IBI Digest: 1/12/14 - 1/18/14
Recapping the week on Indians Baseball Insider
It's been a busy week all around Major League Baseball with A-Rod officially being suspended for all of 2014, Clayton Kershaw signing a record-breaking contract extension and instant replay being approved for the upcoming season. Closer to home, the Indians have signed veteran outfielder Nyjer Morgan to a minor league deal as he attempts to revive his major league career. Plus, the arbitration deadline has come and the Tribe has picked up extension talks with Justin Masterson while continuing to negotiate with their other arbitration-eligible players.
Here's what happened this week on IBI:
Around the Farm: January 11, 2014: Jesus Aguilar showed his human side as he went hitless with a pair of strikeouts while Carlos Santana was a perfect 1-for-1 with two walks. Also, speculation continues as to whetherAsdrubal Cabrera will participate in Venezuelan Winter League playoffs as he is down there taking part in batting practice. Tony Lastoria reports.
MLB News and Rumors: A-Rod to miss the 2014 season: The verdict is in. Alex Rodriguez will sit out for the entire 2014 season, including any postseason play. The arbitrator in A-Rod's appeal ruled to reduce his original 211-game suspension, but not enough to satisfy the Yankees third baseman. Andy Nichols has all the details.
Around The Farm: January 12, 2014: Jesus Aguilar is slow to get going again as he only had one hit in four plate appearances. On the pitching side, Toru Murata was dominant in five innings of work as he picked up the win whileTyler Sturdevant failed to record an out. Arthur Kinney has all the highlights.
MLB News and Notes: Samardzija, Cubs working on extension: The starting pitching market is still slow to develop due to the continued negotiations between Masahiro Tanaka and prospective clubs. The Cubs have emerged as one of the front-runners while they continue to discuss a contract extension with Jeff Samardzija. Andy Nichols reports.
The majors leagues are within reach for Myles: Indians outfield prospect Bryson Myles has worked his way up through the farm system and become one of the more intriguing prospects in the organization. After suffering a major shoulder injury early in 2013, Myles is aiming to stay healthy and push even closer to the big leagues. Stephanie Metzger goes one-on-one with the outfielder to discuss his experience in pro baseball thus far and his future.
Tribe Happenings: Masteron talks tie in many things: With the arbitration deadline approaching, talks between the Indians and ace Justin Masterson have picked up as they discuss a possible multi-year extension. Tony Lastoria discusses the negotiations as well as Ubaldo Jimenez's current standing on the market in his weekly feature.
MLB News and Notes: New twist to the Balfour, Orioles saga: The health concerns that cropped up in the physicalGrant Balfour took with the Orioles were revealed to pertain with his wrist and knee rather than his shoulder, which was originally speculated. Andy Nichols has all the top stories and rumors.
Swinging for the Fences: It's now or never for Carlos Carrasco: Time is running out for Carlos Carrasco to become the quality big league starter the Indians were hoping to see from him since trading Cy Young-winner Cliff Lee for him back in 2009. Jake Dungan explains why 2014 may very well be his last shot with the Tribe.
Analyzing Mike Aviles' plate discipline and what it means: Mike Aviles has been known more for his versatility in the field and ability to step in and play various positions in a pinch. But how valuable is he at the plate? Jim Piascik analyzes the Tribe utility player's offensive production.
Around the Farm: January 14, 2014: Carlos Santana continues to reach base at a healthy clip as he recorded a pair of hits and walks and scored a run on Tuesday. Meanwhile, Jesus Aguilar appears to be mired in another mini-slump as he went 0-for-4 with a walk and three strikeouts. Arthur Kinney recaps all the action.
MLB News and Notes: Indians ink Nyjer Morgan: After taking a year off to play in Japan, veteran outfielder Nyjer Morgan is looking to return to the big leagues by signing a minor league deal with the Tribe. In other Indians news, the team has reportedly avoided arbitration with newly-acquired left-hander Josh Outman with a one-year deal. Andy Nichols has all that and more.
Dreaming big at the Corner of Carnegie and Ontario: After a surprise playoff campaign in 2013, the Indians need to fill their biggest holes and continue to build on what they put together last season and set their goals higher for 2014. Jim Pete explains why fans should be excited for the Tribe this season.
Corey Kluber's excellence and his slider: The emergence of Corey Kluber in 2013 was one of the more surprising and exciting storylines to watch unfold. The development of his command and movement on his pitches made him one of the Indians' better pitchers prior to his injury. New IBI writer John Grimm analyzes the right-hander's success and whether it's sustainable.
Around the Farm: January 15, 2014: It was a relatively quiet night for Carlos Santana as he only reached base once. On the other hand, Jesus Aguilar appears to be back on track as he clubbed his 21st home run of the winter ball campaign and brought his RBI total to 58. Tony Lastoria recaps the highlights.
MLB News and Notes: Kershaw gets unparalleled extension: In a record-breaking deal, the Dodgers have agreed to terms on a seven-year, $215 million deal with two-time Cy Young-winning ace Clayton Kershaw. Also, what is former Indians DH Travis Hafner up to right now? Andy Nichols explains all that and more.
Trend Spotting: The definitive Joe Wendle: There have been mixed reports on Tribe infield prospect Joe Wendleand exactly what his standing is as a prospect. Is he the real deal and worth getting excited about. Using a conversation between him and Jim Pete, Michael Hattery analyzes Wendle's skillset and his potential moving forward.
Asdrubal Cabrera and problematic bouncebacks: While many speculate that Asdrubal Cabrera could have a bounce-back performance in 2014 due to him being eligible for free agency at the end of the year, John Grimm believes he could be on an irreversible trend of regression and continue to perform as a below-average shortstop.
Around the Farm: January 16, 2014: The speculation as to whether Asdrubal Cabrera would play with Venezuela in a few of the remaining winter league games continues even though he and Caracas general manager Juan Vicente Zerpa may not be on speaking terms at the moment. Meanwhile, Jesus Aguilar had another multi-hit performance while Enosil Tejada pitched three shutout innings. Tony Lastoria has all the details.
MLB News and Notes: MLB set to add expanded replay: During the owners' meeting this week, the proposition for expanded replay in baseball has been unanimously approved and will be implemented immediately starting in spring training. Also, former Indians infielder Mark Reynolds has been signed to a minor league deal by the Brewers. Andy Nichols has all that and more.
Orbiting Cleveland: Could Cody Anderson be 2014's Salazar?: Cody Anderson has been a prospect that for the most part has been hidden in the shadows of Danny Salazar and Trevor Bauer in the Tribe farm system. Nevertheless, that hasn't stopped Anderson from becoming one of the more intriguing pitching prospects out there. Steve Orbanek compares his progression to Salazar's last year and wonders whether he can follow a similar path in 2014.
Around The Farm: January 17, 2014: The RBI Machine is back in full force as Jesus Aguilar racked up another three hits and cracked his 22nd home run of the winter ball campaign bringing his RBI total to 61. Plus, Tyler Sturdevant finally posted a quality appearance during the playoffs as he struck out two in a shutout inning. Arthur Kinney reports.
MLB Storylines: Santana discusses potential position switch: Carlos Santana spoke with ESPN Deportes about focusing primarily on playing third base if his team allows it. Now the question is was he talking about the Indians or Leones del Escogido as they advance to the winter ball finals? Andy Nichols has all the latest news and notes.
For Tribe, the Price IS Right: Throughout the course of this offseason, the Rays have been rumored on numerous occasions to be looking to trade their ace David Price. At one point, the Indians were reported to have inquired about the 2012 Cy Young-winner. John Mast explains why the Tribe should pursue a trade for Price.
Friends of the Feather
Does Cleveland Indians DH Jason Giambi Have One More Year Left in the Tank?: One of the first moves of the offseason for the Tribe was re-signing veteran DH Jason Giambi to another minor league deal for 2014 in hopes that he could provide another year of leadership and magical moments from the bench. But does he have another year left in him? Tim Tripp of Buckeye State Sports speculates.
John Axford's Generous Tipping: It was recently revealed that new Indians closer John Axford was tipping his pitches with the Brewers for most of 2013, which led to his poor numbers. However, after being traded to St. Louis late in the season, Cardinals coaches took him aside and worked to correct his issue. Jason Collette of Fangraphs breaks down his issue and adjustments in detail.
Indians Should Consider Adding Another Proven Starter: While the Indians do have several internal starting pitching options, including young, electric right-hander Danny Salazar and veteran starter Shaun Marcum, the innings and production vacated by Ubaldo Jimenez and Scott Kazmir are still a lot to fill. Did The Tribe Win Last Night's Craig Gifford believes the Tribe should sign another proven starter.
Will Francisco Lindor play for the Indians in 2014?: Top Tribe prospect Francisco Lindor has made steady progress throught the farm system and worked his way up to the AA level in 2013 before back issues sidelined him for the remainder of the year. While there is no official timetable for him to reach the big league level, Jason Lukehart of Let's Go Tribe thinks the shortstop has a real shot at making an impact with the Tribe in 2014.
Jake Dungan is a communications student at Stark State College and an intern with the Akron RubberDucks. Follow him on Twitter @MajorLeagueJake.