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Love the Dunn mention, but bet he does get fairly big money. One of the MVN guys wrote about Chad Cordero as closer and it wouldn't be a surprise if he's looked at. I wouldn't give the guy a dime personally and would focus on Lewis/Perez:




The Indians have had some discussions with Baltimore about second baseman Brian Roberts and keep running into the same roadblock -- the Orioles want Asdrubal Cabrera as a starting point of any package. Cabrera is the one prospect the Tribe cannot trade, because he plays second and short. The idea of getting Roberts is to put him at second, move Cabrera to short and Jhonny Peralta to third. The Orioles also say they want to re-sign Roberts, who will be a free agent at the end of 2009.


Several teams want Roberts, and it's more likely he will be traded than remain in Baltimore. The Orioles have to get better, and Roberts is a player who could bring a lot of young talent in return. But the Indians would be insane to trade Cabrera for a player they may only have for one year. That's because Cabrera is a .266 hitter (.349 OBP, .733 OPS) in 511 big-league at-bats. He won't be 23 until Nov. 13, and he hit .320 after the All-Star break this season. He's a switch hitter, an above average glove at second and short. He only needs to watch his weight. I am in favor of trading some prime prospects for Roberts, but not Cabrera.


Yes, the Indians did check out the Royals' Mark Teahen, but it doesn't appear to be very serious. His best season was 2006 (.290, 18 HR, 69 RBI, .874 OPS), but he has regressed the past two years. In 2008, he had 572 at-bats, with 15 HR and 59 RBI while hitting .255 with a .313 on-base percentage. He has played the outfield and third, and is barely average at either spot. He's 27, and he's really a guy to come off the bench. I hope the Indians don't think he can be their regular third baseman.


Some fans have talked about bringing Casey Blake back to play third. After being traded to the Dodgers in July and getting off to a solid start, he ended up hitting .251 with 10 HR and 23 RBI in 211 at-bats. Overall, he batted .274 with 21 HR, 81 RBI and a respectable .808 OPS (you want to be over .800). He's 35, and at this stage of his career, he's an average third baseman with the glove. After Aug. 1, he batted .237. At this point, he's sort of like Teahen, a nice guy to have batting maybe 300 times coming off the bench. Neither player addresses the Tribe's third-base problems.


The Indians are not going to sign free-agent closers Francisco Rodriguez (wants $15 million annually for five years) or Brian Fuentes (looking for $50M for five years). Internally, they have been talking about Rafael Perez as an alternative to Jensen Lewis, if Lewis falters as a closer. In 135 games with the Tribe, Perez has a 2.89 ERA with 163 strikeouts and just 44 walks in 149Ð innings. Opposing batters are hitting only .213 off him for his career. Last season, the left-handed Perez was nearly as effective against righties (.243) as lefties (.222).


I sense the Indians will bring in a couple of veteran relievers, such as Bob Howry, to fill out the bullpen, and then see if Lewis and/or Perez can close. They have three off-season priorities: 1. Add a solid starter; 2. Add a second or third baseman; 3. Add to the bullpen. My guess is the big money goes to the starter. No, Jake Peavy is not coming to Cleveland. He has a no-trade clause and wants to stay in the National League.


Last week, I pushed Jeff Stevens as a sleeper to be in the Tribe's bullpen on Opening Day roster. Here's another -- Jon Meloan, acquired along with Carlos Santana in the Blake deal. He has a career 2.09 ERA as a reliever in the minors, averaging 11 strikeouts per nine innings. Because the right-hander has four pitches -- including an excellent, big curveball -- the Dodgers made him a starter, and he was 5-10 with a 4.97 ERA at Class AAA Las Vegas. The Indians have moved him back to the bullpen. Yes, I hear that Adam Miller is throwing faster than 95 mph in the winter leagues, but until he shows he can stay healthy for more than a few months, Stevens and/or Meloan are more likely to come out of nowhere and make an impact than counting on Miller. Rich Rundles could make the team as a lefty reliever for the middle innings.


I haven't heard a word about this, but the Indians should look at free-agent outfielder Adam Dunn. Because he is a strange player with lots of strikeouts (164 in 517 at-bats last season) and a career .247 hitter, he may not get big money. So why consider him? Dunn has hit at least 40 HR in each of the past five seasons. He has a strong .381 OBP and a .899 OPS. Would a guy who hits 40 HR, drives in 100 runs, strikes out 160 times, and draws more than 100 walks while hitting in the .240s help the Indians in left field? He turns 29 next Sunday, so he still should have some good years left. The Indians would be more interested in a pitcher or infielder, but if Dunn is looking for a team in a few months -- the Indians should look hard at him.


http://blog.cleveland.com/sports/2008/1 ... s_hop.html



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I love Ingraham's involvement with Baseball America and really kind of enjoy his crotchety old-man love for baseball the way it was meant to be played. But man, he's kind of over the top here.


As happy as I am for Manuel, I don't think the Phillies won because he filled out the lineup card.


As much as I think stolen bases are over-valued, I don't think for a minute that the Indians consider "speed" to be unimportant. Willing to change my mind on that if Shapiro or someone on the inside said such a thing.


Can't argue with much he said about the homegrown players thing.


As for bullpen ERA, Toronto finished first and Oakland fourth. He's right that it's a decent indicator of success, but it's hardly *the* recipe.


The K/SB thing? Yeah, it's not a good idea to suck at both. But the Indians had the third fewest stolen bases in the AL last year and the third most strikeouts.


Just like this year.


Put it this way, they nearly reached the World Series doing what *dooms* them according to Ingraham:


What have the Indians learned?

Saturday, November 1, 2008 12:57 AM EDT



Now that the World Series is over, and given that the Indians weren't in it, and since they'd really like to be, what can be learned from the this year's World Series that can be applied to the Indians? Let's go to the video tape.


1. CHARLIE MANUEL CAN REALLY MANAGE: Manuel wasn't fired as manager of the Indians because General Manager Mark Shapiro didn't think he could manage. Manuel was fired because Shapiro, as was his prerogative, wanted his own hand-picked — Manuel was John Hart's — manager. That man was Eric Wedge.


Like many Indians firings (pitching coach Mike Brown two weeks before opening day, hitting coach Eddie Murray immediately after a game, bullpen coach Luis Isaac, with over four decades of loyal service, booted unceremoniously, scapegoat style, following the disappointing 2008 season ), Manuel's was not a graceful departure.


Yet he managed to land on his feet. And all Manuel did this year was win a world championship in Philadelphia, which is the second (to Boston) hardest market in which to manage, given its well-earned reputation as an impatient, over-bearing, hyper-critical fan and media base.


That gives Charlie one more World Series ring than the Indians have in the last 60 years.


2. SPEED DOES TOO MATTER: Indians officials continue to stubbornly insist that speed is "overvalued'', which is the kind of defense you'd expect from the slowest team in baseball.


Yet the fact remains that of the two teams in the World Series, Tampa Bay led the American League in stolen bases and Philadelphia was third in the National League in steals. That's not a coincidence. AL runnerup Boston was third in the AL in steals. The NL runnerup Dodgers were fourth in steals.


Speed does too matter. Speed matters in EVERY sport. It can be, to use one of the favorite terms of Tribe officials, a "separator.''


That's because speed never goes into a slump. You can't just wait around every game hoping somebody hits a home run.


3. YOU BETTER LEARN HOW TO GROW YOUR OWN: The difference between the Indians and the Phillies and Rays is that the latter two teams have a nucleus of homegrown players. The Indians' nucleus is comprised of players acquired from other organizations.


The glass-is-half-full side of that equation is that the Indians have done a nice job of identifying and acquiring impact or usable players from other teams, such as Grady Sizemore, Cliff Lee, Jake Westbrook, Travis Hafner, Asdrubal Cabrera, Kelly Shoppach, Shin-Soo Choo, and Franklin Gutierrez.


The glass-is-half-empty side: The Indians have HAD to go outside the organization to acquire talent because they have done such a poor job of drafting and developing such players themselves.


Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins, Pat Burrell, Cole Hamels, Brett Myers, Ryan Madsen, and Kyle Kendrick were all drafted and developed by Philadelphia.


B.J. Upton, Carl Crawford, Evan Longoria, Rocco Baldelli, James Shields, Andy Sonnanstine, and David Price were all drafted and developed by Tampa Bay.


The rebuttal to that, of course, is that Tampa Bay has annually had higher draft picks than the Indians. The rebuttal to that rebuttal is that teams aren't built exclusively through first round draft picks. Diamonds do exist, for excavation by everyone, in the lower rounds. The trick is in finding them.


Sonnanstine was a 13th round pick. Shields was a 16th round pick. Howard was the 140th player taken in the 2001 draft. In that draft, the Indians took Dan Denham, Alan Horne, J.D. Martin, Mike Conroy, Jake Dittler, Nicholas Moran, and Travis Foley before the Phillies selected Howard.


4. NO BULLPEN? NO CHANCE: The teams with the two best bullpens in the National League this year were in the NLCS. The Phillies and Dodgers finished 1-2 in bullpen ERA. Tampa Bay finished third in the AL in bullpen ERA.


The bottom three AL teams in bullpen ERA: Texas, Cleveland, and Detroit. The bottom three NL bullpens: Pittsburgh, San Francisco, San Diego.


This ain't brain surgery.


5. TEAMS THAT STRIKEOUT A LOT AND HAVE NO SPEED (HELLO INDIANS!) ARE DOOMED: Put it this way: you better not be bad in both categories. The Dodgers had the fourth highest strikeout total in the NL, but made up for it by having the fourth most stolen bases, which allowed them to create runs despite having such a high total of wasted outs (strikeouts).


Even though Howard struck out 199 times, the Phillies overall ranked in the middle of the pack (seventh) in the NL in strikeouts, and they were third in the league in stolen bases. Boston was sixth in strikeouts, third in stolen bases.


Tampa Bay had the best of both worlds: the second fewest strikeouts and most stolen bases in the AL. They also had the second best record in the AL. Hmmmm.


The Indians? The worst of both worlds: third most strikeouts, third fewest stolen bases.


One, if not both, of those need to be addressed for 2009.


http://morningjournal.com/articles/2008 ... 188007.txt



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Another great article from Pluto. I can't even tell what Ingraham is trying to say though...


1. OK, Charlie can manage. Howard can hit. Cole Hamels has a really good changeup. Moving on?

2. Speed matters. Yes it does. You know, the early-70s Lou Brock would really fill that hole in Left Field. Maybe Hanley Ramirez could move over and play 3rd for us.

3. Can't argue about our drafts being pretty terrible, but that's a bit of a reach when we've had so many good players come up through our system.

4. No bullpen no chance....hm. I know it's ancient history....but the 2007 Devil Rays had one of the worst bullpens in major league history. Somehow they found a way to improve upon that, even if it took them all of, well, one offseason. Just the fact that even mentions the Tampa bullpen as something we should strive to achieve is a joke...

5. well you get the idea.


I can understand being bitter but that article was just ridiculous. I'm surprised he didn't blame the organization for our 100+ RBI guys both missing the majority of the season, and our 2nd and 3rd starters both missing time. Oh well....


Already looking forward to '09...

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3. YOU BETTER LEARN HOW TO GROW YOUR OWN: The difference between the Indians and the Phillies and Rays is that the latter two teams have a nucleus of homegrown players. The Indians' nucleus is comprised of players acquired from other organizations.


I know this was true at one time but I thought it had changed.

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