An impressive and very much unexpected and dominant 2014 season has thrust Cleveland Indians starting pitcher Corey Kluber’s name to the top of the list in the race for the American League Cy Young Award.
If Kluber is honored with the award when it is announced on November 12th, he will become the first Indians pitcher to be recognized with the pitching prize since Cliff Lee won 22 games in 2008.
In the NFL and NBA, a general manager can be made or broken by the first-year player draft. Newly selected players, especially those taken early on tend to make some sort of an impact within a year or two. Within three years of one of those drafts, it can usually be determined if the draft was a success or failure.
It is a lot different in the world of Major League Baseball. In that world a drafted player may not see a Major League field for three or more years. Unlike the NBA, where a teenager may be drafted and expected to contribute right away, a teenager selected by an MLB squad will normally be in the minor leagues until he is 21 or older.
While the draft is important in Major League Baseball, a GM is made more in offseason signings – especially those signings that unexpectedly worked. Unearthing a hidden gem or two can make more impact a team’s success than hitting correctly on the No. 1 overall draft choice.
With Indians baseball fast approaching, it’s time for fans to start getting excited and ready for their 2014 adventures to Progressive Field. Half the fun of a baseball game is experiencing the action amongst a group of excited fans, down at the stadium with the energy and atmosphere of the live game surrounding you. But what makes the experience even more enjoyable? The added bonuses that come with being at the game in person – the promotions.
As we discussed earlier this off-season, the Indians seemed to suffer from an attendance issues in 2013. For those fans who chose not to come to the field opting instead to watch games at home, at a bar, or simply not watch at all, they missed out on those significant extras that are included with each ticket during a giveaway night. For those complaining that ticket prices may be too high, the promise of an extra gift upon entrance adds another layer of value to the price. And, in 2014, the Indians are doing all they can to ensure that that value is not lost.
Just over a week ago, Indians manager Terry Francona told the media and fans alike at TribeFest that he is happy with their roster as they close in on Spring Training.
Being happy with the roster and having the roster complete may sound very similar, but could still be two totally different meanings. Francona never stated that he thought the roster was complete, and he likely never would. Indians general manager Chris Antonetti has stated—like most general managers—that he’s always looking to improve the roster.
The weather in northeast Ohio this winter has given baseball fans the feeling that spring will never come.
The Cleveland Indians’ organization and several of its minor league affiliates have done plenty to give fans hope that warmer weather and baseball are closer than they appear.
After very trying and difficult to digest fall and winter sports efforts from the Cleveland Browns and the Cleveland Cavaliers, many Cleveland fans could benefit from a fresh start with a team that concluded its 2013 campaign with a ten-game regular season winning streak culminating in an American League Wild Card game at home.
The Indians bullpen has long been a point of strength for the team. Through a revolving door of pitchers, the Indians have managed to maintain a well-run pen for years. This season the revolving door continues as they lost several key pitchers. Few were sad to see former closer Chris Perez depart, but he did have some good seasons in Cleveland. Matt Albers left via free agency and signed with the Houston Astros. Rich Hill recently signed a minor league contract with the Boston Red Sox. Finally, side winding Joe Smith took his talents to Los Angeles to pitch for the Angels. Replacing those guys is going to be tough, but the Indians have some good arms in the fold.
The new addition to the closers roll is former Milwaukie Brewers closer John Axford. After leading the league in saves in 2011, Axford struggled for a season and a half until the Brewers finally traded him to St Louis in August of 2013. He found his place as a Cardinal, pitching very well in 13 games posting 9.6 strikeouts per nine innings and a 1.74 ERA. He will be the Indians closer this season and the Tribe hopes he continues to mow down the competition.
Every spring, Major League Baseball teams go to arbitration with a player or players who have unsettled contracts. Every spring, for more than 20 years, the Indians have not needed to dispute a player’s contract in front of an arbitrator. Indications are that may very well change in the next few weeks.
Cleveland currently has four arbitration-eligible players who have not yet inked deals for the 2014 season. General Manager Chris Antonetti recently said one or more of those players could take the Tribe to an arbitration table for the first time since the team could not come to agreements with Jerry Browne and Greg Swindell in 1991.
Three of the four unsigned players seem stand a pretty good shot of coming to terms with the Indians before their hearing dates. Michael Brantley, Vinnie Pestano and Josh Tomlin are not far apart on dollar amounts with the team. Of the trio, Brantley is the furthest away from settling, as his agent and the Tribe are a reported $1.1 million away from each other.
With the off-season coming to a close, baseball fans everywhere are starting to get excited about the prospect of pitchers and catchers reporting to Arizona in less than two weeks and the prospect of prospects themselves. The offseason is a chance for players who have already “made it” to the bigs to continue to improve their stuff and maintain their dominance, and is also an opportunity for younger guys to put together the performances that will prove their worth during spring training. Whether prospects and players in the minor league ranks have invited to big league spring training or not, the Arizona pre-season is still their chance to prove where they should be in the system, and, perhaps more importantly, why they should still be there.
All organizations obviously have those players that they predict will make it far within the system. Whether it is young guys like Dorssys Paulino, whom the Indians have demonstrated a lot of faith in as a strong future shortstop, or those on the brink of a stellar career, such as Jose Ramirez or Francisco Lindor, who have wait her already spent time at the major league level or are anticipated to make an appearance any season now, there are players throughout the minor league ranks that the Indians are preparing for a career with the big league team. One such step in this preparation is the annual Winter Development Program.
The Cleveland Browns have dominated the airwaves in the city over the majority of the last month while the team searched for its new head coach, less than one year after the hiring of recently dismissed coach Rob Chudzinski.
On Thursday, the team announced the signing of former Buffalo Bills and New York Jets defensive coordinator Mike Pettine as the new head coach for an organization that has consistently struggled and of late has become the butt of jokes around the nation.
One of the key qualities that Browns’ owner Jimmy Haslem III was looking for in his coaching search was a proven winner. While Pettine has yet to lead a professional team as a head coach, the same could not be said about the Cleveland Indians’ dugout leadership provided by manager Terry Francona prior to his hire last offseason.
There seems to be a perception that the Indians won in spite of a terrible offense. There is a wide spreading belief that the pitching staff carried the team and was pressured into pitching a shutout every night in order …
Omar Vizquel will be inducted into the hall of fame this summer. No, he is not going into the hallowed halls of Cooperstown with Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and Frank Thomas. There was not recount of that vote from a couple weeks ago, nor has Vizquel been away from playing days for the required five years.
Vizquel has been retired from the diamond for a full season. That is all the time that is needed for a plaque in Heritage Park, the site of the Cleveland Indians’ Hall of Fame housed at Progressive Field.
As announce by the Tribe on Wednsday, the legendary shortstop will take his rightful place in the annals of Tribe history on June 21st when he and former Indians broadcaster Jimmy Dudley become the 40th and 41st members to the team’s hall of fame. A team that has a rich history, dating back to 1901, clearly only has the cream of the crop in its hall when its membership is less than half the amount of years it has played the game.
You might not even want to take them with a grain of salt.
With less than a month until Spring Training camps open, preseason predictions will begin to surface and post from now all the way until Opening Day. With Sabermetrics and statistical analysis that’s better than ever, predictions have more hard data than ever to try and make them more reliable.
And while most predictions are doomed to fail, predicting the Cleveland Indians could be even more difficult of a task than most teams. A year ago most Sabermetricians felt the Indians were between an 80-82 win team. It was widely accepted that the Indians were much improved coming in to 2013, but most felt they still were not a playoff contender.