Tag Archives: Shin Soo Choo

Indians execute trade for Moss, trade AA second baseman Wendle

indiansAs_logos

Earlier today, the Cleveland Indians and the Oakland A’s completed a trade in which the Indians received OF/1B/DH Brandon Moss for Double A 2B prospect Joey Wendle.

Moss, who is 31, recently had hip surgery, but should be ready by the time the tribe opens the season in early April. He has been in the league since 2007 and has received playing time with the Phillies, Red Sox, Pirates and Athletics. His first full year of playing time came in 2009 with the Pirates where he hit .236/.304/.364, collected 20 doubles, smacked 7 homeruns and collected 41 RBIs.

Wendle, a sixth-round pick by the Indians in the first year player draft in 2012, has spent all of his time in Cleveland’s farm system since being picked. Wendle won the Lou Boudreau award in 2013 which recognizes the organization’s top minor league hitter. In 261 games in the Tribe’s farm system, Wendle hit .292 and collected 28 homeruns, 68 doubles, 155 RBIs.

The Indians will have to make room for their recent acquisition and have designated 28-year-old pitcher Bryan Price.

Inevitably, this trade was going to happen, it was just a matter of when.

The Moss trade had been making its way around the rumor mill for the last week, but we had to wait for the actual deal to be announced. It ended being exactly what we thought: 1 for 1, Wendle for Moss. There were talks that Billy Beane was trying to get one more piece in the deal (Jose Ramirez), but that quickly fell through. My assumption is Moss’ hip injury plagued the potential for a 2 for 1 deal.

Moss looks promising if his hip injury and subsequent surgery don’t linger.

Looking at the numbers, Moss is clearly the value power hitter that we could afford. He’s in his prime (with regard to hitting) and he came pretty cheap compared with some of the right-handed power hitters that were free agents (think: Nelson Cruz; 5 years/$95 million). In his most recent season, he hit .234/.334/.438 with 23 doubles, 25 homeruns and 81 RBIs. He also had 67 walks. One thing that scares me is his SO/BB ratio. In the past three seasons (2012-14) with the A’s, Moss has SO/BB ratios of .29/.36/.44 respectively. At least it’s going up. Additionally, according to ESPN.com, Brandon Moss saw the 18th most pitches per plate appearance (4.07), coming in just above MVP candidate Victor Martinez (4.06) and just below Shin-Soo Choo (4.08). For a guy who is going to inevitably be in the middle of the lineup, I would like to see that ratio between .80-1.10 as we progress through this year. More so, I’d like to see him sit back on a few more pitches, increase that P/PA ratio, and draw some more walks.

Moss’ WAR in the past three seasons (2012-14) was 2.1, 2.2 and 2.6 respectively. Compare that to David Murphy’s over that same time span (3.7 (TEX), 0.6 (TEX) and 0.2 (CLE)) and, offensively, the picture becomes a little more clear.

With regard to defense, I’m not as up-to-date as I should be on advanced defensive statistics, but don’t worry – I’ll have it down pat by spring training!

I like the trade and I think it signals the front office thinks we can win now.

The trade make sense for the tribe, a club on the precipice of breaking through and becoming an elite contender in the American League. Moss brings power to the middle of the lineup that desperately needs an injection of power after last year’s dismal performances by Jason Kipnis, Nick Swisher, David Murphy and Ryan Raburn. David Murphy should recognize this trade as the precursor to his exit as a part of the Indian’s organization. I see the Indians including him in a trade as we move into spring training if there are any teams in need of a utility player who has the potential to knock in some runs and get some extra-base hits.

Losing Wendle is rough considering how well he was progressing in the minors. With Jason Kipnis manning second base, Franciso Lindor waiting in the wings and Jose Ramirez ready to plug in where needed, it was one of the few times trading young talent for a proven hitter was worth it.

Moss has the ability to play both corner OF spots as well as 1B and some DH. He’ll be a welcome addition to the Goon Squad and will hopefully see significant playing time in Right field.

What else is in store for the Indians at the beginning of the 2014 MLB Winter Meetings?

As we head into the beginning of the 2014 Winter Meetings, expect many og the high dollar FA pitchers to find news homes. I don’t think we’ll be seeing the Indians making any moves, but If something comes up, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the FO perform due diligence just to see if it could help us win now. Certainly, Carlos Santana, Michael Brantley, Jason Kipnis, Corey Kluber, and Yan Gomes aren’t going anywhere. I’m nearly certain that our core of young pitchers (Carrasco, Bauer and Salazar) are on lock too, but I have them as less certain than the former.

Cleveland Indians Thanksgiving

 

First off, I want to wish all of you readers out there a Happy Thanksgiving!

For the first time in several years, Cleveland sports fans can actually be thankful for their teams. That got us thinking at MTAF: Cleveland — What would different members of the professional organizations be thankful for as they sat around the table sharing Thanksgiving dinner?

As a fan of the Cleveland Indians, I attempted to delve into the mindsets of several different members of the organization, trying to ascertain what they would be giving thanks for.

Chris Antonetti & Mark Shapiro

My first thought with regard to what Chris and Mark would be thankful for would be getting Terry Francona to come on board and coach the Tribe. But then I sat back and looked at the larger picture. If I was Chris or Mark, I would be thankful for how well the trades they’ve made over the past ten years have worked out. Just look at how a handful of the following trades worked out (in terms of production) for the Indians:

Year CLE Sends CLE Receives
2002 Ryan Drese & Einar Diaz Travis Hafner
2008 Casey Blake Carlos Santana
2009 Victor Martinez Justin Masterson & Nick Hagadone
2006 Ben Broussard Shin-Soo Choo
2006 Eduardo Perez Asdrubal Cabrera
2002 Bartolo Colon Grady Sizemore, Brandon Phillips & Cliff Lee

And those are just a few of the trades that have been made. Think about this: In a three team deal involving the Cardinals and the Padres, we gave up veteran pitcher Jake Westbrook and received 2014 AL Cy Young Winner Corey Kluber. Had Matt LaPorta worked out better, the Sabathia deal (which included 2014 MVP finalist and Silver Slugger award winner Michael Brantley) would have been seen as more genius than the Colon deal.

As Mark and Chris pass the gravy boat, they’re going to be giving thanks that so many of their trades worked out so well.

Terry Francona

As Terry Francona rides his scooter to the store to pick up cranberry sauce, I imagine he too will think about what he’s thankful for. I would venture a guess that he’s thankful for several things:

1. His health

2. Mickey Callaway

Tito has probably never worried about his health (see: Urban Meyer). I’m not old by any stretch (I’m 23). I’ve found out that older men are thankful for their health, regardless of how healthy they actually are. Next, Tito should be counting his lucky starts that he has Mickey Callaway sitting on his bench coaching up his pitchers. Think about 2013. Mickey Callaway turned around a struggling Ubaldo Jimenez into quite possibly the best pitcher of the second half in the American League. I feel that if Tito had started Ubaldo in the place of rookie Danny Salazar, the Indians may have gone on to be World Series champions. Then we look back at 2014 and (channeling my innermost LeBron here) not one, not two, but THREE examples of what Mickey Callaway can do. First, Corey Kluber. Mickey has said that he really didn’t have to do much with Klubes this past season. As much as I’d like to believe that, there’s a reason he’s the pitching coach. Mickey worked with Corey to develop his secondary pitches and propel him into the upper echelons of pitching talent in the MLB. Next, there is Trevor Bauer. Bauer’s problem in 2013 was consistency and immaturity. Unfortunately for Trevor, he is young and often impatient. He need time to develop under more mature, accomplished pitchers. He got that with Justin Masterson and Corey Kluber. This year, while he had his troubles, Bauer was much more consistent and flashed some of the greatness that made the front office go out and get him. Finally, we have Carlos Carrasco. Known affectionately as “Cookie” among die-hard Tribe fans, Cookie experienced many of the same issues that Bauer faced — inconsistency and maturity. Remember his ejection and subsequent suspension in 2011 against Kansas City? How about his ejection for plunking Kevin Youkilis in 2013? That wasn’t a wild arm. Tito and Mickey worked with Carrasco and put him in the bullpen in 2014 and boy, did he deliver. Carrasco was electric out of the pen and proved to be the long-reliever we needed, especially when one of our starters couldn’t make it out of the 4th or 5th inning. How many times can you remember Carrasco putting in three to four quality innings, saving our bullpen arms for the home stretch?

Finally, The Indians are thankful for YOU, the fans.

When you go to a game or buy a jersey, you help finance the continued journey toward that elusive World Series title. When you get on Twitter or Facebook and talk about the Indians, you help them make a branding impact on new fans or fans who just don’t know it yet. When you write odes to Tom Hamilton or romanticize what the Tribe means to you on a t-shirt, you help the Indians build an regional identity. In a city like Cleveland, our professional sports teams need their fans as much as we need our teams. In some ways, we define one another. The Indians wouldn’t have much meaning without us and we wouldn’t have much meaning without them. So when the front office, the coaching staff and the players sit around their respective tables to share food and make memories, they will probably reflect, even if it’s only for a moment, on what it means to put on the Tribe uniform day in and day out for the best fans in the major leagues.

As for me, I’m thankful for football, a lot of food and a day off to enjoy it all with my family and friends.

Happy Thanksgiving fans. Enjoy your turkey.

If Choo, Cano Sign in the AL Central

Yesterday, I saw multiple reports that shook my inner Indians fan to its core.

First Buster Olney said this…

Then reports surfaced that Robinson Cano was on his way to Kansas City to sign with the Royals.

Gulp…

If you’re an Indians fan, this all hurts tremendously.

First of all, the Tigers, should they sign Shin-Soo Choo, might just be the best team in baseball. Take a gander at this lineup, should Shin Soo make his way to the Motor City.

Shin-Soo Choo
Ian Kinsler
Torii Hunter
Miguel Cabrera
Victor Martinez
Torii Hunter
Nick Castellanos
Alex Avila
Jose Iglesias

That lineup at its face value could easily take on any in the league. Meanwhile, Detroit houses baseball’s best pitching staff.

Justin Verlander
Max Scherzer
Anibal Sanchez
Doug Fister
Drew Smyly

The worst part of it all is that Dave Dombrowski seems to be on a World Series mission and will use all of the cash in the world to get there.

In other words, they’re not done yet. Not even close.

While the Tigers will certainly have the upper hand on the Indians seemingly regardless of the situation, the Tribe could at least compete with a Choo-less Tigers lineup. Once you put the former Indians star at the top of that order, who knows just how far the talent gap will grow.

All the while, Omar Vizquel has taken the job of first base coach in Detroit.

First Victor. Then Omar. Now Choo?

Detroit is slowly but surely destroying the Indians and their fan-base former player by former player.

Meanwhile, another AL Central team seems be on a mission and ready to spend some cash.

Rumors yesterday are showing that Robinson Cano may just be the newest member of the Kanas City Royals, in what would be an earth shattering development. Should that splash happen, the Royals could easily move into the second rung of the AL Central ladder and could become a legitimate World Series contender.

David Lough
Alex Gordon
Robinson Cano
Eric Hosmer
Billy Butler
Mike Moustakas
Lorenzo Cain
Salvador Perez
Alcides Escobar

Add in the top end of their pitching staff and they might be one of the most under-the-radar teams in all of baseball.

James Shields
Jeremy Guthrie
Ervin Santana
Wade Davis
Bruce Chen

First, the Tigers go out and get much better by moving Miguel Cabrera to first base, adding Ian Kinsler to the mix and potentially adding Shin-Soo Choo. Then, the Royals get the most highly sought after free agent in all of baseball.

Of course these are both hypothetical, but reported, circumstances, but in any case, can the Indians catch a break?
Sure, the Indians did get better on Wednesday by signing David Murphy to take over the everyday right field duties, but the Indians can’t compete with the suddenly big market teams in Detroit and Kansas City, should these deals go down.

The worst part is, there’s really nothing they can do about it.

The Indians don’t have the money to put a bid in on Robinson Cano. They can’t make a deal to bring back Choo. They just simply can’t make these splashes as, apparently, Detroit and Kansas City can.

This is all to say, Indians fans, that maybe last year, despite its heartbreak towards the end, was as good as its going to get. Maybe the magic that Jason Giambi, Nick Swisher and Ubaldo Jimenez brought to the corner of Carnegie and Ontario last season was as good as its going to get for a while.

The Tigers and Royals may be on the verge of taking over the American League and leaving the lowly Indians, White Sox and Twins in the dust.

Despite all of the good that Terry Francona, Chris Antonetti and Mark Shapiro have done for the Indians and for the city of Cleveland, it may all be for naught. The Indians, for the forseeable future, may be trapped in the dark, vast dungeon of the American League Central Division.

Is there anything they can do to get out, should Choo and Cano sign within this division?

Yes, but it would be very, very unlikely.

First of all could get out of the dungeon by getting lucky again and again as they did last season with Scott Kazmir, Ryan Raburn, Yan Gomes and Mike Aviles. If Antonetti continues to pull off moves such as those, the Indians can compete.

Even then, however, things will still be difficult.

They would still have to spend money to solidify their rotation, which is decent but needs a little help. They would also need prospects like Francisco Lindor, Jose Ramirez and Jesus Aguilar to be all that we expected and more.

Again, its not impossible, just very, very unlikely.

Other than that, just hope that these two rumors were nothing but. Hope that Choo and Cano sign with the Yankees, as that organization is a continual mess.

If you’re an Indians fan, however, just accept that should Cano and Choo sign in the Central, the new era of Indians excellence may come to a tragic and screeching halt.

All of the hope and optimism could be over with a few simple swoops of a fateful pen. Enjoy it, Tribe fans, because very soon, the fun could be over.

I Was Wrong About the Indians Front Office

I would like to wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, first and foremost! I hope you spend some quality time with your loved ones during this most special time of year!

I would also like to wish you a Merry Swishmas as we all know what happened yesterday!

I have yet to tweet about the Nick Swisher addition because I have no words to describe my elation at his arrival. I actually jumped around my house and hollered like a small child receiving a new bike or a creepy crawlers bug set. It truly was the best Christmas present I could have received, outside of spending time with loved ones. It was one of the more exciting moments of my Indians fanhood. (By the way, do you know how sad that sounds? The fact that signing Nick Swisher is one of the best moments of my sports fandom is absolutely pathetic.) Nevertheless, it was a Merry Swishmas indeed.

I have ripped apart the Indians front office since the trade deadline last season. I have called Mark Shapiro and Chris Antonetti cowardly, directionless, and gutless. I have called them heartless, stupid, and lacking. I have called them names that I don’t wish to repeat in this piece. I have ripped them apart time after time, and I had sworn to never have faith in this front office again. They lost my faith and lost my trust a long while ago.

Well, I have to admit, I may be the gutless, heartless, directionless, and cowardly one. I wrote off this front office long ago, and it was something I should not have done.

For Shapiro and Antonetti, it was time to put up or shut up. It was time to get things done or get out of town. Believe me, I was chasing them with a pitchfork and a torch. I wanted them gone faster than they could leave. It’s times like these when I feel like the true idiot of this town.

Mark Shapiro and Chris Antonetti now deserve our support more than ever. The phone was ringing off of the hook and they answered each and every call. First, they made an amazing move getting rid of Choo and adding the pitching talent the Indians so desperately need. Of course, with Boras at the helm, Choo was not coming back to Cleveland. The Tribe definitely got the right price for Shin-Soo and then some. While Drew Stubbs is definitely not a hitter, he’s a good outielder, far better than Shelley Duncan or Ezequiel Carrera for that matter. They then picked up Trevor Bauer, who will certainly be a project but can also be a very high risk, high reward pick up. In all of this they got rid of Jason Donald, who could seemingly never stay in the big leagues, and kept Asdrubal Cabrera and Chris Perez, who are both very valuable whether in a Tribe uniform or as a part of a trade.

They then nabbed Mark Reynolds to fill the giant hole at first base. Last season, Shapiro and Antonetti made an incredibly dumb move bringing Casey Kotchman to the Indians. While they were running out of options, they brought in a guy who was coming off of a flukey season and provided nothing offensively. Honestly, I would’ve rather seen Matt LaPorta try to finally reach his potential rather than see a middle-aged, over the hump Kotchman man first base each and every game. While Reynolds does strike out a ton, that’s what sluggers do. When Reynolds connects, the ball travels, something you can’t say for Kotchman and/or LaPorta. He’s a much better “experiment” than Kotchman ever was.

The Front Office then impressed me with a low risk, high reward signing in Scott Kazmir. I remember the days when Kazmir was a Cy Young candidate, and he was absolutely dominant. While he has fallen off of the wagon, Kazmir, at 28 years old, can still put it together. This has happened before, where a pitcher goes through an incredibly tough stretch but then puts it all back together. While it may not happen, the signing is well worth the risk.

Finally, Shapiro and Antonetti got their man and they guy I wanted all along in Nick Swisher. Undoubtedly the biggest free agent signing in Cleveland Indians history, Shapiro and Antonetti won back a lot of hearts by signing Swisher, including mine. Swisher is literally everything you can ask for. He has the nostalgic pull as he was born in Columbus, he is a graduate of Ohio State, and is in some ways a “home town” player. He puts up numbers on the baseball field, averaging 28 home runs, 90 RBI, and an .828 ops throughout his career. He will put fans in the seats and will be the face of the franchise, both things that the Indians were lacking. Finally, he fits a need. The Indians needed a power-hitting, right-handed outfielder desperately, and Swisher, (although he is a switch hitter), fits the bill.

Shapiro and Antonetti knew that if they wanted to keep their jobs and turn this ship around, they needed Nick Swisher to join the Tribe. They pulled out all the stops, including the checkbook, and, for once, did everything they could and sealed the deal. It took a while, and put Indians fans through a great deal of anxious moments, but in the end the agony of waiting was well worth it. Nick Swisher is now a Cleveland Indian, and the Indians are finally going to have an exciting team, regardless of win total, to watch every night.

I would like to formally apologize for my statements regarding Mark Shapiro and Chris Antonetti. I am sorry for my ill-will towards the both of them. They have shown me and the rest of the Cleveland Indians fan base that they are ready to put a winning product on the field, regardless of the cost. They have shown me that they are capable of doing such, and they have shown me that the past is in the past, but the present is at hand. If the Indians are competing for a World Series soon, as they did in the 1990’s, we can say it is all thanks to the front office. They decided that enough was enough. They put their noses to the grindstone and finally worked hard to get the Indians in a good place, both for now and the future. I’m sure this isn’t the end of their endeavors either. I’m sure we’ll see a move or two before Spring Training starts. That’s something I never would have said before this offseason.

Mr. Shapiro, Mr. Antonetti, you may have surpassed Kyrie Irving and the Cavaliers as the most exciting team in Cleveland. This offseason you have proven yourselves to be the two bright, diligent, and capable young men that you truly are, not those half-assing cowards of the past. I, on behalf of the fans of the Cleveland Indians, cannot thank you enough for giving this team, and this city, some real hope. Finally, thanks to the both of you, the Indians will be back again! Merry Swishmas!

Follow Hayden on Twitter @H_Grove

 

MTAF Morning News – Wednesday, August 24

By Ryan Isley

Tribe Splits Double-Dip:

The Cleveland Indians and Seattle Mariners decided that one game was not enough, so they played two on Tuesday. In a much needed change of events, the Indians decided to win a ballgame in dramatic fashion in the afternoon instead of finding excruciating ways to lose them. Unfortunately, that momentum did not carry into the second game of Tuesday’s doubleheader.

Justin Masterson pitched eight outstanding innings for the Indians in game one, allowing just three runs on eight hits and he took a 4-3 lead into the 9th inning. Instead of using Chris Perez to close the game, manager Manny Acta decided to allow Masterson (who was at 110 pitches after eight innings) to start the inning. After getting an out on the first pitch, Masterson allowed back-to-back-hits and then Acta brought in Perez. Perez promptly gave up a two-run double that gave the Mariners a 5-4 lead and gave Indians fans a headache.

Continue reading MTAF Morning News – Wednesday, August 24

Player of the Week: Choo Warming Up For Opening Day

Player of the Week: Shin Soo Choo, RF

Shin Soo Choo appeared in five games this week, tallying 16 at bats.  The Tribe were 3-2 in those games, and in what I’m sure will become a pattern throughout the season, the team’s success was due in large part to Choo’s hot bat.  (I deleted the end of that sentence at six times trying not to rhyme “due” and “Choo” like some cornball.)  In Choo’s 16 at bats last week, he hit for a .375 AVG with 5 runs scored and 5 RBI.  Choo stole his fourth base of the spring this week to tie him with Asdrubal Cabrera for the most on the club, hit a double, a home run and walked three times.

Continue reading Player of the Week: Choo Warming Up For Opening Day

#9: Acta’s Chance To Be The Man

Second in the series: The Top 10 Things Tribe Fans Should Watch in 2011

Manny Acta‘s coaching resume is a somewhat misleading, seemingly depressing pile of missed opportunities and difficult assignments, but let’s take a close look and try to see a clearer picture of the man who’s leading the Tribe into a 2011 season that is rife with young talent that needs coaching.

Continue reading #9: Acta’s Chance To Be The Man