The excitement of the new season is not just contained up on the shore of Lake Erie, but is going strong in Columbus as the Clippers start their new season. This season marks their fifth year in their beautiful new ballpark, Huntington Park.
The Clippers ended last year by closely missing the playoffs, finishing with a record of 75-69. Last season was viewed as a disappointment, as their 2011 season was capped off by winning their second consecutive Governors Cup. This season however is viewed with the same sense of strong optimism that follows the Indians into the new season.
The Clippers this season are lead by a new manager Chris Tremie. Tremie played in the majors from 1995 through 2004, being a journeyman moving through six organizations. After his career was over, he started managing for the Tribe through the Gulf Coast Indians, working his way up to the Akron Aeros for the last two seasons and now the Clippers this year.
During Spring Training the DTTWLN staff will profile and examine the coaches and players that make up and are vying to be part of the 2013 Cleveland Indians—A Team With A New Direction. Today, we examine one of the Spring Invitees and their chance to make the Tribe’s Opening Day roster.
By Steve Eby
Over the past decade, the Cleveland Indians have made a habit of stockpiling former closers into their bullpen. Their hope has always been that the former save artists would regain their form and work as formidable middle relievers and/or setup men while also serving as emergency closers as well.
In 2004, they signed Bob Howry and Jose Jimenez. In 2006 it was Danny Graves. The 2007 season brought Keith Foulke and Roberto Hernandez (the old White Sox guy, not the artist formerly known as Fausto Carmona). Then, most recently, Dan Wheeler was signed in 2012. None except Howry made any positive impact and most were off of the team before the All-Star break. In the case of Foulke, he chose to retire rather than play a single game in Cleveland.
Howry truly is the exception and the standard for which this bar is set. In two years with the Tribe, Howry notched an 11-6 record with a 2.57 ERA with three saves and 87 strikeouts compared to only 28 walks. He worked his way into the back end of the bullpen and became Bob Wickman’s primary set up man in 2005. Besides all of the saves that he picked up during his time with the White Sox, Howry’s most successful statistics appeared when he was donning a Cleveland uniform. Since he left as a free agent for the 2006 season, the Tribe has signed all of the previously mentioned has-beens hoping to catch lighting in a bottle again without any luck. Newly acquired Matt Capps is hoping to reverse that trend as he becomes the newest “Next Bobby Howry”.