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.
With all sorts of rumors circulating about the Cleveland Indians’ starting rotation this offseason, finally there was some good news to ease the collective conscience of the fan base.
On Thursday, the Indians announced a two-year contract extension with starter Carlos Carrasco, whose name had been mentioned among three potential trade candidates as the team looks to build for the present and the future.
Despite a 200-win career over 18 seasons, a Cy Young Award, and a World Series MVP Award, Orel Hershiser did not last long on the Hall of Fame ballot, exiting the process after just two years back in 2007.
This weekend, he will get a second shot, post-BBWAA, as part of the Today’s Game Era balloting, set to be announced from the Winter Meetings in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Sunday, December 9.
Hershiser’s candidacy is once again up for debate as he finds himself on the Today’s Game Era ballot for the second time in three years. He was previously considered in December of 2016, when he was joined by Harold Baines, Albert Belle, Will Clark, Davey Johnson, Mark McGwire, Lou Piniella, John Schuerholz, Allan H. “Bud” Selig and George Steinbrenner. Schuerholz and Selig were selected as part of the Class of 2017. Baines, Belle, Clark, Johnson, Piniella, and Steinbrenner join Hershiser on this year’s ten-man ballot, with Joe Carter, Lee Smith, and Charlie Manuel joining them. McGwire did not return for this year’s vote.
My phone started blowing up Friday night as word got out that Yan Gomes was being dealt to the Nationals.
My boy William (with whom I’d regularly participated in Cleveland Browns and Indians Q&As) asked why the Indians were dealing their starting catcher, a year after he played in his first All-Star Game. But too many of my Indians fan friends used the same two-word phrase that had me channeling Samuel L. Jackson in “Pulp Fiction”:
SAY “FIRE SALE” AGAIN! I DARE YOU!! I DOUBLE DARE YOU!!!
The Cleveland Indians added to their farm depth, as the club announced three minor league deals with free agents on Saturday.
Most notable and experienced of the trio is outfielder Trayce Thompson, who has spent parts of the last four seasons in the Majors. Left-hander Josh Smith signs after spending last season in the Boston Red Sox’s minor league systemb, and right-handed reliever James Hoyt rejoins the Indians organization one day after not being tendered a Major League contract by Cleveland.
All three players received invitations to spring training as part of the terms of their contracts.
The Cleveland Indians returned to routine offseason work following the announcement of the Yan Gomes trade with Washington on Friday, avoiding arbitration with four members of its 40-man roster while tendering contract offers to All-Stars Trevor Bauer and Francisco Lindor, as well as rehabbing pitcher Cody Anderson.
The Indians came to terms on Major League contracts for the 2019 season with relievers Nick Goody and Neil Ramirez, pitcher Danny Salazar, and infielder Eric Stamets. Reliever James Hoyt, who was acquired from the Houston Astros during the first week of July, was the only player eligible who was non-tendered, making him a free agent.
With one eye on the present and another on the future, the Cleveland Indians cut some salary off of their books on Friday, sending All-Star catcher Yan Gomes to the Washington Nationals.
Dealing from a position with a little depth to it on the 40-man roster, the Indians traded their longtime backstop to the Nationals for pitcher Jefry Rodriguez, minor league outfielder Daniel Johnson, and a player to be named later.
Two Tribe players – one long tenured and the other much shorter – found new homes on Monday as a pair of free agent Clevelanders have signed new deals around Major League Baseball.
Outfielder Lonnie Chisenhall and third baseman Josh Donaldson have taken up new residences in the National League, as the duo both agreed to one-year deals that were announced on Monday in what has been a quiet and uneventful first month of free agency.
The Cleveland Indians added three more prospects to the 40-man roster on Tuesday, protecting three young talents from selection in next month’s Rule 5 draft.
First baseman Bobby Bradley, starting pitcher Sam Hentges, and pitcher Jean Carlos Mejia became the newest members of the farm system to earn a spot on the 40-man roster of the Indians, ensuring that Cleveland does not lose any of the three during the Major or Minor League portions of the draft in December. The moves filled the team’s roster at 40, following the addition earlier in the day of right-handed reliever Walker Lockett in a minor trade with the San Diego Padres.
The Cleveland Indians have emphasized to fans to rock their red over the last several postseason runs. Now, the team will do the same.
The Indians unveiled a pair of new looks for their on-the-field uniforms on Monday morning in a press conference from the Progressive Field Team Shop led by Tribe senior vice president of public affairs Bob DiBiasio. While it has been common knowledge for quite some time that the loved-or-hated Chief Wahoo was to be retired at the end of the 2018 season, there were questions about what the team could do to change up its look. The team has once again drawn from its past to do so in bringing forth new gear for both home games and those on the road.
Using a 27th round pick from last June’s draft, the Cleveland Indians purchased a lottery ticket for their thinned out bullpen on Monday in a trade with the Tampa Bay Rays.
The Indians announced the acquisition of right-handed pitcher Chih-Wei Hu from the Rays in exchange for first-year pro Gionti Turner, who spent last summer playing for Cleveland’s Arizona League club in Goodyear.