Tag:Indians
Posted on: February 2, 2012 7:43 am
Edited on: February 2, 2012 7:55 am
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Baseball's worst contracts, Part II: OF/DH



By Matt Snyder


As we continue our look at the most cumbersome contracts in baseball, today we'll look at outfielders and designated hitters. We covered the infield and catchers Wednesday and will look at pitchers Friday. As a reminder, we're looking at what is left on the contract, not what the player has been paid through the duration of the deal.

Left Field

Worst: Vernon Wells, Angels
Remaining contract: 3 years, $74 million

Man, this was a tough call because it's a crowded field (see below), but we'll go with Wells because the average annual value remaining on the contract is insane. He hit .218/.248/.412 last season and had a negative WAR, meaning a replacement-level player was better than a guy making over $25 million for the season. At age 33, he could certainly bounce back, but it's hard to see him all of a sudden becoming worth as much money as he's making.

Honorable Mention

Carl Crawford, Red Sox: There are six years and $128 million left on the deal, and I feel like many will argue that Crawford's remaining contract is worse than Wells'. I'm willing to give the 30-year-old Crawford a mulligan for his catastrophic first season in Boston. Next year at this time we'll know a lot more.

Alfonso Soriano, Cubs: Amazingly, he still has three years and $57 million left. Wow.

Jason Bay, Mets: In two seasons for the Mets, Bay has hit .251/.337/.386 (what an ugly slugging percentage for a supposed power hitter) with just 18 homers in 218 games. He still has two years and $36.25 million left, too, in addition to a $3 million buyout should the Mets not pick up his option year.

Center Field

Worst: Alex Rios, White Sox
Remaining Contract: 3 years, $38.5 million

While his teammate got much of the blame last year in terms of the White Sox's shortfall -- and you'll see him below -- Rios was pretty awful himself. He hit .227/.265/.348, which was good for a 65 OPS-plus (if you don't know what that is, trust me, it's embarrassingly bad). He actually posted a negative 1.5 WAR, meaning -- according to the stat -- that he single-handedly cost the White Sox a win and a half just by being in the lineup when he was. And now, thanks to that contract, he's untradeable.

Honorable Mention

Actually, I've got nothing here. Once one-time center fielders' contracts get too big they are usually shoved to the corners. The big-money guys here (Matt Kemp, Curtis Granderson, etc.) are fairly compensated.

Right Field

Worst: Jayson Werth, Nationals
Remaining contract: 6 years, $116 million

Very easy choice. I fully expect a bounce-back season from Werth this year, as several things didn't go his way last season. That being said, the Nationals are paying Werth like he's a superstar all the way until the season in which he turns 38. He wasn't even a superstar his last year in Philadelphia, when he was 31.

Honorable Mention

Nick Markakis, Orioles: There's a reason you only hear about other teams asking for Adam Jones in a trade and not Markakis. The latter is due $43.05 million over the next three seasons while he hit .284 with 15 homers and 73 RBI last season. You need more offense than that from a corner outfielder in order to pay him almost $15 million a year.

Designated Hitter

Worst: Adam Dunn, White Sox.
Remaining contract: 3 years, $44 million

Another easy one. Like Werth, I also expect Dunn to bounce back, but there's no way he can be good enough to earn his full contract over the next three years, especially considering how bad he was last season. He was historically awful with the bat -- there's really no need to rehash the gruesome details at this point -- and that's all he does. And if he does field, his value actually decreases because he's such a butcher with the glove.

Honorable Mention

Travis Hafner, Indians: Nitpicky here, but Pronk will make $13 million this season. He's only averaged 91 games per year the past four seasons. No one else really warrants mention, because Big Papi, for example, is still worth the big bucks.

On the Other Hand ...

Justin Upton, Diamondbacks: Thanks to an early Longoria-type extension, Upton is set to make $46.109 million over the next four seasons. He made just under $4.5 million last season, when he finished fourth in a crowded NL MVP field. Since Upton is only 24, the D-Backs will have to pony up again -- and probably in huge fashion -- to lock him up through his prime, but for now this is a very team-friendly contract.

Special Cases

Bobby Bonilla, Mets: This is both hilarious and sad at the same time. When the Mets bought out Bonilla's $5.9 million contract in 2000, they agreed to repay him with interest starting 11 years later. Beginning July 1, 2011, the Mets are paying Bonilla an annual salary of roughly $1.2 million until 2035. Or around $35 million in all. In 2012, the Mets will pay Bonilla more than the following regulars/rotation members: Daniel Murphy, Ike Davis, Lucas Duda, Josh Thole, Ruben Tejada, Jonathon Niese and Dillon Gee.

Manny Ramirez, Dodgers: We'll ignore that the Red Sox are paying Manny B. Manny $2 million per year until he's 54 because he helped bring them two World Series titles. But the Dodgers are paying Ramirez $8.33 million in 2012 and 2013. Assuming Clayton Kershaw gets more in arbitration, that means Manny will be the Dodgers' sixth highest-paid player this season. Of course, Frank McCourt is still going to make a billion dollar profit, so ...


Part I: Infielders and catchers
Part III: Pitchers, coming Friday

Source for all figures was Cot's Baseball Contracts

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Posted on: January 31, 2012 11:15 am
 

Indians trade for Russ Canzler

By Matt Snyder

Corner infielder/corner outfielder Russ Canzler was designated for assignment last week by the Rays in order to make room on the 40-man roster for new signee Jeff Keppinger. Tuesday, Canzler was traded to the Indians, the club announced.

Canzler, 25, was the MVP of the Triple-A International League last season when he hit .314/.401/.530 with 18 homers and 40 doubles for the Durham Bulls. He played 41 games in right field, 40 at third base, 33 in left field and 17 at first.

Assuming Carlos Santana stays behind the plate, first base might be Canzler's best path to regular playing time in Cleveland, but he'll likely get shots all over the place as a right-handed bat -- the Indians are loaded with lefties. He could spell Lonnie Chisenhall at third, Shin-Soo Choo in right or Michael Brantley in left, all of whom are left-handed.

In exchange for Canzler, the Rays will get cash considerations.

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Posted on: January 24, 2012 7:52 am
 

Would You Rather Have: Santana or Posey?



By Matt Snyder


One position we haven't yet covered in this series to this point is the man behind the plate. And when I thought about catchers, I believe I found just about the perfect duo to provide an incredibly tough choice.

Indians catcher Carlos Santana is just 25 and already one of the most important members of the up-and-coming Tribe. Giants catcher Buster Posey is only 24 and easily one of the most irreplaceable parts of the Giants. You could call them stars now or future superstars. And both have already gone through a major leg injury.

Let's break it down.

The case for Santana

The tools are there to become one of the best young run producers in the game. Santana hit just .239 last season, but he walked enough to put up a .351 on-base percentage, which is a much more important stat. He also slugged 27 homers and 35 doubles. Also note that a torn ACL ended his rookie season prematurely, so Santana is likely looking at big step forward in 2012. With the lineup around him comprised mostly of young players with good potential, expect Santana to push his runs and RBI up around triple digits (he had 79 RBI and 84 runs last season).

Would You Rather Have
A slight plus here for Santana is that while both of these catchers has already suffered a major injury, we've already seen how Santana came back. Posey is still recovering.

The case for Posey

He opened the 2010 season in Triple-A. By the end of it, young Buster Posey was catching the final strike of the World Series and rushing into Brian Wilson's arms to celebrate. In between, Posey hit .305/.357/.505 with 18 homers, 23 doubles and 67 RBI in just 108 regular-season games. This was good enough to win the 2010 NL Rookie of the Year. Posey also hit the ball well during the postseason, putting up a .744 OPS.

Also, Santana is a pretty bad defensive catcher and while Posey isn't great, he's not bad. He works well with the staff and has thrown out 37 percent of would-be basestealers so far in his young career. Santana has thrown out 28 percent, which isn't awful, but most metrics aren't kind to him and the Indians have toyed with moving him to first base permanently. Even if we wanted to argue some of these points -- like that Posey has played first base at times, too -- there isn't much question Posey is a better defensive catcher.

Now, we said above that Posey still hasn't proven he will again be the player he was prior to the broken leg. It's possible there are no setbacks and he returns to the Posey of old, but there are no guarantees. Just ask Kendrys Morales. So far, so good, however, as all reports from Posey's camp suggest he's making good progress.

Our call

Man, flip a coin. I hate going on the injury thing, because the smart money is on a full Posey recovery. So we'll just assume he comes all the way back -- meaning both of these young catchers star for the foreseeable future. If Santana goes the way of former catcher Victor Martinez (1B or DH), his bat means that much less to the lineup, while Posey can nearly match his offensive production from behind the plate. If Santana stays behind the plate, he hurts the team defensively. If both were moved, though, Santana would be the pick because I feel like he has a slight bit more offensive upside. If Posey suffers any setbacks, Santana would be the obvious pick. So this is razor thin, but my choice is Posey in an absolute photo finish. Hey, as I've said before, I enjoy gambling.

Fan Vote:



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Posted on: January 20, 2012 4:20 pm
Edited on: January 20, 2012 5:37 pm
 

Indians trade for RHP Kevin Slowey

Kevin SloweyBy C. Trent Rosecrans

Once again, the Indians and Rockies have pulled off a trade for a starting pitcher, as right-hander Kevin Slowey will join Ubaldo Jimenez in the Cleveland rotation, the Rockies announced.

In return, the Indians sent right-hander Zach Putnam to Colorado.

The Rockies traded for Slowey in December, sending minor leaguer Daniel Turpin to the Twins in return for the 28-year old Slowey. Slowey is due $2.75 million in 2012 and is arbitration eligible in 2013.

Slowey was 0-8 with a 6.67 ERA in eight starts and seven relief appearances for the Twins last season. In parts of five seasons in Minnesota, the former second-round draft pick was 39-29 with a 4.66 ERA. He won 13 games in 2010. Last year his walk rate improved to just 0.8 walks per nine innings (from 1.7 in 2010), but his strikeout rate also fell, striking out just 5.2 batters per nine innings. He also pitched in High-A and Triple-A last season, making 11 minor-league starts, going 1-3 with a 3.60 ERA. Slowey will compete for the fifth spot in the Indians' rotation.

Putnam made his big-league debut last season, pitching eight games out of the bullpen, going 1-1 with a 6.14 ERA. Putnam had nine saves for the Indians' Triple-A Columbus team. He was 6-3 with a 3.65 ERA for the Clippers, striking out 68 in 69 innings.

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Posted on: January 20, 2012 11:30 am
Edited on: January 20, 2012 12:16 pm
 

Carlos Pena agrees to re-join Rays

Carlos Pena

By C. Trent Rosecrans


Carlos Pena is returning to the Rays, CBSSports.com Insider Jon Heyman reports. Pena will make $7.25 million from the one-year deal, according to Heyman. Pena made $10 million from the Cubs last year in what agent Scott Boras called a "pillow contract," which would allow him to have a big year at Wrigley Field and then sign a multi-year deal this winter. That didn't happen.

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Pena, 33, hit .225/.357/.462 with 28 home runs for the Cubs last season. He hit just .196 in 2010 for the Rays, but slugged 28 homers and actually had an OPS+ of 103 despite his low batting average.

Pena played for the Rays from 2007-2010, hitting .238/.368/.516 with 144 home runs in his four seasons with the Rays, finishing ninth in MVP voting in his first two seasons with the Rays and making the All-Star team in 2009.

Last season Casey Kotchman was the Rays first baseman, and while he hit .306/.378/.422 for Tampa Bay last season, he had just 10 home runs. The addition of Pena would add extra pop to the Rays' lineup over the free-agent Kotchman.

Heyman noted the Indians were interested in both Pena and Kotchman. With Pena off the board, Cleveland would be a logical landing spot for Kotchman.

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Posted on: January 20, 2012 11:17 am
 

Indians add OF Ryan Spilborghs

Ryan SpilborghsBy C. Trent Rosecrans

Free-agent outfielder Ryan Spilborghs has agreed to a deal with the Cleveland Indians, CBSSports.com Insider Jon Heyman reports.

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Spilborghs, 32, hit .210/.282/.305 with three home runs in 223 plate appearances as a backup outfielder with the Rockies last season. He's a .272/.345/.423 hitter in his seven seasons in the big leagues -- all in Colorado.

The Rockies non-tendered Spilbroghs last month.

A right-handed hitter, he could help out Cleveland's left-handed lineup, which features three left-handed hitters in the outfield in Grady Sizemore, Shin-Soo Choo and Michael Brantley. Designated hitter Travis Hafner, second baseman Jason Kipnis and third baseman Lonnie Chisenhall are all left-handed hitters as well.

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Posted on: January 13, 2012 12:40 pm
 

Cespedes says 6 teams showing 'a lot' of interest

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Cuban outfielder Yoenis Cespedes told Dominican reporter Dionisio Soldevilia (via Twitter) that the Marlins, Cubs, White Sox, Orioles, Tigers and Indians have "a lot of interest" in signing him.

Cespedes made his Dominican Winter League debut on Thursday night, going 0-for-3 with three strikeouts and was hit by a pitch for Aguilas. Cespedes served as the team's DH and batted fifth in the team's 6-4 loss. Aguilas plays again Friday night.

It was Cespedes' first competitive game since last April when he played in Cuba's Serie Nacional. While the performance couldn't help Cespedes' bargaining power, it shouldn't hurt it too much. It is, as they say, a small sample size.

H/T Hardball Talk.

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Posted on: January 12, 2012 4:01 pm
 

On birthday, Chris Ray signs with Indians

By Matt Snyder

The Cleveland Indians have announced that they've signed right-handed relief pitcher Chris Ray to a minor-league contract, which includes an invitation to spring training. Thursday just happens to be Chris Ray's 30th birthday, too.

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Ray had a 4.68 ERA and 1.38 WHIP with 22 strikeouts in 32 2/3 innings last season for the Mariners. He didn't pitch after August 1, as he was on the disabled list with a strained muscle in his shoulder. He was actually throwing the ball well at that point in time, too, as Ray got off to an atrocious start but had a 2.13 ERA and  1.11 WHIP in his last 21 outings.

Don't expect Ray to fit prominently into the Bullpen Mafia, but he could perhaps work his way into the mix as the seventh man.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com