July 24, 2014

The Top Five Tribe Bullpens of the Last 20 Years

Bullpen-Mafia

Which, if any, late-inning units topped the Bullpen Mafia?

No portion of a Major League Baseball team’s roster experiences more in the way of volatility than a bullpen. One year you think you have it perfect, the next, the same guys look like they don’t belong in the same roles. Sometimes its injury; sometimes its just plain ineffectiveness. But year to year, the ultimate success rate of a bullpen is close to impossible to predict.

[Read more...]

While We’re Waiting… Dion Waiters playing well early

Cleveland sports fans are waiting. Thus, while we’re all waiting, the WFNY editors thought you might enjoy reading. Because you never know how long we might be waiting. So here are assorted reading goodies for you to enjoy. Send more good links for tomorrow’s edition to tips@waitingfornextyear.com.

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This fella had a very nice game on Wednesday despite the loss: “Ideally, though, Waiters will learn to play off of Irving as more of a true shooting guard. He has to get better playing off the ball, and that will require a better understanding of space. Finding seams in opposing defenses for backdoor cuts and easy opportunities at the rim, moving along the perimeter to find the appropriate place to spot up, are skills that would allow him to be a real weapon alongside Irving.” [David Zavac/Bleacher Report] [Read more...]

MLB News: Indians DFA Rafael Perez, re-instate Nick Hagadone

The Cleveland Indians announced a minor shuffling of their only true strength today, reinstating left-handed relief pitcher Nick Hagadone to the 40-man roster. To make room for the hard-throwing 26-year old, the team designated the oft-injured Rafael Perez for assignment.

After appearing in 70 and 71 games, respectively through 2010 and 2011, Perez pitched in only eight games in 2012 before falling victim to an injury to his throwing shoulder. Ending the season with arthroscopic surgery, Perez amassed a record of 1-0 with an ERA of 3.52 and a WHIP of 1.17, striking out four and walking four in 7.2 innings of work. Most known for his stellar work during the Indians’ run of 2007, Perez could never regain the dominance that led to a 1.78 ERA and more than a strikeout per inning. He was eligible for arbitration.

Hagadone also had an injury-riddled 2012 campaign, but his were self-inflicted after getting shellacked by the Tampa Bay Rays. He would go on to miss the bulk of the season after undergoing surgery to repair a fractured left forearm.

Through his first 16 appearances spanning 16.1 innings, Hagadone allowed a mere eight hits and four runs, striking out 15 and walking seven. In the 11 outing subsequent to his success, encompassing nine innings, the rookie allowed 18 hits and 14 earned runs with the opposition batting .420.

[Related: Prospect ranking turnover shows that Indians might still be bad at drafting]

MLB News: Indians activate Carlos Carrasco

The Cleveland Indians announced on Friday that they have activated right-handed pitcher Carlos Carrasco, left-handed pitcher Rafael Perez and right-handed pitcher Josh Tomlin from the 60-day Disabled List.

Also today the Indians claimed right-handed pitcher Blake Wood off outright waivers from the Kansas City Royals, bringing the total number of players under control on the 40-man roster to 38.

Wood, 27, missed the entire 2012 season after experiencing right elbow soreness in spring training that eventually led to reconstructive surgery on May 25. The Georgia Tech alum was KC’s 3rd round pick in the 2006 draft and owns a 2-year Major League career record of 6-6 w/a 4.30 ERA in 106 relief appearances (119.1IP, 120H, 57ER). The hard-throwing right-hander was a mainstay in the KC ‘pen in 2011, going 5-3 with a 3.75 ERA in 55 games (69.2IP, 66H, 29ER, 32BB, 62K).

Carrasco, acquired in the trade for former Cy Young-winner Cliff Lee, missed the entire 2012 MLB season after undergoing Tommy John surgery on his right elbow. He is expected to be ready for the 2013 training camp.

[Related: The Tigers Get Swept, Your Boy Rejoices, And The Tribe Decisions Three Days Away]

Indians Bullpen Moves: Cody Allen Up, Scott Barnes Down

The Indians announced another swap in the bullpen this afternoon, with young righty Cody Allen coming up from AAA Columbus to replace lefty Scott Barnes:

Allen, 23, hits in the mid-90s with his fastball and also has a good slider. He also was drafted by the Indians in the 16th round in 2010, but failed to sign. After starting in High-A Carolina in April, he has shot up through the system and emerged as one of the organization’s top prospects.

Barnes, 24, was acquired in the Ryan Garko trade with the San Francisco Giants in 2009. He had an 8.10 ERA in 7 bullpen appearances for the Tribe, allowing 12 hits and seven walks against 10 strikeouts in 10.0 IP. He was just recently converted to the ‘pen in May with Columbus, and went 7-4 with a 3.68 ERA in 16 games (15 starts) last year for the Clips before tearing his ACL in July.

This now means that Tony Sipp is the lone lefty pitcher for Cleveland. Meanwhile, rehabbing lefty reliever Rafael Perez (lat strain) pitched a scoreless inning for Columbus on Wednesday and could be back in Cleveland by next week.

[Related: WFNY Wednesday Wahoos: Indians Minor League Weekly Review 7/18]

WFNY Wednesday Wahoos: Indians Minor League Weekly Review 7/18

Each and every Wednesday, I try to bring you all of the news and notes from the Cleveland Indians minor league system. Enjoy.

Last Thursday, I traveled off to Lake County to get the scoop on the Captains. Also included in this week’s edition of the Wahoos is the latest on some top prospects’ hot streaks, a no-hitter, some reliever promotions and a rehabbing lefty on his way back to Cleveland soon. We’re officially less than two weeks away from the trade deadline, so stay tuned next week for plenty on more on possible trades. [Read more...]

Tribe 1, Jays 0: Masterson, Relievers Dominate to Begin Second Half with a W

It was a familiar setting. A type of opening day. Save situation. Against the Toronto Blue Jays. Chris Perez had been there before in 2012, and fortunately for Indians fans, this save opportunity ended in a Cleveland victory.

On Opening Day, Perez blew the save in allowing three ninth-inning runs to Toronto, eventually leading to a 7-4 loss in 16 innings. On Friday night, however, with the Indians returning from the All-Star Break three games back of the White Sox, he preserved a 1-0 lead for his 25th save out of 27 chances on the year.

Justin Masterson delivered seven spotless innings and Vinnie Pestano got out of the eighth to set the table for the All-Star Perez. All the star pitchers needed in terms of offense was a solo home run by Travis Hafner, who continues to hit the ball well since returning from injury.

[Read more...]

Indians All-Star Break Review: The Bullpen

As we do each summer at WFNY when the Cleveland Indians hit the All-Star break, we take a look back at the four facets of the team on the field – the starting rotation, the bullpen, the infield, and the outfield. There’s been been a lot to talk about with this club. Their 44-41 record is good enough for second in the American League Central, but the team has shown some serious flaws. GM Chris Antonetti continues to tell us that the Indians have not played their best baseball yet. I hope he is right. Additions will need to be made and in-house improvements will be a must if the Tribe plans on playing October baseball.

Yesterday, we looked at the starting rotation. Today we will examine the guys who follow those starters; the bullpen.

This was thought to be the strength of the team coming into the 2012 season. Last year’s crew, The Bullpen Mafia, was essentially the same seven guys the entire season. As the club broke camp, the last two guys – Frank Herrmann and Chad Durbin – were replaced by waiver wire claim Jairo Ascencio and veteran free agent Dan Wheeler. They didn’t seem to matter much as they would be pitching in the mop up roles. Neither made it through May and both were designated for assignment. Wheeler didn’t deserve to make the club in the first place as he was below average during the Spring and then played the roll of gas can while with the Tribe. [Read more...]

While We’re Waiting… Cavs gaining ground, Duke forgetting Kyrie and more Tribe injuries

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.

Thanks for those that voted last week to move WFNY to the second round of Cleveland Magazine’s Nothing but Net bracket contest. We will need your support even more if we are to move past round 2! Voting might take you 30 seconds, if you read slow. Help a brother out… [Cleveland Magazine]

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“Following an improbable, highly exciting three game win streak against Western Conference teams best characterized as somewhere between good and excellent; the Cavs are one game outside of the 8th seed in the East. Six of their remaining eleven March games are against teams with winning percentages below five-hundred. Anderson Varejao should return later this month. The trade deadline is a few days away – how should the Cavs respond?

While I’m not a proponent of “tanking”, the Cavs still need to focus on the future. I am super psyched about the three recent wins, especially against OKC (seriously – who saw that coming?), but the sixteen games in twenty four days in April is daunting and could very well leave this young Cleveland team outside-looking-in regardless of their mid-March moves. For me, the win streak hasn’t changed the view on trade deadline questions. Trading Sessions still seems to be the right move. After this season, his player option likely won’t be picked up. Acquiring a first round draft pick beats the value of twenty-seven more games of Ramon.” [Hetrick/Cavs the Blog] [Read more...]

Setting the Lines for the 2012 Indians

I like very much when people take firm and decisive stands on things.  For example, “I don’t drink. It’s against my religion.” Or “I’m a vegetarian; it’s the only ethical stance to take.” Or “I believe that Gremlins are real and breeding in the sewers of Montreal.”

I bring this up not because I am one of these principled folks—only that I admire them.  For example, as silly as I know gambling to be from an analytical perspective, every time I end up in Vegas I find myself sitting for hours at a black jack table—even though I know it to be an illogical pursuit that will slowly drain my wallet.  I wish I had the fortitude to take a stand, walk past the degenerates, and enjoy the sunshine.  Turns out, I don’t.  I belong with the degenerates. [Read more...]

Indians Agree to Terms with RP Rafael Perez

The Cleveland Indians have avoided arbitration with relief pitcher Rafael Perez, agreeing to a one-year contract that will net the veteran left-hander $2.005 million with another $25,000 possible in incentives.

Perez, in his seventh season, posted a record of 5-2 with an ERA of 3.00 in 71 appearances through 2011.  He had reportedly asked for $2.4 million with the team, at one point, offering $1.6 million.

He joins Chris Perez, Shin-Soo Choo, Justin Masterson, Jack Hannahan and Joe Smith as players who will avoid the arbitration process with the Indians.  Shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera remains the only unsigned arbitration-eligible player with the team receiving their date for the player’s hearing earlier this week. Sides can agree to terms at any point prior to their hearing.

[Related: Asdrubal Cabrera’s Curious Contract Situation]

Report: Indians Arbitration Dates Set with Cabrera, Perez

For the first time since 1991 with starting pitcher Greg Swindell and infielder Jerry Browne, the Cleveland Indians could head to arbitration after not agreeing to terms with shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera or relief pitcher Rafael Perez. The team has reportedly received their dates at which the two men could receive their final compensation totals.

The Indians had seven player eligible for arbitration heading into this offseason with five avoiding their hearings by agreeing to one-year deals: Jack Hannahan, Chris Perez, Justin Masterson, Joe Smith, and Shin-Soo Choo.

Cabrera has reportedly asked for $5.2 million with the team offering $3.75 million.  The 26-year-old glovesman, who started for the American League in the 2011 All-Star Game, hit .273 with 25 home runs and 92 RBIs in 151 games for the Indians last season. He set a franchise record for home runs by a shortstop and was awarded an American League Silver Slugger Award as a result. He pulled in $2.025 million in a one-year deal which was agreed upon prior to any arbitration.

As speculated by our own Jon, Asdrubal could be offended by the team’s unwillingness to move off their low-ball offer ultimately not boding particularly well for the team’s chances of keeping him beyond 2013 with last season’s first-round pick Francisco Lindor waiting in the wings.

The left-handed Perez, who was 5-2 with an ERA of 3.00 in 2011, has reportedly asked for $2.4 million with the team offering $1.6 million.

This year’s arbitration hearings are scheduled to be held in St. Petersburg from Feb. 1 through Feb. 21. The team and the players in questsion still have the chance to settle prior to their dates.

[Related: Asdrubal Cabrera’s Curious Contract Situation]

(Source: Paul Hoynes)

Tribe Talk: Changes Coming in the Pen?

Ah The Bullpen Mafia…..Such a cute and fun-loving group (accept for Mr. Personality Rafael Perez of course). They were the talk of the town while the Indians were in first place for a good two-thirds of the season. This group performed on and off the field, entertaining us all the way through.

As we have seen so many times over the past decade, a bad bullpen can kill a season. It can also be a revolving door of guys who don’t settle into roles. Who can forget the likes of Luis Vizcaino and Matt Herges pitching the 8th in 2009? When they failed, the next batch of scrubs included Greg Aquino and Jose Veres. That’s what one injury to a key setup man (Rafael Betancourt) and a bad year from your top lefty reliever (Perez) can do to you.

The Bullpen Mafia was the opposite. Almost from opening day, these guys knew what they were out there to do and the faces never really changed. Until the rosters were expanded at the beginning of the month, other than the move from Justin Germano to Frank Herrmann on May 20th, the guys have the pen have stayed completely the same. [Read more...]

Indians At the Break: The Bullpen

The Indians head into the All-Star break a surprising 47-42 and a half game out of first place in the AL Central. Many experts think they have done it with smoke and mirrors. I believe they have gotten this far thanks to Actaball- a combination of great pitching, solid defense, and timely hitting. Regardless of how they have gotten to this point, during the break from the action, WFNY will take a look at the four cogs of this roster, how they evolved during the first half, and where they look to be going forward through the rest of the season. On Monday we assessed the outfield and DH positions. Tuesday it was the infield and catching positions. Yesterday we gazed at the starting rotation. In the last of our four part series, we will go in-depth with the bullpen. [Read more...]

Tribe Weekend Review: Lose Two of Three, Gain Respect

The Tribe finished up their second West Coast trip of the young season with a three-game set in Anaheim. For some odd reason, its the second time the Indians have played the Angels at The Big A (MLB’s scheduling always makes no sense) and they certainly are glad they won’t have to face them again anytime soon.

Just as they did in the first series, the Tribe lost two of three to the Angels, but the games were all unbelievably close. Sunday’s game was the capper;  a 6-5 loss where the Baltimore Chop was renamed “The Anaheim Chop.”

Though the Indians lost two of three, they finished the trip 3-3 against the two best statistical pitching staffs in the AL.  I said beforehand 3-3 would be a positive trip before it started so I will take it. Sure, I’m greedy, I would have loved 4-2 and was disappointed with yesterday afternoon’s outcome, but at 22-11, the Indians could play .500 ball the rest of the way and still be in great shape for the playoffs. [Read more...]

Wahoo! What a Weekend

Here are the facts:

1. Your Cleveland Indians have the best record in baseball at 19-8.

2. They have the biggest lead of any division leader in baseball (along with Colorado), 4.5 games.

3. They have won a whopping 13 games in a row at Progressive Field.

4. They have 10 game leads on the Twins and the White Sox.

Most importantly, they are showing no signs of slowing down after a three-game sweep of division rival Detroit over the weekend. Unlike the majority of their wins early, the Indians came back in all three games to win late. The bullpen again was nails. The clutch hitting continued to appear at the right times. Dare I say it – The “Jacobs Field Magic” is back. So lets dive right in. [Read more...]

Tribe Weekend Review: Scalding Hot

How many of you had the Indians at 7-2 after nine games?

Can we all just sit back and enjoy this right now? I think we deserve it in this town. I know it’s sooooooo early in the season, but after watching Eric Wedge-managed teams stumble out of the gate year after year, winning seven straight over the first week and a half of the season is such a welcome sight. Its Acta Ball, pure and simple.

This weekend, your Wahoo Warriors were riding high on a four-game win streak and hopped a plane out to the Pacific Northwest to meet up with an old friend for his team’s home opening weekend. They left town as perhaps the hottest team in baseball, while leaving egg on the face of The Grinder himself.

So how exactly did the Indians sweep the Mariners? What has continued to work? Lets take a look. [Read more...]

To Contend, Its All About the Pen

I think all Indians fans are going into this season with the view of it being another rebuilding year. However, GM Chris Antonetti and Manager Manny Acta haven’t been shy this Spring with their expectations. “We expect to win” says the skipper. Good for him. I like that attitude.

If indeed the Indians are going to hang around near the top of the AL Central, several things must fall into place. It has to be 2007 all over again. Career years are needed from the veterans and the young players must take that next step forward. The anchor of that 2007 team had a lock-down bullpen. And as we all have seen over the years, you can’t win unless you have a stellar pen.  [Read more...]

Vetting the Indians’ Bullpen

It seems to be fairly accepted wisdom that the Indians were not good last season.  There’s an advanced sabermetric statistic that does a nice job of conveying this.

It’s called “losses”, and the Indians had 93 of them.

But, for whatever reason, the Indians actually had some pretty good results out of their bullpen in 2010.  In an otherwise pathetic campaign, we were treated to a breakout performance from Chris Perez (2-2, 1.71 ERA), respectable bouncebacks from Raffy Perez (6-1, 3.25 ERA) and Jensen Lewis (4-2, 2.97 ERA), and reasonably effective showings from Joe Smith, Vinnie Pestano, Frank Hermann and Justin Germano.  And, in case you forgot, Andy Marte flat-out dominated. [Read more...]

Indians 4 Angels 3: The Shelley Show

Remember back in early January, when most teams had signed their big ticket free agents, or were at least attempting to do so? Well the Indians were bargain hunting as usual. They announced two additions on the same day – Austin Kearns and Shelley Duncan.

Nobody was excited. These signings didn’t exact move the needle. Who knew that both Kearns and Duncan would play key roles for the 2010 season. Not saying its something to be proud of, but its reality for the last place Tribe.

Last night, Duncan put on a show at the plate, crushing two homers and driving in all four RBI’s in the Tribe 4-3 win. A good night for one of the good guys on the team. [Read more...]