IBI Digest: 3/23/14 - 3/29/14
Recapping the week on Indians Baseball Insider
It's becoming that time of year. Spring training is about to wrap up and the major league rosters are all beginning to take shape. As the Indians prepare to begin their season in Oakland, they have added utility infielder Elliot Johnson, relievers Scott Atchison andBlake Wood as well as outfielder Nyjer Morgan to the roster. They have also announced that Carlos Santana will start at third base and that Carlos Carrasco will be the fifth and final starter in the rotation to start the year.
Elsewhere in baseball, extensions are a dime a dozen as Starling Marte, Miguel Cabrera and Mike Trout have all signed multi-year deals with their respective teams. Plus, Major League Baseball and the Players Association have come to an agreement on changes and adjustments to the Joint Drug Program.
Here's what happened this week on IBI:
2014 Minor League Spring Game Recap: March 22nd: Veteran starter Shaun Marcum made an appearance in a minor league game with the Columbus Clippers and pitched an inning allowing a run, a hit and striking out one in an inning of work as Columbus played to a 2-2 tie with Albuquerque. Otherwise, it was a tough day for the other affilliates.
2014 Minor League Spring Game Recap: March 23rd: In inter-affilliate play, it was the upper levels who were victorious with Akron and Lake County on the losing end. There was good news to report on some of the pitchers asJoseph Colon, Shawn Morimando and Caleb Hamrick all had strong outings. Each hurler is looking to push o the next level in 2014.
2014 Minor League Spring Game Recap: March 24th: LeVon Washington continues to have a strong showing this spring as he should be ready to start the year at High-A Carolina, provided he stays healthy. Will Roberts dominated in his four innings of work allowing no base-runners and striking out six. Also, David Cooper got into minor league game action for the first time since being reassigned.
2014 Minor League Spring Game Recap: March 25th: David Murphy paid a visit to minor league camp on Tuesday and recorded two hits, including a double and a run scored in four at-bats. Bryan LaHair seems to be fitting in well with the Clippers as he's planning to stay with the organization past opening day. He provided all the scoring for Columbus with a 3-run shot.
2014 Minor League Spring Game Recap: March 26th: Shaun Marcum made another appearance for the Clippers pitching two shutout innings. He should be ready to join them in Columbus sometime in mid-April. It was a big game for Tyler Naquin and Yandy Diaz as they each went 3-for-3 with Naquin recording a home run, a double and RBI and Diaz racking up a triple and an RBI.
2014 Minor League Spring Game Recap: March 27th: Clint Frazier returned to live game action for the first time in 10 days on Thursday and doubled and scored a run. He may open the year in extended spring training before heading up to Lake County. Jose Ramirez continues to have a strong showing as he goes 2-for-2 with a double and a run scored. Cody Anderson made his final tune-up start before the season allowing three runs in five innings.
2014 Minor League Spring Game Recap: March 28th: Catcher Eric Haase returned to the lineup on Friday and had quite a showing at the plate recording three hits with a double, an RBI and a stolen base. Shawn Morimando had another solid outing allowing only a run in five innings of work while using only 68 pitches.
2014 Goodyear Notebook: March 23rd: Tony Lastoria is currently in Goodyear covering the Tribe and has put together the first of several notebook reports from minor league camp. In this edition, Tony discusses the impressive showings from Shawn Morimando and Yandy Diaz as well as the outlook on Cody Anderson and injury updates.
2014 Goodyear Notebook: March 25th: Tony covers the latest news and notes from minor league camp, including the latest releases and how the rosters at the affilliates may be coming together. Injuries are starting to crop up asMatt Packer and Luigi Rodriguez have been shut down with undisclosed ailments.
2014 IBI Positional Rankings: The First Basemen: In order to continue to prepare for the upcoming season, Tony Lastoria begins the 2014 edition of the IBI Positional Rankings throughout the Indians farm system, starting with the first basemen. Jesus Aguilar tops the list with Nellie Rodriguez, Joe Sever and newcomer David Cooper also making the list.
2014 IBI Positional Rankings: The Second Basemen: Middle-infield depth is the primary strength of the Indians' farm system. Second base has several options that could one day be big-league starting-caliber players. The problem is with Jason Kipnis established as an All-Star in Cleveland, the road to the big leagues for guys like Jose Ramirez and Joe Wendle becomes a little tougher.
2014 IBI Positional Rankings: The Shortstops: Francisco Lindor continues to draw accolades from scouts and analysts throughout the industry as he is set to potentially receive his first big-league call-up at some point in 2014.Dorssys Paulino, Erik Gonzalez and Ronny Rodriguez are also shortstop prospects that the Indians are excited about.
Storylines: Indians begin to finalize their Opening Day roster: Elliot Johnson will travel west with the Indians when they take on the A's in Oakland on opening day. Johnson will serve as a switch-hitting compliment to super-sub utility player Mike Aviles on the bench. Reliever Vinnie Pestano has also been told he will make the club. Andy Nichols has the latest news and notes.
The Sunday Drive with the 'Westbrook Rule': Is Justin Masterson's situation comparable to Jake Westbrook when the Indians signed him to an extension several years back? Westbrook's deal didn't work out so well as he was traded to the Cardinals in exchange for Corey Kluber. Jim Pete takes a look back at the Westbrook deal in order to see if Masterson is worth extending.
Storylines: Tigers, Scherzer put an end to extension talks: After the reigning AL Cy Young-winner reportedly turned down an offer from the Tigers worth $144 million over six years, the two sides have decided to end negotiations on a multi-year extension. In other news, Jurickson Profar will miss 10-12 weeks with a shoulder injury. Andy Nichols reports.
McAllister rebounds; Tribe falls to Angels, 5-2: Despite six quality innings from Zach McAllister, the Indians' bats were unable to overcome the Angels, who have now won five straight. Josh Outman gave up his first runs of the spring, which all but sealed the victory for LA. Jim Berdysz reports live from Arizona.
Cleveland's 'unfinished business' includes signing Masterson: Nick Swisher has declared 2014 the season of "Unfinished business" for the Indians. Steve Garton believes part of the unfinished business the Tribe has in front of them is signing their ace to an extension.
MLB Storylines: Lester, Red Sox set deadline for extension: Red Sox GM Ben Cherington says he plans to come to a decision one way or another on extension talks before opening day. In Goodyear, the Indians have announced that Nyjer Morgan and Lonnie Chisenhall have made the team in the wake of injuries to Michael Bourn and Jason Giambi. Andrew Zajac covers the latest news from around the league.
Carrasco and the long ball lead Indians past Reds, 8-3: While he probably would've earned the final rotation spot regardless, Carlos Carrasco proved he is deserving with a strong start against the the Reds as the Indians were victorious 8-3. Lonnie Chisenhall and Ryan Raburn also helped power the Tribe to victory. Jim Berdysz has the highlights.
Swinging for the Fences: A secret weapon in the bullpen: Blake Wood came into the organization rather uncerimoniously, but now he may be set to become one of the key components of the Tribe bullpen moving forward. Jake Dungan looks at the hard-throwing right-hander and his potential as a lights-out reliever.
Storylines: Francona names Santana regular third baseman: As he continues to finalize his opening day roster, Indians manager Terry Francona has named former catcher Carlos Santana as the starting third baseman with Lonnie Chisenhall shifting to a backup role. Andy Nichols discusses that and other news from Tribe camp and around the league.
2014 Key Players: Corey Kluber: Michael Goodman concludes his Indians Key Players series with a look at the Tribe's scheduled number two starter behind Justin Masterson. Corey Kluber wasn't highly thought of as a prospect until last season when he managed to put it all together at the big league level and give the Indians several dominant starts prior to injury. Can he pick up where he left off last season?
Indians finalize Opening Day 25-man roster: The opening day roster is set as the Tribe wraps up spring training and prepares to travel to Oakland to begin the regular season. Jim Berdysz breaks down the 25-man roster by the starting rotation, the bullpen and the position players.
Carlos Madness at the Corner of Carnegie and Ontario: Now that the decision is official regarding Carlos Santana not only playing, but starting at third base for the Tribe this season, Jim Pete takes a look at the various aspects of the team that he will affect and those that will affect him in this positional transition.
Storylines: Marte agrees to stay in Pittsburgh long-term: Another young player won't be seeing free agency anytime soon as the Pirates have agreed to a six-year extension with young star outfielder Starling Marte worth $31 million. Also, former Indians invitee David Aardsma has signed with the Cardinals. Andy Nichols covers the latest news and notes.
Carrasco's Conundrum: Summing the parts: Carlos Carrasco has won the final spot in the starting rotation to start the year. After years of inconsistency, injury and poor decisions on the mound, the conditions may be right for the right-hander to finally settle in and become at least an average major league starter, or so says John Grimm.
Storylines: Tigers extend Cabrera to record deal: Only a couple days after talks with Max Scherzer fell through, the Tigers came to terms with superstar first baseman Miguel Cabrera on an eight-year exension that will take effect following the two years remaining on his current contract. Andrew Zajac has all the details on the record-breaking extension.
Kluber bounces back; Indians edge D-Backs, 3-2: After a relatively rough spring, Corey Kluber finally had a decent showing allowing only two runs in seven innings of work. Nyjer Morgan also had a good day as he figures to be the opening day center fielder in the absence of Michael Bourn. Jim Berdysz recaps the Indians' win at Salt River Fields.
Nine pitching prospects who can help in Cleveland in 2014: In addition to middle-infield depth, one area that the Indians' farm system is particularly strong in is relief pitching depth. Jim Piascik takes a look at some of the pitching options currently at the upper levels of the system that could get a big league call-up at some point in 2014.
Orbiting Cleveland: Discussing the Masterson case: Steve Orbanek discusses the failed extension talks between the Indians and Justin Masterson with Jim Pete and Michael Hattery via email now that a week has gone by and the initial pain and anger in reaction to the news has died down somewhat.
MLB Storylines: Trout, Angels agree to extension: The long-awaited extension between the Angels and superstar outfielder Mike Trout has finally happened at a price lower than expected. Also, MLB and the Players Association has officially agreed to increase penalties and testing in the Joint Drug Program. Andrew Zajac has all the details.
Indians bats explode early, Tribe defeats Padres, 16-4: The Indians headed west to play the Padres at the University of San Diego and "welcomed" top prospect Matt Wisler to the big leagues as they buried him and the Padres early. Jim Berdysz gives an account of the Tribe's early offensive explosion and Zach McAllister's strong outing.
Ranking the 2014 Cleveland Indians opening day roster: Part one: Jim Piascik is back with his first Indians 25-man roster rankings of 2014. Now that the opening day roster is set, Jim starts by ranking the lower thirteen, including newcomers John Axford, Nyjer Morgan and Elliot Johnson.
Jake Dungan is a communications student at Stark State College and an intern with the Akron RubberDucks. Follow him on Twitter @MajorLeagueJake.