With them Indiana boys on an Indiana night

By Anthony Castrovince/MLB.com
http://castrovince.mlblogs.com
http://www.twitter.com/castrovince

Greetings from beautiful downtown Indianapolis, where the locals are in a panic over the foot of snow that fell overnight (and is probably Cleveland-bound… or at least Columbus-bound) and the ridiculousness of baseball’s annual Winter Meetings is officially underway.

indy.jpgThe Indians’ front-office brass is arriving today, but the Tribe, for better or worse, does not figure to be a prominent component of the rumor mill. That is, unless the scuttlebutt regarding the potential landing place of Jamey Carroll is particularly fierce.

To that end, Carroll’s agent, Jonathan Maurer, e-mailed with this synopsis of his client’s situation…

“Jamey Carroll has greatly enjoyed his time in Cleveland. While we are entertaining offers from other teams, we have not ruled out Cleveland because of this simple fact: Management is good, the city is good, and this team CAN compete in their division. The market for free agent infielders is quite good and the numbers of teams that have contacted us is indicative of Jamey’s value to any team wishing to win ballgames. No matter what the outcome, Jamey’s time in Cleveland has been a great experience.”

 

We’ll see how much money talks in that matter (it usually is pretty vocal), as it seems doubtful the Indians would be able to get into any type of bidding war for Carroll’s services. He made $2.5 million last year and is in line for the raise. If the Indians signed him for that kind of dough, their utility infielder would be one of their top-paid players in 2010.

 

The biggest piece of intrigue this week, where the Tribe is concerned, might be Thursday morning’s Rule 5 Draft. The Indians have a roster spot open, now that Kelly Shoppach has been moved, so they could make an addition in that draft. I’d say it’s more likely, however, that spot will be kept open for a utility guy.

 

And there is also the distinct possibility that the Indians will endure a loss or losses in the Rule 5. Yohan Pino (the pitcher acquired for Carl Pavano last year), Carlton Smith, Steven Wright, Chuck Lofgren and Matt McBride are among the potential targets of other clubs. It’s also possible that reliever Jason Grilli, who was signed by the Indians to a Minor League deal last week, could get swiped, as he’s not on the 40-man and is Rule 5-eligible. Word is, there is a National League team with interest in Grilli.

 

Anyway, that’s what’s shaking here, for now. MLB.com is, as usual, all over the Winter Meetings coverage for all clubs. Of particular note is the Hot Stove blog that is updated frequently with the latest rumblings.

UPDATE (7 p.m. ET): A few bits of Excruciating Minutiae from an overwhelmingly uneventful first day of the Winter Meetings…

  • Manny Acta will name his hitting coach on Tuesday. The safe money is on Jon Nunnally, who was the hitting coach at Triple-A Columbus.
  • When it comes to Acta’s hopes of landing a right-handed bat for first base and left field, one name on the free-agent wire that makes sense is Xavier Nady.
  • Also, don’t rule out the possibility of the Indians taking a look at Ryan Garko, if the Giants non-tender him by the Dec. 12 deadline. He makes sense for them as a right-handed bat at first base, and his value is down after his post-trade performance in the second half. Obviously, though, Garko (who, for the record, got married over the weekend) would be looking for as much playing time as possible. It’s probably safest to assume the Garko ship (as it pertains to the Indians) has sailed.
  • Overall, I don’t see the Indians doing anything in free agency until mid- to late-January, at the earliest.
  • The reports on Jake Westbrook’s first two winter ball starts for Ponce in Puerto Rico have been encouraging. Westbrook reported that he felt better in his second start Saturday than he has at any other point in a game situation since his May 2008 surgery.
  • Fausto Carmona made his first winter ball start for Aguilas in the Dominican Republic on Sunday, allowing three runs (two earned) on three hits with no walks and three strikeouts over 3 1/3 innings.
  • Here’s what GM Mark Shapiro had to say about the Tribe’s 2010 contention hopes in a weak AL Central: “It’s still going to be dependent on our starting pitching and the development of those guys. The greatest condition upon us becoming a contending team is, can we take those nine guys and get five of them to pitch like No. 3 starters? Can we piece together five No. 3 starters for the season? That’s possible. It’s still going to take a lot of things positively working together. If that happens, I think the rest of our team gives us enough of a core to contend.”
  • The Indians won’t hire another special assistant to take over Tim Belcher’s former role.
    Matt LaPorta, recovering from offseason hip and turf toe surgeries, is a little ahead of schedule but still not doing anything baseball-related.
  • Finally, there’s been a lot of talk (instigated by Scott Boras) lately about mid- and small-market ballclubs essentially hoarding money brought in through revenue sharing. Here’s the link to an interesting piece in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette about that issue, as it pertains to the Pirates. 

~AC

18 Comments

According to Paul Hoynes, the Indians are projected to name their hitting coach on Tuesday. Given the way that our AAA players matured, youth movement under way and familiarity often breeds content (and hopefully success), I’m voting for Nunnally. Brown and Marte alone are two big reasons to suggest that he can teach something to players.

On a different and somewhat revisionist history angle, did anyone else see the article from Paul Hoynes stating that the Indians received $55M in revenue sharing, cable and licensing fees?

According to Paul Dolan the Indians were set to lose $16M last year. Add that number with our $81M payroll ($97M) while subtracting that $55M figure ends up being $42M, or as low as $26M between the payroll dollars less the revenue. It’s an interesting concept but then again I’m not interested in reliving their past decisions to make trades, etc. I just thought it was noteworthy.

In order of my disappoint of potentially losing our draft eligible players: Pino, McBride, Wright, Smith, Lofgren. Wright is 16 months older than Smith and probably more capable of staying on a ML roster for the entire season (IMO only). Before the draft on Thursday I want to look at all the rosters in MLB to see exactly which teams have open spots. Having this information would allow us fans to speculate with greater confidence rather than simply saying, “Pino is gone… to someone.”

I would be upset about losing Pino mostly because that means we gave away Pavano for nothing. It would have been nice to see if something could come of that trade. McBride, on the other hand, wouldn’t upset me too much because it seems like we have a lot of players of his type. He may be a good player one day, but I don’t see where we can fit him in on our roster in the near future.

I wouldn’t mind bringing Carroll back, seeing as he is a great guy and a solid utility player. It would also give Donald more consistent AB’s at AAA. But it would be tough to justify that money. The FO would probably be smart to give the young guy the ML spot and save some coin in the process.

I didn’t read the article yet. But Boras is a *********. Sorry.

Oh wow, it edited my post. Technology these days… have fun filling in the blank, kids.

“Oh wow, it edited my post. Technology these days… have fun filling in the blank, kids.”

Uhh, I give up. What did it say? lol

I think I can guess.

my guess is a 6 letter word that describes an unsanitary cleaning process for the XX gender plus ‘bag’ added to the end

Carl Pavano (MIN), Rafael Soriano (ATL) and Rafael Betancourt (COL) all accepted arbitration before the deadline. Rumor had it that the Red Sox were primed to go after Soriano AND Betancourt so their decisions were interesting nonetheless.

And Brad Penny signed for a $7.5M base salary and $1.5M in incentives? What are the Cardinals thinking even if they do lose Smoltz, Piniero and Wellemeyer?

Adam Everett resigned with the Tigers.
Pudge Rodriguez signed with the Nationals of all places.

Haha, you are correct AM. I have no idea why Penny got that much money. He was much more effective in the NL than the AL, but come on.. as much as 9 million? I was curious to see what would have happened if Betancourt had declined arbitration, but this is probably a good move for him. He is on a pretty good team, so I am happy for him.

Anthony: make it a Merry Christmas for us all and take out Scott Boras if you see him. I’ll cash out my meager 401 K to bail you out :)

I just read Curtis Granderson might end up with the Yankees. I think after Joe Mauer, he’s the one player in our division I love and I will become physically sick if either one of those guys end up there. Like Victor-To-The-Red Sox sick.

Wow, the Tigers would ship off Edwin Jackson AND Granderson??? That doesn’t make much sense. I mean, they would get Phil Coke and a prospect in return, so it is basically swapping a proven pitcher and outfielder for an unproven pitcher and a outfield prospect. As long as the Yankees don’t sign Bay/Holliday/Lackey I don’t mind. If they score one of them, it is game over for every other team for the next five years in terms of competing in the AL.

The Granderson deal is nice to see for one reason and one reason only: Grady. The chances that the Yankees will be in the market for Grady when he becomes a FA decreases drastically if they have Granderson. Now, I’m not saying we’ll be able to keep him, but at least he won’t be going to the Yankees.
I understand the Tigers dealing Jackson simply because he pitched out of his mind this season — there was no indication that he could pitch THAT well. His value has never been higher. I’m more surprised at Granderson, but I guess they’ve figured they’d lose him eventually. That Willis contract is weighing them down and I’m pretty sure they need to cut payroll.

I understand needing to cut payroll, but he is a young and productive player. His averages have been concerning though. He batted .302 a couple years ago, .280 the next, and then .249 last year. Maybe the Tigers see something they don’t like.

I don’t agree with trading Jackson still. It’s one thing to treat relievers like stocks (buy ‘em low, sell ‘em high) but starting pitching is always tough to come by.

Us Cleveland fans… already thinking of Grady’s impending free agency. I am still more concerned about LeBron’s this summer. One at a time, please.

I don’t really get that Tigers trade. It might make sense for a team like the Indians to make a deal like that, bringing in 3 pitchers, but the Tigers? Their problem isn’t pitching. They had a below average offense and just made their offense worse, and really didn’t upgrade the pitching staff much with the loss of Jackson. It’s not like it saves that much money in 2010 either, Granderson was only making $5.5 and it’s not like the guys they got were all super-cheap prospects. Weird … I would disagree about Grady, LACF, Granderson’s contract has a $13 million option for 2013, the year Grady will be a free agent, so that’s right around when the Yankees will be looking for a new CF … this is a good move for the Twins and the Indians though, since the Tigers seem intent on some kind of odd rebuilding here, probably Miguel Cabrera gets traded too

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