MLB Storylines: Are any major trades in the Indians future?
In this MLB News and Notes segment, I will be giving occasional reports on the latest news and rumors throughout the MLB. I also will try to tweet news and rumors as I see them, so feel free to follow me on Twitter: @ajnicholsIBI.
With no major signings or trades occurring on Monday, there are no "Top Stories." Instead, I will give a rundown of all of the day's news and notes.
Here are the stories from Monday, January 20th.
News and Notes
- Jordan Bastian, Indians beat writer for MLB.com, answered several questions involving trade possibilities in his weekly Indians Inbox. To sum it up, Bastian believes Asdrubal Cabrera will be the Opening Day shortstop, and Justin Masterson will not be traded even if the two sides cannot reach an agreement on a contract extension. Bastian does say that a bad first half of the season could change the thinking of whether or not the Indians should trade Cabrera or Masterson at the trade deadline. He also stated that he does not believe Lonnie Chisenhall will break camp as the everyday third baseman. He thinks Chisenhall could be part of a platoon, but if Santana proves he can play third on an everyday basis, Bastian thinks Chisenhall could be sent back to Triple-A and made available on the trade market.
- Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish tweeted that about a half-dozen teams are in on pitcher Chad Gaudin.
- Cotillo also reported that several teams have contacted the Padres with interest in trading for utilitymanLogan Forsythe.
- 40-year-old Brett Tomko will throw a bullpen for the Orioles on Friday, according to Tim Brown of Yahoo Sports. Tomko has not pitched in the Majors since throwing only 17.2 innings in 2011 with Texas.
- In our daily Masahiro Tanaka news, Bruce Levine of 670thescore.com said that an industry source believes the Cubs will outbid other teams in both years and dollars in order to obtain the Japanese ace.
- Jon Morosi of FOX Sports wrote that he believes Tanaka wants to pitch for a winner, and the Cubs would have to overspend to sign him, which is something Cubs ownership does not do, Morosi said.
- Chris Cotillo tweeted that an agent he spoke to believes the Mariners are a dark horse to sign Tanaka.
- The Brewers signed Lyle Overbay to a Minor League deal with a Spring Training invite. Milwaukee just agreed to a similar deal with Mark Reynolds over the weekend. Brewers general manager Doug Melvin believes the team may mix and match at first base some in 2014 with Overbay, Reynolds, and Juan Francisco.
Hell, I'd take the Steamer projections for Chiz. 15 HRs, a 109 wRC+ and 1.9 WAR...actually not bad numbers for a 3B (sadly).
I get what you're saying but I'm just not quite as optimistic as you on Chiz's value in a trade. I still like him and think he will/can break out this year...but I don't see other teams trading based on how I feel. Fact is Chiz has struggled and looks like a platoon option at best. I'm not sold you'd get a 1st round pick value in return for him if you dealt just him...which is what you give up to sign Morales.
Plus, if you sign Morales, you essentially block Aguliar's path to the bigs. Chiz being around leaves open the door for more ABs for Aguliar at DH when Santana is playing 3B. But with Morales in tow for big money, you can't really justify platooning him.
Chiz + hopefully Aguliar + keeping our 1st round pick to me is greater than signing Morales and dealing Chiz right now. But just my opinion.
Tony looks to have the forecast that makes the most sense as far as I can see. Anything is possible but I just don't see the panic that cause most deal proposals.
Sure, I'd be VERY happy with Oliver's (264/.317/.450/.767 w/ 22 HR, 114 wRC+, 3.1 fWAR) line from Chisenhall. Let's hope that happens!
That said, a team like the Tribe must always look to sell from a position of strength, and if they think Santana can really play 3B, you have some strength to deal from. In that case it might be fine if Morales is only a marginal improvement over Chisenhall's projection (which we all know is total speculation, since it has never been accomplished), because not only do you get a guy with a pretty decent proven track record, but you then get to use Chisenhall to acquire a young starting pitcher. (of course, the problem there is that it would be selling low on Chisenhall, but still, he'd have significant value to some teams)
Sure I'd probably take Morales's bat over Chiz in 2014...but some people seem to make Morales out as some great hitter. He did hit 22 HRs...in over 650 plate appearances. Chiz hit 11 in just over 300; he actually homered at a higher pace.
And while I'm not one that really believes fully in the "projection" systems out there, I think some would find this interesting
Chiz projections for 2014:
Steamer: .257/.311/.429/.740 w/ 15 HR, 106 wRC+, 1.9 fWAR
Oliver: .264/.317/.450/.767 w/ 22 HR, 114 wRC+, 3.1 fWAR
ZiPS: .258/.307/.413/.720 w/ 13 HR, 2.1 zWAR
Morales projections for 2014:
Steamer: .268/.329/.456/.785 w/ 26 HR, 115 wRC+, 1.3 fWAR
Oliver: .276/.337/.454/.791 w/ 21 HR, 117 wRC+, 1.4 fWAR
ZiPS: .263/.319/.425/.744 w/ 17 HR, 1.3 zWAR
Again, these are just projections and at the end of the day mean nothing....but Morales did only manage a .785 OPS last year and while he did hit 22 HRs, his ISO was actually slightly worse than Chisenhall's. So I guess to answer your question, who would I rather have hitting the middle of the lineup, Morales or Chiz? The answer is neither. Morales is a #6/7 hitter at best in this lineup, Chiz is a #8/9 hitter. I'd rather see Gomes hitting in the middle of the lineup than Morales.
Masterson, he showed the team last year what he was about and should be honored with a four year contract for all that. He is just starting to pitch great, why let him go somewhere else. I think we have a good staff and should take care of them for four years or more. By locking up all your good players and not trading them to the Yankees or some other team, we will have a team to build on for a long time. We have the coach, now lets keep the foundation of our team. Don't sign Nelson Cruz or Ubaldo Jimenez or Morales to use them for one year and bye.
Stay with the young players who are better and fast and many years youngers.
The Tribe may not employ a full-time DH...but Francona had one in Boston for several years with David Ortiz, so don't think you can really say a Francona-led team will never have one.
We are not signing Morales. I doubt a Francona team will ever employ a full time DH, other than a Giambi type that only plays a fifth of the games.
Don't trade Chiz yet. He turned it on at the end of last year.
Honestly if I was giving up a pick for an offensive player I'd rather it be for Stephen Drew. Can move Cabrera for something and let Drew play short. Upgrades that position and if Lindor becomes ready at some point you could slide Drew to 3B, something he's telling teams he's willing to do. Not saying I would do this if I'm Cleveland but would prefer him to Morales or Cruz.
If Chiz is out of the picture (either AAA/traded or whatever)...maybe you platoon Santana at 3B but against RH pitching, not LH.
Aviles or Adams could play 3B against lefties then and Santana can move to DH (or catch some and Gomes DH). When Santana is playing 3B against a RHP you could DH Giambi, Cooper, and/or Raburn. Maybe a combo of Giambi/Raburn (Giambi can't play every time a RH is on the mound and while Raburn hit righties well last year, shouldn't play every single day).
One big issue with this idea though is that there are a lot more RH starting pitchers out there, which means Santana would be playing a ton of 3B, which may not be possible...
I could see a scenario where Tanaka signs with the Dodgers, and Jimenez signs with the Yankees. The Tribe would gain a comp pk for losing Jimenez in the 30's worth somewhat offsetting the cash value of the Indians own pk in the mid 20's. The Tribe also holds a competitive lottery pick likely to fall in the 40's further helping offset the potential loss of their 1st rd pick. In such a case I think the Tribe could jump in on someone like Kendrys Morales, maybe for something like 3/33 or even 4/40 would get Morales. I wouldn't be shocked to see Morales sign for as little as 4/32, personally I don't see him as much better than Omar Infante who signed for similar.
I know it's unlikely, but there is a possibility the Tribe looks to make a move late to take advantage of a unique opportunity, if given the chance.
Overall, I won't be surprised to see the Tribe make a significant signing. But it remains unlikely. I think they may have some money to spend even after the arb cases. If it appears likely that Masterson won't resign and they land one of Garza or Jimenez there is a real possibility they flip Masterson before the start of the season.
Even if Santana looks good enough at 3B, you just create a hole at the DH spot....which Chisenhall seems best suited to fill. But then the question is why play Santana at 3B and DH Chiz? Unless there's another move coming this winter, Chiz is breaking camp as the Tribe 3B. Sure maybe it's as a platoon, but there are far more righties out there so Chiz will see the bulk of the time at 3B.