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Riffer X

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1. Travis Hafner and Jake Westbrook make a combined $24 million this season, and their contracts will pay them $24 million next year. Yes, the Indians ranked 14th in payroll at the start of the season at $81 million, putting them near the major-league average. But $24 million of that last year went to Hafner and Westbrook, as it did this season and will again in 2010. No one is blaming those players. Both wanted to stay with the Indians, and both signed long-term deals -- as ownership committed to them. Then, both got hurt. Thanks to elbow surgery, Westbrook has made five big-league starts in two years. Dealing with shoulder problems and then surgery, Hafner has 394 at-bats over two seasons.


2. Team President Paul Dolan said Thursday that the team would lose $16 million in 2009. Insiders project a loss of another $10 million or more next season. They could have brought back Cliff Lee and Victor Martinez, but there would be no room in the budget to add any significant pieces or payroll. The Indians have not set a payroll figure for next season, but with their attendance ranking 27th in baseball, it's a safe bet it will be less than the $81 million this season -- even if ownership is willing to absorb some financial losses in 2010. The Indians correctly believed that selling tickets next season was going to be tough with or without Martinez and/or Lee on the roster.


3. The Indians looked at their 2008 team that was 81-81, followed by this season's team that went into Saturday night's game with a 47-62 record. They did not believe they could contend with the current roster. So it was not only time to cut payroll, but also to plan for the future. The team believes it could add almost zero to the team in terms of proven talent even with players such as Masa Kobayashi, Dave Dellucci, Rafael Betancourt and Mark DeRosa -- about $17 million -- coming off the payroll at the end of this season. The economics are that bleak for the Indians.


4. The Indians traded Betancourt to Colorado because he had a $5 million team option for next season. The Indians had no intention of picking it up, meaning Betancourt would have become a free agent. So they sent him to the Rockies this season, saving $1.3 million and adding a hard-throwing prospect named Connor Graham, who Rockies General Manager Dan O'Dowd said could possibly "be a back-end bullpen guy" in a few years. Graham is 0-0 with a 4.26 ERA in two appearances at Class AA Akron. The Rockies plan to let the 34-year-old Betancourt become a free agent after the season.


5. Ryan Garko is eligible to go to arbitration after the season. The Indians believed it would take a deal much like they gave Kelly Shoppach ($1.9 million) last season to prevent Garko from going to arbitration, where they believe he'd be worth $2 million. They were not going to pay him that, when they believe they have first base/DH replacements in Matt LaPorta, Andy Marte, Hafner and even someone such as hot-hitting Jordan Brown (.331 with 12 HR, 58 RBI, .902 OPS at Class AAA Columbus). That depth also was behind the Martinez deal with Boston. So they moved Garko to the Giants for Scott Barnes, a lefty who was 12-3 with a 2.85 ERA in Class A.


6. DeRosa was traded to St. Louis for relievers Chris Perez and Jess Todd. DeRosa is headed to free agency at the end of the season, and the Indians were not going to keep him. Perez is like Paul Shuey, Steve Karsay, Danys Baez and Eric Plunk, a guy with a 95-mph fastball who should be help in the bullpen. In the past, the Tribe effectively used this type of power arm. Todd has been tremendous in the minors, but doesn't have overwhelming stuff. The team received good value for DeRosa, and saved about $2.5 million. Finally, the Indians traded Carl Pavano to Minnesota for a player to be named.


7. No matter how the Indians explain it, money powered many of the deals. They traded Pavano not long before his bonuses for starts were about to kick in. They whacked at least $12 million off the payroll for this season in what was left on contracts to Lee, Martinez, DeRosa, Betancourt and Pavano -- and at least $25 million next year in contract obligations.




1. The Indians have about $7 million tied up in Kobayashi and Dellucci for this season, despite both being released. Dellucci is finishing up a three-year, $11 million contract, Kobayashi a two-year, $6 million deal. The Indians should really review the thought process that led to those signings, because $7 million should yield at least one productive major-league player. Kobayashi was 33 when signed; Dellucci was 32 and with a history of injuries.


2. Yes, the Indians traded young pitchers Jeff Stevens, Chris Archer and John Graub for DeRosa, then turned around and traded DeRosa for young pitchers. Stevens has been up and down with the Cubs. The odd part of the original deal was acquiring DeRosa, a second baseman with the Cubs, and moving him to third. This came after the Indians moved Jhonny Peralta to third base in winter ball. So they moved Peralta back to short, knowing DeRosa was a one-year rental. The obvious lineup to most fans was DeRosa at 2B, Asdrubal Cabrera at SS and Peralta at 3B from Day One of spring training. Somehow, the Indians missed the obvious and ended up making the moves during the season.


3. I liked the trades of Betancourt, Garko and especially DeRosa because all can be replaced next season, and maybe they can find some young pitching from the deals. As for Pavano, he's no loss because he was headed for free agency and not likely to re-sign with the Indians.


4. No way to know if the injuries to Westbrook and Hafner made the front office and ownership gun shy about firing out more large contracts to veteran free agents, but it had to be a factor.


5. Fans often say the Dolans should sell the team. Fine, who is your buyer? When Dick Jacobs put the Indians up for sale in 1999, there were two major bidders: the Ganley family and the Dolans. Ganley dropped out at about $220 million, but Goldman Sachs ran a blind auction and squeezed $323 million out of the Dolans. Yes, the Dolans overpaid. And just as the Dolans' television network, SportsTime Ohio, got going, the economy was crushed and it was hard to sell advertising on TV, radio or in newspapers. The cable TV station has been an asset, but not the tremendous cash cow that some projected.


6. Very few Midwestern teams are being sold. Dan Gilbert bid on the Milwaukee Brewers before purchasing the Cavaliers. His final bid was in the $200 million range. Why didn't he go higher, since he paid $375 million for the Cavaliers? Because the Cavs have LeBron James, and because they play in a league where there is a salary cap to help teams keep stars. Baseball's no-cap system makes franchises less attractive to savvy buyers such as Gilbert. The Indians would be a difficult team to sell in a depressed economy and in a city such as Cleveland, which is not a growing boomtown.

Chuck Crow, The Plain DealerThe trade of 2008 Cy Young winner Cliff Lee made far less sense for the pitching-starved team than most of the other deals.



1. The Indians believe that within two years, when Martinez is a free agent after 2010, he will be more of a first baseman than a catcher. By then, he will be 32, and catching takes a physical toll. Lee will probably be able to sign a contract for at least $15 million annually after 2010 when he's a free agent. Martinez would be far more reasonable, but still cost at least $10 million a season.


2. It's possible Martinez would have controlled his own negotiations. He really did seem to love the Indians. But as we learned with other players in the past, what they say in public is one thing; what their agents say over the negotiating table is another. Remember that at the end of last season, CC Sabathia indicated he wanted to stay in the National League where he could bat, and he preferred the West Coast. So he signed with the New York Yankees of the American League, where there is a DH. The largest contract ever given a pitcher changed his mind.


3. Also part of the Martinez deal is that the Indians are strong behind the plate with Kelly Shoppach, Chris Gimenez, Wyatt Toregas, Carlos Santana and Lou Marson (added in the Lee deal with Philadelphia). They are desperate for pitching, so they sent Martinez to Boston for Justin Masterson, Bryan Price and Nick Hagadone. Masterson started Saturday night against the White Sox. Price and Hagadone are in Class A. Hagadone has a 95-mph fastball -- clocked as high as 98 mph -- even after coming off Tommy John surgery.


4. Word is, Boston would not include prized prospect Clay Buchholz for Martinez or Lee. The Yankees would have added Phil Hughes as part of a package for Lee. The man has been Cy Young caliber the past 1½ seasons, a strike-throwing, innings-eating, keep-the-score-close machine. But he was not considered overpowering and is underrated.


5. The Indians correctly perceived they had zerochance to keep Lee after 2010. They believed they could get more now for Lee than they would next season. They sent him to Philadelphia for pitchers Jason Knapp and Carlos Carrasco, catcher Marson and infielder Jason Donald. But the Phillies kept prized pitching prospects J.A. Happ and Kyle Drabek.


6. Knapp had a tired arm, but soon will pitch be at Class A Lake County. He has a 98-mph fastball at the age of 18. The Indians believe Donald, Marson and Carrasco all can help at some point in 2010, but none are having tremendous years in Class AAA.


7. The Indians can claim that they added 11 players in these trades, nine of them pitchers. All are under the age of 25. Five were among the top 100 prospects for 2009 as rated by Baseball America and ESPN. Odds are some of them will come through, but it is very hard to replace an All-Star catcher and a Cy Young award winner.





1. Why did the Indians need to add nine pitchers? Because their farm system has done a terrible job of producing pitchers. Since Sabathia was drafted in 1998, the Indians have had only threepitchers drafted, signed and developed by their farm system (not counting Latin players) who have made 50 big-league starts: Jeremy Sowers, Jeremy Guthrie and Sabathia. Scouting director Brad Grant has had only two drafts, so it's hard to judge him. But what happened in the previous years created a huge hole that the team needs to fill from the outside.


2. I like the Martinez deal because Masterson is a big-league-ready starter with a 93- to 96-mph fastball who has had success with Boston. He could be a major addition to the rotation. Martinez will be missed, but not nearly as much as Lee.


3. I can't buy the Lee deal. If the market was indeed soft for him now, then wait until next year. In the meantime, you actually have a No. 1 starter in the rotation to model strike-throwing and gutsy pitching to the kids on the staff. Kevin Millwood did this for Sabathia in 2005, which helped him take the next step up.


4. I knew nothing about Brandon Phillips, Lee and Grady Sizemore when they joined the Indians in the Bartolo Colon deal in 2002. The last thing I expected was Sizemore (batting .258 with 3 HRs in 256 at-bats at Class A) to turn into a power-hitting All-Star. Lee had very good stats in the minors, but no one dreamed he'd win the Cy Young. The Indians do have a good track record in dealing for other team's prospects, much better than drafting their own.


5. Maybe Carrasco (7-9, 5.25 ERA at Class AAA) or the 18-year-old Knapp (2-7, 4.01 ERA in Class A) become stars. But this deal lacked a Masterson, or even elite prospects such as Michael Brantley and LaPorta, who came in the Sabathia deal. I can't help but think the $9 million Lee was due next season was driving this deal, along with a fear that the economy and trade market would be even worse in 2010. They also point out that Johann Santana did not bring the Twins any immediate impact players in the trade with the Mets.


6. Bottom line: Given the dismal season, most of the deals didn't just save dollars, they made sense. But the biggest one -- the Lee trade -- came too soon.

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3. I can't buy the Lee deal. If the market was indeed soft for him now, then wait until next year.


As Castro said...look at Mark Teixera. Traded when he still had a year and half on his contract, from the Rangers to the Braves. The Rangers got the "crown jewel" in Saltalamacchia, their starting, great young shortstop Elvis Andrus, Neftali Feliz, who's looking like a young Pedro Martinez, and a decent throw-in starter in Matt Harrison. The Braves traded him the next year to the Angels and got Casey Kotchman with his .751 career OPS, and Stephen Marek, a reliever with a 5.78 ERA and 1.90 WHIP between AA and AAA this year.


We got a good deal for CC, but Brantley wasn't an elite prospect, and Meloan was traded for Winston Abreu. Jackson is proving to be pretty worthless. Not to mention that the Brewers were dealing from their positions of strength.... LaPorta is a LF/1B...where the Brewers happen to have Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder. The Phillies need starting pitching....they weren't going to change their minds next year and throw in Drabek. Lee's (and Victor's) value only would have went down.



Besides that though, I agree with most of the article.

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Thanks for posting that, Riff. Good read. Not sure if this was posted already or not, but Prospectus had a nice look at Hagadone after the deal was made:


July 31, 2009, 10:35 PM ET

Nick Hagadone: A Power Arm Comes to Cleveland

by David Laurila


Nick Hagadone is back on track after missing most of last year due to Tommy John surgery, and that’s good news for Indians fans. Acquired from the Red Sox in Friday afternoon’s Victor Martinez trade, the hard-throwing-23-year-old lefthander is again displaying the power arsenal that made him Boston’s top pick in the 2007 draft. Ranked by Kevin Goldstein as the eighth-best prospect in the organization, despite the injury, Hagadone made only three appearances last year before blowing out his elbow.


“I got hurt on April 16th of last year,” explained Hagadone. “It happened on a changeup, and it just came out of nowhere. My arm had been feeling great. Right up until the pitch before, it felt perfect, then, with one pitch, it just blew up. I tried to pitch through it, to see if would go away, but it didn’t. That was in my third start, and I actually didn’t end up having surgery until June 10th. That was because I had an infection in my foot. I was in the hospital for a week, trying to get rid of it, and then I had to wait even longer because you have to make sure that [the infection] is gone before you can have the surgery. That really delayed it, and it was about a month and a half that I was in Ft. Myers, just waiting to have the surgery.”


It was a bitter pill to swallow, as Hagadone had gone into last season with high expectations. Many envisioned the University of Washington product blowing through the minor leagues and reaching Boston in short order. Instead, his 2008 campaign was one of frustration and rehab purgatory.


“Once I had the surgery, I was in Ft. Myers until June 2nd of this year, which is when I came here to Greenville,” said Hagadone. “It was probably the toughest year of my life. Not only wasn’t I pitching, I was away from all of my family for that whole time. I was in Ft. Myers for the off-season, getting up every morning and rehabbing, then working out, and after that, I didn’t do much for the rest of the day. So yeah, it was a pretty tough year.”


While he was frustrated to be on the shelf, Hagadone had relatively little fear that his career was in jeopardy. With Tommy John surgery having become a common-place procedure throughout the game, it was more a matter of waiting.


“I never really thought that I was going to be done,” said Hagadone. “I always knew that I’d be back, and as strong as I was before. It was just that I was impatient and wanted things to happen faster than I knew that they were actually going to. I wanted to break camp, from spring training, even though I knew that wasn’t realistic. I ended up leaving two months later, and that was actually pretty quick. Still, I always wanted things to go faster, which made it worse, even though I knew that I was being realistic.”


Once he was back on the mound, it didn’t take Hagadone long to prove that he was healthy enough to retire hitters. The expected rustiness was there, but so was the first-round ability.


“I threw my first game, in extended [spring training], at about 10-and-a-half months,” explained Hagadone, “and my first inning, when I came back, I felt great. I was throwing strikes, and I threw some good sliders. I don’t think I threw any changeups, but I felt better than I thought I was going to. It felt good to be back on the mound.”


His arm-speed most of the way back, Hagadone’s main focus is to build up the consistency in his offerings.


“At times, I think my changeup is where it was before the surgery,” said Hagadone. “It is kind of inconsistent, but in my last start I threw a lot of good ones, so I’m hoping to take that and keep moving forward with it. My slider still has a sharp break, but it’s not up to the speed that it was before. Before I got hurt, it was around 85 or 86 [mph] and right now it’s around 82. But I’m confident that it’s going to come back, the farther out I get from the surgery and building up my arm strength. As far as my fastball goes, velocity-wise, I’ve been up to 97, and before I got hurt I was up to 98, so my top velocity is basically back. There are some games where it’s completely back, and some where I’m still throwing hard, but it’s maybe a little lower. So I’d say that it’s basically back, but maybe a little inconsistent from game to game.”


Asked why the velocity on his slider has been slower to come back than his fastball, the 6’5” native of Sumner, Washington says that it is to be expected.


“I’ve been told that happens a lot when you’re coming off the surgery,” explained Hagadone. “It just takes a little longer for the slider velocity to come back. I have no idea why, but it probably comes from just not throwing the pitch. I mean, I didn’t throw it for 10 months or so. Hopefully, by the end of the year it will gradually get harder.”


Discretion being the better part of valor, especially when it comes to young arms, the Red Sox were proceeding cautiously with the prized left-hander. Only 14-months post surgery, Hagadone has been on a reduced workload this season.


“I’m being limited to three innings or to a 50- to 55-pitch count,” said Hagadone, shortly before the trade was consummated. “It is a little frustrating, because I just want to be normal again, and to be able go at least five or six innings, but I also don’t know that I could right now. I think the Red Sox are being really smart by limiting me to three innings, because if I pushed it too much…well, maybe it just wouldn’t be the best thing right now.”


A closer in college, Hagadone has been a starter since beginning his professional career, and the jury is still out on his future role. Asked if the injury may play a part in that decision, he wants to believe that it won‘t.


“No, at least I hope not,” said Hagadone. “I think that will be decided once I’m fully healthy and they get a real good look at what I can do. I mean, I believe that I can be a starter once I get my three pitches to be more consistent, like they were, so I’d like to be a starter. On the other hand, I don’t really care. As long as I pitch in the big leagues, it doesn’t matter to me which it is. I’m pretty confident in my abilities, and as long as I keep getting better, I think I should be fine. I just want to stay healthy and pitch.”





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  • 4 weeks later...

Mercury is not very much larger than Pluto and it is considered a planet - even though it lacks moons.


And if Pluto is considered full-fledged planet, then Eris HAS to be too because it is bigger than Pluto.


Also, lets not forget Sedna and Varuna.

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Mercury is not very much larger than Pluto and it is considered a planet - even though it lacks moons.


And if Pluto is considered full-fledged planet, then Eris HAS to be too because it is bigger than Pluto.


Also, lets not forget Sedna and Varuna.


This section of the forum seems to be attracting spamming trolls lately. :blink:


BTW, good article. :)

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