday, June 22 game against the Rockies. The mezzanine level seats, which normally cost $23, are being held for WFNY readers for just $15! An $8 savings per ticket, and you’ll be sitting with other WFNY readers and writers! [Read more...]

MLB Trade Rumors: Jhonny Peralta a “Potential Fit” in Colorado

Turning into a Major League Baseball version of the Cavaliers and Phoenix Suns, the Indians could once again be entering into a deal with the Colorado Rockies.  Troy Renck of The Denver Post has deemed Tribe third baseman Jhonny Peralta as a “potential fit” in the mile high city due to his team-friendly contract and ability to play multiple positions.

Though the note is titled “Jhonny Be Good,” Renck does hit on key points while mentioning the history between the two teams.  [Read more...]

While We’re Waiting… Cavs Throwback, West/Moon Out, Buffalo Bills and Juice Williams

While We’re Waiting serves as the early morning gathering of WFNY-esque information for your viewing pleasure. Have something else you think we should see and write about? Send it to our fancy tips email in the sidebar.

throw back jerseysThe Cavs are rolling out even more throwback [sic]  jerseys this season… “Late 80′s design in 70′s colors. I dig it a lot more than the blue versions they wore last year not just because of the colors, but also because the basket in the “V” is one of my favorite designs of all time.” [Vince Grzegorek/'64 and Counting]

Cavaliers beat reporter extraordinaire Brian Windhorst is breaking out the Twitter account yet again. He was one of the many people to report that Delonte West and Jamario Moon will both not play in the preseason game against the Charlotte Bobcats tonight. [Twitter]

[Read more...]