April 23, 2014

MLB News: Tigers trade Doug Fister to Washington Nationals

Major AL Central news again occurred Monday night, as the Detroit Tigers traded starter Doug Fister to the Washington Nationals. High schooler Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish was the first to report the news. Both teams have now confirmed the deal.

In the trade, which FanGraphs has already labeled a “steal” , the Nationals are sending back lefty starting prospect Robbie Ray, lefty reliever Ian Krol and infielder Steve Lombardozzi. The top player of the bunch is regarded to be Ray, who was 11-5 with a 3.36 ERA between High-A and Double-A this past season and is the fifth-best prospect in the Nats system, per Baseball America.

Overall however, it appears to be a light haul for the 29-year-old Fister, who was 32-20 with a 3.29 ERA in 70 games for the Tigers over the last 2.5 seasons since being traded from Seattle. Combined with Max Scherzer, Justin Verlander and Anibal Sanchez, he helped give Detroit perhaps the most dominant four-man rotation in baseball. He is not a free agent until after the 2015 season. He now gives Washington one of MLB’s best rotations alongside Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez and Jordan Zimmermann.

It’s a curious move for Detroit, who also made a big splash in the Prince Fielder-Ian Kinsler swap two weeks ago. The two deals will likely save the team about $15 million for the 2014 season and countless more in years to come because of Fielder’s massive remaining contract.

But without the juggernaut rotation that led the Tigers to 93 wins and an AL-best 3.44 ERA as a unit, there’s possibly an opening for the Indians to move up in the division in the near future. I wouldn’t expect Detroit to be done with major moves this offseason, however.

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

Tribe Weekend Wrapup: A Ode To Corey Kluber

Corey KluberCould “Team Streak” be trending upwards again? Your Cleveland Indians were a blown save away from sweeping the Washington Nationals out of Progressive Field this weekend in grand fashion. They settled for a series win, which you will take all day long especially when the opposing pitchers are Tribe killer Gio Gonzalez, Jordan Zimmerman, and Stephen Strasburg. They didn’t really do anything special in taking the series, but they had some exceptional individual performances, highlighted by Corey Kluber on Sunday.

The nasty part of their schedule is now behind them. The Wahoos have been cold, hot, then cold again,which makes sense when you see their 34-34 record. But with the schedule softening up considerably, do the Indians have the juice to stay with the division leading Detroit Tigers? They sit in second place, four and a half games back and over the next 16 games, they only play three against a team over .500 (Baltimore). Now is as good of a time as any to make a move.

Yesterday was Father’s Day. I spent mine with my family watching a Tribe win at Progressive Field. It was a perfect end to a perfect weekend. So let us look back at the weekend that was in Wahooland. [Read more...]

Playoff Baseball and What the Indians Did Wrong

The past few nights have been tremendous fun for baseball fans around the world. Obviously, the results did not go in the underdog’s favor, but several extra-inning games and a record 4/4 five-game division series make for tons of drama.

Just last season, fans would be amazed by the fact that the Washington Nationals, Baltimore Orioles and Oakland Athletics even made it to the playoffs, let alone pushed historical champions to the brink.1 Pre-2012, many would have considered the Cleveland Indians to be at least better than the latter two teams on that playoff exit list, but they faltered to an abysmal 68-94 finish.

Yes, all three of those surprising teams had their seasons end in the last couple days. But at least they made it to the October showdown. That’s something the Indians haven’t done since 2007 and the midges. So, despite annoying little insects, what do these three teams from meager backgrounds have that the Indians don’t? Well, three common trends are great leadership, great drafting and fantastic pitching. Let’s explore a bit more: [Read more...]

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Footnotes:

  1. Cincinnati doesn’t count as an underdog, they’ve been too good recently. Although as a fellow Ohio baseball fan, you have to feel for those fans — they are some diehards. []

Determining the market value for Shin-Soo Choo

Last night while trying to avoid the actual topic of the Indians losing to the A’s1 I decided it would be interesting to start discussing what kind of price Shin-Soo Choo could demand on the open market. We all like Choo (I think.) He is a player who should be part of any team’s solution as opposed to an issue. Still, he’s not to the level of a big-time premier free agent.

Choo batted 300 for three straight years with the Indians before faltering in 2011. 2012 has been something of a return to form for Choo as he’s batting 278 in a bad lineup on what has been a pretty bad team. He also turned 30 in July, so you have to assume his next contract could very well be his last, which brings us to point number one. How long a deal is Shin-Soo Choo likely to get? In my pragmatic mind, it seems to make sense for Choo to get a four-year deal with an option year of some kind, whether it be a player, team or mutual option. Jon seems to think with baseball being the way it is and Scott Boras being who he is, that Choo could be looking at a six year deal. [Read more...]

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Footnotes:

  1. By the way, why is it acceptable to have an apostrophe in their name? It is a little complex, but it is supposedly right. []

Confessions: Am I rooting for Strasburg at the Tribe’s expense?

This afternoon will likely present the most electric atmosphere at Progressive Field this season.  Unfortunately, it’s not on account of the home team.  Stephen Strasburg is a pitching prospect who has come up with unparalleled hype.  In his first ever major league start this past Tuesday night, he electrified his home crowd in Washington with 14 strikeouts.  He struck out the side 3 times and finished the game striking out 8 of the last 9 batters he faced.

His second start this afternoon at Progressive Field will put the Tribe on national TV at home for the first time this season.  The Indians are expecting a huge walk-up crowd and the highest attendance of the season, save for the opening day sellout.  They have sold more than 9,000 tickets to the game since Tuesday night when Strasburg’s debut managed to outshine even an NBA finals game.  It is looking 30-35 thousand will be on hand.  He is the main attraction and the Indians souvenir stands clearly agree.  A lot of you who have decided in the past week to head down to the game are not going to see the Indians.  This raises a dilemma: we likely know why you’re going, but what do you want to see today at the park once you get there?

[Read more...]

Tribe ties longest win streak of the season in best performance of the season

Last night was probably the most fun you had watching a Tribe game this season.  The Indians, decked out in replica throwback uniforms to celebrate 1920′s night, won their fourth straight game matching their longest win streak of the season.  They will have their hands full today trying to extend the streak against Stephen Strasburg in front of more than 30,000 at Progressive Field.

But last night was all about the Tribe, specifically Fausto Carmona who turned in his most dominating performance since his Cy Young contending season of 2007.  Rick Manning said it was the most focused he had ever seen Carmona.  His sinker ball was filthy and harkened back to scenes from the infamous bug game against the Yankees where hitters were completely fooled as the swung over the top of pitch after pitch.  He struck out 7 and, most importantly, walked zero as he gave up 3 hits and only 1 run on a homer by Ryan Zimmerman to the porch in left.  It was a dominating complete game in which Carmona faced only 1 more than the minimum – not since Billy Traber threw his notorious 1 hit CG shutout against the Yankees in 2003 has a Tribe pitcher faced only 28 hitters in a CG.

[Read more...]

Santana debuts, Kearns crushes former team for 3rd straight win

When breaking down the schedule at the beginning of the year, the Indians home series with the Nationals looked to be one of the more unappealing weekend series on the schedule.  But the events of the past week have added increased hype and excitement, turning it into one of the more anticipated weekends at Progressive Field.

The highlight of the series was expected to be Stephen Strasburg’s second career start on Sunday, 4 days removed from his scintillating debut.  But after a late call up of Carlos Santana Thursday night, last night’s game took on added significance for Tribe fans.  Santana joined fellow top prospects – Strasburg, Jason Heyward, & Mike Stanton – to make their debut here in the first half of the 2010 season.  Manny Acta wasted no time and put Santana 3rd in the lineup as the starting catcher wearing number 41.

[Read more...]

While We’re Waiting… Delonte’s Fight and the Future of Jon Gruden and Brady Quinn

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.

Delonte West First GameDelonte’s Game: “This season for reasons both legal and personal, Delonte West has been told and chosen to keep mostly to himself.  Even for his teammates and coaches, West can sometimes be distant and in his own world. So it has often been hard to determine where he is mentally or physically during this vitally important season for the Cavaliers franchise and himself. After all, his contract is not guaranteed after this season.  Which is why two telling moments in the Cavs’ victory over the Phoenix Suns Monday night doubled as windows into West’s status. Both were positive — good signs for the team and its beloved, yet troubled, guard.” [Brian Windhorst]

[Read more...]

Hey, Larry Dolan. Where’s Our Letter?

85275450CP062_Cleveland_IndWith the Washington Nationals sitting at 26-61 at the All-Star break, they have decided to cut ties with their head coach Manny Acta.  In doing so, the front office has penned an offical letter to the fans of the Nationals.

In said letter, there were a lot of details pertaining to certain players on the Nationals roster.  However, the main point of the letter is definitely one that can translate up to Cleveland as things aren’t all that different from a baseball standpoint.

No one is more dissatisfied in the first half of the 2009 Washington Nationals season than we are. Like you, we had hoped that some of our younger players would have matured faster, and that the addition of some of our new veterans would have significantly improved our record from a season ago. [Read more...]

When Worlds Collide: LeBron James and Alex Ovechkin

ovechkin-james-blackstrom

To the surprise of no one, Dan Steinberg of the DC Sports Bog came strong this morning.  The best part, before even focusing on the game at hand, that we would like to sweep under the proverbial rug, he shot up a post about LeBron James’ (I assume pre-game) meeting with Washington Capitals star Alex Ovechkin.

Definitely head to The Bog to get the full dialogue, but the crux of the meeting was LeBron and Mav Carter meeting Ovechkin and a few of his teammates. 

A few quick thoughts on the meeting:

[Read more...]