It was on this day in 1910 that the Chalmers Auto Company announced that a new car would be awarded to the batting champions from the American and National League. This innocent promotion ended up leading to a memorable controversy, as Cleveland’s Nap Lajoie “won” the AL batting title after collecting eight hits in nine at-bats (under very dubious circumstances) during a season-ending double-header against the St. Louis Browns. Chalmers ended up awarding cars to both Lajoie and runner-up Ty Cobb in the wake of the embarrassing situation.
Here’s some news from modern-day Cleveland baseball…
- There aren’t any extension talks going on between the Indians and Francisco Lindor, Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports (via Twitter). Cleveland isn’t necessarily in any rush since Lindor isn’t even eligible for arbitration for two more seasons, though the Tribe has historically looked to extend young talent when possible. Once Jose Ramirez’s extension is finalized, he’ll be the ninth member of the Tribe’s roster signed to a multi-year extension by the team. Lindor’s extension case will be particularly fascinating to watch given his status as one of the sport’s rising superstars. (Cleveland.com’s Zack Meisel recently speculated that a Lindor extension might cost the Indians something in the neighborhood of $65MM-$75MM on a six-year deal.)
- Ramirez’s extension was finalized after about a month of negotiations, Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer writes. According to Rafael Nieves, Ramirez’s agent, yesterday was the self-imposed deadline for the extension to be settled, so Ramirez could focus on preparing for Opening Day. Ramirez originally turned down an offer comparable to Jose Altuve’s four-year, $12MM extension with the Astros from 2013.
- Austin Jackson’s minor league contract with the Indians was known to contain an out clause near the end of Spring Training, and MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian reports (Twitter link) that Jackson’s opt-out date is actually tomorrow. Jackson is hitting well this spring though it may still be difficult for him to carve out a spot in the Tribe’s crowded outfield picture.
- After an offseason in “DFA limbo,” Richie Shaffer is hoping for some stability with the Tribe, Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Passan writes. Shaffer was traded from the Rays to the Mariners in November and then designated for assignment and claimed by Seattle, Philadelphia and Cincinnati before finally landing in Cleveland on a waiver claim…and then being DFA’ed again and outrighted off the Indians’ 40-man roster. Needless to say, it was a trying offseason for Shaffer and his family, and Passan’s piece is well worth reading as an insight into how such transactions take their toll on a player. “That was the first time I’d ever been talked about in that light – as a player a team would consider DFA’ing,” Shaffer said. “A year prior to that, I was in the Futures Game….Baseball’s an odd business. The game is pretty simple, but the business is strange. Once you get DFA’d once, there’s almost this perception that you’re a guy who can be DFA’d. Essentially, the next person who picks you up gets you for nothing, so you’re just as expendable to the next team because they got you free.”