IPI Inbox: Salcedo Saga Nearing End
One quick note and correction to my Russell Branyan piece from over the weekend, and that is to note that in the comments section I made mention that I did not believe Andy Marte would be the one designated for assignment once the Branyan signing is made official. As announced yesterday, the Indians chose to designate infielder Chris Gimenez. I just wanted to clarify that I misspoke and that the Indians very much value Marte because he is their best defender at both first base and third base, and being right-handed it would allow the Indians to play him and Matt LaPorta almost exclusively against left-handers with Branyan and Travis Hafner sitting.
Anyway, to the inbox we go...
Devin R: In the past couple of days, and seemingly out of nowhere, the Braves have been tied to Edward Salcedo -- most recently, mlbtraderumors.com has them finalizing a deal as soon as he passes a physical. They mention his birthday has "recently" been established as July 30, 1991. Where were the Indians when this happened? We had this guy playing in our DR facilities for at least a year (longer, if I remember correctly). He disappears for a couple years because of concerns about his age, and we completely lose touch?
Me: First off, I see you asked Indians.com beat reporter Anthony Castrovince this same question and he provided a spot on response in his mailbag earlier in the week. To recap what Castrovince said, Salcedo has been trying to sign with a major league team for the past three years but has been unsuccessful in those attempts because of an investigation into his identity. While the Braves appear close to signing him, it doesn't mean the investigations into his identity being conducted by both Major League Baseball and the United States Consulate are in the clear.
Now, as to why the Indians have "lost touch" with Salcedo? It is just one of those things where to my knowledge the Indians interest and contact with him completely flat-lined once the identity issues cropped up three years ago. Whether or not he is cleared and his identity is verified no longer matters as they have apparently moved on. Also, Salcedo was never at the Indians' Dominican Republic facilities for a year as any report on that is inaccurate because by rule teams cannot have a player at their academy for more than 30 days. The Indians did have him in for a few short visits and even saw him play in the USA when he participated in a Perfect Game event, but that's it.
Aaron wrote: When reading your comments you said "this [Branyan] signing in no way is blocking anyone of importance." You don't think this will cut into LaPorta's time? Matt is a "true prospect" that is ready (if no setbacks health wise.) How many starts, when healthy, will LaPorta get? I am not for platooning.
Me: I am not for a platoon either in this case. In the right situation where two role players are used to maximize their strengths and limit their weaknesses, I am fine with it, sort of like the "Benuardo" platoon in 2006 with Ben Broussard and Eduardo Perez. But in the case of LaPorta, he is considered an everyday player so will get everyday at bats. What is likely to happen here is while there is no strict platoon, the Indians are going to be cautious with how they use him this year and not just throw him out to the wolves and play every night come hell or high water. The plan is for him to get around 500 plate appearances, but his performance over the course of the season will dictate whether he gets less or more plate appearances.
From the sounds of it, LaPorta will split time in left field with Michael Brantley and also play first base or designated hitter against lefties so the Indians can sit Branyan and/or Travis Hafner. So, while Branyan is expected to be the