Odds & Ends: Indians, Jeter, Ellis, Giants, Chen

Happy 92nd birthday to one of baseball's all-time great pitchers, Bob Feller.  "Rapid Robert" piled up 266 wins and 2581 strikeouts in his Hall of Fame career.  In tribute to Feller, it's only appropriate that we start this batch of news items with something from Cleveland…

  • Infielder Drew Sutton is eligible for free agency after being outrighted to Triple-A by the Indians, reports Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer.  The article notes that Andy Marte is expected to be removed from the Cleveland roster before the Rule 5 draft deadline.  Also from Hoynes (via Twitter), the Phillies claimed shortstop Carlos Rivero on waivers from the Tribe.  Rivero has a .676 OPS in 2156 minor league plate appearances, none above the Double-A level.
  • Hal Steinbrenner's recent comments about the Derek Jeter talks strike ESPN's Buster Olney "as if he's preparing the NYY fans for an ugly Jeter negotiation" (Twitter link).
  • Now that the A's have exercised Mark Ellis' option for 2011, Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle tweets that the team will look into an extension for the veteran second baseman.
  • Buster Posey and Brian Wilson are the key reasons why the Giants have a chance to win another World Series, says Jon Paul Morosi of FOXSports.com.  "How many teams can say, right now, they have zero interest in upgrading at the need-to-have positions of catcher or closer?", Morosi asks.  He cites just the Phillies and Twins, and even those two clubs come with question marks.
  • Mychael Urban of CSNBayArea.com thinks the Giants should sign Eric Chavez to a minor-league contract.  (Twitter link)
  • Bruce Chen wants a multiyear deal but the Royals are "unlikely" to make the left-hander such an offer, tweets The Kansas City Star's Bob Dutton.
  • It could be a bad omen for David Ortiz's $12.5MM option that another slugging DH (Vladimir Guerrero) had his $9MM option for 2011 declined by Texas earlier today, writes Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe.
  • Tampa Bay added Elliot Johnson to its 40-man roster, tweets Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times.  Without the move, Johnson would've become a free agent.  Johnson had a breakout minor league campaign in Triple-A last season, posting a .319/.375/.475 line and winning the International League MVP award.
  • In response to a fan mailbag question about Adam Dunn, MLB.com's Bill Ladson warns about the dangers of the Nationals offering a long-term deal to a defensively-challenged slugger.  He points out how fans were also wishing the Nats signed Alfonso Soriano to an extension, but in hindsight Washington made the right move.
  • Nationals right-hander Collin Balester is looking for members to join his 'Movember' team.  Click here to sign up and join Balester in raising money and awareness in the fight against prostate cancer.


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64 Comments on "Odds & Ends: Indians, Jeter, Ellis, Giants, Chen"


moonraker45
4 years 9 months ago

So because the giants don’t need a closer or a catcher they have a good chance to win another world series… umm okkay, thanks for the insight foxsports.

TheBunk
4 years 9 months ago

Not like their starting pitching staff won’t be important to their future success or anything…

wickedkevin
4 years 9 months ago

Didn’t you know there are only 2 players on every baseball team?

Sniderlover
4 years 9 months ago

My goodness… closer is such an unbelievably overrated position.

4 years 9 months ago

I agree… but there is something that certain players have to be able to close out a game. I usually disagree with anything you can’t quantify, like the value of a manager or “chemistry”, but throughout history, there are tons of players who were great setup men but couldn’t close (also a lot the other way). I don’t know what it is, but a guy who can close is valuable, but not to the extent that one should get more than 8 million a year (Papelbon, Mariano Rivera and K-Rod come to mind) when every year there are guys like Heath Bell or Bobby Jenks in 2005 form that close for far lower salaries.

The_Silver_Stacker
4 years 9 months ago

Hell no it isn’t, without Rivera my Yankees wouldn’t have one their last five world series for sure.

Hermie13
4 years 9 months ago

And without Jeter they wouldn’t have 2 or 3 of those. Closer is the most overrated position on a team, period.

TapDancingTeddy
4 years 9 months ago

Most overrated, perhaps. But overrated doesn’t mean not important.

In simpler words you could say LeBron James is an overrated basketball player, but you can’t say he’s not important or not good.

richphillies
4 years 9 months ago

How the hell is Lebron James even remotely comparable to a closer? Teams win and lose tons of games where the closer doesn’t even make an appearance.

TapDancingTeddy
4 years 9 months ago

I’m speaking only to the concept of what the term “overrated” means. There’s no direct or implied comparison of baseball to basketball or closers to LeBron James.

My example could’ve been about cars or shoes or watches. But since this is a sports board, I figured a sports related example of using the word “overrated” might resonate better.

Sorry for any confusion.

richphillies
4 years 9 months ago

Fair enough. I just don’t think closers are all that important. Closers are basically safety blankets for managers. If you’re ahead in the 9th, there’s already a really high chance you’re gonna win the game.

4 years 9 months ago

Apparently those are “need to have” positions, not like that pesky shortstop position, or firstbase, those you can get by with no one there.

Hmm, the Cubs have a pretty good closer and a pretty good catcher. See, next year really is their year!! Morosi can’t be wrong, can he?

Hermie13
4 years 9 months ago

ha, yeah the Indians must be primed to win the AL now too with Carlos Santana and Chris Perez too!

RobbieO
4 years 9 months ago

I think the Braves are pretty much set at closer and catcher.

friscofan101
4 years 9 months ago

who is the closer in ATL. i thought wagner retired?

drumzalicious
4 years 9 months ago

Except we aren’t. They would be foolish to give the closer job to Kimbrel when he has barely pitched in the bigs

friscofan101
4 years 9 months ago

kimbrel did look unhittable in the nlds

4 years 9 months ago

Except that he’s really good. I couldn’t care less about his age, he’s nasty.

4 years 9 months ago

lol I agree… They don’t even have the best catcher in the NL. He is in ATL.

Jason_F
4 years 9 months ago

That title will be shifted to Posey in due time…probably only a few months into next season, actually. He is already better defensively and offensively, Posey is very advanced at the plate and out OPS’d McCann in his rookie season.

richphillies
4 years 9 months ago

.367 BABIP on the road helps
He kinda sucked at home. Not sucked for a catcher, mind you, but in general.

Jason_F
4 years 9 months ago

…in a sample size of 200+ PA’s. Posey is the kind of hitter that will sustain an elevated BABIP because of the swing he possesses. He hits a lot of balls hard and sprays them around the diamond. In his three significant stints in the minors, he had BABIPs of .349, .349 & .386. If you look at Posey play the game and don’t think to yourself, “Stud 2-way player,” then your opinion means very little.

richphillies
4 years 9 months ago

But already better than McCann? That’s just silly.

suPaFreaK
4 years 9 months ago

Wait McCann has a ring?

suPaFreaK
4 years 9 months ago

Wait McCann has a ring?

Jason_F
4 years 9 months ago

Above, I gave Posey until the middle of next season, and I doubt he’ll need that long to convince the entire National League.

richphillies
4 years 9 months ago

And you made fun of ME for a small sample size

pastlives
4 years 9 months ago

uhh im pretty sure a key factor for the giants might be their starting pitching, that’s, y’know, borderline more important than the 60 innings that Brian Wilson will eat

AmericanMovieFan
4 years 9 months ago

The A’s are seriously considering extending Ellis? I like Ellis and he’s a fantastic defensive second baseman but his bat leaves something to be desired (though 61 RBI’s in 105 games a year ago is a damn good pace by any standard)

bigpat
4 years 9 months ago

Closer and catcher aren’t the two most important positions though. There’s not that many great catchers in the league, and while it’s nice to have one, you can get by without one. Closers grow on trees, but they can really mess your season up if they suck.

4 years 9 months ago

Bruce Chen wants a multi-year deal? Good luck with that.

stevieb3535
4 years 9 months ago

Bruce Chen? Is he still in MLB?? I thought he retired 10 years ago!! Oh…, he’s a lefty….I forgot. Multi year deal?? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!

drumzalicious
4 years 9 months ago

Red Sox would be so much better as a team if they got rid of Ortiz.

Jason_F
4 years 9 months ago

I’m not sure how a team gets better by losing an .899 OPS and 32 HR’s from the lineup without replacing it somehow.

Hermie13
4 years 9 months ago

Agree. Though I do think they teamm would be better off long-term if they only give Ortiz a 1 year deal. His option is too much…..but not like the Red Sox are strapped for cash.

Jason_F
4 years 9 months ago

Long-term, absolutely, but I don’t think that’s what the OP meant. I think they are better off just picking up the option and having him for one year rather than declining it and going through the circus of trying to negotiate a lesser one year deal simply to save a few million next season. If they need to, they can add via trade midseason next year and reload via free agency a year from now.

55saveslives
4 years 9 months ago

Giants are the World Series Champs!!!

That is all..

jayrig5
4 years 9 months ago

I mean, the importance of both your closer and catcher having solid years is obvious. That’s why the Cubs won 98 games this year, right?

jb226
4 years 9 months ago

“Zero interest” is a pretty strong phrase. It implies that the Giants have the best closer and the best catcher, otherwise there has to be at least some interest. And in fact he mentions a couple of other teams that have it as well, meaning he’s playing somewhat loose with the term — and I think naming the Phillies as having “zero interest” in a catcher is doubly so. Ruiz is a nice player, but hardly the best in the game. I’m not even sure he’s top 5.Anyway, since “zero interest’ doesn’t mean literally zero interest I would throw the Cubs in there: Soto, after a ROY season followed by a sophomore slump, had a very strong season: .280/.393/.470. The stats don’t like his fielding very much, but I didn’t find it as bad watching them as the numbers do — and in any event it’s grossly outweighed by his prowess at the plate. Marmol, of course, will give Cubs fans a heart attack roughly every other time out because of his lack of control, but he’s as hard to hit as they come: A .154 BAA (.178 lifetime), and he just set a new major league record for the highest strikeout rate ever for a reliever over the course of a year at a mind-blowing 15.99 K/9. Think about that one for a second. If you send him out there in the ninth, he’s going to strike two people out significantly more often than not. Holy crap.And most importantly, both guys are cheap. Ever after the next round of arbitration raises, the two combined will probably fall in at less then $7MM. They’re not the best in the game, they’re certainly not perfect, but their performances, at their prices, mean the Cubs won’t be all that interested in upgrading either position.

friscofan101
4 years 9 months ago

im not trying to say that the giants closer and catcher are teh best in the league. but wilson was one of the best closers in the league and is such a unique character that it is possible that the giants would have zero interest if they were offered a straight up trade for another closer. the same can be said with buster posey since he had such an amazing year as a rookie and his potential to be a great player for the next 10-15 years leads me to beleve that there are no other catchers in the mlb that the giants would trade posey for straight up. therefore i understand the “zero interest”. multiple teams can have zero interest in upgrading a certain positiion.

4 years 9 months ago

You mean DAN Johnson for the D Rays – not Eliot. Also, I loved the “Giants are WS Champs! That is all” comment.

Macfan1
4 years 9 months ago

What is with the media and pushing this “Derek Jeter, Yankees War”Oh Doomsday is upon usPlease, Derek is an aging veteran SS due for a position shift in the not too distant future. He regressed greatly last season and won’t just get better as he gets even olderIts baseball reality 101, especially in the post steroid era, not that Jete’s ever did that. This is just pure media tripe to create a dramaName me the teams lined up to give Jeter a 6 year contract as that nimrod Heyman suggested “unnamed sources” told him Jeter would be seeking, pleaseName me a team that will give him a contract bigger than he would get from the YankeesName me a team that is going to covet a player whose AVG, OBP, SLG, OPS were all below his career and he will be 37 during the course of next season.I love Jeter man and hopes he is a Yankee to the final out but please the media is so full of sh!t, drama, drama, drama seekers. Anyone that saw Jeter this season should know he should get a 2 year deal with a 3rd year mutual option that would take him to 40. What is so hard about that.

Hal Steinbrenner is just being realistic, should the Yankees give Jeter a pay raise and a 7 year contract. Sheesh.

Slopeboy
4 years 9 months ago

Agree. What I find interesting is that if Jeter went somewhere else, the Yankees could survive very easily. Jeter wouldn’t get more than $5MM from any other team, and that would be partly due to name and reputation. Now if Rivera were to leave, he could easily command his current salary if not a slight raise on a one year deal from a legitimate contender. He could not be replaced quite as easily. Jeter has always gotten the big press, but Rivera has always been the most important piece in the Yankees machine.

mdv1959
4 years 9 months ago

I guess the Rangers learned what every Angels fan knows. Vlad is a great regular season hitter and feasts on 3-5 rotation pitchers, but put him up against elite pitchers and his free swinging ways kill him. Ironically after years of frustration he actually hit well for the Angels in the 2009 playoffs, he seemed to shorten up his swing a little and was effective. Maybe his injuries last year forced him to be a little more selective. He looked like we was back to his old self in the 2010 WS.

richphillies
4 years 9 months ago

Dude, NOBODY all postseason looked good against that Giants pitching staff

mdv1959
4 years 9 months ago

That’s true, but you’d expect a guy with his power/average to be a more productive in the post season. He’s hit 2 home runs and has 20 RBI (and 4 of those came on a grand slam in one 2004 game) in 44 play-off appearances. I love Vlad, but I can think of a lot of people I’d rather have at the plate in a play-off game with everything on the line.

http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/gl.cgi?id=guerrvl01&t=b&post=1

UtleyPhan
4 years 9 months ago

The Giants won’t even make the playoffs next year!!!
That is all…

cubfan4life
4 years 9 months ago

wow. what a surprise that comment came from a phillies fan.

UtleyPhan
4 years 9 months ago

I admit to my bitterness, but it isn’t out of the question that an overachieving team wouldn’t get back there.

4 years 9 months ago

Maybe so. But our Giants beat your Utley (and Howard, and others) this year, sucka.

Jason_F
4 years 9 months ago

When you consider that virtually everyone prior to the season said/wrote something to the effect of, “if the Giants make the playoffs, with their pitching, look out,” then I don’t necessarily call that overachieving. You never know what will happen, year to year, but it also isn’t out of the question that the Phillies don’t make it back to the playoffs.

4 years 9 months ago

Seriously. Show me some metrics that would indicate that the Giants played over their heads this year, and we’ll talk. If there’s one area that seems likely for a regression, it’s their strand rate, but as the pitching may well improve in other areas – namely walk rates, and more swing and miss stuff from Bumgarner – I’ll call it a wash for now. There’s nothing to suggest that the Giants were overachieving.

Jason_F
4 years 9 months ago

Dave Cameron at fangraphs wrote a great article about this. Their team WAR suggests they were a 95/96 win team, and that’s without a full season of Buster Posey, Pat Burrell, Madison Bumgarner, etc. With the pitching this team has, all they really need is a league average offense.

http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/underdogs-or-underestimated/

4 years 9 months ago

Okay, just to point something out here… in a 16-team league, they finished 9th in runs, 7th in BA, 9th in OBP, 8th in OPS, 6th in SLG… By most obvious measures, they were almost exactly average. The places where they trailed – strikeouts, walks, stolen bases, and GIDPs – are things that are unlikely to change overnight, but are hardly crippling as the numbers show. Their middle of the order is not as gaudy as the likes of Colorado, Philidelphia, St. Louis, or some others, but they get plenty of production from top to bottom in their order to get by.

richphillies
4 years 9 months ago

Cody Ross – NLCS MVP

That about sums it up.

4 years 9 months ago

Cody Ross projects to be a .270/.320/.470 kind of guy for his career that will hit 20+ HRs per season. His power numbers were notably down in 2010, but corrected a mechanical issue right before the postseason. His resurgence was timely, but not totally unprecedented for a guy of his makeup.

His numbers make him look like… well, 2009 Hideki Matsui with a lower OBP. And Ross hit 3 of his 5 postseason home runs in Philidelphia, and one in Arlington. In 2009, Matsui hit 3 of his 4 postseason HRs in Yankee Stadium, and one in Philidelphia. And Matsui’s overall numbers for the playoffs were much more cartoonish for a guy who .275 in the Regular season, given his OPS over 2 in the postseason.

Did I mention that Cody Ross has hit more home runs against Cole Hamels than any other active player. Man, Cody must looooooove playing in Philidelphia.

richphillies
4 years 9 months ago

My thinking is more along the lines of play that series 100 times over, and 99 times out of 100, Cody Ross doesn’t finish with .950 SLG

Look, I’m not a delusional homer, so it’s not like I’m saying “San Fran will never beat Philly in 2011 woooo” but SF does have issues. Specifically, guys like Ross and Burrell, one of which may have played over his head in the playoffs, the other possibly the regular season, are both free agents. Aubrey Huff, who I won’t say played over his head cause his career says it’s a coin flip whether he’ll have a great year or a sucky one, is a free agent as well. So is Juan Uribe.

Really the toughest part could be a nearly completely different team. The pitching will likely be good again.

4 years 9 months ago

Ross is not a free agent; he is entering his last year of arbitration of eligibility. I expect the Giants to sign something like a 3 year deal with him in the offseason. Aubrey Huff and Pat Burrell both have a stated desire to return to San Francisco, and Burrell has said that he’d be willing to return in whatever role the Giants wanted, meaning that he will probably be very affordable.

In the event that either Huff or Burrell is not resigned (though the 1B market is fairly broad this offseason), Brandon Belt is expected to be major-league ready by the end of Spring Training, and will provide plenty of production on the cheap. Torres, DeRosa, Sandoval, Posey, Ross, and Sanchez will all be back, so you can count on the Giants having league average or better production at pretty much every position but SS.

I’m really not all that worried.

richphillies
4 years 9 months ago

My thinking is more along the lines of play that series 100 times over, and 99 times out of 100, Cody Ross doesn’t finish with .950 SLG

Look, I’m not a delusional homer, so it’s not like I’m saying “San Fran will never beat Philly in 2011 woooo” but SF does have issues. Specifically, guys like Ross and Burrell, one of which may have played over his head in the playoffs, the other possibly the regular season, are both free agents. Aubrey Huff, who I won’t say played over his head cause his career says it’s a coin flip whether he’ll have a great year or a sucky one, is a free agent as well. So is Juan Uribe.

Really the toughest part could be a nearly completely different team. The pitching will likely be good again.

suPaFreaK
4 years 9 months ago

Ryan Howard striking out looking pretty much sums up the Philles 2010 postseason!

suPaFreaK
4 years 9 months ago

Ryan Howard striking out looking pretty much sums up the Philles 2010 postseason!

atltribe
4 years 9 months ago

The Indians are set at Catcher (slight question w/ Santana coming back from injury) and at closer (Chris Perez = 1.71 ERA, Brian Wilson = 1.81 ERA…not saying Perez is better, but comparable)…I guess they must be a threat to win it all next year!!!

4 years 9 months ago

I think the important news from this post is Collin Balester’s Movember team!

Lanidrac
4 years 9 months ago

Hey, the Cardinals are also set at starting catcher (Yadier Molina) and closer (Ryan Franklin) next year. True, they don’t yet know who the backup catcher will be, but that’s a minor issue with how much Molina plays.