I hope everyone had a great holiday season! I’ve returned from Florida and am ready to get back in the swing of writing regularly. I figured I’d do a “catch-up” post of sorts to look at the Indians news of the past week or so, along with some interesting links. In the next few days, I hope to have some stuff on Indians in the Caribbean winter leagues. Before we know it, pitchers and catchers will be reporting to Goodyear.
Tejeda Signing: The Indians had just one small move while I was away – they signed right-handed reliever Robinson Tejeda to a minor league contract with an invite to Spring Training as their first official transaction of 2012. Tejeda suffered from right shoulder troubles in 2011 that limited him to just 7.1 innings of Major League action; he was 0-1 with a 6.14 ERA and a 2.04 WHIP in Kansas City. When he was healthy in 2010, Tejeda was 3-5 with a 3.74 ERA and a 1.32 WHIP with the Royals. There’s no harm in this deal. Since it’s a minor league contract, the Indians don’t need to make a roster move (unless Tejeda should impress in Spring Training and make the team). The bullpen appears strong, but it never hurts to have a great amount of depth. With an injury or two, that depth could evaporate rather quickly.
Changes to the Training Staff: The Indians recently lost assistant trainer Rick Jameyson to the Boston Red Sox, where he will become head trainer. (I feel like there’s a joke about fried chicken and beer in this one, but it’s been done too many times for me to break new sarcastic humor ground.) Jeff Desjardins and Michael Salazar will be assistant trainers for the Indians under head trainer Lonnie Soloff.
Rumor Mill: The Indians supposedly had interest in San Diego Padres 1B prospect Anthony Rizzo before he was traded to the Chicago Cubs with RHP Zach Cates for RHP Andrew Cashner and outfielder Kyung-Min Na. The Indians have also shown some interest in Colorado Rockies outfielder Seth Smith; the Rockies would like a back of the rotation starter or a second baseman in return for Smith. I’ll indulge the Smith rumor, since nothing has officially happened with him on the trade market thus far. In 2011, the 29-year-old Smith hit .284/.347/.483 with 15 home runs and 10 stolen bases; this is mostly on par with his career averages, which are .275/.348/.485 – all with Colorado. Smith is solid, but he does have a majority of his at-bats at Coors Field. He’s also a left-handed hitter, and do the Indians really need another left-handed hitting outfielder? The only way I do this deal is if you can get the Rockies to take someone like David Huff. (I shudder to think of Huff pitching at Coors). The Rockies are likely to want a better return than that.
Are the Indians Done for the Off-Season?: I don’t think the Indians have completely finished their off-season moves; that’s why I’m waiting to do my 2012 preview. There may be more minor league deals with Spring Training invites, but I think there will be at least one mediocre free agent signed on a Major League deal. (Which would require a roster move). I don’t think that will all be settled until Prince Fielder ends up with a team.
Congrats to Grady: Grady Sizemore became engaged to longtime girlfriend Brittany Binger on Christmas. Is it awful that the first thing I thought when I heard this was, “was she the one he sent those pictures to?”
Links: At the Hardball Times, Chris Jaffe takes a look at the upcoming Hall of Fame inductee announcement. The announcement is tomorrow (although technically “today” since it’s after midnight).
Crain’s Cleveland Business has an intriguing article speculating about the possibility of Dan Gilbert buying the Indians. Gilbert, owner of the Cavaliers, is poised to also purchase the Arena Football League Cleveland Gladiators. Since Gilbert will also own the new casino in Cleveland, this author speculates that it may make sense for Gilbert to invest in the Indians as well.
It seems like just yesterday I was at the last home game of the season against the Minnesota Twins. It’s hard to believe that the first Spring Training game is less than 2 months away (March 3).