The Indians never so much as made a contract offer to Michael Brantley before he inked a two-year, $32MM deal in Houston this offseason, USA Today’s Bob Nightengale reports within a broader look at the club’s struggles to retain top stars. Nightengale interviews both Brantley and CC Sabathia about their emotional departures from Cleveland as part of a piece that wonders whether Francisco Lindor’s eventual exit is anything less than a foregone conclusion. For his part, Lindor calls Cleveland “home” and adds that he hopes to stay before more vaguely stating: “When that time comes, we’ll decide.” Lindor’s long-term future has been particularly in question since Indians owner Paul Dolan ominously told fans to “enjoy him” while the team has him under control.
Indians fans will want to give the column a read not only for talk of Lindor’s future but also some heartfelt reminiscing from both Sabathia — “I cried like a baby when I was traded” — and Brantley. Both players offer nothing but fond memories of the city, the organization and the fanbase.
More from the division…
- Jose Abreu’s contractual status with the White Sox has been an ongoing story throughout Chicago’s rebuild. While he’s long been a logical on-paper trade chip, Sox brass has maintained that the first baseman’s clubhouse presence and leadership is virtually indispensable; both sides have openly stated a desire to continue the relationship beyond his current contract, but no deal has come to pass. Now, with Abreu months from free agency, GM Rick Hahn touched on the subject again — discussing the delicate balance of cold, hard statistical value and less quantifiable intangible means of value. “That’s the more, unfortunately, clinical side of things is, ‘OK, a right-handed hitting first baseman who’s produced at this level over the last few years at this age, what do you project going forward and what’s the value of that?'” Hahn asked rhetorically in an interview with The Athletic’s James Fegan. “It’s sort of that more touchy-feely, emotional side of things in terms of knowing the value that he has in this clubhouse and the leadership skills, the softer benefits that he brings to the club, that affects your valuation of a guy like that.”
- Since signing a minor league deal with the Twins, right-hander Cody Allen has pitched four shutout innings in Class-A Advanced Fort Myers, allowing three hits and no walks while striking out four hitters. La Velle E. Neal III of the Minneapolis Star Tribune writes that Allen has made some mechanical adjustments to use his core and legs more effectively, and the Twins will move him to Triple-A Rochester shortly after the All-Star break. Allen’s stock tumbled in 2018 and cratered earlier this season when he was released by the Angels, but he’s a known commodity for Twins chief baseball officer Derek Falvey, who was in the Cleveland front office for most of Allen’s peak with the Indians. Whether he can return to form following his latest change of scenery is anyone’s guess, but Allen is a nice flier to have in the upper minors as Falvey and general manager Thad Levine peruse the trade market for bullpen reinforcements.