July 23, 2014

Indians 5, Dodgers 4: Tribe doesn’t “fear the beard,” takes series in L.A.

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No matter how much I watch this Indians team, I will never be able to figure them out.

I was in the building Monday night when the Wahoos were one-hit by Dan Haren. That was a night after Seattle’s Felix Hernandez one-hit gem. The offense went from ice cold to smokin’ hot last night as they exploded for 10 runs while beating up LA’s Josh Beckett. This outburst came after a 3-66 team skid! So Wednesday afternoon in the rubber match with the Dodgers, you had to think that had probably had blown their wad the night before. We’ve seen this too many times this season. The offense shakes out of their doldrums for a 10 or 12 spot, and then revert back to normal. It sure looked like we were headed in that direction against LA lefty Hyun-Jin Riu.

The only two runs the bats could muster came in the fourth when Ryan Raburn blasted his second homer of the season, this of the two-run variety. He exited the game after seven innings, scattering seven hits while striking out eight. Ryu didn’t walk a single Indian. The Dodgers nursed a 3-2 lead as Ryu had outdueled Cleveland’s Trevor Bauer. The former UCLA star fought his way through five and two thirds, and only had one bad inning; the fifth. [Read more...]

Luck, Lonnie and the ever-elusive 7-2-4 Triple Play

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The Cleveland Indians took to Dodger Stadium hoping to avenge their history-making back-to-back nights of amassing just one hit—and did they ever. While starting pitcher Justin Masterson was yanked after three-plus (wildly lucky) innings and the Dodgers had runners on base throughout the night, the Tribe bats logged 13 hits on the night, finishing with a score of 10-3.

Here are some of the highlights:

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WFNY on location: The Dodger Stadium experience

Dodger StadiumLOS ANGELES — If you have not been to a game at Dodger Stadium, make sure you get their at some point. It is an absolute picturesque setting. On the drive up you cannot even seen the park itself. It is set beautifully in Chavez Ravine and once you go up the hill and into the parking lot, it appears. All you can say to yourself is “wow.” Some say the stadium itself is old and not a great place to watch baseball, but judging by my experience last  night, I would completely disagree.

My previous trip to this venerable place was in 1998, or as my friends like to refer to it as “The Summer of Todd.” My friend Sean and I had just graduated from The University of Kansas (well, he had graduated, I still had one semester left) and as a present to ourselves, we took a trip out West and hit all of the California ballparks while driving from San Diego to San Francisco, hitting all points in between. We were 22 without a care in the world (well, Sean did, he needed to find a job). Ballparks were crossed off the list, alcohol and greasy food were consumed. Lots of both. We crashed on friends couches in every city, including Los Angeles where we saw the Dodgers take on Mark McGwire and the St. Louis Cardinals. It was the trip of a lifetime.

One of those friends I crashed with, Billy, is still out here in LA. He and I had a mini-twin thing going on in high school. Billy was a grade ahead of me in high school and we were doubles partners on the OHS Tennis team. We wore all white with Black shoes and did the Slaughter/Langhorne high five on the court after big points that we won. Then there is Todd, one of my oldest and dearest friends and former pre-school carpool-mate, whom I shared amazing countless times with visiting his alma mater the University of Wisconsin. We used to refer to him as the Mayor of Madison.

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Chris Perez discusses his time in Cleveland

Josmil Pinto, Chris Perez

Lucky’s Café in Tremont is so damn good that it’s all Chris Perez misses about his time in Cleveland. In an interview with Cleveland.com’s Zach Meisel, Perez, the former Tribe closer, discusses his life with the Los Angeles Dodgers and the way his much-discussed tenure ended with the Cleveland Indians.

It ended a lot better than it started, team-wise. What we were able to do last year was great. Personally, I didn’t pitch the way I wanted to the last two months of my time there, but overall, I gave it everything I had almost every time I went out there and for the most part, I did my job. I had a good time doing it. I have a couple good memories, but at the same time, there was a lot of turnover with coaches, pitching coaches, managers. It wasn’t really stable. I think for the most part, I had a good time there, but it ended on a bad note for me, but overall for the team, it was great. So, it was fine. Things worked out for me. I had a couple good years there. They gave me the chance to close and I established myself. Hopefully it’ll keep me in the league longer because of that.

Perez added that he’s grateful for getting to the postseason in 2013—waving towels, an amped crowd, a culture change—and was glad that his mechanics didn’t cost the Tribe any crucial wins during that final 10-game stretch. In a bit of a weird move, Perez mentioned that the only players he cares to see are Josh Tomlin, Justin Masterson and “maybe” Cody Allen—he has nothing to say to the coaching staff.

The entire interview is well worth the read. The Tribe visits the Dodgers for a three-game series, set to kick off on Monday night. With the Dodgers, Perez is 0-3 with one save and 26 strikeouts over 27 innings.

(AP Photo/Jim Mone)

New Dodger Chris Perez on Indians: ‘No hard feelings’

Chris PerezThe biggest change for the Indians this offseason is in the bullpen, with turnover related to 45% of the team’s relief appearances from a year ago.

The most recognizable departure, of course, is former closer Chris Perez. He was quickly released on Oct. 31 and was signed as a free agent with the Los Angeles Dodgers on Dec. 21.

In comments to Ken Gurnick, oft-criticized1 Dodgers beat writer for MLB.com, Perez discusses his feelings toward the Indians, this offseason and his 2013 injuries. Here are the interesting quotes from this Spring Training report:

He said — and he’s shown so far in a few impressive bullpen sessions — that he’s healthy.

“Last year was a learning experience, and I learned I can’t pitch through [injuries],” Perez said. “I felt I had to stay out there. I feel a lot better now. I feel I can pitch back to that [All-Star] level. But I’ve still got to show it. I’m excited for the games to start. I’ve got a little chip on my shoulder. I’ve got something to prove.”

He even thanked the Indians for releasing him quickly, giving him extra time to find a new home.

“No hard feelings,” he said. “I understand why they did what they did. They could have non-tendered me much later.”

Perez, who turns 29 in July, had a 3.73 ERA in his final three seasons with the Tribe. His best season was 2010 where he saved only 27 games, but had a 1.71 ERA. It’s certainly possible he could revert to that form — or, much more likely, the production of a decent middle reliever.

Also this offseason, Joe Smith signed with the Los Angeles Angels and Matt Albers signed with the Houston Astros.

To replace this lost production, the Indians have most notably signed new closer John Axford. They traded away Drew Stubbs for lefty Josh Outman. They’ve also reached small deals with a number of other relievers, including David Aardsma, Scott Atchison, Matt Capps and Mike Zagurski.

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

Photo: John Kuntz / The Plain Dealer

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Footnotes:

  1. If you recall, Gurnick was the one Hall of Fame voter who selected Jack Morris and no one else. []

MLB News: Chris Perez signs with Los Angeles Dodgers

Former Indians closer Chris Perez has reportedly reached a one-year deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The Los Angeles Times’ Dylan Hernandez first reported the story late on Sunday night. Terms of the deal still have not been reported.

Perez, 28, was released by the Indians back on Oct. 31. He earned $7.3 million in 2013 and was expected to make about $9 million if retained. That’s what made his release a near no-brainer after his disastrous season.

Last year, along with the drug charges and his media blackout, Perez finished with a 4.33 ERA in 54 games. After a breakout 1.71 ERA back in 2010, he regressed every season since and became a major target of Cleveland fans. The Indians have since signed veteran reliever John Axford to take over the closing duties in 2014.

In Los Angeles, the enigmatic Perez will likely join their middle relieving corps. Their closer is dominant youngster Kenley Jansen and they signed setup man Brian Wilson to a one-year $10 million deal. The one-year contract for Perez could enable him to re-establish his free agency value for next season, if he can get his control back together in the National League.

[Related: The good, the bad, & the ugly – The life & times of Chris Perez in Cleveland]

What are the Cleveland Indians’ odds to win the 2014 World Series

Now that Boston wrapped up the 2013 World Series, it’s time to talk about the Tribe and their chances in the new year. The Cleveland Indians made the playoffs this season, of course, but Vegas apparently isn’t super confident in the Tribe’s ability to repeat that feat and win the whole thing on top of it.

Jeff Sherman of LVH says that the Indians are a 25/1 shot tied with the Pittsburgh Pirates and Baltimore Orioles.

RJ Bell of pregame.com has the Tribe tied with the Orioles again, but at 28/1 odds. The aforementioned Pirates are 25/1.

The Houston Astros are the bottom listed at 250/1 with RJ Bell and 200/1 with Jeff Sherman. Both services have the Dodgers with the best odds of winning at 5/1.

The Indians are our team, so you know if we find ourselves in Vegas we’re going to bet something. The only question is how much? What do you think, Chris Antonetti?

[Related:WFNY Tickets: Five top Cavaliers games]

 

The Indians’ offseason hunt for a veteran starting pitcher

The Scott Kazmir signing was nice and all, but it’s not going to be it for the Cleveland Indians in the starting pitching market. All offseason, the Tribe’s front office has expressed its desire to sign one more free agent starter: a veteran that could provide some more depth to the rotation.

Entering 2013, the starters for the Tribe are Justin Masterson and Ubaldo Jimenez, then likely Zach McAllister and Trevor Bauer. As I broke down last week following the Bauer-Shin Soo Choo trade, there are no other immediate options in Columbus or elsewhere. Indians fans would simply see the usual revolving door at No. 5 should no other pitcher join the fold: a la Jeanmar Gomez, Carlos Carrasco, et al.

So what’s left on the market for the Indians? Reportedly, Cleveland was on the short list of suitors for RHP Edwin Jackson, who signed a 4-year, $52 million deal with the Cubs earlier this week. But with the New Year approaching, the list is shrinking quickly. [Read more...]

Indians’ Derek Lowe Surprises with Hot April Start

Entering today’s game against the Los Angeles Angels, the Cleveland Indians remain in first place in the AL Central with a 10-9 record. That’s quite an odd feat alone, but then one must discern which individual has been the most impressive thus far for the Tribe. After looking around a little bit, I’ve got a top four candidate, and it’s someone no one expected to be in this position.

Derek Lowe, a 38-year-old starter, made his way to Cleveland in a small late October 2011 trade with the Atlanta Braves. After notably collapsing down the stretch last year while the Braves faltered to miss the playoffs, Lowe was pretty much given away to Cleveland. Atlanta ate up $10 million of his $15 million salary, and hardly got anything in return (just Single-A LHP Chris Jones). [Read more...]

Why Care About Manny?

Manny Ramirez was in the on-deck circle last night when A.J. Pierzynski hit a bomb to nail down a victory for the Chicago White Sox.  Manny was quickly yanked off the field as he was no longer needed to deliver a hit in his first game as a member of the White Sox.  Yes, Manny Ramirez returned to Cleveland last night as a member of the White Sox!  Did you hear?  He was going to play and then he didn’t!  I felt a lot of this kind of excited sentiment last night from Indians fans, and I couldn’t figure out why.

Don’t get me wrong.  I have really loved writing about Manny Ramirez over the years.  For me it is a personal story as I lived through the Manny Ramirez / Jeff Moorad free agency circus while living in Boston.  I also love to talk about it as it relates to the failing business of baseball between the haves and have nots.  For me though, it is a topic that lives in the past.  I can still get worked up over it based on that, but in the present day I couldn’t possibly care less about Manny Ramirez or what he might be able to do at the plate for the White Sox against this version of the triple-a Tribe that is tossed on the field every night. [Read more...]

MLB Trade Rumors: Cliff Lee AND Victor Martinez to LA?

Cliff LeeWhile Cliff Lee was cruising through the Seattle Mariners yesterday afternoon, and Victor Martinez was given the day off, both players found their names in one of the bigger 2009 trade deadline rumors that we have seen thus far.

Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports has had his ear to the street over the last few months, and has featured Lee and Martinez quite frequently in his updates.  But while we have heard rumors of both players being on the trade market, did we ever feel that they would both go to the same team?

The [Los Angeles] Dodgers and Indians are in serious discussions about a blockbuster that would send left-hander Cliff Lee and catcher Victor Martinez to Los Angeles for first baseman James Loney, one of the Dodgers’ young starting pitchers and prospects, according to major-league sources. [...]

Lee would replace either left-hander Clayton Kershaw or right-hander Chad Billingsley — it is not known which the Dodgers would part with in the package — giving manager Joe Torre the more experienced starter that he covets.

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Report: Cliff Lee Will Test Free Agency

Cliff LeeFresh off of one of the worst starts of Cliff Lee’s career, we are now also confronted with a recent report by Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal that states that the team is most definitely listening to offers for their ace starting pitcher.

But why would a team look to trade a guy that they still have for one more season when they feel that they can compete and “like their core?”  Well, according to a “source close to Lee,” he is set to test the free agent waters following the 2010 season.  Of course he is.

Earlier reports had the Dodgers looking to add Lee to their pitching staff as they (likely) head into the 2009 post season.  However, the asking price at the time of the report was a “potential top-of-the-rotation starter” a la Tommy Hanson or Clay Buchholz.  Now, Rosenthal adds the Texas Rangers to the mix as a team that could look to add Lee.  But he also states that they will not only not part with their top pitching prospect, but won’t move any of their top three prospects – including the flame throwing Neftali Feliz, who has reached triple digits and just turned 21 years of age.  Somehow, I can’t see both teams being close to an agreeable price.

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Dodgers Interested In Cliff Lee

Cliff LeeAccording to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports, the Los Angeles Dodgers are discussing the possibility of trading for Indians pitcher Cliff Lee-

The Dodgers like Cliff Lee. They have discussed him internally. But their chances of meeting the Indians’ price for the ace left-hander are slim, according to major-league sources. The only way the Indians will trade Lee, sources say, is if they are offered a potential top-of-the-rotation starter at the level of the Braves’ Tommy Hanson or Red Sox’s Clay Buchholz.

This is the first report I’ve heard this season about the Tribe even taking calls on Cliff Lee. Remember, the Indians have a club option on Lee for next season at $8 million. They certainly do not have to start looking for trade partners at this point, and if they did pull the trigger on a deal, it would have to be an UNBELIEVABLE type of offer. Do the Dodgers even have those kinds of prospects?

With the Indians falling further out of contention, we are going to start hearing more Cliff Lee rumors going forward.

Manny Ramirez Selling His Boston Condo for $8.5 Million

Who cares about a recession leaking into depression?  Certainly nobody who can afford to look at Manny’s condo that he recently put up for sale in Boston for $8.5 million.  The condo is 4421 square feet with four bedrooms, five and a half bathrooms and three valet parking spaces.  Oh yeah, and if you can afford the mortgage, you aren’t done there.  The monthly condo fee is $5718.  That’s right folks.  Monthly fee.  Just to let you know, that is $68,616 per year not including property taxes or the inevitable Christmas tips that must be handed out to residential staff.

This is certainly a long far trip from the guy who used to stash his paychecks in his glove box when he was up and coming in Cleveland.  (Thanks Jeff Moorad!)  And try to imagine what kind of real estate Manny would have lived in in the Cleveland area.  These rich types of options aren’t even available as far as I know as far as residences at the Ritz.  But let’s put it in perspective anyway.

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Indians: Continuing to Temper Expectations

Let’s face it: Off-seasons are only exciting if your team of rooting interest makes moves.  The Browns?  We loved it when the team managed to acquire players like Corey Williams and Shaun Rogers.  The Cavaliers?  Mo Williams, come on down.  But all of the moving and shaking seems to stall out when it comes to the Indians and their off-seasons.

Sure, Mark Shapiro and company made several key moves for the future this year when the ship began to sink.  But what about the months of November through March?  Last winter was pretty uneventful.  And while Craig did his best to tell us that we shouldn’t expect much to happen, some of us (hello!) still hold out hope for the big splash.  And then I see things like this. [Read more...]

About Carlos Santana and Jon Meloan

Now that we’ve finished up the series with the Twins, and the whole Casey Blake trade has started to sink in, I thought it would be best to give the WFNY readers some info on the two players we received in return for Casey: Carlos Santana and Jon Meloan.

With All-Everything catcher Russell Martin playing in L.A. for the foreseeable future, trading a catching prospect to the Indians was a lot easier for the Dodgers to do than most other teams.  After the Tribe dealt Max Ramirez for a couple of months of a 40-plus Kenny Lofton, we desperately needed to bolster the farm system behind the plate.

With Meloan having less-than stellar numbers this season, perhaps the LA Blue thought that his once-heralded arm was done?  [Read more...]

Used Byrd For Sale

When the Blake deal was announced did anyone else find it strange that we were sending cash to Los Angeles? As it turns out the Indians are basically paying the remainder of Blake’s salary, or roughly $2.2 million dollars. Does that seem right to you? Apparently, it would have been a deal breaker had the Indians not ponied up the cash. Read this from Peter Gammons-

The reason the Indians were able to get Carlos Santana, a very high-level prospect, in the Casey Blake deal is that the Indians took on all of Blake’s remaining $2 million salary. Several general managers around baseball wonder whether L.A. doesn’t have cash flow problems.

In fact, the Indians and Dodgers had a deal in place for Sabathia with L.A., but it was turned down after being reviewed by Dodgers’ ownership. Could it be [Read more...]

Goodbye Death…

ESPN is confirming that Casey Blake has been traded to the Dodgers, with cash, in exchange for two minor leaguers-

The Indians received minor league catcher Carlos Santana and right-handed pitcher Jon Meloan. Santana is hitting .323, with 14 homers, for Inland Empire, in the Class A California League. The hard-throwing Meloan is 5-10, with a 4.97 ERA, at Triple-A Las Vegas — but has piled up 335 strikeouts in only 262 innings in his minor league career.

The centerpiece of this deal should should be Santana. Meloan is at AAA, and may even get a look on the big club, but the Indians needed a top catching prospect. The Indians would like for Martinez to eventually make the transition to first base, and as witnessed by the Sal Fasano signing, the cupboard is rather bare at catcher. [Read more...]

Blake to Dodgers?

From Anthony Castrovince’s MLB Blog:

Blake is expected to go to Los Angeles in exchange for Triple-A right-hander Jon Meloan and Class A catcher Carlos Santana (no, not the guitar player). This deal is not yet official but could be in a matter of hours.

Stay tuned…

Byrd’s Splits Strike Again

Jhonny Peralta, Out By a MileDodgers 4, Indians 3 (box)

It’s never good when there is action in the bullpen during the first inning.  Such was the case yesterday afternoon when Paul Byrd gave up four runs before even recording an out. 

I bet Byrd would like that inning back, because from the second inning on, we saw a completely different pitcher – allowing two hits from that point on.  Still, it wasn’t enough for the bats to overcome, as the Tribe’s one inning of runs simply couldn’t trump that of the Los Angeles Dodgers.

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