Tribe Announces Coaching Staff, Makes Contract Decisions and Roster Moves
By Mike Brandyberry
Wednesday afternoon the Cleveland Indians announced their 2013 Major League coaching staff under the direction of new Manager Terry Francona and that they have exercised the 2013 option on Ubaldo Jimenez.
Jimenez was 9-17 with a 5.40 ERA in 31 starts for the Indians in 2012. Since being acquired on July 30, 2011, he has not been the ace pitcher the Tribe hoped to acquire. While Cleveland may have been reluctant to give him the $5.75 million option for 2013, it seems his potential and upside still exceeds what his team friendly contract costs. It would be tough to find a pitcher with greater high-end value on the free agent market at such a value.
The Indians did decline options on Travis Hafner and Roberto Hernandez. Hafner hit only .228 between two stints on the disabled list this season. When Hafner signed his long term contract in 2007, it seemed to be a team friendly contract for the Indians, but Hafner has battled injuries since the contract was signed. Hernandez’s option was declined after only pitching in three games this season due to visa issues with the United States government through July and an injured ankle in September. While the team said they are open to resigning either Hafner or Hernandez, it seems unlikely they fit in the young core moving forward.
Meanwhile, Francona publicly announced his coaching staff for the 2013 season. Francona today appointed Sandy Alomar (Bench Coach), Mickey Callaway (Pitching Coach), Kevin Cash (Bullpen Coach), Brad Mills (Third Base Coach), Mike Sarbaugh (First Base Coach) and Ty Van Burkleo (Hitting Coach) to the Major League coaching staff for the upcoming season. The staff owns a combined 148 years of experience in professional baseball.
Alomar returns to the same position he had in 2012 under Manny Acta. He was previously the Indians’ first base coach for the prior two seasons. He played 10 Major League seasons with the Tribe in his 20 year career, including six All-Star Game appearances. Alomar is still considered a candidate for the Toronto Blue Jays open managerial job. If he were to Cleveland, no current plan exists.
If he were to leave, Brad Mills—the current third base coach—could become Francona’s bench coach. Mills spent the last three seasons (2010-12) managing the Houston Astros. During his first season with the Astros (2010), the Astros finished 59-52 over their final 111 games and finished 1.0 game out of 3rd place in the NL Central. Mills owns 14 seasons of experience coaching or managing at the big league level, having previously served with Francona in Philadelphia (1997-2000) and for five playoff appearances in Boston (2004-09). Mills played collegiately (University of Arizona) and professionally (Montreal) with Francona.
Callaway, spent the 2012 season as the Tribe’s Minor League Pitching Coordinator in his third campaign in the Indians organization. He was previously the Pitching Coach at Low-A Lake County in 2010 and at High-A Kinston in 2011 after hanging up his cleats after the 2009 season. Mickey pitched professionally from 1996-2009, appearing in 40 Major League games with Tampa Bay, Texas and Anaheim from 1999-2004 and made 6 starts for the 2002 World Champion Anaheim Angels. He beat out Columbus Clippers Pitching Coach and current interim coach, Ruben Niebla.
Cleveland also made minor roster moves, out-righting Vinny Rottino and Kevin Slowey to Triple-A Columbus. Meanwhile Scott Maine was claimed on waivers by the Toronto Blue Jays. With the loss of the three players from the roster, in addition to Grady Sizemore and Casey Kotchman’s free agency, the current 40-man roster stands at 34 players, with three players (Carlos Carrasco, Josh Tomlin and Rafael Perez) on the 60-day disabled list. Nick Hagadone remains on the restricted list.
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