Today in Tribe History: December 13, 1923... December 13, 2018 | Bob Toth
Baines Elected to Baseball Hall, But Should He Have Been?... December 12, 2018 | Vince Guerrieri
Today in Tribe History: December 12, 1991... December 12, 2018 | Bob Toth
Rule 5 Loss of Rondon Tough but Understandable for Tribe... December 11, 2018 | Bob Toth
Projecting and developing young talent is not always easy. It can be what separates the good teams from the bad teams, or at least those teams which cannot just buy replacement parts to compensate for their own internal misses.
The Rule 5 draft is one way a team can build up its roster, if looking to do so with a low risk, low cost scratch-off lottery ticket, but generally players selected in such a transaction rarely make significant contributions in the game of baseball.
Cleveland Indians fans who know the name Kelly Gruber likely remember him as being one of a handful of such players who found success and long careers in a new home. He is one of the more notable names lost by the Indians franchise in the long history of the alternative drafting process.
Cleveland continues to turn over all stones for bullpen help and added to the mix on Saturday as the club signed outfielder turned reliever Anthony Gose to a minor league contract.
Gose’s deal does not include an invitation to spring training.
The Party at Napoli’s is officially over. Or maybe, it’s only just beginning.
Twelve-year big leaguer Mike Napoli announced his retirement on Saturday afternoon via his social media platforms.
Napoli, who turned 37 on Halloween, missed nearly all of the 2018 season in what was his 19th professional season. After returning for a second stint in the Cleveland Indians organization late in spring training, he suffered a torn ACL and meniscus in his right knee chasing after a foul popup while playing in his eighth game of the season at Triple-A Columbus. He underwent surgery to repair the injury and missed the rest of the season.
“After much though and consideration with my family, I have decided to retire from the game of baseball,” Napoli shared via social media. “I dreamed about playing baseball since I was a little kid growing up in Hollywood, FL and I was lucky enough to get paid to play a kids game for 18 years.”
Eleven-year Major Leaguer Luis Valbuena, who was a member of the Cleveland Indians organization from 2009 to 2011, was killed overnight in a car accident in his native Venezuela.
Just 33 years old, Valbuena was reportedly killed along with former Pittsburgh Pirates infielder Jose Castillo when the car that both were passengers in collided with a rock that had rolled onto a road in the Venezuelan state of Yaracuy. The driver of the vehicle, as well as fellow winter ball teammate and former Indians prospect Carlos Rivero, survived the crash according to reports out of Venezuela.
The cause of the accident is under investigation, as there is a belief that the rock in the road was deliberately placed in an effort to force cars to stop or crash so that the passengers could be robbed. Reports out of Venezuela indicate that the scene appeared looted. Both players killed were ejected from the vehicle and were not wearing their seat belts.
Harold Baines did not get a lot of consideration for the Hall of Fame after his 22-year Major League Baseball playing career came to an end in 2002, but he got a second chance when he was named as one of the ten candidates for the Today’s Game Era (1988-present) ballot.
Baines’ chances of gaining entry to Cooperstown, the home of the National Baseball Hall of Fame, will depend on the 16-member committee, comprised of members of the Hall, executives, and veteran media members. The election will take place during the MLB Winter Meetings from Las Vegas, Nevada, on Sunday, December 9. A three-fourths vote will determine induction.
Unwilling to go to four years on a contract with their former first baseman Pete O’Brien, Cleveland adds a veteran bat to the lineup with the signing of free agent first baseman Keith Hernandez to a two-year, $3.5 million contract.