July 23, 2014

Indians DFA Josh Outman, activate Zach McAllister

Zach McAllister

Josh Outman, the player acquired for outfielder Drew Stubbs just a few months ago ((For those wondering, Stubbs is hitting .303 (.796 OPS) through 55 games on the season, stealing seven bases having yet to be caught. He’s also quadrupled his WAR (1.2) over all of last season (0.3). That thin air, man.)), has been designated for assignment by the Cleveland Indians. Outman posted a 3.24 ERA with 24 strikeouts over 24 2/3 innings, but the showed very little control, walking 16. He labored through a 40-pitch outing earlier this week, but has still managed to hold left-handed hitters to a .180 average. He was out of minor league options, so the Indians have 10 days to trade him, release him or try to pass him through waivers—a place the left-hander will likely garner some interest.

Zach McAllister will take Outman’s spot on the 25-man roster, activated from the disabled list after sustaining a lower back strain. Sitting at 3-4 with a 5.89 ERA in 10 starts this season, McAllister is expected to take the hill on Thursday when the Indians take on Garrett Richards (with his team-leading 2.87 ERA) and the Los Angeles Angels.

(AP Photo/Jim Mone)

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

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

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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]

MLB News: Indians likely to tender contract to Drew Stubbs

The Indians will likely retain Drew Stubbs and not release him by the Monday night deadline, reports MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian.

Teams have until 11:59 p.m. EST on Monday to decide whether to tender contracts to unsigned players on a 40-man roster. Stubbs, 29, is in his second season of arbitration eligibility. He is expected to make about $3.8 million this season, per the estimates at MLBTradeRumors.

That price and the suddenly even more crowded outfield picture in Cleveland had made Stubbs a likely non-tender candidate, whereas the Indians would cut their obligations to the former Cincinnati Reds player.

GM Chris Antonetti had maintained the team could enter spring training with all five current outfielders: Stubbs, Michael Brantley, Michael Bourn, Ryan Raburn and newly signed David Murphy.

Stubbs hit just .233/.305/.360 in 146 games last season. He had only 17 steals after swiping 100 in the previous three seasons in Cincinnati. His hitting numbers have declined since hitting .255 with 20 homers in 2010. He still would have value on the open market, however, because of his defense and average hitting.

Per multiple reports, it appears that former backup catcher Lou Marson is the only player expected to be non-tendered by the Indians.

[Related: How crazy would it be for Indians to consider trading Michael Bourn?]

How crazy would it be for Indians to consider trading Michael Bourn?

Michael BournThe Indians shocked much of baseball by signing All-Star outfielder Michael Bourn in February to a deal worth up to $60 million over five years.

While the team then surprised en route to 92 wins and an AL Wild Card appearance, Bourn disappointed. After a four-year near-superstar average of 4.8 jWAR (definition here), he posted a measly 2.2 jWAR in 2013 – just barely above legitimate starter levels.

This week, Cleveland added veteran David Murphy to the fold. He’s expected to play the larger half of a platoon in right field with Ryan Raburn. This now presents an even more crowded logjam in the outfield along with Bourn, Michael Brantley, Nick Swisher and arbitration-eligible Drew Stubbs.

All of these players have a ton of versatility, just as Terry Francona likes it. But it’s doubtful all six are on the roster come April. Thus, one potential option that is gaining more traction in the Tribe blogosphere is the concept of trading Michael Bourn. [Read more...]

MLB: Shin-Soo Choo and his agent eye Jayson Werth and Carl Crawford deals

People in Cleveland loved Shin-Soo Choo, yet had very little issue with him being traded to the Cincinnati Reds during last off-season. Most of the reason that Indians fans were alright with the deal is due to Choo’s free agency which is happening right now.

According to Jon Heyman, Choo’s expectations for his next contract are all of what Scott Boras can dream up and then some in terms of dollar signs.

That person didn’t specify which rumors he was referring to, but word is out Choo and agent Scott Boras have previous deals for Jayson Werth ($126 million, seven years) and Carl Crawford ($142 million, seven years) in mind while gauging teams’ interest in Choo and Ellsbury.

Whether or not those gaudy numbers ever come to pass remains to be seen, but Craig Calcaterra of HardballTalk astutely points out that “we live in a world where Hunter Pence just got $90 million.”

You will remember that by the time the dust settled on the Choo trade, the Indians got Drew Stubbs, Trevor Bauer, Matt Albers and Bryan Shaw in exchange for Choo, Jason Donald, $3.5 million, Tony Sipp and Lars Anderson.

As you watch the ping pong balls flutter about on Shin-Soo Choo’s lottery ticket chances, keep in mind that we also live in a world where Drew Stubbs has some trade value, so the Indians might not be close to done reaping rewards from that deal. And no, I’m not even counting Trevor Bauer’s rap career.

I’ll be sitting hoping that Choo doesn’t score anywhere near Werth money not because I have any ill will for Shin-Soo Choo, but because I hope to point at Jon and tell him just how wrong he was.

[Related: MLB Rumors: Stubbs Draws Trade Interest]

MLB Rumors: Stubbs Draws Trade Interest

The Indians have a decision to make regarding outfielder Drew Stubbs this offseason. Stubbs is due somewhere between $3.5 and 4 million in his final arbitration season. Buster Olney in an ESPN Insider article this afternoon mentioned that the Indians will likely tender him a contract and either keep him or trade him as several teams are interested.

“But remember, the salary goalposts have shifted, even in recent days. Marlon Byrd got a two-year, $16 million deal from the Phillies. Stubbs is a good defender and can play all three outfield spots, and has power and speed, and in the current climate, a one-year deal for him — even as an erratic offensive performer — carries good value. He will be tendered a contract and perhaps retained by the Indians, who have been approached by multiple teams about possible deals for Stubbs. “

Stubbs hit .233 this past season with a .665 OPS to go with 10 homers, 45 RBI, and 17 stolen bases in 146 games. With Ryan Raburn grabbing more time in right field near season’s end, and the possibility that an offseason move for a bat could always move Nick Swisher out to right field more often, Stubbs could become expendable.

Related: The Diff: Indians offseason, 2014 salary and contention windows

The Diff: Indians offseason, 2014 salary and contention windows

The Diff is your weekly WFNY look into the amazing world of sports statistics. This is my 41st edition of The Diff. For a complete log of articles, click this link. Last week, I injected some stats into a Cavs rotation projection. This week, I’m writing about 2014 Indians salary issues.

The Diff

For many, talking about baseball salaries is a tiring and depressing issue. These fans will point to the unfair system that allows teams like New York, Los Angeles and Boston to spend their way into the playoffs each year while teams like Tampa Bay, Oakland and Cleveland wilt away at the bottom. But this idea ignores a clear truth: Teams like the Rays (four straight 90-win seasons) and Athletics (seven playoffs in 14 years) still have managed to win baseball games consistently. Their small-budget success makes one wonder how the Cleveland Indians could be even more efficient in the future. That continues with this current offseason. [Read more...]

2013 Indians in Review: Outfielders and DH

Michael BrantleyThe Indians wild ride has come to an end. The 2013 season was one that nobody expected. A 96 loss team turned into a 92 win club that advanced to the playoffs for the first time since 2007. GM Chris Antonetti and Manager Terry Francona helped changed the culture of the organization and has our baseball team on the rise. There is a buzz in the city about the Indians again. It was a season to remember with so many great moments and the arrival of some new fan favorites.  

Each day this week, we will look back at a different portion of the club and see where we are today, a plan for 2014, and so on. We began with the starting rotation, and then we moved onto the relievers. Next we looked at the infielders and catchers. In the final installment, the outfield and DH spots are examined. [Read more...]

Indians 14, White Sox 3: Sox Raburned Again

Ryan RaburnAfter seemingly weeks of one close game after another, nail-biters that have kept us on the edge of our seats, your Cleveland Indians finally made it easy on all of us. Make no mistake about the Kansas City Royals – that team can play. They have hitters all up and down their lineup, a rock solid rotation, and one of the best back ends of a bullpen in baseball. The same cannot be said for the Chicago White Sox.

The South Siders are closing up shop on their worst season in more than a decade. They sit 30 games under .500 and are in full rebuild mode. Their pitching staff, both starters and the bullpen, leave a lot to be desired. More good news – entering last night, the Indians had six more games with the White Sox on their schedule. There is no better tonic for a struggling offense than seeing some Chicago pitching.  [Read more...]

Royals 6, Indians 2: Big Game James dominates Wahoos

tribe12cut-1

It was hot. Very hot. I’m talking middle of the Sahara desert hot for September 11th. It didn’t matter, because the Cleveland Indians and the Kansas City Royals had a pivotal game to play. Win, and the Indians keep pace in the Wild Card hunt, putting some distance between themselves and the Royals. Lose and the Royals hang just a half game back of them, plus whoever wins tonight’s Orioles/Yankees game would leapfrog ahead of them on the “first team out” list.

Of all days for the Indians to play sloppy and lazy baseball, this was not the one. [Read more...]

Indians 4, Angels 1: What were you doing at 3:25 a.m?

Drew Stubbs

Raise your hand if you made it all the way 3:25 a.m. to see the finish of an epic battle between two teams who, to quote my high school basketball coach Max Vermilion, “couldn’t score in a whorehouse with a fistful of $20s?” I tried the best I could, but I succumbed to the sleep Gods just after 1 a.m. I was woken up by my daughter not once, but twice in the one and two-o’clock hours. Both times I looked at my Ipad to see if the Indians had won. Both times, the game was still going on. I give you friends of the feather who made it through until the end a standing ovation. You may be able to apply for some hazard pay as well.

I love this team about as much as anyone you will find, but the offense has been enough to put you to sleep, especially when they are in one of their cold streaks, as they are right now. Yet somehow, some way, they fight and keep fighting until their last out and make you proud.  [Read more...]

Mariners 4 Indians 3: Poor fundamentals do Tribe in….again

Zack McAllisterI stayed up for that? Stop me if you have heard this one before.

The Indians handed a game away they should of won because of poor defense and a lack of clutch hitting. You can throw in bad base running to this 4-3 loss to Seattle as the Tribe can’t seem to get out of their own way since the All-Star break.

Lets change course and start in the ninth inning, with the Indians down one. Much maligned Mark Reynolds broke a 3-42 slump with a leadoff single against closer Tom Wilhelmsen. He was immediately replaced by pinch runner Drew Stubbs. Lonnie Chisenhall, another one the Tribe’s current question marks, did not bunt, but instead came through with a single right up the middle. The speedy Stubbs advanced to third and the Indians looked like at a minimum, they would tie things up. Mike Aviles came on to run for Chisenhall. Yan Gomes, already with two hits, hit a ground ball to Kyle Seager at third. He looked Stubbs back to third and threw across to second to get Aviles. The problem was for some odd reason, Stubbs took off for home and then completely stopped halfway down the line. He was eventually tagged out, killing the Indians comeback attempt right there. [Read more...]

Indians All-Star Break Review: The Position Players

Asrubal CabreraWe have arrived at baseball’s All-Star break. The Cleveland Indians sit at 51-44, a game and a half out of first place in the AL Central. It has been quite a ride since GM Chris Antonetti hired Terry Francona to manage this club. The shot had been fired – a change in culture was about to arrive in Cleveland. We expected some changes, but nobody could have expected that this team would be as good as it has been.

Yes, they have been up and down and have the nickname “Team Streak,” but this start has a completely different feel than the last two years. This seems real.

With that said, this week we will take a look at the three aspects of the club. We opened with the starting rotation. Yesterday we examined the bullpen.

In part three, we will look at the position players.

[Read more...]

Tribe pitchers walk away another W

UbaldoStop me if you’ve heard this one before- the Indians bullpen failed to get the job done.

It wasn’t entirely the bullpen’s fault. Starter Ubaldo Jimenez certainly contributed. After cruising through the first five innings, allowing no runs and only giving up just a couple of hits, Jimenez self-destructed in the sixth.

As would be the afternoon’s theme, Ubaldo walked Hosmer and Butler to start the inning, then bobbled a toss trying to cover first and was charged with an error allowing the bases to be loaded.

Ubaldo then fell behind Lorenzo Cain, who had hit a whopping 3 home runs before this at bat. Cain fouled off a few pitches before crushing a grand slam home run. Now, the Indians had built a 5-0 lead before this half of the inning, so even after the salami they were still up a run. Unfortunately, Ubaldo hadn’t even recorded an out in the sixth. His day was done though. Final line- 5.0 innings pitched, 4 runs, 5 walks, 3 strikeouts.

Cody Allen would enter the game, but the usually trustworthy Allen also gave up a home run, this one a solo shot which tied the game at 5 going into the seventh inning.

Give the Indians credit for coming right back after the big inning from Kansas City. Kipnis would walk, and Brantley would line a single to left before Carlos Santana hit a bullet to the wall for a double scoring the pair. Brantley had a big day at the plate. He went 4-5 and looked as locked in as he’s been all season, which is a good sign for the Indians. He was hitting in the clean-up spot while Swisher got a day off. Santana looked good with a pair of hits including that double. Aviles also had a couple of hits for the Tribe. Kipnis extended his hitting streak to fifteen games with a single as well. [Read more...]

BroHio: Hoping Nick Swisher can get back on track, and soon

Nick SwisherJust after the 2012 season ended and the dust had not had a chance to settle, the Cleveland Indians organization was just about at rock bottom. They had reached a crossroads. Manager Manny Acta had been let go. The team was coming off of one of its worst seasons in recent memory. Fan anger was at an all-time high. Trust for the Dolan family ownership group and their trusty lieutenants, President Mark Shapiro and General Manager Chris Antonetti, was at an all-time low. Apathy, which is the worst thing possible, was setting in.

My season ticket group is a prime example. As the season came to a close last year, I had five out of the six people tell me they were done. They just didn’t care anymore and were tired of watching this process unfold.

Things all began to change quickly. Paul Dolan came right out with his full endorsement of Shapiro and Antonetti, which was summarily panned from a fan base tired of hearing about market inequities. But Shappy and Kid Chris played their trump card, which tied them to the organization for the foreseeable future—they leveraged their close relationship with two-time World Series champion Terry Francona into a home run. Tito took the Indians managerial job when nobody thought he would, and he did so because he wanted the opportunity to work with his two friends. I for one was completely stunned. Nevertheless, the hiring of Francona signaled that things were going to be different.

[Read more...]

Indians Use Speed To Win Strikeout Showdown

stubbsslideThe fans who made it to the ballpark last night saw two aces (well, the Nationals kind of have a few of those) battle it out and pile up the strikeouts. Justin Masterson and the Nationals’ Gio Gonzalez combined for 14 innings, 18 strikeouts, 240 pitches, and only one run apiece. Neither was the pitcher of record, but the Indians won it in the bottom of the ninth as Jason Kipnis’s hard hit shot down the first base line scored Drew Stubbs from third base as he slid in under the tag from Kurt Suzuki. The Tribe won their third straight game coming off the 8-game slide with a 2-1 victory.

From the outset, Gio Gonzalez was dialed in and efficient. There were plenty of swings and misses from the Indians as Gio struck out eight in the game and three in a row in the first two innings. Post-game, Indians manager Terry Francona mentioned that it wasn’t Gio’s breaking stuff that he’s usually praised for that did his team in. Instead, Francona pointed to his fastball up in the zone that was accounting for most of the swings and misses from his guys. Six of those K’s came from a mid-90s fastball. Gio crusied through the first three innings, allowing just one hit and keeping his pitch count way down. Finally though, the Indians started getting some traffic on the basepaths and forced Gonzalez to throw 50 pitches in the sixth and seventh innings. Gonzalez came back out after a frustrating end to the sixth inning that involved walking the bases loaded with a pitch count of 109. In all Gio threw 127 pitches, a startling figure for a June game. [Read more...]

Indians 5 Rangers 2: Ding Dong! The streak is dead!

Corey KluberEight straight. 16 of 20. 12 straight on the road.

All of those losing skids went by the wayside last night in muggy yet windy Arlington, Texas thanks to a local boy turned good. Of all of the surprising storylines with the Indians thus far in 2013, perhaps the biggest shocker has been the rise of starting pitcher Corey Kluber.

Kluber was acquired from San Diego on July 31, 2010 as a part of a three-team deal which sent the ultra-consistent Jake Westbrook to St. Louis. He has been in the organization for just about three years and has been looked at mostly as an afterthought; a rotation filler kind of guy. Kluber got a taste of the majors down the stretch last year, making 12 starts. He certainly didn’t get anyone too excited with his 5.14 ERA and 1.49 WHIP, but he did strike out 54 in 63 innings.

Heading into Spring, Kluber was in the race for the fifth starter job, but he was a long shot. Even with a shot to get a spot start during that first week of the season with Carlos Carrasco suspended and Scott Kazmir on the DL, the Indians chose rookie Trevor Bauer over Kluber. But Kluber continued to bide his time in Columbus and when Brett Myers went down, Kluber got the call to replace him in the rotation. [Read more...]

Yankees 4 Indians 3: “One day we will figure out how to beat those guys”

Mike AvilesI don’t know what it is. The mystique of the pinstripes. The overwhelming feeling of playing in the Bronx. The 26 World Series flags that fly. Whatever the case may be, the Indians have always seemed to struggle against the New York Yankees. Last night was no different. I think Lou Brown put it best in Major League after a loss to Clew Haywood and his crew: ” One day we will figure out how to beat those guys.”

The Indians are reeling. They entered this game losers of 10 of their last 14, their bullpen has become a bit of a mess, everyone seems to be slumping at the plate at the same time, and now they lose All-Star shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera to a strained quad muscle. They need a victory some way, some how.

So back to the Bronx they went for game two of this brutal nine-game to New York, Detroit, and Texas looking for an edge of some sort. David Phelps took the ball for the Yanks and the last time we saw him, he was locked in a pitcher’s duel with Justin Masterson where he would end up a hard-luck 1-0 loser. On that day, only a first inning Jason Kipnis beat him. After that he pitched six and a third more scoreless innings, striking out seven. His last start, he couldn’t make it out of the first against the Mets. So naturally Phelps would get his groove back and dominate. [Read more...]

Asdrubal injured; Masterson roughed up in 7-4 loss in New York

asdrubal injury

This one wasn’t pretty.

There are really two stories coming out of Cleveland’s 7-4 loss against the Yankees. The biggest will likely be the sprained quad suffered by Asdrubal Cabrera running to first in the fifth inning.

Asdrubal has been nursing a sore right quad for weeks, choosing to try and play through the discomfort. Half-way down the line in the fifth, Cabrera stumbled and winced as he re-injured that quad. He nearly plowed into the first baseman Mark Teixeira going past the bag. He was helped off the field by manager Terry Francona and Lonnie Soloff. He was not able to put weight on the right leg walking back to the dugout.

The initial diagnosis is a sprained quad, but of course they will do tests to see if there is further damage. I think the consensus of everyone watching was that the injury will likely be more severe.

[Read more...]

Tribe Weekend Recap: How Does First Place Sound To You?

Nick SwisherSay it loud. Say it proud. Your Cleveland Indians are a first place baseball team. Sure, you can tell me how two years ago they were 30-15 and how last year they spent time on top of the AL Central during the first two months of the season, but this just feels different, doesn’t it?

Manny Acta’s clubs were fools gold. They won a lot of low scoring, one-run games thanks to a fantastic bullpen and timely hitting. The roster was not exactly loaded. The Terry Francona version play with a different sense of urgency and confidence. This is a group that expects to be good and plays like it. Of course it helps Francona to have veteran additions like Nick Swisher, Michael Bourn, and Mark Reynolds to go along with the maturation of Jason Kipnis, Michael Brantley, and Carlos Santana. Having that deep and solid bullpen certainly doesn’t hurt.

Francona and his Wahoos ended their 8-1 homestand with a four-game sweep of Oakland and headed to Detroit for a measuring stick series with the AL Champion Tigers, who entered the weekend in first place. The pitching matchups for the most part weren’t going to favor the Tribe, but all weekend they battled and came out with a series win and a move into a tie for first with the team from that state up North. [Read more...]