News out of the Dominican Republic on Friday from ESPN Deportes added a little more mystery to the Cleveland Indians’ plans on the field for the regular season.
The former backstop has added the hot corner to the list of his job responsibilities this winter, hardly a new piece of information at this point in the offseason. Santana’s belief that he would receive more regular playing time at third base was much more the surprise.
Kevin Schneider is a part-time contributor to DTTWLN. Upon the recent mention of a possible change in Chief Wahoo’s use as the Indians’ logo, Kevin asked if we would post his opinion on the matter. We agreed, provided it was well-thought out and supported. While all the writers of DTTWLN do not agree with Kevin, and this is his own opinion, it is clearly well-thought out. If you have a strong opinion pertaining to Chief Wahoo and how it is used, you are also welcome to email your well-thought out opinion to lead writer Mike Brandyberry.
At first, I thought it must be a typo.
As a second-year high-school teacher, I had grown accustomed to unique student names and the spellings of them. But this one made me wonder if the registrar had made some typing errors when keying in the last name of the student I’ll call, James Bluenose.
I’m altering James’ name to protect his identity. His full name included a physical feature with a color. This caught my attention because it varied even more than the students such as “Jeremy” ending in an “i” or the ones bearing names I never had heard.
The Cleveland Indians entered the 2013 season with an alarming lack of apparent ability in the starting rotation. With the turnaround of Ubaldo Jimenez, the comeback of Scott Kazmir, and the emergence of Cory Kluber, the starting rotation became a source of strength for the Indians. Kazmir moved on to the Oakland Athletics and Jimenez seems destine to sign with another team as well. With the loss of two key players, the big question is whether or not the Indians can repeat their playoff season.
In order to look at where the Indians could be in 2014, we must look at what they have lost and gained in this current off season. In addition to this, we have to look at the loss and gain of the other teams in the American League Central. Using a statistic known as Wins Above Replacement, or WAR, we can project how many wins each player is, or could be worth. If we add up the cumulative WAR of the players the Indians lost, and the WAR of the new additions to the team, we can project how many wins the Indians lost or gained with through free agency and trades this winter.
On Feb. 11, less than one month from now, pitchers and catchers will report to Cleveland Indians spring training camp in Goodyear, Az.
There will be a lot of names there, to be sure. There will be a lot of interesting stories to be told and fingers being crossed. Cleveland management has certainly done its due diligence in searching high and low for starting pitchers. The problem is, many of the arms added this offseason have belonged to players coming off down years or may be injury risks. It is a little unsettling that the Indians have not done much to bring in many players who have put up good numbers in the last year.
With the losses of Scott Kazmir, Joe Smith, Chris Perez and more than likely Ubaldo Jimenez, four key players were lost. Two relievers and two starters who played important roles in last year’s Wild Card run are with or will be with other teams in 2014. In their place are people from within the organization hoping to take the next step forward or veterans looking to resurrect their careers. There have been no “sure things” added to fill any of the voids.
Governor of Brohio Candidate, Laurel Wilder
Hello, my name is Laurel Wilder, and I am ready to be the first Governor of Brohio.
I have all the qualities necessary to be the best possible governor of Section 117. I …
As expected, the announcement of the 2014 National Baseball Hall of Fame class, set for a summer induction into Cooperstown, did not come without its fair share of drama this year. It has become a norm as new members of the Steroid Era reach their five-year eligibility threshold.
A trio of deserving stars of the 1990’s were selected on their first appearances on the ballot, joining Veteran Committee nominees and successful legendary managers Bobby Cox, Tony LaRussa, and Joe Torre. Pitchers Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine, teammates for ten years with the Atlanta Braves under Cox from 1993 through 2002, and slugger Frank Thomas all exceeded the 429 votes (75%) needed for enshrinement.
Four former Indians were on the ballot for this season and only one will survive to move onto next year’s selection options. Neither of Richie Sexson and Sean Casey received votes on the 571 total ballots submitted. Jack Morris, who pitched his final Major League season with the Indians in 1994, fell 78 votes short in his 15th and final year of eligibility.
The Indians have been relatively quiet this off season, and it is no secret that they have a need for starting pitching. The spots of Ubaldo Jimenez and Scott Kazmir will not be easy to fill, but this is going to be about the pitchers the Indians do have on board; specifically Corey Kluber, a pitcher that quietly performed as one of the best pitchers on the staff.
In his first taste of big league experience, Kluber gave up four runs in four and one third innings back in 2011. The next season he managed 12 starts with a little better, but still poor 5.14 ERA. He came into the 2013 season with little expectation among fans. In his first full season as a starter, Kluber put up some very good numbers. He finished with a record of 11-5 over 24 starts. He threw 147 innings and struck out 136 batters with a 3.85 ERA. His success was due in part to his much improved array of pitches.
As the off-season continues, and the Indians’ activity begins to pick up with the recent signings of players such as Scott Atchison and Jeff Francoeur, a new team is starting to form to bring Cleveland into spring training. It raises interesting questions, many of which are unable to be answered immediately – what, for example, does Cleveland plan to do with their abundance of outfielders? As indicated by the Drew Stubbs trade, Cleveland is well aware that they have a few too many outfielders on the roster, thus making the Francoeur addition an interesting one.
The Indians obviously have a strong outfield on the major league roster, with names such as Michael Brantley, Michael Bourne, Ryan Raburn, and newcomer David Murphy, and they continue to have strong outfield prospects throughout the minor leagues, including players such as Carlos Moncrief and Tyler Holt. Is this abundance of outfielders a signal that someone is going to be traded? Is it a plan by the Indians to build up a new bench this season? As Francoeur has been signed to a minor league deal, there is no immediate threat that he will displace anyone on the major league stage. Yet, the question is raised, what was the motivation behind the signing? Again, the recent activity that raises questions that cannot be answered until we see how the team falls together during Spring Training.
It’s a small sample size, but it isn’t a good one.
Carlos Santana’s third base experiment is not off to a good start. Despite playing just eight games in the Dominican Winter League, Santana has made four errors for Leones del Escogido. The last time Santana tried to play third base it wasn’t successful, either. He made 12 errors in just 38 games at High-A, Vero Beach in the Los Angeles Dodgers minor league system in 2006. It’s the reason he was moved to catcher.
It’s likely the Indians will not judge Santana’s ability to play the hot corner based on just eight games, or his minor league career eight years ago, and give him an opportunity to play third base early in Spring Training. However, it appears he has a long way to go before the Indians would consider using him in even an emergency or minor role.
The Baseball Writers’ Association of America will announce the results for the 2014 Hall of Fame class on Wednesday, January 8th, and several former Cleveland Indians are among the players eligible for induction.
Despite several former Tribe players on the ballot this year, the odds are slim that the Indians add new Hall of Famers to their current list of 31 former players and seven managers who donned a Cleveland uniform prior to their enshrinement in Cooperstown.
Power is not an easy commodity to come by. There has been much speculation about the possibility of the Indians adding a power bat before the start of the 2014 season. This is going to be a difficult prospect, not only because the Indians do not have a lot of money to spare, but also because there are not many power hitters available on the open market. In fact, there are only two players still available that hit more home runs than the Indians team leader last season. Power used to be easy to find, in today’s game, it is a rare talent.
Just 14 seasons ago, in 2000, 13 teams hit more than 190 home runs on the season. Just one team in 2013, the Baltimore Orioles, surpassed that mark. The Indians finished 10th among the 30 Major League Baseball teams with 171 home runs, in 2000 that would have been good enough for 22nd. From an individual standpoint, 40 players in 2000 hit more than 30 home runs on the season. This past year only 10 men hit over 30 home runs. Power hitters are just no longer as prevalent as they were during the major offensive era that lasted from about 1994-2006. The prospect of finding a power bat readily available on the open market is not such an easy task, and the scarcity of these players makes them all the more expensive.
On Dec. 27, 1964, the Cleveland Browns defeated the Baltimore Colts 27-0 in the NFL Championship game. Times were great in Cleveland, as the city celebrated its first championship of any kind since 1955. It was a nine-year drought. Little did anyone know that the moment should have been savored and clung on to for dear life.
No major Cleveland sports team has won a championship since those Browns. The NFL is going to hold its 48th Super Bowl on Feb. 2. The Browns have not made it to that game even one time. The Cleveland Cavaliers, in existence since 1970, have been to one NBA Final and were swept out of it. The Cleveland Indians have lost a pair of World Series since 1964.