Posted on: December 17, 2011 5:55 pm
By C. Trent Rosecrans
What if players were only permitted to stay with the team that originally made them a professional? No trades, no Rule-5 Draft, no minor or major league free agency ... once you are a professional baseball player, you stay in that organization. This series shows how all 30 teams would look. We give you: Homegrown teams. To view the schedule/past entries of this feature, click here.
In the 90s, the Indians welcomed a new ballpark with a cast of homegrown talent and twice used that to go all the way to the World Series, losing to the Braves in 1995 and the Marlins in 1997. A core of Jim Thome, Manny Ramirez, Albert Belle, Charles Nagy, Paul Shuey, Jaret Wright, Julian Tavarez and more helped that Cleveland team become a power in the middle part of the decade before the pieces moved on. Thome went to Philadelphia, Ramirez to Boston and others dispersed or saw their skills diminish as the window of opportunity passed. The current Indians saw the start of a new influx of talent in 2011 with the likes of Jason Kipnis and Lonnie Chisenhall, but more talent needs to come out of the system for the Indians to continue the promise of the first half of the 2011 season. The franchise has shown smart drafting and good development can get them to October baseball, and that it's the best way for a team of their means to get there -- and return.
1. Jason Kipnis, 2B
2. Marco Scutaro, SS
3. Victor Martinez, C
4. Jim Thome, DH
5. Jhonny Peralta, 1B
6. Luke Scott, LF
7. Lonnie Chisenhall, 3B
8. Ben Francisco, RF
9. Jose Constanza, CF
1. CC Sabathia
2. Fausto Carmona
3. Jeremy Guthrie
4. Bartolo Colon
5. Josh Tomlin
Closer - Vinnie Pestano
Set up - Tony Sipp, Aaron Laffey, Danys Baez, Edward Mujica, Rafael Perez, Brian Tallet
Notable Bench Players
There are some bit pieces, but not too much overwhelming talent coming off the bench. The best pieces are Maicer Izturis, Kevin Kouzmanoff and Russell Branyan.
This team could put up some runs, with a heart of the order featuring Martinez, Thome, Peralta and Scott, that's for sure. You've also got Sabathia leading the staff, and as the Yankees showed this past season, that can be enough to win the toughest division in baseball. Carmona is inconsistent, but still has a live arm, while Guthrie could thrive in a new environment and Colon proved he still has a little something in the tank during his 2011 season in New York.
Even if this Indians staff is a slight bump up from the Yankees' of 2011, the bullpen is a step down -- and the bullpen was one of the big reasons New York was able to win with a rotation featuring Sabathia and prayers for rain. The bench here is also thin.
Comparison to real 2011
The Indians were one of the feel-good stories for much of 2011, leading the American League Central for most of the first half of the season before fading and finishing the season 80-82. This hypothetical team has a better offense, better starting pitching and a worse bullpen. It's in no way a complete team, but it would have a chance at a winning record. The Tigers finished 95-67, well ahead of anyone else in the division. No, this Cleveland team wouldn't challenge the Tigers, but it would likely be better than the real 2011 Indians.
Next: Miami Marlins
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Tags: Aaron Laffey, AL Central, Albert Belle, Bartolo Colon, Ben Francisco, Brian Tallet, CC Sabathia, Charles Nagy, Danys Baez, Edward Mujica, Fausto Carmona, Indians, Jaret Wright, Jason Kipnis, Jeremy Guthrie, Jhonny Peralta, Jim Thome, Jose Constanza, Josh Tomlin, Julian Tavarez, Kevin Kouzmanoff, Lonnie Chisenhall, Luke Scott, Maicer Izturis, Manny Ramirez, Marco Scutaro, Paul Shuey, Rafael Perez, Russell Branyan, Tony Sipp, Victor Martinez, Vinnie Pestano
Posted on: July 3, 2011 10:42 am
Edited on: July 3, 2011 11:14 am
By C. Trent Rosecrans
THE AMAZING Cliff Lee: Things aren't looking good for the Blue Jays in their rematch of the 1993 World Series, Toronto dropped the first two games and now face Cliff Lee. Lee enters Sunday's game riding streaks of three consecutive shutouts and 32 consecutive scoreless innings. The Phillies' lefty allowed just one run in five June starts, sporting an amazing 0.21 ERA in the month, lowering his season mark to 2.66. Lee is 2-3 with a 3.81 ERA in five career starts at Rogers Centre. Jo-Jo Reyes, no stranger to streaks, is on the hill for the Blue Jays. Phillies at Blue Jays, 1:07 p.m. ET (Follow live)
BIG DEBUT: Nearly a year after last year's big trade that sent Lee from Seattle to Texas, one of the key pieces of the trade will make his big-league debut. Right-hander Blake Beavan, a 2007 first-round pick by the Rangers, starts today against San Diego's Mat Latos. Beavan was acquired along with first baseman Justin Smoak, reliever Josh Lueke and second baseman Matt Lawson. Beavan was 5-3 with a 4.45 ERA at Triple-A Tacoma, with 64 strikeouts and 20 walks in 93 innings. Of the four players acquired by the Mariners in the trade, Beavan is the third member of the group to appear in the big leagues. Smoak is hitting .242/.344/.446 with 12 home runs for the Mariners, while Lueke pitched in eight games -- allowing 12 earned runs in 6 1/3 innings -- before being sent down to Triple-A and the Mariners traded Lawson to Cleveland for lefty Aaron Laffey. Lawson is still at Double-A. Padres at Mariners, 4:10 p.m. ET (Follow live)For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: March 2, 2011 7:19 pm
Edited on: March 2, 2011 9:09 pm
By Evan Brunell
Such a deal does not come as a surprise, as the Indians are deep in fringe starters competing for a rotation spot while the Mariners have unexciting and limited options for their own rotation spot.
Laffey likely won't be handed a spot in Seattle and will have to fight for it, but the odds are high he will snag a spot. Laffey has a career 4.41 ERA in 320 1/3 innings. The 25-year-old has split time between the rotation and bullpen since debuting in 2007 and has made 49 total starts and appeared in 30 games out of the bullpen.
Laffey does not have good command (3.6 BB/9, but 4.3 over the last two seasons) and a poor strikeout rate at 4.4, but fringe left-handers are always welcome.
UPDATE: The Indians received cash considerations and Matt Lawson, who was a throw-in in last year's Cliff Lee deal with the Rangers. The 25-year-old may have a few stints as a backup infielder in the majors but that's about it.
Posted on: September 3, 2010 5:31 pm
It's possible the Indians' rotation could have five new faces in it for 2011.
Granted, Fausto Carmono would have to be traded, Justin Masterson sent to the bullpen, Carlos Carrasco back to Triple-A and even then that leaves Mitch Talbot to deal with.
Regardless, the 2011 Indians rotation has the potential to be drastically different than the five pitchers who logged the most starts: Masterson, Carmona (pictured), Talbot, Jake Westbrook and David Huff.
Huff seems to be on the outs as the organization has soured on him, plus his 6.21 ERA is rather unsightly. Masterson has struggled against left-handed batters and may be better suited to the bullpen, where he will move to shortly as he approaches his innings limit. While Masterson may be better suited in the bullpen, the Indians have so far refused to make that official switch with manager Manny Acta saying Masterson "will be sent home as a starter," reports Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer .
Then there's Carmona, who is just 26 and locked up to a deal through 2011 plus affordable club options through 2014. That made him a hot commodity at the trade deadline, and even though Carmona can log plenty of innings for the Indians in that time frame, the fact remains the Indians are one-to-two years away from even thinking about contending. Carmona is one of the team's remaining valuable trade assets, so bet on Cleveland heavily considering moving him.
The last member with a lot of starts is Mitch Talbot, who got the year off to a promising start, posting a 3.99 ERA in 17 starts, but the second half has been full of injuries and regression to the mean. Oh, and did I mention he has a 6.03 ERA at home and 2.86 mark on the road? Not exactly the model of consistency you're looking for out of a starter.
So what will happen in 2011? The guess here is that recently recalled Carlos Carrasco will find himself with a rotation spot after a successful Triple-A stint, with Talbot and Masterson joining them. Talbot is a young, cost-controllable righty who can at the very least soak up innings, while Masterson and the organization needs to come together and find a pitch to get lefties out with.
Another rotation spot will likely go to one of Jeanmar Gomez, Aaron Laffey or Josh Tomlin. Assuming Carmona is moved, the final spot would go to to a veteran right-hander who signs a deal after finding the free agent market chilly. Could that mean the return of Kevin Millwood?
-- Evan Brunell
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Posted on: July 23, 2010 4:22 pm
The Indians were happy to welcome back outfielder Shin-Soo Choo on Friday, but the good news was tempered with bad news on left-hander Aaron Laffey.
The return of Choo, out since spraining his thumb July 2, was expected. Laffey going on the disabled list was a bit of a surprise after an MRI on his shoulder came back clean. He was scheduled to start Sunday, but the Indians are hoping extended rest will solve Laffey's "dead arm" issue.
Laffey's fastball, which is usually in the 87-89 mph range, had dropped to the 81-82 range. Laffey said the arm fatigue was a result of being switched from reliever to starter midseason.
"All the stuff I normally experience in Spring Training, I experienced when I went back as a starter [in Columbus in June]," he told MLB.com. "Now, it's just kind of lingering around."
Because of an off day Thursday, the Indians won't need to add a starter until next Tuesday. Justin Masterson will take Laffey's Sunday start on regular rest.
-- David Andriesen
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