April 23, 2014

Indians weekend, language police, Redskins, Cleveland kidnappings, Gatsby, Goldthwait and more – WFNY Podcast – 2013-05-13

WFNY Podcast LogoIt was a record-setting day I think for Scott and me. We went just over an hour, but it was all good conversation. If you’re daunted by the length, just don’t be. Listen to it over the course of a day. I don’t mind.

  • The Tribe tying the game and scaring my three year old
  • Michael Bourn and what a coup it’s turned out to be so far
  • Is Michael Bourn’s market value really undervalued?
  • Bourn’s age and whether he’ll be worth it at the end of the deal
  • Speed on the basepaths and Kenny Lofton
  • Grady Sizemore and his inability to stay healthy
  • Diamond Mine fantasy baseball using Satchel Paige
  • Mark Reynolds and enjoying his season without obsessing on contract extensions
  • Reynolds and how he’s become what Tribe fans wanted out of Kevin Youkilis
  • Hating the New York Yankees
  • There’s nothing not to like about Mariano Rivera [Read more...]

Tribe Adds Reynolds, But Can’t Stop Here

The Indians left baseball’s Winter Meetings in Nashville last week empty handed, but they were about as active as any team there. Many were disappointed by the Tribe’s closing abilities, but one thing you can say – they were far from dormant. For so many years, the Winter Meetings meant little to the apathetic fan base. Mark Shapiro and Chris Antonetti were there, essentially in spirit. But not this year.

With new manager, the credible and well like Terry Francona in tow, the Tribe was right in the center of the action. They went after Shane Victorino but finished as the bridesmaid to Boston. They were involved in several trade rumors, including three and four teams deals. They talked to many free agents, including one of the top pieces on the market, Nick Swisher, and other name players including Kevin Youkilis.

Last night, while still waiting to hear from Youkilis, the Indians decided they would go in another direction and nab themselves a power hitting first baseman. Mark Reynolds, who spent the last two seasons in Baltimore, was signed to a one-year deal pending his physical. He will reportedly get $6 million, with an additional $1.5 million in incentives. Bringing in Reynolds could be the opening salvo that will signal the change that we have all been waiting for.

Here is what I believe is about to occur. [Read more...]

MLB Free Agency: Indians reportedly ink Mark Reynolds to one-year deal

Those looking for the Cleveland Indians to sign a free agent slugger can look no further as they have reportedly closed in on signing corner infielder Mark Reynolds to a one-year deal worth $6 million.

Reynolds, 29, hit .221/.335/.429 with 23 home runs and 69 runs batted in through 135 games for the Baltimore Orioles last season. When he plays a full season, the right-handed slugger is capable of providing stellar power numbers. He clubbed 37 home runs in 2011 to go with 44 in 2008.

Considered by most to be a poor man’s version of Chicago’s Adam Dunn, Reynolds also strikes out his fair share of times.While he can play third base, it appears that the Indians have signed him to suit up as their every day first baseman. What this means for their pursuit of free agent veteran Kevin Youkilis remains to be seen. It was reported earlier on Sunday that he is strongly considering the one-year, $12 million deal.

First reported by The Plain Dealer’s Paul Hoynes, the deal also includes incentives.

[Related: Why Missing Out on Victorino is a Good Thing]

Report: Indians offer Kevin Youkilis $18 million deal

Free agent third baseman Kevin Youkilis is sitting on a fairly lucrative offer from the New York Yankees, one that would net him $12 million for the 2013 season. He has not accepted at this time as he is reportedly also considering an offer from the Cleveland Indians that would pay him $18 million over the course of the next two seasons.

The Indians have been utilizing their newly hired manager Terry Francona in all aspects of free agency recruiting, and no player — among those being considered by the Tribe — has a better history with the former Red Sox skipper. Indians general manager Chris Antonetti reportedly had interest in Youkilis last season, but opted to wait until the deadline to consider any deals — Youkilis was ultimately acquired by the Chicago White Sox in June.

“Francona and Youkilis always had a very close relationship, so that could give them one edge,” wrote CBS’ Jon Heyman earlier this year. The other obvious relationship is the ill one embraced by the Red Sox and Yankees.

The 33-year-old corner infielder is coming off of a season where he provided a slash line of .235/.336/.409, but had an OPS of .771 in his 292 at-bats with the White Sox (a mark that would have been good enough for third-best among Indians in 2012). If acquired, he would offer clubhouse leadership and a much-needed right-handed bat while splitting time between first base, designated hitter and the disabled list.

[Related: Why Missing Out on Victorino is a Good Thing]

A Hypothetical Off-Season: Getting Specific with the Indians Roster

I’m sometimes accused of throwing out a generic statement or course of action without getting into the specifics that would allow someone to disagree with me.  The Indians should trade for young starting pitching.  Well, yeah.  They need to move Chris Perez. A little warmer, but that’s still pretty non-specific, no? The seventh inning Hot Dog race is a gambling shammockery organized and operated by a Youngstown crime ring. Ok, that last one was pretty specific and I don’t really see how anyone could take issue with it.

Anyway, I wrote last week that it made quite a bit of sense for the Indians to trade Asdrubal Cabrera this offseason without specifying exactly what they should get in return.  I hope the reason for this is obvious: we just don’t know, dude, the player(s) we might receive in any given trade.  It’s a fool’s errand to try to name the specifics.

But I run errands all the time.  And for the sake of webloggery, I thought I might show you what a good off-season might look like for the Indians, at least from my very specific point of view. [Read more...]

MLB Rumors: Could Indians land Youkilis a year later?

With Terry Francona coming aboard to manage the Cleveland Indians, it appears that the long-time Boston Red Sox manager could be reunited with his long-time third baseman in veteran Kevin Youkilis.

CBS Sports’ John Heyman reports that, while the Chicago White Sox would like to resign their mid-season acquisition1, some throughout the league feel that the Indians could swoop in and sign the 33-year-old. 

“Francona and Youkilis always had a very close relationship, so that could give them one edge,” writes Heyman. 

The Indians continue to need a right-handed bat as well as veteran leadership that can also produce, but former first-round pick Lonnie Chisnehall appears to be in line to be the team’s full-time third baseman.

Though turning things up once landing in Chicago (.771 OPS), Youkilis hit .235 with 19 home runs and 60 RBI, resulting in his worst season in his nine years the majors.

[Related: 15 Years Ago: The Team Of (Almost) Destiny]

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Footnotes:

  1. Just not at the $13 million his club option would require []

MLB Trade Deadline: The Cost of the “Wait and See” Approach

Late last week, while delivering his State of the Fan-Friendly Union, Cleveland Indians team president Mark Shapiro could not help but field questions about the upcoming MLB trade deadline. Sure, lowering the price of concessions and making Progressive Field more accessible are all well and good, but what about the product said (hopeful) increase in paying fans would ultimately view upon arrival? Shapiro was quick to shoot down any notion that a lack of activity in terms of consummated deals by no means signals that the team has unplugged their telephones and will head into the autumn months with their eyes closed and fingers crossed.

The desire to improve, and the knowledge that said improvement is necessary in order to achieve the ultimate goal, is there. The means to do so, however, remains the largest hurdle of them all.

Four weeks earlier, leading the AL Central at the time, the Chicago White Sox took a gamble on a much-maligned, aging veteran who was known of more recently for his role in a fried chicken and beer scandal. Since rolling the dice — paying the price of two prospects and $2 million of a $7.8 million contract — on a player who had been hampered by a plethora of injuries the past two-plus seasons, the rich have merely gotten richer as the 33-year-old Kevin Youkilis has seemingly put his back injuries behind him, turning his .233 average into one more Youk-like; the All-Star has hit .319 with an OPS of .965, adding four home runs, 18 runs batted in1, and a slew of web gems at the hot corner since swapping Red for White.

[Read more...]

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Footnotes:

  1. Several of the game-tying or game-winning variety []

Indians Weekend Wrapup: The Left-Handed Starter Problems Continue

Things you can set your watch by: Death, taxes, Stuart Scott annoying people on ESPN, and the Indians failing to handle left-handed starters. It seems to be a rite of passage for anyone new that has joined the Wahoos in the last two years. You show up, and you struggle against lefties. After a weekend where the Houston Astros took two of three from the first place Cleveland Indians, the same questions linger – what will the Indians do to quell this problem? Why is it that they struggle so mightily against left-handers? Will this be the thing that does them in as they chase a divisional crown? [Read more...]

MLB Trade Rumors: Indians Showing Interest In Boston’s Kevin Youkilis

The Cleveland Indians are reportedly monitoring Kevin Youkilis during his minor league rehab stint. The veteran Red Sox first and third baseman is having a tumultuous injury-plagued season in Boston, and many suspect he will be put on the trading block as the Sox search for answers. Boston GM Ben Cherington recently stated that Youkilis will get his starting job back at third base as soon as he’s done rehabbing from “lower back discomfort.”

But Jerry Crasnick of ESPN reported that both the Tribe and Philadelphia Phillies are monitoring him:

Crasnick also reports that the Indians have not yet talked to Boston about Youkilis. As Indians fans are well-aware, the lineup could use a right handed bat. Youkilis is a right-handed hitter whose best days are likely behind him, but could improve with a change of scenery. He’s hitting .219 with 2 homers and 9 RBIs in 18 games this season.