Cleveland Indians Rumors
Upwards of 20 teams were on-hand today to watch free-agent right-hander Joel Hanrahan's showcase at the University of Tampa today, writes Jon Heyman of CBS Sports (More specifically, ESPN's Buster Olney tweeted that there were 16 to 18 clubs on-hand). Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe tweets that Hanrahan's agents at Reynolds Sports Management are already discussing a contract with multiple clubs after what proved to be a strong audition.
Among the attendees, according to Heyman, were the Red Sox, Yankees, Mets, Royals, Rockies and Indians. Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN tweets that the Twins were in attendance as well, while MLB.com's Jason Beck tweets that the Tigers, too, were one of the clubs in attendance. Peter Gammons of GammonsDaily.com adds (also via Twitter) that the Orioles, Blue Jays and Rays were present.
Hanrahan appears to be ahead of schedule, Heyman writes, as he was throwing as hard as 93 mph despite being just 11 months removed from Tommy John/flexor tendon repair surgery. Scouts told Heyman that Hanrahan looked "fit and healthy," while another who attended told Cafardo (Twitter link) that Hanrahan "looked great." Wolfson's tweet also mentions that Hanrahan looked impressive.
A two-time All-Star, Hanrahan posted a 2.59 ERA with 10.4 K/9 and 3.8 BB/9 in 229 1/3 innings with the Pirates from 2009-12 before a trade that sent him to Boston last offseason.
The White Sox are off to a solid start to the season with a 7-6 record, and they've already won more games against the division-rival Indians than they did in 2013, writes Dan Hayes of CSN Chicago. Hayes spoke with Indians GM Chris Antonetti about his division rivals, and Antonetti said he's not surprised to see the Sox looking like an improved club. "Unfortunately for us, I thought [White Sox GM Rick Hahn] and his staff had an exceptional offseason," Antonetti told Hayes. "They’ve positioned themselves not only better for the short term but also for the long term as well and that’s a challenging thing to do. ... I thought they made a number of tremendous moves that will not only help them this year but for years to come, unfortunately to our detriment."
Here's more about the White Sox and the rest of the AL Central...
- The White Sox' largest move of the offseason, financially speaking, was the signing of Jose Abreu to a six-year, $68MM contract. CSN Chicago's David Kaplan spoke to former Sox GM and current executive vice president Kenny Williams about the Abreu signing. Williams said he initially told Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf that he thought Abreu was worth a four-year, $40MM investment, to which Reinsdorf replied, "Why not $50MM?" Williams said he's 100 percent confident in Abreu as well as Reinsdorf and Hahn, who closed the $68MM deal (Twitter link).
- Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press looks at yesterday's $35MM extension for Jedd Gyorko and examines what that means for the Twins' chances of locking up Brian Dozier. The Twins and Dozier's agent, Damon Lapa, had extension talks this spring that didn't progress beyond the exploratory phase, Berardino writes. He notes that while Gyorko's bat has been superior to Dozier's thus far, Dozier trumps Gyorko in defense, baserunning and overall wins above replacement.
- In the latest edition of his "Hey Hoynsie!" mailbag, Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer points out that the Indians are in a familiar situation with Asdrubal Cabrera. Though the club had an affordable option on Omar Vizquel back in 2004, they made no indication of wanting to pick it up and instead let Vizquel walk to make room for Jhonny Peralta. In 2010, the team traded Peralta to the Tigers without showing much interest in retaining him, due to Cabrera's presence in the minors. Now, with Cabrera five-and-a-half months from free agency and Francisco Lindor looming, there's been little to no talk of Cabrera's Cleveland tenure lasting beyond 2014. The bigger question, says Hoynes, is whether or not Cabrera will play well enough to merit a qualifying offer. Given his struggles at the plate over the past year, that seems unlikely at this time.
It was on this day in 2009 that Mark Fidrych died at age 54 as the result of a freak truck repair accident. Fidrych burst onto the scene as a Tigers rookie in 1976, posting a 2.34 ERA over 250 1/3 innings, starting the All-Star Game for the American League and capturing the AL Rookie Of The Year Award in the process. His pitching aside, "The Bird" was even better known for his unique personality and quirky mound habits (such as talking to the ball or personally smoothing out cleat marks on the mound), as well as appearing on perhaps the greatest cover in Sports Illustrated history. Though Fidrych's career was short, baseball fans will never forget one of the game's great characters. The MLBTR staff extends our condolences to Fidrych's family and friends on this anniversary of his passing.
Here's the latest from around the AL Central...
- Joaquin Benoit and Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski both had nothing but good things to say about the veteran reliever's tenure in Motown, but the Tigers didn't make Benoit a contract offer last winter. Dombrowski tells John Lowe of the Detroit Free Press that “When it came down to it, we had Joe Nathan over Joaquin as a closer, and that’s the direction we decided to pursue. We kept a pulse of his free-agent situation all winter long. But it just looked like he was going to (cost) a little more than we wanted to pay for a set-up guy." Benoit ended up signing a two-year, $15.5MM deal with the Padres.
- Lonnie Chisenhall is hitting well but could be the victim of a roster crunch, so a reader asked Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer (as part of a mailbag piece) if the Indians could possibly deal the third baseman. Hoynes believes it's generally too early for teams to be exploring the trade market, barring an injury, and Chisenhall is still an unproven commodity at the Major League level. Since Chisenhall is 25 years old and only a couple of years removed from being regarded as the Tribe's top prospect, I'd think Cleveland would need a big return to consider moving Chisenhall, even though Carlos Santana has seemingly taken over at third base.
- Sam Fuld could be an interesting pickup for the Twins, 1500ESPN.com's Derek Wetmore opines, as he would add depth to a Minnesota team that is thin on outfield options. The Athletics designated Fuld for assignment yesterday.
Dr. James Andrews tells MLB Network Radio (via MetsBlog) that a number of factors have contributed to an increase in Tommy John surgeries throughout baseball. One issue is that high school pitchers are throwing too hard, and their ligaments aren't maturing quickly enough to keep up with their velocity. Year-round baseball is another issue, as is throwing breaking balls at a young age. High school pitchers who throw harder than 80-85 MPH also run the risk of having arm issues. Here are a few notes from around the American League.
- The Indians' trade of Shin-Soo Choo was one of GM Chris Antonetti's best deals, Terry Pluto of the Plain Dealer writes. The Indians gave up Choo, a player they could not have afforded to keep, and the other players they dealt (Tony Sipp, Lars Anderson and Jason Donald) haven't proven consequential. The Indians received Trevor Bauer, who had a great first start of the season on Wednesday, and a good bullpen arm in Bryan Shaw. They also got Matt Albers, who pitched reasonably well last season before heading to the Astros as a free agent, and Drew Stubbs, who went to the Rockies for Josh Outman. Outman now joins Shaw in the Indians' bullpen.
- Sam Fuld isn't surprised that the Athletics designated him for assignment, Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle writes. "I guess the one good thing is that I have been bracing myself for it," says Fuld. Coco Crisp is now healthy, and Craig Gentry is back from the disabled list, which left little room for Fuld.
- The Red Sox' most recent $70MM extension offer to Jon Lester might seem low, but Lester himself is trying to keep it in context, John Tomase of the Boston Herald tweets. "They're trying to set up their business for the future. They're weighing risk," Lester says. "I can't just stand up and say, 'Pay me pay me pay me.'"
Here are today's minor moves and minor outright assignments from around the league...
- The Indians announced, via Twitter, that right-hander Frank Herrmann has cleared waivers and been outrighted to Triple-A Columbus. The 29-year-old Herrmann missed the entire 2013 campaign as he recovered from Tommy John surgery. He has a career 4.26 ERA with 5.4 K/9 and 2.2 BB/9 in 126 1/3 Major League innings and a stronger 3.13 ERA in 178 innings at the Triple-A level.
- In case you didn't see, earlier today, the Pirates made the rather surprising announcement that right-hander Vin Mazzaro has cleared waivers and been outrighted to Triple-A. Mazzaro has three days to accept or reject the assignment.
- Jeremy Jeffress, Hector Noesi, Mike Baxter and Pedro Ciriaco are all in DFA limbo at this time, and you can track their status and see the outcomes of other DFA cases using MLBTR's DFA Tracker.
The Orioles have acquired right-hander Preston Guilmet from the Indians in exchange for infielder Torsten Boss, both teams announced. In order to clear room for Guilmet on their 40-man roster, the Orioles transferred Nolan Reimold from the 15-day disabled list to the 60-day disabled list. Guilmet, who had been designated for assignment by the Indians at the end of Spring Training, has been optioned to Triple-A Norfolk.
The 26-year-old Guilmet made his big league debut with the Indians in 2013, allowing six runs in 5 1/3 innings of work. He was much better than that in Triple-A, where he had a pristine 1.68 ERA with 10.1 K/9 and 2.0 BB/9 in 64 1/3 innings. In a text to reporters, including MLB.com's Britt Ghiroli (Twitter link), executive vice president Dan Duquette said, "We expect he'll contribute to the Major League team this season given his track record and experience closing games."
In addition to having an outstanding name, the 23-year-old Boss is a former eighth-round draft pick that has compiled a .245/.343/.378 batting line in 174 minor league games to date. Boss has split his time between second and third (more at second base) with one rogue appearance in the outfield as well. He opened the season at Class-A Advanced for Baltimore and has been assigned to the same level in Cleveland's organization.
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports has a lengthy new column up that takes a look at the hot start for the Giants' offense as well as an impressive sweep of the Red Sox by the Brewers this weekend. Beyond that, it has quite a bit of info on the top two remaining free agents and come contract extensions. Here are some highlights from his latest work...
- Scott Boras is telling tems that he could soon land a deal for Kendrys Morales, a source tells Rosenthal. However, some of the interested parties are debating between signing him (and fellow Boras free agent Stephen Drew) now or waiting until after the June draft. Rosenthal points out that this could potentially save a club multiple picks, as the signing team wouldn't have to surrender a 2015 draft pick, and if they offer a multi-year deal, they won't have to forfeit a 2016 pick to fill the hole on the free agent market next offseason.
- The Indians have been trying to extend Jason Kipnis for the past two years, but Kipnis and agent Dan Horwits of the Beverly Hills Sports Council rejected offers in the $15MM range (following Kipnis' two-month debut in 2011) and $24MM range (prior to the 2013 season).
- The main hangup in extension talks between the Dodgers and Hanley Ramirez isn't the average annual value but rather the length of the contract, says Rosenthal. Ramirez is likely to receive an AAV in the $22-25MM range, but the length of the contract is a concern for the Dodgers given Ramirez's lengthy injury history.
- Surgery remains an option for Brewers right fielder Ryan Braun as he battles nerve damage in his right thumb, but general manager Doug Melvin said to Rosenthal that going under the knife wouldn't even guarantee that the damage could be repaired. For the time being, Melvin said the team "is not overly concerned" about Braun's injury.
Mets first baseman Ike Davis might make sense for the Yankees, Newsday's Anthony Rieber writes, suggesting that the Yankees could give up a hard-throwing reliever like Dellin Betances for him. While Mark Teixeira is out with a hamstring injury, Davis would be a good replacement for the Yankees since his left-handed power would play well in their ballpark, Rieber argues. Until the Mets deal Davis, Rieber says, they aren't maximizing his value by keeping him on the bench. Here are more notes from the American League.
- Catcher George Kottaras, who recently agreed to a minor-league deal with the Indians, will make $950K if he's on the big-league roster, Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish tweets. Kottaras can also receive as much as $50K in incentives based on games played. He can opt out of the deal on April 30 if he isn't added to the roster by then.
- Brian Omogrosso's agency, MCA, says (via Twitter) that the pitcher is drawing interest from the Yankees, Rangers and Blue Jays after pitching at a showcase Friday in Arizona. The White Sox recently released Omogrosso. He appeared in 37 1/3 innings for them in the past two seasons, posting a 5.54 ERA with 8.2 K/9 and 4.3 BB/9.
The Dodgers have announced they have acquired left-hander Colt Hynes from the Indians in exchange for minor league right-hander Duke von Schamann. Hynes, who was designated for assignment by the Indians last Sunday, was added to the Dodgers' 40-man roster and optioned to Triple-A Albuquerque. MLB.com's Jordan Bastian tweets von Schamann will report to the Indians' Double-A affiliate.
Hynes made his MLB debut last season with the Padres, but allowed 17 runs in 17 innings of work (22 games) with a 13-to-9 K/BB ratio. The 28-year-old was dominant in the minors, however, posting a 1.52 ERA with a remarkable 58-to-2 K/BB ratio in 47 1/3 innings between Double-A and Triple-A. The Indians acquired Hynes last Halloween after the former 2007 31st-round selection of the Padres was designated for assignment by San Diego.
Von Schamann, taken in the 15th-round by the Dodgers in the 2012 amateur draft, has a career mark of 3.93 ERA, 6.2 K/9, and 2.2 BB/9 in 43 games, including 37 starts, across four levels of the Dodgers' minor league system topping out at Double-A.
Both Hynes and von Schamann pitched collegiately for Texas Tech.
The third time for the Indians and Jason Kipnis proved to be the charm, writes Zack Meisel of the Plain Dealer. Kipnis and the Tribe got together for long-term contract discussions in the previous two springs, but it was the third try that resulted in a six-year, $52.5MM deal. Things couldn't have worked out better for Kipnis since his price rose after he put up his best big-league season in 2013. Kipnis, who turned 27 this month, made his first All-Star team and finished 11th in the American League MVP voting on the heels of a stellar campaign in which he batted .284/.366/.452 with 17 homers and 30 stolen bases in 658 plate appearances. Here's more from around baseball..
- ESPN analyst Eric Wedge, who managed Kendrys Morales in Seattle, is shocked he’s still on the market. “He’s an impact, middle-of-the-order bat from both sides of the plate, a great teammate,” the former Mariners skipper told Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe. “Anyone would love to have him on their team and in their clubhouse. I understand the issues involved, but it makes no sense to me that he’s not with a team. There are a lot of teams who could use that quality bat."
- The Pirates have an impressive track record of helping pitchers who have fallen on hard times back on the right track, writes ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick. The Bucs are hoping that Edinson Volquez, who is now in the fold on a one-year, $5MM deal, will be the latest example of a positive reclamation project. Francisco Liriano, who returned to prominence in Pittsburgh, helped to recruit Volquez to the organization.
- Jose Contreras is not retiring following his release from the Rangers, a source tells Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish (on Twitter). The veteran is currently pitching in Mexico and looking for opportunities in Japan. Contreras, 42, signed a minor league deal with Texas after tossing just five big league innings in 2013. The Cuban veteran was solid in 29 minor league innings last year though, posting a 2.79 ERA with the Triple-A affiliates for the Pirates and Red Sox. However, things didn't go quite as well during Spring Training.