April 23, 2014

MLB Trade Rumors: Indians “a fit” for Giants’ Javier Lopez

The Cleveland Indians are being linked to current San Francisco Giants relief pitcher Javier Lopez.

With Major League Baseball’s trade deadline looming, the Indians—widely considered to not be a major player—continue to have significant struggles in their bullpen, predominantly from the left side. ESPN’s Buster Olney reports that “multiple” teams are interested in the left-hander who has 1.184 WHIP, striking out 27 batters in 25 innings of work. Appearing in 45 games this season, Lopez, 36, has allowed just one run in his last 33 appearances.

Lopez spent time with current Indians manager Terry Francona, pitching in Boston between 2006-2010. Through his career, he has held left-handed hitters to a .604 OPS, allowing just nine home runs in 817 at-bats.

The Indians have cycled through several left-handers in the bullpen this season, including Scott Barnes, Nick Hagadone, David Huff, and Rich Hill. Only Hill remains on the 25-man roster. They have also been linked to Colorado Rockies left-hander Josh Outman.

[Related: What To Make Of Chris Antonetti’s Recent Comments]

MLB Trade Rumor: Indians Interested In LHP Josh Outman

With the glaring need for a left-handed matchup reliever, the Indians are apparently active in talks to acquire one. Joel Sherman, baseball columnist for The New York Post, indicates that the Indians have interest in Rockies pitcher Josh Outman.

This season in 37 appearances (38 IP), Outman is 2-0 with a 4.50 ERA, allowing 43 hits, 13 walks, and striking out 41. Left-handed batters are hitting just .224 against him with 4 walks and 30 strikeouts. Meanwhile, right-handed hitters this season are batting .347 (.870 OPS) with 9 walks and 11 strikeouts. Over his career, the numbers are even better against lefties (.195 BA, .531 OPS, 18 BB, 100 K).

The Indians have cycled through several left-handers in the bullpen this season, including Scott Barnes, Nick Hagadone, David Huff, and Rich Hill. Only Hill remains on the 25-man roster with Hagadone and Barnes currently in Triple-A Columbus. This year, Hill has allowed a .193 average (.607 OPS) with 10 walks and 20 strikeouts, but his season ERA is 6.43, and his performance has left a lot to be desired.

Related: What To Make Of Chris Antonetti’s Recent Comments

What To Make Of Chris Antonetti’s Recent Comments

Danny SalazarWe’ve talked extensively here at the site about the trade deadline and how it pertains to the Indians. Jon had a great piece about the different paths the Tribe could go down. TD examined the club’s greatest need, a left-handed matchup guy out of the bullpen and the options available. Now, we’re four days away from the trade deadline, and the Indians are three games out in both the AL Central and Wild Card races. With Tribe general manager Chris Antonetti making the recent media rounds, it’s pretty obvious that a few key elements keep popping up in several of these discussions with a clear plan formulated. [Read more...]

Tribe Trade Targets – The southpaw reliever edition

Joe ThatcherWhile everyone in baseball is talking about where the Cubs’ Matt Garza will end up, the Indians should be looking elsewhere. Zach McAllister, arguably the Tribe’s number two starter before he injured his finger, pitched six scoreless innings of two-hit ball for the Columbus Clippers last night in a rehab start. He struck out two and walked two and was able to throw his curveball effectively. If last night was any indication, The Zach Attack will be back for Tuesday’s start in Seattle.

With the kid Danny Salazar showing what he can during his spot start eight days ago, along with Carlos Carrasco and Trevor Bauer, the Indians should be fine with where they are in the rotation. Let me rephrase that – overpaying in prospects for a rental of Matt Garza, who is good, but not great, and certainly not like acquiring Randy Johnson at the deadline, is just not a wise move.

So what should the Indians do? [Read more...]

The Diff: All-Star update on Cleveland Indians prospects

The Diff is your weekly Wednesday WFNY look into the amazing world of sports statistics. For a complete log of articles, click this link. Last week’s topic was reader-recommended, as I looked into some key differences with the 2013 Indians. Now, it’s back to prospect talk.

The Diff

As much as I love talking about the Indians and their increasingly annoying major league team, my original writing passion was in minor league baseball. That’s why last year I had my regular WFNY Wednesday Wahoos feature. Every week, it broke down the ongoings of the top prospects and some other players of note. Here in 2013, I’ve been a bit more irregular with these breakdowns, debuting a hybrid approach in The Diff back on June 5. So again today, here are your latest updates on Cleveland baseball prospects as we approach the MLB All-Star Game and trade deadline. [Read more...]

Indians can’t afford to wait until deadline to make a deal

matt-garza-cubs-trade-deadline

With the MLB trade deadline looming, the Cleveland Indians find themselves in what is becoming a perennially precarious position: To invest, or not to invest. After an eyebrow-raising offseason of free agency acquisitions and trades, the Indians took to the 2013 season with a mantra of competition and contention. Whether due to windows of opportunity or a reaction to a complete abomination of a season in 2012, times were allegedly changing.

Conviction, however, is a fickle beast. It could easily be stated that the Indians’ front office believed in the current core; all they needed was an injection of educational and energetic and bro-slinging veterans to help guide them on their way. But as we sit here, three weeks away from the deadline that could make or break any desire of a post-season, we are in a similar limbo as we were a year ago. Sure, the Indians are involved in swirling rumors and season-long speculation—they’ll be active, they’ll be “buyers.” A year ago, national outlests across the dial pegged the Indians to be wheeling and dealing, only to add something called a Brent Lillibridge. This team, however, can ill afford to sit on their hands in hopes of bettter, less-expensive opportunities. As the schedule rolls along, the 2013 Cleveland Indians cannot afford to wait.

[Read more...]

While We’re Waiting…Options for Cavs and Indians

“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.

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“The trade deadline has traditionally involved two factions: contenders desperate to plug a hole — and possibly under pressure from ownership and fans to win now — and the cellar dwellers looking to add future talent by dumping assets that don’t figure into their long-term plans. There are some subfactors to this dynamic, of course. Small-market teams are less willing to add payroll or trade prospects who could provide inexpensive talent down the road, and big-market teams may make incremental additions merely for the sake of doing something.

I believe it’s time for general managers to re-evaluate this traditional line of thinking

The Indians are also grouped into the small-market operations, although their new local cable deal in the offseason was reportedly worth $400 million over 10 years. They’re in the race; they need pitching. I’m not sure the Indians have the prospects to acquire (Cliff) Lee — they’re not trading Francisco Lindor — but the same philosophy applies. Lee is a difference-maker, and they can always trade him in the offseason if they don’t want to absorb his future millions.” [Schoenfield/ESPN] [Read more...]

MLB Rumors: Indians among many teams vying for Matt Garza

After back-to-back disheartening losses to the Kansas City Royals, many Cleveland Indians fans were starting to wonder whether it was time for the team to deal for a new pitcher. Now, the biggest starting pitcher on the trade deadline market, Matt Garza, is reportedly a possible target for Cleveland.

Per ESPN Insider’s Buster Olney:

The Chicago Cubs are making progress in their discussions about right-hander Matt Garza, and are actively talking with Texas, Boston, Toronto, Cleveland, the Dodgers and maybe Baltimore and a couple of more teams in the NL West. Right now, Garza is the belle of the ball in the trade market.

Garza, 29, is in his third season with the Chicago Cubs. He is 4-1 with a 3.45 ERA in nine starts, heating up of late. He has posted a sub-4 ERA in each of the seven years as one of the more under-rated arms in the game. He is a Super 2 free agent following the season after earning $10.25 million in his final year of arbitration in 2013. Thus, he’s a risky acquisition as a possible three-month rental.

Earlier in the week, CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman listed the Tribe as the No. 2 team on the market looking for a starting pitcher. Garza was listed as the No. 1 starter most likely to go, with one sourced contact saying “he’s a goner.”

Also today, MLB.com’s Anthony Castrovince wrote about the Indians organization’s thought process in “contemplating” a trade for a starter. He noted that an added reliable starter would take pressure off the much-maligned bullpen.

The Indians do have a ton of intriguing mid-level minor league prospects that could be used as bait in such a trade. Outside of when Justin Masterson takes the mound, Castrovince noted that it’s usually an adventure to see what might happen. After all of the offseason improvements by the front office, is it worth it to go all-in for a possible playoff berth in 2013 without mortgaging too much of the franchise’s future hopes?

Obviously, Ubaldo Jimenez and Corey Kluber have been much improved of late. Zach McAllister, who was likely the most consistent starting pitcher for the team, is currently expected to return in the next few weeks from his finger injury. After that? Scott Kazmir, Carlos Carrasco, Trevor Bauer and Brett Myers have a combined 5-12 record and 5.78 ERA in their 26 starts for the team.

[Related: The Diff: Building the Cleveland Indians’ 2014 rotation]

An Open Letter to Chris Perez

Dear Chris Perez,

I hope this is all starting to make some more sense. The trials and tribulations of a fan base scorned, essentially lied to and perpetually left holding the bag of disappointment, have all bubbled up to the surface in a Vesuvian fashion.

Despite your outwardly vocal and oftentimes unsolicited opinions, there’s a reason why many Cleveland fans wanted you to stay prior to the Major League Baseball Non-Waiver Trade Deadline.1 This wasn’t due merely to what a sale would signal. Your passion for what you do is only surpassed by the successful level at which you do it; if only we all had a mere two off days in a four-month span. But you see, Chris — I can call you Chris, right? — just as many Clevelanders will gladly chalk up your quotes to a misdirection of athletic frustration, Cleveland fans will gladly admit to doing the same. After countless years of being told that your team would do what it took to compete when the time was indeed right, they stood pat. Again.

[Read more...]

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Footnotes:

  1. Me included. Seriously. Look. []

MLB Trade News: Indians Acquire Lars Anderson from Red Sox

One-time top prospect Lars Anderson has been traded to the Cleveland Indians in exchange for knuckleball pitcher Steven Wright.

Anderson is 1-for-8 in the big leagues with the Red Sox this season, hitting .259 (88-for-342) with 22 doubles, two triples and nine home runs for Triple-A Pawtucket. Standing 6-foot-4 and weighing 215-pound Anderson bats  and throws left-handed. The 24-yhear-old was the Red Sox’s 18th round pick in 2006.

Anderson, in 2009, was the top prospect in the Red Sox organization and was drawing comparisons to slugger Anthony Rizzo just two seasons ago. Toting raw power, Anderson is said to have below-average contact skills despite above-average patience at the plate.

Wright went 9-6 with a 2.49 ERA in 20 starts with Double-A Akron. He struck out 101 and walked 62 in 115 2/3 innings. He was the subject of a piece by MLB.com’s Anthony Castrovince wherein the player attempted to reinvent himself following the advice from former Cleveland Indians hurler Tom Candiotti.

[Related: Examining The Tribe Free Agent & Trade Offseason Misses]

Trading Choo: The Pros and The Cons

After a lost weekend in Minnesota, the Indians brass has to know that reality has set it. It is time to reel it back in and regroup. This season is all but lost and the future must be attended to. They have little to no organizational depth in AA and AAA in terms of high impact players. GM Chris Antonetti has perhaps the biggest trade chip on the market in terms of a hot bat in the form of outfielder Shin-Soo Choo.

Now before you all start your “I will never show up to another game if they trade away a fan favorite in his prime” bit, it is important to remember what the Indians are. They are a team that can never afford to keep any of their own star free agents once they hit the market for the first time. Its sad, but its true. Its not like this should be news to any of you. CC Sabathia, Cliff Lee, and Victor Martinez were the most recent cases that we are all familiar with. Choo will soon be added to that list.

The real question is when is the best time to trade Choo? Do they think they are better off with him for one more year, hope they can contend in 2013, and then decided what to do with him at this point next year?

There are pros and cons for both sides of sending Choo packing in the next 24 hours. [Read more...]

“All-In” A Year Ago, Tribe Faces Uncertainty As Trade Deadline Approaches

Note – no weekend recap today. We all saw the carnage. Hard truths need to be examined. I am just the guy to take on the task. 

Reality has finally set in, Tribe fans. The team that has been up, down, up, and down again, has fallen under .500 for the first time since the middle of April after losing three straight to Baltimore over the weekend. Here is the thing – this is who they are, an average team capable of losing eight of nine or winning eight of nine. They have so many flaws. The starting pitching is completely inconsistent from start to start. The bullpen has exactly three guys you can count on. The order is too left-handed heavy and gets little to nothing offensively from both corner infield spots, left field, and DH. You have an underachieving catcher who was supposed to become one of the best in the league this season.

Read all of that, and its incredible to think they have been over .500 this long. [Read more...]

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 []

The Case for Trading Chris Perez

Jason Miller / Getty Images

Those of you who are new around these parts might take this piece as a bit of an over-reaction to Chris Perez’s blown save against the Rays heading into the All-Star break.

So let me reassure you: I’ve wanted to trade Chris Perez for some time now, it’s just that no one would listen to me what with the long hair and the Prodigy song and the overall ninth inning dominance he’s displayed this year.  This is my one chance to at least make the argument before you throw me off the internet for good. Here are five reasons to trade Chris Perez before the July 31st trade deadline.

Closers are, in general, over-valued by MLB teams, meaning the Indians might be able to extract a player whose actual value surpasses Perez’s.  This is pretty straightforward really, and doesn’t have anything to do with Chris Perez in particular.  Perez happens to be a closer.  A lot of teams think that closers are worth a lot.  Voila!  It should go without question that a good position player is worth several times what a good closer is worth in terms of wins added to a team.  Nonetheless, every year we see a team in contention who’s had a rough run of luck in the bullpen pony up a reasonably high price to add a power arm to the back of the bullpen.  If the Indians could add an effective everyday left fielder for Chris Perez, I’d do it in a heartbeat.  There is no bullpen arm for which this statement should ring false.

Chris Perez, in particular, will likely never have a higher trade value than he has right now.  [Read more...]

While We’re Waiting… MLB Trade Deadline Deals, Gee’s Value, and Masterson’s Regression

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.

Let me remind you that the biggest difference maker down the stretch for the playoffs last year was Doug Fister, a trade that barely made a ripple among deadline deals (in terms of attention), but made a huge impact in the AL Central race as he posted a 1.79 ERA and a 0.83 WHIP for the Tigers after he went from Seattle to Detroit.  Most thought that Fister would slot in behind Verlander, Scherzer, and Porcello last year and that his real value was in the control that the Tigers would have over him (which is still true), but Fister was masterful once he got to Motown and his arrival played a HUGE part in the Tigers running away with the AL Central last year.  So while big names may be out there and are certain to make an impact, the Indians should perhaps (after searching out that bat) try to find that Doug Fister-type player, whose acquisition may fly under-the-radar for some, but may be just what the Indians need in terms of strengthening and lengthening their rotation.” [Paul Cousineau[Read more...]

Kevin Youkilis Traded To White Sox

Well, that didn’t take long. One day after another public spat with manager Bobby Valentine, albeit fairly benign, the Boston Red Sox have traded Kevin Youkilis to the Chicago White Sox. Youkilis has been hampered by injury the past two seasons and his numbers had declined significantly. There was little room for him in the Red Sox plans with the emergence Will Middlebrooks at third, David Ortiz entrenched in the DH spot, and Adrian Gonzalez locked in at first base.

The Indians were once thought to be potential suitors for Youkilis if he were to go on the market, but those rumors faded and this weekend Ken Rosenthal was told that the Tribe was a “longshot” to land him. It was a rough weekend for the Tribe bats, scoring just two runs against two Houston left-handed starters. Youkilis was a potential target to fill the need for a right-handed bat, but certainly not an ideal option.

The White Sox seemed to have the inside track and they completed the deal before the weekend was out, sending right-hander Zach Stewart and utility man Brent Lillibridge to Boston.

[Related: What About Soriano To The Indians?]

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...]

While We’re Waiting…Colt McCoy’s Future, Tribe Rotation Questions and Deadline Deals

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

How long is Colt McCoy’s leash in 2011? “But there is something else that will be hanging over the heads of the Browns in 2011 and that’s the 2012 NFL Draft, specifically the #1 overall pick. At this point, it’s a foregone conclusion that Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck, about as “can’t miss” a prospect as you will ever see, will be chosen first. If the Browns spiral down into oblivion, there will be an opportunity to draft Luck.

Does that mean the Browns give up on Colt McCoy after only one season? And what do you do if he plays relatively well and the opportunity to draft Luck is still there? The Browns are going to have to determine this season if McCoy is a quarterback that can lead them to a Super Bowl – it’s a decision that will affect the franchise for years to come.” [Steve DiMatteo/Dawg Pound Daily]

[Read more...]

While We’re Waiting…Asdrubal Cabrera to Start MLB All Star Game, Massaquoi in Jeopardy, MLB Trade Market

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

Asdrubal is your ASG starter and his predecessor Jhon Peralta now joins him on the team – amazing: “Asdrubal Cabrera is where he belongs. Cabrera will start at short stop for the American League at Tuesday NIght’s Major League Baseball All-Star Game after Derek Jeter, voted to the starting spot by the fans, pulled out of the game due to injury. Jeter returned earlier this week from a 3-week stint on the disabled list with a calf injury. Jeter has also been worn down by his quest for 3000 hits.” [John Bena/SB Nation Cleveland]

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MoMass being edged out? “The numbers however are a bit misleading, Massaquoi has disappeared for games on end and has lacked any real consistency, while Robiskie finished the 2010 season visually and statistically more impressive.  The end of last year, for Robiskie, has not gone unnoticed by second-year general manager Tom Heckert…Down to one spot left on the roster. Since Cribbs, Little, Mitchell, Haggerty and Norwood all seem to be in favor of the Browns’ brass, this leaves a choice between Massaquoi and Robiskie to fill that final spot.” [Samuel Ingro/National Football Authority]

[Read more...]

Some (Very) Early Thoughts on the MLB Trade Market

For several years now, the MLB trade season has been met with something between apathy and dread in Cleveland —both springing from the resignation that the Indians would again be “sellers,” trading any assets they had to reload the farm system for a new cycle of contention.

This season is shaping up a bit differently.  As the team continues to hang around in the weak AL Central, there is a growing sentiment that not only should the Indians not be sellers, but they should be actively looking to acquire short-term assets that can help the team win now, even at the expense of some of the young players and prospects currently moving through the system.

Today let’s examine some of the approaches to this year’s upcoming trading melee, as well as the consequences of each. [Read more...]