The Cleveland Indians checked off another box on the offseason to-do list on Friday when it signed two players to one-year contracts and tendered contracts to their remaining five arbitration eligible players on the roster.
Reliever Dan Otero and outfielder Abraham Almonte each agreed to one-year contracts with the Indians to avoid arbitration. The Indians also tendered offers to pitchers Cody Allen, Trevor Bauer, Zach McAllister, and Danny Salazar as well as outfielder Lonnie Chisenhall.
The clock is ticking loudly around Major League Baseball as teams have until Friday night (8 PM ET) to decide whether or not to tender contracts to arbitration eligible players.
The decisions for the Cleveland Indians may be fairly easy this year, but keeping all seven of their arbitration-eligible players will shrink what little financial wiggle room the organization has all the more.
The Indians set a franchise record for salary spent last season, and with a significant amount of money due to returning players already because of the way many of the existing contracts on the roster are structured, Cleveland is already on the brink of equaling last season’s payroll, and that includes money subtracted by the culmination of the contracts of Jay Bruce, Carlos Santana, Bryan Shaw, and other free agents following the 2017 season.
Things started well for the Indians’ offense when Francisco Lindor tied the game at one all with his leadoff homer off of Doug Fister in the bottom of the first inning. Unfortunately for Cleveland, that would be the highlight of the night as the Boston starter allowed just three more base runners and no more hits on the way to a complete game one-hitter in a 9-1 Red Sox rout of the Indians on Tuesday night.
Fister, making his third start in his last four outings against the Indians, held the Tribe bats in check in throwing his first complete game since 2014. He worked quickly and efficiently and he was supported by more than enough runs from his teammates, who piled on against starter Carlos Carrasco.
The Kansas City Royals got to Danny Salazar for a career-worst 12 hits as the Cleveland Indians dropped the final game of their four-city, 11-game road trip, 7-4, on Sunday afternoon.
It was not the usual suspects in the Royals lineup who provided the bulk of the damage but instead, the bottom portion of the starting nine as Kansas City put up 15 hits in total and ended a long scoreless streak at the plate. Salazar struggled with his command, despite walking just one, but he allowed the dozen hits and a half-dozen runs in just four and two-thirds innings.
Defense played a big role in the New York Yankees dropping each of the first two games of their series in Cleveland against the Indians. That same defense would come through in clutch time for the Yankees on Saturday night as several big plays in the ninth inning helped preserve a 2-1 victory over the Indians.
In a tight game that was well pitched on both sides of the ledger, the Yankees (58-51) would edge out a win to end their four-game losing streak. It also brought an end to a nine-game home winning streak by the Indians (59-49), who were dealt their first home loss of the second half.
The Indians saw the old version of Doug Fister that they have faced numerous times over the years and not the player who had struggled to find a consistent spot in the Majors as the veteran right-hander returned to the Red Sox rotation and shut down the Cleveland offense over seven and two-thirds innings before a late Tribe homer in a 6-2 win by Boston on Monday night.
Fister was in prime form in the series opener from Fenway Park as the Indians’ struggles in the oldest ball park in the Majors continued. Mike Clevinger had a tough time on the mound for the Indians for a second straight start and did so in his first game against the Red Sox in his career.
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Any questions about whether or not Zach McAllister would return to the Cleveland Indians for the 2017 season were answered in early January when he and the club agreed to a one-year, $1.825 million contract to avoid arbitration eligibility for the second consecutive year.
The Indians tinkered with their bullpen this offseason, starting by not extending an offer to Jeff Manship, who had joined McAllister and others in the middle of a Tribe bullpen that went from questionable to exceptional with the midseason addition of All-Star left-hander Andrew Miller from New York.
For McAllister, his retention by the club was another vote of confidence from the organization that he has spent parts of the last seven seasons playing for.
It came down to the final day for many, but the Cleveland Indians have been able to avoid several uncomfortable arbitration hearings this winter as they announced deals with seven eligible players on contract figures for the coming 2017 season.
Friday marked the deadline for teams to exchange contract figures. The deals eliminated seven of the eight players with whom the Indians were potentially going to have to go to arbitration hearings, scheduled to occur between January 30 and February 17. The team can still reach an agreement between now and then with outfielder Brandon Guyer, the lone player eligible who did not come to terms. The two sides were a reported $400,000 apart between figures, according to MLB Network’s Jon Heyman.
Indians reliever Zach McAllister got a big vote of confidence from the Cleveland organization when the arbitration-eligible right-hander was one of eight players tendered a contract by the club in advance of the deadline earlier in December.
Having just completed his sixth big league season in an Indians uniform, McAllister is now fully settled into his role as a reliever after spending most of his first four years in the Majors in the starting rotation. While his first full season in the bullpen yielded some promising results, including a surprisingly high strikeout rate, some of those numbers dropped back down to more expected results this past season.
Chicago starter Jake Arrieta froze the Cleveland bats, taking a no-hitter into the sixth inning, and his offense jumped on Trevor Bauer and the Indians bullpen to even up the World Series at one win a piece in a 5-1 Cubs win on Wednesday night.
With rain in the forecast throughout the day in Cleveland and a cool fall feel in the air, the Cubs and Indians played Game 2 from Progressive Field as the Chicago bats woke up while those of their opponents slumbered.
All eyes were on Bauer in the first, waiting for the stitched together right pinkie finger of the young right-handed starter to hemorrhage blood as it had done in the second game of the American League Championship Series against Toronto. The finger held together just fine, but Bauer’s command was not nearly as crisp as the air and Chicago touched him up for a run in their first at bats of the night.
“In Northeast Ohio, nothing is given. Everything is earned.” The quote from LeBron James has become a silent mantra for the city of Cleveland and was certainly appropriate for the Indians this season. Monday night proved to be no different as, despite losing starter Trevor Bauer just two outs into the first inning with blood gushing from his stitched together right pinkie finger, the Tribe bullpen combined with four runs of offense to defeat the Blue Jays, 4-2, in Toronto in Game 3 of the American League Championship Series.
The improbable, incomprehensible, and magical victory for the Indians moved the club just one win from clinching the American League pennant with four chances remaining to drive the final nail into the Blue Jays’ coffin for 2016. As obstacle after obstacle and distraction after distraction has stood menacingly in the way of the Indians this season and again in the postseason, a team of destiny appears not only up to the task of defying the odds, but defeating them in the most unrealistic of ways.
Detroit hit a pair of tie-breaking home runs before rains delayed and ultimately ended the game after just five innings of play as the Tigers defeated the Cleveland Indians by a 6-3 score on Wednesday night.
While the loss put a damper on the Indians’ pursuits of the top spot in the American League for home field advantage throughout the playoffs, the loss did spare another four innings of work in what again amounted to a bullpen game for the Tribe. Zach McAllister made the start, working two good innings before a pair of relievers ran into trouble with extra base hits.
Cleveland grabbed an early 1-0 lead against Detroit’s Michael Fulmer, one of the leading AL Rookie of the Year candidates. Jason Kipnis drew a one-out walk and advanced on a throwing error from Fulmer before Carlos Santana doubled him home to put the Indians on the board.