Tag:Grady Sizemore
Posted on: November 12, 2010 10:16 am
 

Indians can't afford Westbrook, but call anyway

Jake Westbrook The Indians have talked to free-agent right-hander Jake Westbrook about returning to Cleveland, the Plain Dealer 's Paul Hoynes writes .

However, a return to Cleveland seems unlikely, as new Indians general manager Chris Antonetti has been given the charge of cutting payroll from $61.5 million at the start of 2010 to somewhere between $40-$50 million.

The Indians are committed to $26.6 million to three players for 2011 -- Travis Hafner, Grady Sizemore and Fausto Carmona and have six players eligible for arbitration -- Shin-Soo Choo, Asdrubal Cabrera, Jensen Lewis, Chris Perez, Rafael Perez and Joe Smith.

If the Indians tender contracts to all six, well, it'll be interesting if they have enough money to fill out the rest of their roster, much less sign a free agent pitcher who is looking for a two-year deal. Westbrook has reportedly turned down a one-year offer from the Cardinals.

The Denver Post 's Troy Renck says the Rockies are interested in Westbrook, as well.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.

Posted on: October 19, 2010 4:49 pm
 

R.I.P. Indians: Yet another building process

RIP As the sports world waits for the crowning of a champion, 22 other teams are busy preparing for spring training. What went wrong for these teams, and what does 2011 hold? MLB Facts and Rumors here at CBS Sports will be answering those questions in October. Today: the last entry in the Cleveland Indians.

Poor Cleveland. They came within one win of advancing to the World Series in 2007, but since then have been caught in a web of ineffectiveness that saw Eric Wedge booted and the roster undergoing an overhaul.

It's disappointing to see a mid-market team like this come so close and have to completely scrap their entire team and start from scratch. Yes, the Indians somehow only lost 93 games with a team that should have lost much more, but the next few seasons will be about building the team back up, not contending.

WHAT WENT WRONG

You hate to see a team kicked when down, but that's exactly what happened on August 2 when the Red Sox's Ryan Kalish barrelled into Santana. The catcher ended up having to undergo knee surgery to repair his LCL. A shame given Santana (pictured, below right) is perhaps the best young catcher in the game with a .260/.401/.467 line in 192 plate appearances. He became the first Indians player since 1997 to make his big-league debut batting third. That's how good this dude is.

Meanwhile, first baseman Matt LaPorta, acquired from Milwaukee in the CC Sabathia trade, flailed in his extended shot of playing time. LaPorta is the team's future when it comes to a power bat, but the 25-year-old just couldn't do anything in 2010. He finished with a .221/.306/.362 line and 12 home runs in 425 PA and time is fast running out for the slugger. He'll get another shot in the bigs in 2011, but it's time for him to do what he does so well in the minors: mash.

Lastly, Grady Sizemore, one of the more exciting five-tool outfielders in the game, hit rock bottom. The 27-year-old cranked 33 home runs and bashed to the tune of a .268/.374/.502 line in 745 PA in 2008, but missed the end of 2009 with left elbow surgery. His return consisted of 140 trips to the plate and an unsightly .211/.271/.289 line before having surgery on his left knee for a microfracture. Can he ever regain his top form? Probably not.

Carlos Santana WHAT WENT RIGHT

The Indians did have something go right for them with the emergence of relief pitcher Chris Perez. Perez, acquired from the Cardinals for Mark DeRosa in 2009, grabbed 23 saves and wrested the closer's role away from Kerry Wood while posting a 1.71 ERA. That's above his head as evidenced by a 4.30 xFIP, but he should still turn into a quality closer. Unfortunately for Cleveland, Perez may price himself out of the team's range by the time the club is ready to contend again. Fortunately, however, the Indians should get a nice return if and when they deal Perez.

Speaking of Kerry Wood, the Indians did what so few other non-contending teams did with their veterans who weren't going to return: they got rid of them. Wood went to the Yankees and flourished as a setup man while the Indians came away with some money recouped. The club also dealt away Austin Kearns (also to the Yankees) and Russell Branyan (Mariners), freeing up playing time for Perez, outfielder Michael Brantley and Shelley Duncan.

Fausto Carmona also returned from a two-year absence as an effective starting pitcher to post a 3.77 ERA in 210 innings. The 26-year-old is locked up for years and incredibly cheap as well, which has made him very in demand for other teams. Cleveland can opt to either get a nice haul in return for Carmona or have him head up the rotation as the club rebuilds. Either way, the team has a top-flight starter for cheap.
 
HELP ON THE WAY

The Indians graduated plenty of players to the bigs in 2010 that should have major impacts the rest of the way, including Santana, SP Mitch Talbot (acquired from Rays), reliever, Frank Herrmann and 2B Jason Donald. But the team needs so much more.

Fortunately, the team is rather deep in prospects remaining. Those that could help in the year 2011 include Nick Hagadone, acquired from Boston in the Victor Martinez deal. Hagadone struggled as a starter but could morph into a dominant reliever. Meanwhile, Nick Weglarz represents Cleveland's new hope as a power hitter and should debut at some point in 2011 and Jason Kipnis could wrap up the second base job for years by the end of the season.

EXPECTATIONS FOR 2011

The Indians are still in a rebuilding phase. While the team has an intriguing number of bats, they are still too young and inconsistent, while the pitching remains far off. 90-plus losses is all but certain.

SUGGESTIONS FOR 2011

The Indians figure to go after a first baseman to pair with LaPorta, a starting third baseman, and perhaps even an outfielder although Weglarz could be handed the job in spring training.

Tackling in reverse order, the Indians should stay pat and go with an outfield of Trevor Crowe-Michael Brantley-Shin-Soo Choo and filter in Weglarz and Sizemore when the two are deemed ready.

Jason Donald While third base could be permanently occupied by Jason Donald (pictured, left) or Luis Valbuena once Kipnis debuts, the team needs another year of protection. Adam Kennedy, who resurrected his career with the Nationals, could be that person. Kennedy can play around the infield and would collect enough at-bats to be worth bringing in while not stunting the development of Donald, Valbuena or Asdrubal Cabrera.

As for first base, the Indians need someone who can platoon with Matt LaPorta, but not send LaPorta to the bench. An ability to play the outfield is a plus as well, and the answer is already on the team in Shelley Duncan. Bringing Russell Branyan back isn't a terrible idea, but the team shouldn't spend much time looking for options as a backup first baseman.

Lastly, the Indians need to bring in a veteran starting pitcher who can soak up innings and mentor the young pitchers. Picking up ex-Indian Kevin Millwod could work, as well as Justin Duchscherer or Aaron Harang.

2011 PREDICTION

It's going to be more of the same for the Indians next season, and the team needs to find a way to develop an impact pitcher rather than the back-end types the team has proven especially adept in producing.

Check out the other R.I.P. reports here.

-- Evan Brunell

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed .
Posted on: July 19, 2010 5:42 pm
Edited on: October 22, 2010 4:03 pm
 

This week in free stuff: July 19-26


What's better than a day at the ballpark? A day at the ballpark and free stuff.

I remember as a kid going to a Tidewater Tides (as the Norfolk Tides were called then) and getting a Tides batting glove. I wore that batting glove even though it was for my left hand and I was a left-handed hitter. I loved that thing, with the Tides logo and elastic wristband. Since then, I've loved ballpark giveaways (or SGA as you can find them on eBay) and have a collection of odds and ends such as an Endy Chavez bobblehead or a Macon Braves batting helmet (I only get them now as a paying fan, not as part of the job). As a proud owner of a Savannah Sand Gnats Gnic the Gnat bobblehead, I often check around to see what's being given away at ballparks around the country. So here it is, this week in free stuff, from the majors and minors. Keep in mind, this isn't a complete list, just the ones I find most interesting, and even if many think bobbleheads are passe, I'm still a big fan and you'll see most of them here.

Tonight, July 19
Chicago Cubs -- a Cubs mouse pad… if you still use one of those. Ask your parents, kids.
Johnson City Cardinals (Rookie Appalachian League) -- seat cushion. One of the more underrated and classic give-aways, you don't see them as much anymore, yet your butt could still use a cushion after nine innings.

Tuesday, July 20
Los Angeles Dodgers -- James Loney bobblehead
New Hampshire Fisher Cats (Eastern League) -- Dustin Pedroia bobblehead
Richmond Flying Squirrels (Southern League) -- logo ball. I'm not usually a big logo ball fan, but this logo is a flying squirrel.
Lakewood BlueClaws (South Atlantic League) -- paint your own Clawd bobblehead. Clawd is the team's mascot.
State College Spikes (New York-Penn League) -- eco-friendly cooler bag. I was at a Marlins game once and they gave out gas cans. I'm usually a big fan of practical give-aways, but I didn't take that one.

Brookly Cyclones Wednesday, July 21
Baltimore Orioles -- foam finger. A classic. I'd love to see the foam finger make a comeback, even if a No. 1 is a little unrealistic for the Orioles.
Chicago Cubs -- key chain. This one is actually a nice, simple design, something that can often be done wrong and is done well here.
Brooklyn Cyclones (New York-Penn League) -- "Jersey? Sure!" Jersey. It's actually kinda great. The Cyclones are one of the minor league leaders in both quantity and quality of giveaways.

Manny Ramirez Thursday, July 22
Pittsburgh Pirates -- T-shirt. I don't normally get too excited by free t-shirts, but this one has a nice Pirate theme with a ship and all.
Los Angeles Dodgers -- Manny Ramirez action figure. Action figures are this year's attempt at replacing bobbleheads. The Dodgers went the extra mile and made each of their three action figures as superheroes, but it still doesn't quite work.
Bowie BaySox (Eastern League) -- Nolan Reimold bobblehead. The Orioles prospect is getting his own bobblehead.
Iowa Cubs (Pacific Coast League) -- Casey Blake bobblehead. Blake is an Iowa native.
Portland Sea Dogs (Eastern League) -- Adrian Gonzalez bobblehead.
Corpus Christi Hooks (Texas League) -- Aussie hat. Not bad for a day at the beach on North Padre Island.
Lakewood BlueClaws (South Atlantic Laegue) -- Dusty Wathan bobblehead. Wathan, son of former Royals manager John "Duke" Wathan, was the manager of the BlueClaws last season when the team won the South Atlantic League title and like most of his players, got called up. He's now the manager of the High-A Clearwater Threshers in the Phillies organization.
Great Lakes Loons (Midwest League) -- Bill Freehan bobblehead. The Loons are honoring Tiger legends with bobbleheads this season and Freehan is Michigan through-and-through. Freehan was born in Detroit, played football and baseball at the University of Michigan and then spent his entire 15-year career with the Tigers.
Orem Owlz (Frontier League) -- Torii Hunter bobblehead.

Friday, July 23
Evan Longoria Baltimore Orioles -- tankard. More realistic than the foam finger, Orioles fans can drink away their problems in style.
Houston Astros -- gym bag. Again, one of the practical giveaways. I have a Braves bag I still use.
Montgomery Biscuits (Southern League) -- Evan Longoria bobblehead.
Clearwater Threshers (Florida State League) -- Mike Schmidt bobblehead.
West Michigan Whitecaps (Midwest League) -- Larry Herndon bobblehead. It's a big week for former Tigers, apparently. Herndon caught the last out of the 1984 World Series.
Brooklyn Cyclones (New York-Penn League) -- Fireman Sandy bobblehead. A bobblehead of the mascot Sandy in a fireman's uniform.
Vermont Lake Monsters (New York-Penn League) -- Champ bobblehead. A friend of mine has a large collection of bobbleheads and says the mascot ones go for the most money on the secondary market.

Saturday, July 24
New York Yankees -- lunch box. I love the metal lunch boxes, they're a popular giveaway -- and for good reason.
Grady Sizemore Cleveland Indians -- Grady Sizemore bobblehead. One of the few chances to see Grady Sizemore in action at Progressive Field.
Houston Astros -- rainbow sleeve t-shirt.
Milwaukee Brewers -- grill master apron.
Las Vegas 51s (Pacific Coast League) -- wall clock.
Inland Empire 66ers (California League) -- James Loney bobblehead.
Visalia Rawhide (California League) -- beach blanket.
Kinston Indians (Carolina League) -- Lonnie Chisenhall bobblehead. The Indians prospect is nearly ready for the big leagues and he already has a bobblehead.
Hagerstown Suns (South Atlantic League) -- Little Heiskell bobblehead. Little Heiskell is a German soldier weathervane figure that has become a symbol of the city.
Rome Braves (South Atlantic League) -- Tommy Hanson bobblehead.
West Michigan Whitecaps (Midwest League) -- glow-in-the-dark baseball.
State College Spikes (New York-Penn League) -- kids fielding glove giveaway. As a kid, these always kinda bummed me out, because it's not like they have a left-handed option. Sure, they're never good enough to actually use, but that's little consolation to a sad little left-handed kid.
Everett AquaSox (Northwest League) -- fleece blanket. One of my favorites, although many teams are moving toward Snuggie-like blankets instead of the usual throw.

Sunday, July 25
Philadelphia Phillies -- Chase Utley action figure. Like the real Utley, this one no longer has a cast on his hand.
Milwaukee Brewers -- Robin Yount bobblehead. Not only is Yount wearing a great old Brewers uniform, the Yountstache is in full effect.
Albuquerque Isotopes (Pacific Coast League) -- Orbit bobblehead. Another great mascot bobblehead. Most minor league mascots are better in bobblehead form than mascot form.
Reno Aces (Pacific Coast League) -- skateboard deck. Another new one this season, the Aces deck is one of the best.
New Britain Rock Cats (Eastern League) -- paint your own bobblehead.
Greensboro Grasshoppers (South Atlantic League) -- Chris Coghlan figurine.
Bowling Green Hot Rods (Midwest League) -- lunch box.
Lake County Captains (Midwest League) -- Skipper leg lamp bobblehead. It's the leg of the mascot, Skipper, and it's a leg lamp, just like Cleveland's own A Christmas Story.
Lowell Spinners (New York-Penn League) -- Allie Gator bobblehead.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.




 
 
 
 
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