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Jack Hannahan Rumors
Cleveland GM Chris Antonetti has an adaptable approach to this offseason’s free agent market. Players such as Michael Brantley offer defensive versatility, so the Indians aren’t about to limit their search for position players so early in the offseason.
“We can either go left field, center field or first base,” Antonetti said. “And we have some creative ideas for other positions as well.”
The Indians feel “very comfortable” with Brantley in center field, since he played for a month and a half with a serious wrist injury but still posted a .702 OPS in 2011. Brantley will play center field or left field in 2012, depending on the rest of Cleveland’s offseason.
The Indians’ winter will revolve around the search for position players, since they have a full five-man rotation heading into Spring Training 2012. However, the Indians aren’t content with their pitching depth.
“I don’t think we’ll ever be satisfied with our pitching,” he said. “We’ll always look for opportunities to improve.”
The Indians enter the 2011 season with Ubaldo Jimenez, Justin Masterson, Fausto Carmona, Derek Lowe and Josh Tomlin in the rotation. Since Masterson, Carmona and Lowe induce so many ground balls, the Indians intend on lining their infield with above-average defenders.
Jason Kipnis appears to be the leading candidate for the starting second base job and Antonetti says he has the chance to become an above-average defender. Jack Hannahan, a pleasant surprise in 2011, is an “elite” defender, according to Antonetti. He could start at third for Cleveland and Lonnie Chisenhall is also in the mix for regular work at the hot corner. However, the Indians aren’t going to finalize decisions before Spring Training.
A round of Indians-themed links as Cleveland plays Kansas City in Arizona…
- As Bob Ford of the Philadelphia Inquirer explains, Indians reliever Chad Durbin was surprised to take a paycut this year given the robust market for relievers. "I didn't think my year dictated it should have been that way. I'm not saying I needed three years for 12 [million] – that's ridiculous – but we were fishing for whatever we could get," Durbin said.
- The Indians expect the Pirates to return Josh Rodriguez, according to Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. The Rule 5 pick would be a welcome addition to one of the Indians' top affiliates.
- In a mailbag for MLB.com, Jordan Bastian explains that Josh Tomlin appears to have a good chance of cracking the Indians' rotation.
- On the infield, Jack Hannahan has a chance to be the Indians' Opening Day third baseman, Bastian reports.
Three years ago today, the Marlins and Tigers completed a six player trade that sent slugger Miguel Cabrera (and Dontrelle Willis) to Detroit. It appears another slugging first baseman will be on the move shortly, but here's some other tidbits from around the league…
- The Indians have signed infielder Jack Hannahan to a minor league contract with an invitation to Spring Training according to the team. Hannahan, 31 in March, hit .237/.340/.374 in 392 Triple-A plate appearances this year while playing all around the infield.
- When asked about contract talks, Joey Votto told John Fay of The Cincinnati Enquirer "[The Reds] said they wanted to do a contract. They haven't said one year or million years. How can I comment on that?" (Twitter link)
- The Rockies, meanwhile, continue to talk to Carlos Gonzalez about a long-term contract, says Troy Renck of The Denver Post. He cautions that nothing is imminent, and it's unlikely that a deal would go beyond his arbitration years. Agent Scott Boras is known for taking his clients to free agency whenever possible.
- The Angels are not setting deadlines with free agents this winter, a change from their previous way of doing things according to ESPN's Buster Olney (Twitter links).
- Tom Haudricourt of The Journal Sentinel looks at what the impending Adrian Gonzalez trade means for Prince Fielder. Brewers GM Doug Melvin acknowledged that teams just aren't making young pitching available in trades.
- Lynn Henning of The Detroit News and Joe Strauss of The St. Louis Post-Dispatch write that the Tigers and Cardinals, respectively, expect to be busy during the upcoming winter meetings.
- Matt Gelb of The Philadelphia Inquirer looks at how some moves might impact the Phillies in the coming weeks.
- MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo takes a look back at some Rule 5 Draft gems. This year's Rule 5 Draft takes place this coming Thursday.
The latest on the Brewers…
- Rick Peterson is officially out as the team's pitching coach, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. Peterson was let go with a year remaining on his contract; Rosenthal notes that the Pirates, Mets, and Yankees have openings. ESPN's Buster Olney tweets that Peterson will not be the Yankees' next pitching coach. Rick Kranitz will replace Peterson for the Brewers, according to a team press release.
- The Brewers have interest in infielder Jack Hannahan on a minor league deal, tweets Rosenthal's colleague Jon Paul Morosi. Hannahan, 31 in March, hit .237/.340/.374 in 392 Triple-A plate appearances this year while playing all around the infield. UZR, an advanced defensive stat, indicates he's done good work at the hot corner in the bigs.
- The Brewers claimed reliever Justin James off waivers from the Athletics earlier this month; Baseball America's Casey Tefertiller digs into the righty's underdog story.
- A review: the Brewers have eight arbitration eligible players – Manny Parra, Joe Inglett, Kameron Loe, Carlos Gomez, Carlos Villanueva, Prince Fielder, Rickie Weeks, and Todd Coffey. Inglett and Coffey are non-tender candidates, in my estimation. The team's six free agents: Dave Bush, Craig Counsell, Chris Capuano, Trevor Hoffman, Doug Davis, and Gregg Zaun. Counsell and Capuano are candidates to return.
Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe writes that "various reports" have indicated that Boston has acquired Jack Hannahan from Seattle in exchange for either money or a player to be named later. Pawtucket Red Sox radio announcer Dan Hoard was the first to break the news via his Twitter feed.
Hannahan has a .658 OPS in 981 career major league plate appearances with Detroit, Oakland and Seattle, though the injury-plagued Red Sox no doubt value Hannahan's versatility over his bat. Hannahan has played at least 10 games at shortstop, third base and second base this season for Triple-A Tacoma, and also has significant experience playing first in both the minors and majors. He has spent the entire season in Tacoma and was actually designated for assignment by the Mariners last month.
TUESDAY, 1:41pm: Hannahan cleared waivers and will head to Triple A, according to a press release.
FRIDAY, 5:37pm: The Mariners have designated Jack Hannahan for assignment, according to Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times. The move cleared a spot on the 40-man roster for Eliezer Alfonzo, who was selected from Triple A Tacoma.
Hannahan suffered a groin injury in spring training and, despite the Mariners' offensive struggles, was unable to earn a shot with the big-league club this season. Baker writes that Hannahan appeared to be a lock to make Seattle's roster as a utility player, but the 30-year-old hit just .190/.297/.270 in 118 plate appearances for Tacoma.
It's no secret that the Mariners came into the season with a plan for extreme run prevention through pitching and top shelf defense, but through 23 games they've scored the third fewest runs in the American League (82) thanks to a paltry .312 team OBP. The problem was as obvious as can be last night, when the Mariners twice had the bases loaded with less than two outs in extra innings, but scored a total of zero runs.
Jason Churchill of Prospect Insider took a look at the team's offensive plight, noting that the farm system offers a little help and that the arrival of Jack Hannahan and possibly Ramon Vazquez will provide just a marginal improvement for the bench. Seattle's designated hitters are hitting just .186/.263/.198, so Churchill offers up some trade suggests to help that situation. Note that the trade talk is based on his speculation only.
The names are not strangers to this space, including Josh Willingham, Adam Dunn, Luke Scott, and Jorge Cantu. All four would represent a demonstrative offensive upgrade, and by slotting them in at DH the team would maintain their run prevention strategy. Seattle has good but not great trade chips, but they might have the ability to absorb some salary, the best trade chip of all.
The Mariners are just half a game back in the league's most winnable division after the season's first month, so it's hardly time to panic. Though the sooner they can improve the DH position, the better.
Some notes from Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports.com…
- The Diamondbacks continue to pursue a number three or four starter in the wake of Brandon Webb's setback. A club official acknowledged that such a pickup was possible, but “I don’t think any team will be willing to give up that kind of pitcher at the start of the season.”
- Rosenthal says the team has infield depth to use in a trade, and reiterated that they'd love to move Chris Snyder and the $11.25MM left on his contract. The Rangers and Red Sox are said to be looking for infielders, and the Mariners could join them following Jack Hannahan's injury.
- The Tigers are shopping Nate Robertson, but Arizona doesn't consider him enough of an upgrade. Zach Duke and Paul Maholm are not available.
- The best available starter may be Chad Gaudin, who was released by the Yankees on Thursday.
- The Brewers considered a Jeff Suppan for Snyder trade, but didn't want to take on Snyder's 2011 salary. Suppan will earn $12.5MM this season, the final one on his contract.
- The Cubs do not expect to make a trade for a reliever before Opening Day, but they've scouted Jason Frasor and Scott Downs, plus Luke Gregerson of the Padres.
- Nick Green has an out clause in his minor league contract, but the Dodgers may add him to the roster to serve as the backup shortstop.
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