Tag:Indians
Posted on: October 25, 2011 6:38 pm
Edited on: October 25, 2011 8:20 pm
 

Report: Boston unlikely to hire a current manager

Ben CheringtonBy C. Trent Rosecrans

Although there have been whispers about the Red Sox trying to hire Toronto manager John Farrrell to replace departed manager Terry Francona, the Boston Herald reports that it's a "longshot" the Red Sox would hire a current manager.

The Blue Jays changed a policy allowing its employees to interview for any opening, meaning Farrell won't be a candidate in Boston. But if the team isn't going to hire a sitting manager, that means the Rays' Joe Maddon, Padres' Bud Black and Indians' Manny Acta are out as well.

The Herald lists the Blue Jays' Don Wakamatsu, Dodgers' Tim Wallach, Indians' Sandy Alomar Jr., Phillies' Pete Mackanin, Brewers' Dale Sveum and Yankees' Tony Pena as possible candidates. Of those names, only Wakamatsu and Pena have held full-time managerial positions before. Mackanin has twice been an interim manager.

During his news conference on Tuesday, new Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington told reporters he expects to begin interview soon and has a list of candidates. He did say the team would like previous managerial experience, but wouldn't require it.

"Previous managerial experience would be a benefit, but we're not going to put ourselves in a box by requiring that," Cherington said. "We'll certainly consider those that have previous managerial experience, but also those who don't. We need the right person. I don't think we can afford to put ourselves in any sort of box in our effort to find the right person."

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Posted on: October 24, 2011 4:21 pm
 

Jim Thome intends to play in 2012

ThomeBy Evan Brunell

Jim Thome intends to keep playing next season, MLB.com's Jordan Bastain reports.

"I want to keep playing. I'll keep playing," Thome said. "I just have to have teams that call me. I can't go play in the backyard by myself."

The 41-year-old finished the season hitting .256/.361/.467 in 324 plate appearances and shouldn't have a problem finding somewhere to play next season. And no, it won't be his backyard. With Thome's ability to hit for power, a willingness to accept a reduced role and strong leadership skills, he should be in demand. It's possible he could stay in the AL and DH part-time, but it's just as possible he accepts a position as a pinch-hitter in the NL.

The Phillies could be a fit, as Philadelphia was linked to Thome earlier this season as a potential destination before he landed with the Indians. With Ryan Howard out due to injury and unlikely to start the season on time, having Thome off the bench could prove invaluable for Philadelphia in getting by without Howard -- and having someone to slot in the lineup if Howard struggles upon returning. A return to the Indians is unlikely given Travis Hafner's presence, but returning to the Twins is possible.

In CBSSports.com's free-agent position rankings, Thome ranked fourth among all DHs.

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Posted on: October 23, 2011 1:14 pm
 

Free-agent position rankings: Ortiz top DH



By C. Trent Rosecrans

One of the toughest positions for a free agent to land a big contract got a little tougher after Adam Dunn's terrible 2011. Teams are already skittish on spending big bucks (and maybe more importantly, tying those dollars up for years) to a DH, plus with only 14 of the 30 teams having the position, it's difficult for any free agent DH to have leverage. Most of the teams already have a DH under contract, so the possibilities here are going to be pretty repetitive.

1. David Ortiz: Big Papi created a stir when he said he may be interested in playing for the Yankees, but it's unlike the Yankees would want to spend that kind of money on Ortiz. Instead, they expect to have Jesus Montero as their main designated hitter in 2012 and beyond. Ortiz struggled early in 2011, but finished with a .309/.398/.554 line with 29 homers and 96 RBI. Even though he didn't start his career with the Red Sox, it's tough to imagine him in any other uniform. 
Possible teams: Red Sox, Yankees, Blue Jays, Angels, Mariners

Edwin Encarnacion2. Edwin Encarnacion: The Blue Jays have a $3.5 million option on Encarnacion, who has been a frustrating player to watch. Just when you think he's done, he goes on a hot streak, and he can really hit when he's hot. After the All-Star break, Encarnacion hit .291/.382/.504 with 11 homers and 36 RBI. Encarnacion played third base and first base, but DH is his best defensive position.
Possible teams: Blue Jays, Mariners, Athletics

Johnny Damon3. Johnny Damon: Damon will be 38 next season and he's more or less finished in the outfield, even though he did play some first base with the Rays last season. In 150 games, he hit .261/.326/.418 with 16 home runs and 74 RBI. The Rays are considering bringing Damon back, but he'd have to cost less than the $5.25 million he made in 2011. Damon is 277 hits shy of 3,000 for his career and would likely need two more seasons to reach the milestone. It could be difficult for him to find a place to do it unless he decides to take a pay cut. 
Possible teams: Rays, Mariners, Athletics

Jim Thome4. Jim Thome: There was a report that the White Sox were considering offering Thome their hitting coach position, but did not. However, that may be a sign of which way Thome may be leaning in his decision for 2012. Thome did say he was leaning toward playing, and although he was used mostly against right-handers, his splits were pretty even -- .257/.352/.470 against right-handed pitchers and .253/.385/.493 against left-handers. Thome seemed energized after joining the Indians, hitting .296/.390/.479 in Cleveland. Even if he doesn't return, he will have solidified his Hall of Fame resume, hitting his 600th home run in 2011. 
Possible teams: Indians, Mariners, Orioles, Blue Jays, Athletics, retirement

Hideki Matsui5. Hideki Matsui: The A's loved Matsui, if not his production. A solid influence on younger players, Matsui hit just .251/.321/.375 in 2011, but rebounded hit hit .295/.353/.425 in the second half of the season. Matsui would have to accept less than the $4.25 million he earned in 2011, but that doesn't seem to be too much of an issue. Most expect him to return to Oakland, especially with the A's agreeing to open the season in Japan against the Mariners.
Possible teams: Athletics, Mariners, Japan, retirement

Jorge Posada6. Jorge Posada: One of the "core four" is probably done as a Yankee. If Posada wants to keep playing, he'll do it in a different uniform. The Yankees will be moving on with Montero as their DH who can also catch. Posada hit a career-worst .235/.315/.398 with 14 homers in 2011, but did go 6 for 14 in the NLDS against the Tigers, starting all five games. He struggled against left-handers this season, hitting .092/.169/.108 against lefties. With few DH spots available, he may not find any takers and will retire a Yankee, not by choice, but because there's nobody out there willing to let him play for another team.
Possible teams: Athletics, retirement

Vladimir Guerrero7. Vladimir Guerrero: Guerrero has said he'd like to play two or three more seasons, but it could be the end of his career, as well. Guerrerro hit .290/.317/.416 in 2011, but had just 13 home runs in 145 games for the Orioles. Guerrero passed Julio Franco for the most hits by a Dominican-born player late in the season and finished the season with 2,590 hits and 449 home runs. Guerrero didn't get a contract until Feb. 18 last year, but did get the money he was looking for -- that could be tougher this season. Still, there are teams out there that could use him.
Possible teams: Orioles, Athletics, Mariners, Blue Jays, Rays, retirement

Free-agent position rankings: C | 1B | 2B | SS | 3B | OF | DH | SP | RP

Free-agent overall rankings: Position players | Pitchers

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Posted on: October 10, 2011 1:20 pm
Edited on: October 10, 2011 1:58 pm
 

R.I.P.: 2011 Cleveland Indians

By Matt Snyder

Another season gone, another disappointment for 29 teams as one is immortalized forever. Let’s take a look back at 2011 and forward in Eye on Baseball’s R.I.P. series...

Team name: Cleveland Indians
Record: 80-82, second place in AL Central, 15 games back
Manager: Manny Acta
Best hitter: Asdrubal Cabrera -- .273/.332/.460, 25 HR, 92 RBI, 87 R, 17 SB
Best pitcher: Justin Masterson -- 12-10, 3.21 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, 158 K, 216 IP

2011 SEASON RECAP

Winning 80 games, finishing second in the AL Central and seeing the growth of several promising young players would have almost certainly sounded like a great goal to begin the season, after the Indians lost 93 games in 2010. But the way it all went down meant that the season ended up feeling like a punch to the gut. On May 23, the Indians won to give them a 30-15 record and a seven-game lead in the Central. They were even tied for first as late as July 20 and climbed to within 1.5 games in mid-August, but then the Tigers got hot and the Indians just couldn't keep up.

R.I.P. series
Still, the Indians saw great things from many young players, which provides hope for the future. Carlos Santana, Jason Kipnis, Lonnie Chisenhall, Asdrubal Cabrera, Justin Masterson, Chris Perez, Joe Smith and Vinnie Pestano are absolutely a part of the solution in Cleveland.

2012 AUDIT

The Indians look to bring back a very similar ballclub to the one that finished the 2011 season. Full, healthy seasons from both Grady Sizemore and Shin-Soo Choo along with progress from many of the young players in house would help the Indians compete in the AL Central. According to most evaluation resources, the upper levels of the minors doesn't have much more help coming for the Indians -- because we saw all of the top prospects this season. Oh, and traded away the top two pitching prospects for Ubaldo Jimenez.

FREE AGENTS

Jim Thome, DH
Kosuke Fukudome, OF
Grady Sizemore, OF (club option for $8.5 million)
Fausto Carmona, SP (club option for $7 million)
Chad Durbin, RP

OFFSEASON FOCUS
  • This may be unpopular, but I'd pick up Sizemore's option. He's still 29 and if his surgery last week fixed all the issues with his knee, it's entirely possible he returns to previous form -- which is an All-Star center fielder. Plus, having Sizemore around opens up a lot of options. If the Indians decide midseason to trade him, he could net a good return, assuming he's healthy. Michael Brantley could then slide over to center. But if Sizemore does return to All-Star form, they'll have a shot at locking him up as the veteran centerpiece of their young nucleus -- many of whom won't be free agents for four or five years.
  • A decision has to be made at first base. Do they give Matt LaPorta one more season to see if he finally sticks? He's only 26. He also hasn't even come close to reaching the potential that made him the main piece of the CC Sabathia trade. Another option would be to move slugging catcher Carlos Santana to first for good, making Lou Marson the everyday catcher. A final option is to pursue a cheap first baseman on the free agency market (Casey Kotchman would work) or trade for one. If the Dodgers decide to trade James Loney, he'd be a nice fit. Kotchman seems like a pretty good direction, as he'd be affordable and maybe even could be had on a one-year deal. LaPorta can serve as a backup and if he all of a sudden turns the corner, there's a spot waiting for him.
  • Invent a time machine, go back to late July and don't make the Ubaldo Jimenez trade. I kid, but man, Alex White and Drew Pomeranz would fit so perfectly with the direction of this team. Jimenez has been absolutely mediocre for the past season and a half. But what's done is done and the Indians have to hope he reverts back to the form he had when he started 2010 11-1 with a 0.93 ERA.
  • Mostly, these Indians need to stay the course. The youthful foundation is growing up together. Kipnis and Chisenhall have joined Santana, Cabrera, Masterson and the "Bullpen Mafia" as a strong core of players all still in their 20s and only scratching the surface of how good they can be. The 2012 season will provide answers to some questions (Sizemore, Carmona, how good some of the young players can be, LaPorta, etc.) to provide a better road map as to how the 2013 season will look. All the top prospects have either been promoted or traded, so what you see at the big-league level is what you get for the next few years. If everything falls into place, the Indians contend for the next three seasons. If injuries continue to derail Choo and Sizemore while several of the young players don't pan out, it's going to be a long next three seasons. Time will tell, but they need to see what they have.
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Posted on: October 4, 2011 5:21 pm
 

Sizemore has surgery, will be ready for spring

By Matt Snyder

Indians center fielder Grady Sizemore has had successful right knee surgery, which was done to repair the bone bruise that sidelined him for much of the 2011 season. The arthroscopic procedure was done Monday by Dr. Richard Steadman in Vail, Col.

“We could not be happier with the results of Monday’s arthroscopy,” said Sizemore in a statement. “Dr. Steadman told me this minor procedure should allow the bone bruise in my right knee to fully heal.”

The recovery period is said to be six to eight weeks and he's fully expected to be all the way back to normal for spring training.

Sizemore was well on his way to being an elite major-league player. By age 25, he made the All-Star Game three consecutive seasons. Since then, however, Sizemore has only been able to play in 210 games during the past three seasons. Injuries have crippled his performance when he does play, too, as he's hitting just .220/.280/.379 the past two seasons.

The Indians hold an $8.5 million club option on the 29 year old for next season and if they don't exercise it, Sizemore will be a free agent.

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Posted on: September 29, 2011 4:24 pm
Edited on: September 29, 2011 4:39 pm
 

Indians extend Acta; Royals clean house

By C. Trent Rosecrans

In what is expected to be a day or two of these kinds of procedural moves, the Indians announced they've picked up the team's 2013 option on manager Manny Acta.

In his second season in Cleveland, Acta led the Indians to a surprising 80-82 record, finishing second in the American League Central.

However, Acta's pitching coach, Tim Belcher, will not return. Belcher stepped down from his position in Cleveland to return to his position as special assistant in the Indians' front office. Belcher said he wanted to spend more time with his family. On Wednesday, it was announced that bench coach Tim Tolman would step down after being diagnoses with Parkinson's disease, while Sandy Alomar is expected to take over Tolman's position. Alomar, the Indians' first base coach, is also expected to interview for the White Sox manager position.

Also on Thursday, the Royals announced that they would not bring back pitching coach Bob McClure or bench coach John Gibbons.

In San Diego, Randy Ready was fired after two-and-a-half years as the Padres hitting coach. 

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Posted on: September 27, 2011 7:58 pm
 

10 finalists for Hutch Award revealed

By Matt Snyder

The Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center has revealed 10 Major League Baseball players as finalists for the 2011 Hutch Award.

The award is given to a "player who best exemplifies the honor, courage and dedication of legendary baseball player and manager Fred Hutchinson" -- who played 10 seasons for the Tigers from 1939-1953, missing a chunk due to service in World War II. He also managed the Tigers, Cardinals and Reds during a 13-season managerial career. He then died of cancer in 1964 at the age of 45 and the research center was founded by his brother.

Here are the 10 players nominated for the Hutch Award this season, as chosen by the research center's national committee:

Billy Butler, Royals
Tony Campana, Cubs
Michael Cuddyer, Twins
Curtis Granderson, Yankees
Josh Hamilton, Rangers
Torii Hunter, Angels
Justin Masterson, Indians
Brian McCann, Braves
Jake Peavy, White Sox
Josh Willingham, A's

Last season's winner was Tim Hudson of the Braves. The first winner was Yankees great Mickey Mantle back in 1965. A full list of past winners can be viewed by clicking here. The winner of the 2011 Hutch Award will be revealed in February.

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Posted on: September 27, 2011 1:50 am
 

3 Up, 3 Down: Big Game James



By Matt Snyder


James Shields, Rays. One of the biggest surprises in all of baseball this season went out and got the job done when his team needed him most. Yes, the Rays got some big offensive and defensive (hello, Desmond Jennings) plays, but Shields nearly completed another game and gave his boys the chance to win it. They trailed 2-0 early, but then Shields put the brakes on the Yankees' offense the rest of the way while his teammates did their jobs as well. Shields' final line: 8 2/3 innings, six hits, two earned runs and the win. The Rays are now tied for the AL wild card with two games to go.

Melky Cabrera, Royals. Raise your hand if you thought he'd collect 200 hits this season. Now quit lying and put that hand down. In a 7-3 Kansas City win, the Melk Man picked up his 200th and 201st hits of the season. His previous career high was 149. This was a guy picked up off the scrap heap.

Vladimir Guerrero, Orioles. The O's won (we'll get to that below), but Guerrero's single to lead off the bottom of the sixth was special from an individual standpoint. It was his 2,587th career hit, which moved him past Julio Franco as the all-time leader in hits by a Dominican-born player (Biz of Baseball via Twitter). Congrats to Vlad.



Red Sox. Even forgetting the dramatic collapse this month, the Red Sox played a pretty brutal game Monday night. All-Star starting pitcher Josh Beckett was given a 2-1 lead early, but ended up allowing seven hits, four walks and six earned runs in six innings. Jacoby Ellsbury lost control of what would've been a tough -- but makeable -- catch in center, allowing Robert Andino a three-run, inside-the-park homer. The Boston offense left 12 runners on base. And for some reason, manager Terry Francona used the incredibly valuable Alfredo Aceves for an inning when trailing 6-2. With Erik Bedard going Tuesday night, it's entirely possible Francona needs Aceves for multiple innings, so it's a questionable move to be sure. They lost 6-3 and are now tied in the AL wild-card race. All in all, it was an awful night for the Red Sox.

Nick Punto, Cardinals. My high school and college coaches hammered the point home for years to me, and I'll never forget it -- and probably because it keeps happening in the majors: A baserunner should only slide into first base to avoid a collision. That's it. There is no other reason. And then I think about all the times I've heard people -- Cubs color commentator Bob Brenly immediately comes to mind -- make the very salient point that if it was faster to slide, Olympic sprinters would slide through the finish line. It just boggles my mind how many guys are paid to play this game and still make the mistake. Punto made it Monday night in the eighth inning and it may have cost his team the playoffs. He hit a grounder that Astros first baseman Carlos Lee booted. Lee recovered in time to feed the pitcher the baseball in a bang-bang play. Punto dove head-first and was out by about a split-second to end the eighth. Had he run through the bag, he would have been safe and the Cardinals -- who had a runner on third -- would have scored. They ended up losing 5-4 in extra innings and still trail by one game in the NL wild-card race. With two games to play.

Ubaldo Jimenez, Indians. Is this what the Indians dealt two premium pitching prospects for? Jimenez was shelled again Monday night, allowing nine hits and six runs in five innings in a 14-0 loss. He now has a 5.10 ERA since coming over in that July trade. Oh, and the Tigers acquired the less-heralded Doug Fister before the July 31st deadline. He's 7-0 with a 0.61 ERA in his last eight starts after stifling the Indians for eight innings Monday. 

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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