Cleveland Indians Rumors
The Phillies announced that they have claimed outfielder Ezequiel Carrera off of waivers from the Indians. To make room on the 40-man roster, the Phillies have designated fellow outfielder Ender Inciarte for assignment.
Carrera, 25, has appeared in 116 big league games for the Indians across the last two seasons, posting a .255/.306/.347 slash line. He has spent parts of the last three seasons at the Triple-A level where he has hit .286/.351/.372. Carrera first came to Cleveland by way of Seattle in the deal that sent Russell Branyan to the M's.
Inciarte, 22, was plucked from the Diamondbacks in the Rule 5 draft by the Phillies in December. The youngster, who is said to be strong defensively but lacking a major league-ready bat, split time between Class-A and Advanced-A ball in 2012. Last season, he had a combined slash line of .307/.376/.421
Over the course of 48 hours last week, teams handed out nearly a half-billion dollars in long-term deals to Justin Verlander, Buster Posey, Adam Wainwright and Paul Goldschmidt, Bob Nightengale of USA Today notes. But not all of those expensive contracts go well, which leads to, for example, last week trade of Vernon Wells from the Angels to the Yankees. "We're becoming like the NBA," says Brewers GM Doug Melvin. "Instead of old-fashioned baseball trades, we're trading contracts. I can see more of these in the future. And that's concerning." A sidebar to Nightengale's article lists how much each team will be paying other teams this year, much of it for contracts gone bad. The Angels are paying the most money, most of it going to the Yankees for Wells. The Pirates are receiving the most money, much of it coming from the Yankees (for A.J. Burnett) and Astros (for Wandy Rodriguez). Here are more notes from around the league.
- Two bad months -- a bad August 2011 for the Red Sox, and a bad August 2012 for the Indians -- helped create the 2013 Indians, Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer writes. Without the Red Sox's bad month, Cleveland wouldn't have been able to hire manager Terry Francona, and without the Indians' 5-24 August, the team's ownership might not have felt the need to make a splash in the offseason. That month of "zombie baseball" led to the acquisitions of Nick Swisher, Michael Bourn, Brett Myers and Mark Reynolds, Hoynes argues.
- The Red Sox will see former star Kevin Youkilis as he makes his regular-season debut with the Yankees on Monday, Peter Abraham of the Boston Glove notes. Youkilis signed a $12MM deal with the Yankees in the offseason. "It’ll be weird," says Boston's Jon Lester. "I wouldn’t never thought that it would happen. But he made that choice for him and his family. I’m sure he’s excited about it."
- Pirates second baseman Neil Walker also says he isn't likely to discuss a long-term contract with the team during the regular season, Michael Sanserino of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports (on Twitter). The Bucs have not made a new offer to Walker, either, Sanserino says. Walker will make $3.3MM in 2013 in his first year of arbitration eligibility.
The Indians have announced they have designated left-hander David Huff for assignment. Huff was informed on Monday he would not make the team and the Indians were trying to work out a trade because he is out of options. The Indians now have ten days to complete such a deal or they can either release or outright him to the minors.
The 28-year-old was selected in the supplemental round (39th overall) by the Indians in the 2006 draft. He has appeared in 55 games (52 starts) for the Tribe over parts of four seasons, accumulating 285 1/3 innings but posting unsightly ratios including a 5.30 ERA, 5.0 K/9 and 3.1 BB/9. He has averaged 90.5 mph on his fastball with a 36.5 percent ground-ball rate throughout his career. Huff posted a 5.82 ERA this spring in 17 innings (nine games including one start) with 7.9/9K, 2.6 BB/9, and 2.1 HR/9.
The Indians' 40-man roster remains at 39 players because the team selected the contract of Ryan Raburn from Triple-A Columbus.
Steve Adams contributed to this post.
We'll keep an eye on the minor moves today right here.
- The Mariners have released catcher Ronny Paulino, MLB.com's Greg Johns reports (on Twitter). Paulino, who collected 63 at bats with the Orioles in 2012, was in Mariners camp on a minor-league deal. He has hit .272/.324/.376 in parts of eight seasons with the Pirates, Marlins, Mets and O's.
- The Mets have released a host of minor leaguers, tweets Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com. The released players are: Brad Holt, Daniel Herrera, Craig Hansen, Mike Wilson, Corey Patterson, Pedro Zapata, and Brandon Brown. Herrera has a 3.72 ERA over 101 2/3 big league innings for his career, but has not pitched in the majors since 2011 and was working back from injury. Patterson, of course, has an extensive MLB track record but spent last year with the Brewers' Triple-A affiliate, posting a .251/.285/.410 line in 387 plate appearances. Hansen had not played at the major league level since 2009, and Wilson saw only very limited action with Seattle in 2011. None of the other players released have played above the minor league level.
- Catcher Brian Jeroloman has been traded from the Indians to the Pirates in exchange for cash, reports Quinn Roberts of MLB.com. Jeroloman, now 27, advanced to Triple-A as a 23-year-old but has yet to see big league action. He spent last season primarily in Double-A, where he hit .195/.308/.195 in 137 plate appearances. Jeroloman was destined for Double-A with Omir Santos in Triple-A, so the Indians instead shipped him to Pittsburgh where there was an opening at the higher level, tweets Paul Hoynes of the Plain Dealer.
Charlie Wilmoth contributed to this post.
The Yankees made some last minute moves this week when they traded for Vernon Wells and picked up the recently-released Lyle Overbay. Both Wells and Overbay have made the club along with Ben Francisco and Brennan Boesch, leaving Juan Rivera as the odd man out. Tbe first baseman/outfielder was cut loose, though he did cash in on a $100K retention bonus for staying on the roster beyond Tuesday's Article XX(B) deadline. Here's more from the Junior Circuit..
- It's time for the Yankees to start looking for a replacement for Derek Jeter, Wallace Matthews of ESPNNewYork.com writes. Eduardo Nunez, who is manning shortstop in Jeter's absence, is not a good solution for the long haul, Matthews argues, and Jeter's age and injury status are both worrisome. Matthews also suggests that the Yankees should have acquired Jose Reyes or Yunel Escobar in the offseason.
- Having gone in just days from being ticketed for Triple-A to being in the big-league rotation with a new contract extension, Blue Jays pitcher J.A. Happ is thrilled with his recent streak of good fortune, reports MLB.com's Gregor Chisholm. "It certainly has been a great few days," says Happ. "There was a long time before that where it wasn't quite as easy, but this kind of makes it all worth it."
- After his team's signings of Nick Swisher and Michael Bourn, GM Chris Antonetti hopes the Indians will snag a playoff spot, Terry Pluto of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports. The organization felt it needed a splashy offseason to maintain the attention of its fanbase, Pluto writes. "There is risk whenever you make substantial investment," says Antonetti. "But for us, there was even more risk if we didn't."
The Rangers announced that they have received Chris McGuiness back from the Indians. The first baseman was selected in the Rule 5 draft on December 6th.
The Indians were fond of McGuiness and were hoping to work out a trade with Texas to hang on to him. The soon-to-be 25-year-old hit .268/.366/.474 with 23 homers for the Rangers' Double-A affiliate last season.
Kiley McDaniel of sbb.scout.com has a primer on the international signing period, which begins July 2nd every year. That's when 16-year-olds from countries such as the Dominican Republic and Venezuela can be signed by Major League teams. The latest from McDaniel:
- There is no super elite prospect this year, writes McDaniel. He notes that under the new collective bargaining agreement, most teams will have budgets in the $1.5-4MM range, as determined by the 2012 MLB standings. The Astros could have north of $7MM to spend, however. McDaniel notes that teams can trade for up to 50% of their assigned cap.
- In another article, McDaniel looks at particular players in this July 2nd class. Dominican shortstop Obispo Aybar could get a $1MM bonus, even though MLB is investigating his age and clubs believe he is 18 or 19.
- Dominican third baseman Rafael Devers has been connected to the Red Sox, with a possible bonus over $1MM.
- Right fielder Micker Zapata, born on the island of St. Thomas but trained in the Dominican in recent years, has drawn interest from the Phillies, Mariners, Twins, and Indians. McDaniel notes that Zapata "speaks perfect English from his upbringing in St. Thomas."
- Dominican right fielder Eloy Jimenez has shown similar tools to Zapata with plus speed, a right field arm, and big raw power to his pull side. Jimenez has been rumored to be in line for a bonus that would likely top the class, ranging from $2.5MM-$3MM and is most often linked to the Astros.
- Gleyber Torres is a Venezuelan shortstop who doesn’t offer a ton of projection but has the smoothness and skills to put him into the top group of talents in this class. The Cubs are said to like him and they could spend over $2MM on him.
- Fellow Venezuelan shortstop Yeltsin Gudino is rumored to be in line for over $1MM with the A's and Mariners mentioned most often.
- Dominican shortstop Franly Mallen is further along than Gudino and has caught the attention of a number of teams. Rumor has it that a couple of clubs have already offered him a bonus in the high six figures.
- Dominican righties Mayky Perez and Marcos Diplan are the top two pitchers this year. Perez is 6’5, 205 pounds and shows three average or better pitches with a physical, projectable frame. Diplan, meanwhile, is skinny at 6’0, 160 pounds and boasts a 90-94 mph fastball with an above average breaking ball.
Zach Links contributed to this post.
The Indians re-signed pitchers Daisuke Matsuzaka and Matt Capps to minor league deals, according to a press release. The pair had been released recently so the team could avoid paying them $100K retention bonuses. It looks like they'll head to Columbus, providing the organization with veteran depth for the rotation and bullpen.
Each year teams parlay minor league signings into big rewards at the Major League level. In recent years, players like Ryan Vogelsong, Jared Burton and some guy named R.A. Dickey have been brought in on minor league deals and wound up signing extensions with their teams due to strong performance. Here's a look at some of the non-roster invitees from this offseason who have recently secured jobs with their teams:
- Scott Kazmir has won the job as the Indians' fifth starter, Nick Camino of WTAM 1100 tweets. Kazmir's velocity has reported returned and he posted a strong Spring Training (13-to-1 K/BB ratio and a 3.46 ERA in 13 innings).
- Ryan Raburn has won a spot on the Indians, according to Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer (Twitter link). Raburn has hit .359/.479/.795 with four homers in 48 plate appearances this Spring.
- Erik Bedard is expected to make the Astros' rotation, GM Jeff Luhnow told Brian T. Smith of the Houston Chronicle (Twitter link). The Canadian has turned in six scoreless innings in official starts, with nine strikeouts and two walks.
- Outfielder Wilkin Ramirez seems to have forced his way onto the Twins' 25-man roster, per MLB.com's Rhett Bollinger (on Twitter). Ramirez, who played in the minors for the Twins last season, hit .425/.465/.600 in 43 trips to the plate.
- On Monday, it was announced that Rick Ankiel, Kameron Loe, Jason Giambi and LaTroy Hawkins (all Article XX(B) free agents) made their respective rosters. Today, we learned that Jonathan Sanchez and Brandon Inge have roster spots with the Pirates.
Former Expos outfielder Warren Cromartie is convinced that the city of Montreal would welcome baseball back with open arms, writes Bill Beacon of the Canadian Press. Cromartie is heading up the Montreal Baseball Project -- an organization that has been formed with the goal of bringing baseball back to Montreal. The $400K project will be completed by year's end and feature financial analysis, legal consultation and extensive market research among the city's population. Here's more from around the league for those of you in the mood for some late-night reading...
- Former Expo (and Angel, Ranger and Oriole) Vladimir Guerrero has an offer from the independent league Quebec Capitales, and he's been in contact with the Long Island Ducks as well, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (confirming an earlier tweet from Chris Cotillo).
- The Indians are hopeful of working out a trade with the Rangers to keep Rule 5 Draft pick Chris McGuiness, tweets MLB.com's Jordan Bastian.
- The Yankees had preliminary discussions with Yuniesky Betancourt on Sunday but don't see a fit, Andy McCullough of the Star-Ledger reports (via Twitter).
- MLB.com's Brian McTaggart breaks down Rick Ankiel's incentive structure with the Astros (on Twitter). Ankiel, who has a $750K base salary, will receive $75K for 200, 250 and 300 plate appearances. He'll then receive $100K for 350, 400 and 450 plate appearances. All told, he could earn $1.275MM. Ankiel, an Article XX(B) free agent, was named the team's everyday right fielder earlier today.
- Mike DiGiovanna of the L.A. Times expects the Angels to receive a low- to mid-level prospect from the Yankees when the reported Vernon Wells trade is finalized (Twitter link).
- Joey Nowak of MLB.com lists 12 notable out of options players who could be traded before the end of Spring Training.