Indians Lose Three Free Agents
Jason Stanford (LHP)
Bobby Brownlie (RHP)
Jim Ed Warden (RHP)
Stanford could use a change of scenery, and really had no spot for him in Buffalo with the likes of Chuck Lofgren and Scott Lewis moving up to Buffalo this year into the starting staff and joining holdovers like Brian Slocum, Adam Miller, Sean Smith, and the loser of the Aaron Laffey/Jeremy Sowers spring training battle.
Stanford leaves the Indians organization as the all-time leader in strikeouts for the Buffalo franchise. In 72 games over seven seasons with Buffalo, Stanford was 25-12 with a 3.54 ERA. He pitched 381.0 innings, which is third most in the Buffalo Modern Era, and his 25 wins rank fifth all time. He made his first appearance with Buffalo in a spot start on September 1, 2001, throwing a complete game shutout with ten strikeouts. After going 3-1 with a 2.78 ERA in six games in 2002, he was the Bisons Pitcher of the Year in 2003 going 10-4 with a 3.43 ERA and 108 strikeouts in 20 starts. Stanford was injured for most of the 2004 and 2005 seasons, but did make brief appearances in Buffalo. In 2006, Stanford was 6-6 with a 4.01 ERA in 22 starts, and this past season he finished 5-1 with a 4.11ERA in 18 games.
Warden pitched seven years in the Indians organization, going 28-31 with 34 saves and a 4.12 ERA. He struggled with walks for most of his career, but still projects as a middle reliever at the major league level. The Indians just ran out of time with Warden, and also having so much bullpen depth in the upper levels probably made it easy for them to let him go and for him to say good-bye. Warden was selected in the 2006 Rule 5 Draft by Philadelphia, but was returned to the Indians this past spring when he did not make the Phillies opening day roster.
Brownlie was a mid-season pickup last year, and picked up mostly to fill a spot in the Akron rotation because various injuries had decimated the pitching staff. With no options to turn to at Akron because of injuries to several starters, and other starters piling up innings, they had to go outside the organization for a player to eat some starts for the last two months of the season.