IPI Digest: 12/23/12-12/29/12
On Sunday, Chris Antonetti joined the thousands of last-minute shoppers trying to pick up one final item before Christmas Day. Luckily for fans, Antonetti was not shopping at Target or Wal-Mart, but for a legitimate major leaguer in Nick Swisher.
IPI/IBI was there to cover every angle of the Swisher signing, as well as bringing the level of coverage of the minor league system you have become accustomed to.
Here are all of the pieces that went up on IPI over the past week:
2013 IPI Positional Rankings: The Left-handed relievers: Tony Lastoria continues his position-by-position look at each player in the system by analyzing the left-handed relievers, ranking them as either top prospects, on deck, up and comers, organizational soldiers, or filling in.
Tribe Happenings: The Swisher Saga carries on...and on...: In his weekly notebook, Tony Lastoria looks at why it was taking so long for Nick Swisher to sign, how Mark Reynolds ups his game with runners on base, explains why Scott Kazmir was signed to a minor league contract, and much more.
Merry Swish-mas! Swisher agrees to deal with Indians: Tony Lastoria gives the breaking news on Nick Swisher agreeing to a four year, $56 million contract with Cleveland.
Signing Swisher means Indians must contend NOW: Jim Piascik opines that the Swisher signing is a win-now move, implying that the team must contend for the playoffs in 2013.
Swisher vs. Choo: Did the Tribe improve?: Jeff Ellis compares Nick Swisher to the man he is replacing in right field, Shin-Soo Choo, to see if the team upgraded the position, downgraded the position, or stayed the same.
Around The Farm: December 23, 2012: Jim Pete recaps the night in the winter leagues, including visits from numerous players from Cleveland's past, and more.
Swisher SWEET: The Indians finally seal the deal: Jim Pete looks at the new organizational strategy that has paid massive dividends this offseason, shown most clearly through the Swisher signing.
Breaking down the Swisher deal and the Indians next move: Tony Lastoria gives his thoughts on the Swisher signing, on what it means for the club in 2013, in the long-term, and where the team will go from here.
'Tis the season to be an Indians fan: In light of the holiday season, the IPI/IBI staff gave their feelings on why they love being fans of this team and of baseball in general.
Then & Now: Giovanni Soto: In his ongoing series, Then & Now, Steve Orbanek looks at Giovanni Soto, the 21-year-old pitcher who has gone from 21st round draft pick to highly regarded pitching prospect in the upper levels of the organization.
The Indians could be nearing their payroll threshold for 2013: Tony Lastoria analyzes the payroll situation for the deal in wake of the Nick Swisher signing and estimates how much more the front office has to spend.
Corner of Carnegie and Ontario: The Gifts keep flowing: In his weekly notebook, Jim Pete looks at how front office pulled off so many upgrades without giving up its most valuable trade pieces, analyzes the free agent starting pitching market, and more.
2013 Scouting Videos: Volume 7: Tony Lastoria releases his sixth set of scouting videos of 135 different players throughout the organization, featuring Francisco Lindor, Kieran Lovegrove, and many more.
2012 Transaction Rundown: Final Releases: Tony Lastoria lists all the players that were released from the organization in 2012.
FOX Sports purchases STO: Steve Orbanek writes the breaking news piece on FOX Sports' acquisition of STO and gives a first look on what this means for the team and where/how the games will be broadcast.
Winter Ball Notebook: DWL playoffs begin: In his weekly winter ball notebook, Steve Orbanek breaks down how the winter league playoffs work, along with looking at Carlos Santana possibly rounding into form, Jose Ramirez continuing his brilliant 2012, the end of Chun-Hsiu Chen's time in the Asia Winter League, and more.
Around The Farm: December 28, 2012: Steve Orbanek recaps the night in the winter leagues, including strong outings for Asdrubal Cabrera and Carlos Santana, a rare appearance from Jesus Aguilar, and more.
Washington is focused on a comeback in 2013: Stephanie Metzger profiles the flashy LeVon Washington, including a look at his return to the field last season, the changes he made to his swing this offseason, and what his goals are for 2013.
Friends of the Feather
Nick Swisher signing is a stunning move by Cleveland Indians: Terry Pluto of The Plain Dealer looks at how shocking the Swisher signing is, considering how this type of thing has gone in the past.
Cleveland Indians top 5 and bottom 5 free agent signings: Paul Hoynes of The PD ranks the best and worst of Cleveland's free agent past in wake of the Swisher signing.
Swisher is good value for wrong team: Keith Law of ESPN.com (Insider required) argues that Nick Swisher is a good player, but the timing and contract do not make much sense for Cleveland.
Nick Swisher, Indians Now an Item: Jeff Sullivan of Fangraphs writes that the Swisher signing is a decent value and looks at what he will bring to Cleveland.
It's been a winter of work for new Cleveland Indians manager Terry Francona: Paul Hoynes of The PD looks at the running around Terry Francona has been doing since being named manager, meeting with numerous players across the country (and out of it).
Lost 2012 season prompts re-evaluation for Tribe: Jordan Bastian of MLB.com looks back on Cleveland's biggest storylines of 2012, including the Fausto Carmona/Roberto Hernandez controversy, the August collapse, and more.
Kazmir grateful for another shot at majors: Brian T. Smith of the Houston Chronicle outlines Scott Kazmir's fall from grace and his road back to the majors after he signed a minor league contract with Cleveland.
Overthinking It: Handicapping the Injury-Prone Pitchers of 2013: Ben Lindbergh of Baseball Prospectus analyzes which oft-injured pitcher is most likely to stay healthy in 2013 (and it includes a cameo from our own Jim Pete!).
If you want to follow Jim on Twitter, he’s @JimPiascik. If you want to e-mail him, you can do so at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you want to read his Master's thesis on college athletes and Twitter, you can do so here.