After the Indians traded several veterans at the July deadline, manager Terry Francona asked remaining team leaders like Michael Brantley, Yan Gomes, Jason Kipnis and Corey Kluber if they could draft a type of “accountability contract” for the rest of team, MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian writes. “It’s just a matter of playing the game the right way,” Gomes said. “We’re building a culture and we’re building a way that we believe in. That’s pretty much all I can say.” After several weeks of finalizing the wording, the contract was passed out to Cleveland players this week and signed by the group. As Gomes put it, “I think we’re going to be here for a long time together. So, we figured, if we really put together something that us guys that will be here for a long time, something that we really believe in, and we truly live by it and we enforce it, then I think guys will come around and follow it. It was something we really wanted to put together.”
Here’s some more from around the AL Central…
- Johnny Cueto’s recent struggles have “baseball people wondering again about the health of his elbow, among other issues,” Joel Sherman of the New York Post writes. Cueto was excellent over his first four starts since joining the Royals and then posted a 9.57 ERA over his next five outings before rebounding with a very solid outing (7 IP, two ER, eight hits, four K’s) on Friday against Detroit. He missed some time with elbow stiffness earlier this season while pitching for the Reds, though he didn’t go on the DL and the ailment ultimately didn’t hurt his trade value since Cueto returned and continued to pitch well. MLBTR’s Tim Dierkes recently dropped Cueto to eighth in his 2016 Free Agent Power Rankings, so it’s looking like Cueto will need a strong finish in both the regular season and playoffs to regain some earning potential.
- The Twins wouldn’t engage in extension talks with Torii Hunter’s representatives this summer, ESPN 1500’s Darren Wolfson reports (Twitter link). Nick Cafardo reported earlier today that the Twins indeed want Hunter to return for 2016, and since Hunter has himself said he’s taking his playing future on a year-to-year basis, it could simply be a case of the club waiting until the season and playoff race is over before getting into future contractual business. As Wolfson notes in a subtweeted response to his original message, Twins manager Paul Molitor particularly wants Hunter back.
- Brad Ausmus isn’t sure the Tigers made the right move in releasing Joba Chamberlain in July, he told reporters (including James Schmehl of MLive.com). Asked if he second-guessed the transaction, Ausmus admitted that, “Yeah. I did. Even at the time, I didn’t know if it was the best idea.” Chamberlain posted a 4.09 ERA over 22 innings for the Tigers (a number possibly inflated by BABIP and an ungainly home run rate) before moving on to minor league deals with Toronto and Kansas City and eventually returning to the bigs as a Royal. While Chamberlain’s numbers weren’t anything special, he still would’ve been an upgrade to a Detroit bullpen that has been one of the worst in the game this year.