Major League Baseball will kick off the 2019 season with its earliest start ever (excluding international openers) as all 30 teams will take the field on March 28. Follow along with Did The Tribe Win Last Night as we count down the days until Opening Day 2019. – BT
Countdown to Opening Day – 35 days
Abraham Almonte came to camp a year ago in his familiar 35, the same number that he had worn in his first three seasons with the Indians. He wouldn’t get to keep it, however, as he was designated for assignment at the end of the spring and was selected off of waivers by the Kansas City Royals, preventing him from joining just a handful of players in club history (Wayne Kirby, Enrique Wilson, and Tom Buskey) to wear 35 for more than three years for the Tribe.
Now, 26-year-old right-hander Ben Taylor will see if he gets to keep the number for himself for a second season after appearing in just six games for the Indians last year.
The transactions page on Indians.com remained active on Monday as the Tribe made three roster moves directly affecting the organization.
Cleveland activated first baseman Yonder Alonso from the Family Medical Emergency list, returning him to the 25-man roster. To make room, as expected, outfielder Greg Allen was optioned to Triple-A Columbus.
In separate moves and maybe somewhat unsurprisingly, the Indians have comes to terms on a minor league contract with former Tribe southpaw Marc Rzepczynski. The 32-year-old will report to Columbus, looking to find his old form that made him one of the top matchup artists in baseball not too long ago. Outfielder Melky Cabrera, who was designated for assignment on Thursday, cleared waivers and was outrighted to Columbus, but as a veteran with plenty of years of service, he has declined the assignment and elected to become a free agent.
While the offseason has been historically slow and the winter has crawled along at an even slower pace, we at Did The Tribe Win Last Night look ahead to the warmer days of the 2018 season by remembering Tribe players past and present.
Countdown to Opening Day – 35 days
It would appear as though Abraham Almonte will get an opportunity to return to the Indians outfield in 2018 wearing his familiar number 35, something that he has done in more years than just a handful of players in club history. Heading into this season, only Wayne Kirby, Enrique Wilson, and Tom Buskey had spent more than three years in the 35.
He was an old man who pitched alone on a mound in the Major Leagues and he had gone sixty-nine games without looking like himself. In the first twenty-four games results had been with him. But after fifty days without a hold the team’s front office had told him that the old man was now definitely and finally salao, which is the worst form of unlucky, and the team had gone at their orders in another direction which threw several good relievers the first week.
The old man was Scott Atchison, and this is the baseball equivalent of Ernest Hemingway’s 1952 novella, The Old Man and the Sea, in the event that this reference went over your head. It would have been just as relevant to link to another Hemingway work, A Farewell to Arms.
It seems often the Indians organization tells fans it’s early and encourages them not to panic, however, it only took them three weeks to take the roster in a new direction.
On July 20, we analyzed and explained the Indians roster and payroll problems for 2016. The Indians were facing a potential $100 million payroll to bring back a roster that could lose 90 games. Cleveland has never broken into that salary threshold before, and it would make very bad business sense to do it for a group that has underachieved and—according to Jason Kipnis and others—has players who don’t always hustle or seem distracted.
But in less than three weeks, Chris Antonetti has shed approximately $25 million off the 2016 projected payroll. David Murphy was traded to Los Angeles, Brandon Moss to St. Louis and Marc Rzepczynski to San Diego before the trade deadline. Those three moves helped shed about $15 million. Still, that left the Indians at a projected $85 million for 2016, which seems to be the number they have operated around since 2013.
Almonte Assigned to Columbus
There’s a new face in Columbus. The Indians traded Marc Rzepczynski to San Diego minutes before the Friday 4pm deadline for versatile, switch-hitting outfielder Abraham Almonte and immediately assigned him Columbus. The 26-year-old split the season between San Diego and Triple-A El Paso. In 31 games with the Padres, Almonte hit .204 (11-54) with four RBI, six runs, three doubles, and one stolen base. In 61 games with El Paso, he hit .275 with four home runs, 35 RBI, 18 doubles, two triples, and 11 stolen bases. At 5’9″, 210 pounds, Almonte has power, good speed and can play all three outfield positions. Almonte has also spent time with the Yankees and Mariners organizations. In 2014, he opened the regular season as Seattle’s starting center fielder and leadoff hitter, but was demoted to Triple-A after struggling to produce at the plate. He was later traded to San Diego.
Tomlin Has Longest Outing Since Shoulder Surgery
Josh Tomlin was charged with the loss in his third rehab start with Columbus. The righty pitched into the seventh inning in Thursday’s 7-1 loss to Indianapolis, his longest outing since undergoing shoulder surgery in March. Here’s his stat line for the game: 6.1IP, 6H, 2R/ER, 1HR, 4BB, 1SO, 90 pitches/61 strikes.
The Indians fell to the Orioles, 4-3, on Friday, despite another strong start by Corey Kluber, who once again suffered from a lack of run support. After seven strong innings from Kluber, it took Marc Rzepczynski just three pitches to …
The Indians climbed back from a 3-0 deficit to take a 5-3 lead, then did the same from a 7-5 deficit to take an 8-7 lead on Monday. But the Rangers eventually took advantage of two late errors by Indians …
Trevor Bauer scattered four hits over seven innings and followed Corey Kluber‘s 18-strikeout performance with 10 of his own, but the offense couldn’t score enough and the bullpen couldn’t hold a lead, resulting in a 2-1 loss at Progressive Field …
Did The Tribe Win Last Night is honored to join the More Than a Fan Network in their Tribe Time Now podcasts this season. DTTWLN.com will be represented along with Indians Baseball Insider, Burning River Baseball and Itâs Pronounced Lajaway …
Did the Tribe Win Last Night? Nope. After a back and forth contest in the early innings, the Toronto Blue Jays took the lead for good in the top of the fifth inning and blew it open in the top of the sixth, en route to a 11-4 victory.
Corey Kluber tossed another good, but not great, game. Officially, he was charged with five runs over five innings, allowing eight hits, two walks and striking out three. Unofficially, he pitched the Indians into the sixth inning with a chance to win, but still trailing 4-2. It was the bullpen that again imploded and created large deficit.
Kluber started the sixth inning, but a double by Kevin Pillar led Indians manager Terry Francona to excuse him from the game. Marc Rzepczynski only retired one of his three hitters before giving way to Anthony Swarzak, who allowed four runs to score while only recording an out. The crushing blow was a double by Jose Bautista, plating two runs and making it 8-2. Toronto would add a pair more to make it 10-2 before the inning was over. The Blue Jays never looked back and took their second game of three played in the four game series.
Rookie Aaron Sanchez pitched five and two-third innings, allowing a pair of runs on four hits, six walks and five strikeouts. The former top prospect earned his second win of the season as a starting pitcher.
WP: Sanchez (2-2) LP: Kluber (0-4)
Prior to Saturday’s game, the Cleveland Indians made yet another transaction that directly affected their bullpen, as reliever Austin Adams was optioned back to Columbus for the second time in the first ten games of the season to make room for starting pitcher Danny Salazar.
The move paid off for the starting rotation, as Salazar struck out ten in one of the strongest outings he has had in his short Major League career, scattered now over parts of three seasons. The team was able to recall him and insert him into the rotation after Zach McAllister lost his starting spot that he had earned out of Spring Training, maybe as much by default as anything else. The veteran right-hander was out of options and neither Salazar nor the injured Josh Tomlin showed that they could handle the pressures of being out there every fifth day.