IBI Digest: 1/19/13 - 1/25/14
Recapping the week on Indians Baseball Insider
As Northeast Ohio and other parts of the country prepare for a polar vortex encore, news has picked up in the baseball world as Masahiro Tanakahas finally signed with a team. The premier Japanese free agent starter has agreed to a seven-year/$155 million deal with the Yankees. Meanwhile, the Indians have signed veteran reliever David Aardsma to a minor league deal with an invite to spring training. In the winter leagues,Carlos Santana continues to play at third base as he prepares to possibly man the hot corner in Cleveland in 2014. Also, Jesus Aguilar's winter ball campaign has officially come to an end.
Here's what happened this week on IBI:
MLB Storylines: The Cubs may be the frontrunners for Tanaka: It's been reported that Masahiro Tanaka has received formal offers from at least five different teams. Closer to home, the Indians are reportedly one of the finalists to sign veteran starter Jeff Baker. Andy Nichols has all the latest news and rumors.
IBI Power Poll: And the Indians' top prospects are...: Baseball America and Baseball Prospectus have released their top prospect lists for 2014 and Jim Pete wants to know if their rankings of top Indians prospects are accurate or not. Fans throw in their two cents in this week's Power Poll.
Anderson finding comfort outside of his comfort zone: Cody Anderson has been an under-the-radar pitching prospect in the Indians organization for a while now, but figures to work his way into the spotlight soon as he inches closer to the majors. Stephanie Metzger talks to the right-hander about his journey thus far.
Around the Farm: January 19, 2014: It was a slow night in the Carribean as the only action was in Venezuela. Jesus Aguilar went 1-for-4 with a strikeout and Elvis Araujo pitched two and two-thirds shutout innings in relief for Aguilas del Zulia. Arthur Kinney has all the highlights.
MLB Storylines: Balfour getting interest, Sizemore close to deal: Grant Balfour's market is starting to pick up again following his fallout with the Orioles as the Nationals appear to be showing interest. Also, former Indian Grady Sizemore is reportedly in "advanced talks" with the Cincinnati Reds. Andy Nichols reports.
Winter Ball Notebook: Top hitting performances: With the playoffs well underway in most of the winter leagues, Steve Orbanek continues to recap the top performances of the offseason among Tribe players and prospects. This week, he focuses on the pitching performances.
The Ultimate Indians Draft: Rounds 10-1: Jeff Ellis concludes his Ultimate Draft series by naming the top draft picks by the Tribe in rounds 10-1. Top picks included Dennis Eckersley, Albert Belle and Manny Ramirez.
Around the Farm: January 20, 2014: Jesus Aguilar is officially finished playing winter ball for the season as he begins preparing for spring training and the upcoming season. Carlos Santana will continue playing, but only on a night-by-night basis. Michael Hattery discusses Santana's performance on Monday.
MLB Storylines: Are any major trades in the Indians future?: In a Q&A between MLB.com Indians beat writer Jordan Bastian and Tribe fans, Bastian said he doesn't believe Asdrubal Cabrera will be traded before opening day nor does he think Justin Masterson will be traded at any point. Andy Nichols has all the details.
Tribe Happenings: The Santana third base experiment rolls on: As Carlos Santana continues to get regular reps at third base, those of us back up north continue to wonder and speculate whether he will be playing at the hot corner in Cleveland in 2014. Tony Lastoria discusses the likelihood of that scenario as well as other MLB news and notes.
Swinging for the Fences: Santana at third and roster versatility: It's now a foregone conclusion that the Carlos Santana at third base experiment has gotten to the point where it will carry over into spring training and possibly into the regular season. How would it affect the rest of the roster? Jake Dungan analyzes in his weekly feature.
Around the Farm: January 21, 2014: Carlos Santana and Elvis Araujo were two of the remaining few Indians players in action on Tuesday. Not much to report as Santana only reached base once via walk and Araujo only pitching a third of an inning and facing only one batter. Arthur Kinney has a recap as well as a list of the remaining Indians players participating in winter ball.
MLB Storylines: Have Masterson, Indians reached an impasse?: With the arbitration deadline on the horizon, the Indians and Justin Masterson are currently far apart on dollar figures for 2014 as he is entering his final season before free agency. Will they reach an agreement on next season or maybe even a multi-year extension? Andy Nichols discusses that as well as other news and notes from around the league.
Trading for Samardzija at that Corner of Carnegie and Ontario: Since the trade deadline last season, Jeff Samardzija has been brought up in trade discussion as the Cubs continue to look to bring in younger talent to build for the future. Could the Indians be a fit? Jim Pete speculates.
The illusory long ball power of Jason Kipnis: Among other great stories surrounding the Indians of 2013, second baseman Jason Kipnis took another step forward in his still-young major league career as he earned his first All-Star selection. Among the many areas he excelled in, his power spiked in 2013, but is it sustainable. John Grimm examines Kipnis's power stroke.
Around the Farm: January 22, 2014: As expected, things are gradually slowing down in winter ball as Carlos Santana was the only one in action on Wednesday night. He reached base three times, once via hit and twice via walk. Defensively, he had an assist and a putout at third base with no errors. Michael Goodman discusses his performance.
MLB Storylines: Tanaka domino finally falls, signs with Yankees: After a months-long wait, Masahiro Tanaka has chosen his team signing with the Yankees for seven years worth $155 million. Now we wait for the rest of the free agent dominoes to fall between now and opening day. Andy Nichols discusses the Tanaka deal and more.
2014 IBI Top 50 Indians Prospects countdown preview: The time has come to begin revealing the 2014 IBI Top 50 Indians Prospects list. In this preview piece, Tony Lastoria discusses who is and isn't eligible as well as the other criteria used to evaluate and rank prospects.
Around the Farm: January 23, 2014: Toru Murata and Carlos Santana were the only Tribe players to play on Thursday as Murata took a loss allowing three earned runs in three and two-thirds innings of work. Santana only had one hit, but it was a two-run homer in the third inning. He played errorless defense at third base while racking up six assists. Tony Lastoria recaps the highlights.
MLB Storylines: Is Matt Garza set to become a Brewer?: The first two post-Tanaka dominoes to fall appear to beMatt Garza and Grant Balfour. The former has not yet reached an official agreement with the Brewers despite reports that the deal was final pending a physical. Balfour, on the other hand, has returned to his former team in Tampa Bay. Andy Nichols has all the details.
Q&A with Clint Frazier Part 1: The Draft and more: In his first exclusive interview with IBI, Indians 2013 first round draft pick Clint Frazier sits down with Tony Lastoria to discuss his experience in professional baseball thus far as well as a wide array of other topics in the first installment of this two-part feature.
Around the Farm: January 24, 2014: Carlos Santana reached base four times despite not recording a hit. Licey pitchers really didn't want anything to do with him as they walked him four times (twice intentionally). In Australia,Ryan Battaglia struggled at the plate going 0-for-4 with three strikeouts. Arthur Kinney reports.
MLB Storylines: Pitching market is starting to develop: The Orioles are looking to bolster their rotation with one of the top free agent pitching prospects on the market right now. Meanwhile, Ron Gardenhire stated in a radio interview that the Twins are making a serious run at another free agent. Andy Nichols reports all the latest news and rumors.
Q&A with Clint Frazier Part 2: Turning pro and preparing for '14: In the second part of this exclusive interview with Indians first round pick Clint Frazier, Tony Lastoria discusses the outfielder's future in the Indians organization and what his goals are moving forward.
Jake Dungan is a communications student at Stark State College and an intern with the Akron RubberDucks. Follow him on Twitter @MajorLeagueJake.