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Second Thoughts Game #151: Indians 2, Astros 0

Second Thoughts Game #151: Indians 2, Astros 0
Yan Gomes and Carlos Carrasco (Photo: AP)
September 18, 2014
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Carlos Carrasco one ups Corey Kluber

On Tuesday, Corey Kluber struck out a career high 14 Astros over seven innings. It was yet another outstanding performance by one of the best pitchers in all of baseball. However, it’s Carlos Carrasco, not Kluber, who has been the team’s best pitcher since August. 

Carrasco had the best game of his career on Wednesday. He gave up two hits, two infield hits at that, and 12 more Astros went down swinging. It was the second best pitching performance by an Indian this year, behind Josh Tomlin’s one-hitter in June. On an even larger scale, using Bill James’ game score system, Carrasco’s outing was tied for the sixth best by any pitcher all year.

Facing the Astros helps, but the biggest thing I noticed from Carrasco in this game versus others was how effective his changeup was. He already has one of the best sliders in baseball. Carrasco also throws a four-seam and two-seam fastball in the high 90’s, with great control. What’s been missing in previous years has been a second effective off-speed pitch. I’ve noted before that he struggled in the past against left-handed hitters. Part of the reason for that was his changeup and curveball were never more than average offerings.

That doesn’t look to be the case anymore. Carrasco doesn’t throw the curveball much anymore, but his changeup is generating a very respectable 15% swinging strikes and gives him a legitimate out pitch against lefties. One of the big things contributing to his success is how much more he’s throwing that slider (21.6% versus 8.6% in 2013) than ever before. When he gets a right-handed hitter behind in the count that’s the pitch he goes to, and he’s getting 25% swinging strikes.

It’s hard not to dream what a Kluber-Carrasco one-two punch will give the Indians in the seasons to come. These are two pitchers who have the rare ability to rack up large strikeout and groundball totals, with a walk rate of less than 2 BB/9. If you really break the two pitchers down, they’re very similar. Kluber has a deeper and more consistent arsenal of secondary pitches, but Carrasco has the better fastball. Both mix a four-seam and two-seam fastball (though Carrasco throws the four seamer more, and Kluber the two seamer more) with a slider, curve, and change. They’re even close in age and years of control.

The point is, we’re going to see a lot more of these mini-competitions between Kluber and Carrasco in the future, and the Indians are going to be much better off because of it.

Is it 2015 yet?

Looking Ahead: Undercover Needs

The point of this section is to look ahead to the 2015 roster and identify some needs that might not seem important at this present time. The obvious needs for the Indians in 2015 is an offensive facelift. Not only do they need more impact bats in the lineup, but the team’s roster construction needs to be analyzed as well. I won’t delve into those issues much.

The first thing I’ll bring up is something I touched on in Tuesday’s Second Thoughts column. The Indians have very little pitching depth available. In the last two years the Indians have needed to go all the way to their eighth starter in the first two months of the season. They’re lucky that those two starters just happened to be Corey Kluber in 2013 and T.J. House in 2014. At this point, the Indians don’t have someone who could be considered a capable eighth starter for 2015. The depth after Kluber, Carrasco, Bauer, Salazar, and House consists of just Zach McAllister and Josh Tomlin, two pitchers who struggled in their opportunities this season. Unfortunately, no other pitcher in Columbus or Akron looks poised to make the jump to Cleveland by early next year.   

That means the Indians are going to need to bring in starting pitching depth during the offseason. They’re going to need to target guys they have a chance of keeping in Columbus. The team has done a decent job of identifying these types of players in the past. Bringing back Shaun Marcum could be a possibility. Chad Billingsley is an interesting name that will surely be available on a minor league deal. He’s someone who might not be ready for Spring Training, which means they’d likely be able to negotiate a deal with a later opt-out date. Others like Joe SaundersWandy RodriguezChris Capuano, and Scott Baker are other names to remember.  

On the higher end, pitchers like Brett AndersonGavin Floyd and (yes) even Justin Masterson are available as high upside signings at a negligible cost. Still, we’re probably talking about guaranteed money for that group and that may necessitate bumping T.J. House to the minors to start the season.

Another interesting player that I’ll mention is Carlos Villanueva. For the majority of his career he’s bounced back and forth between the rotation and bullpen with decent numbers. His ERA this season is a bit higher than normal, due to a .340 BABIP, but this is a guy the Indians could sign fairly cheap to fill a void in middle relief. Then as he’s done in the past, he could fill in as a starter if needed.

The bullpen is another area that won’t get a lot of attention as a need this offseason. Still, it shouldn’t be ignored. It’s tough to imagine where the pen would be without Scott Atchison this season, but it’s even tougher to imagine relying on Atchison to be this good again next year. I’m not sure any young reliever outside of Kyle Crockett has earned a spot in the pen next season, which means there’s not a lot behind Bryan Shaw and Atchison should one struggle. I think this team should explore signing another right handed set-up man. This would reduce the reliance on Atchison, and protect against injury/inconsistency from Shaw or Cody Allen

Another issue that will need to be resolved is the number of left-handed relievers the team is going to keep on the roster. Marc Rzepczynski has been steady as the team’s top lefty, but he’s also due for a raise in arbitration. Behind him in the pecking order is Kyle Crockett and Nick Hagadone, who is now out of options. I doubt the team keeps three left-handed relievers on the opening day roster. Do they cut Rzepczynski loose and bank the $2+ million he’ll be due to make? Do they try to trade Hagadone? Do they stash Crockett in Columbus to keep Hagadone and open up space for another right-handed reliever? That’s something we’ll need to monitor. 

Other Notes

- I cringed when I saw Jesus Aguilar removed for J.B. Shuck late in Tuesday’s game. I just don’t understand the infatuation with Schuck. Then I cringed again when I saw the lineup for this game. Chris Gimenez, the .213 career hitter and catcher by trade, playing first base instead of Aguilar. The amount of at-bats given to sub replacement level players this September has been frustrating. At least a player like Aguilar comes with some upside, but Francona doesn’t seem to care much for it.

- The Indians will send Danny Salazar to the mound in the final game of their four game set against the Houston Astros. He’ll face off against Scott Feldman, who will be making his first appearance against the Indians this season.

User Comments

Joe Chengery
September 19, 2014 - 11:13 PM EDT

Beltre is no longer in his prime- we're not talking about a premium player anymore like a Trout, Stanton, even a Cabrera or Victor Martinez. You guys are talking like Beltre is one of the top 10 players in baseball (he isn't). When he was with the Dodgers five years ago or even a few years ago, you might have been able to make that argument, but he's on the wrong side of 35 in 2015 and there is already some offensive decline, never mind the fact that he would be moving to more of a neutral-hitting ballpark, and as someone pointed out, unless you have great right-handed power, you don't usually hit a ton of HRs at Progressive Field. Beltre has solid power, but I wouldn't call it 30 HR power; you'd be lucky to get 20-25 from him., and being he only hit 18 in 2014, he might only hit 10-15 in 2015.

Also, if Ramirez wasn't a Top 100 prospect, why would he be so valuable and so wanted by Texas for such a "great" player like Beltre? (Note I put great in quotes because I don't think he's a great player anymore- I think he's still a good player and would be a good fit for the Indians). Case in point, Ramirez fits perfectly at 2B both offensively and defensively; just because they made a likely mistake by signing Kipnis to that long-term deal, they shouldn't compound that by trading a guy who can outdo him in every way, allowing Kipnis to move to LF where he should be and where should be able to adapt being that he played OF at Arizona State.

Leaving Kipnis on the infield is not going to help the defense regardless if Lindor is playing SS or not and/or if Beltre is playing 3B. Kipnis is arguably the biggest weakness on that INF, with Chisenhall right behind him. Adding Beltre in place of Chisenhall would be an upgrade, but does nothing to address the biggest weakness on that infield. If Ramirez is traded, who plays 2B? Kipnis? Aviles? Walters? FA? Ramirez is better than the first three, and likely better than any FA you can get. Plus, he's cost-controlled, he's young and improving, and he fits quite well in the 2-spot (better than Santana, as someone suggested. Santana's power would be more wasted in the two spot, never mind the fact that Santana fits more as a middle-of-the-order hitter. Maybe not as a cleanup hitter, but certainly a 5 hitter, definitely more so than Kipnis).

Adding Beltre would be a positive if it doesn't hurt the ML team. Leaving Kipnis at 2B isn't an option, not if you want a better defense to support this young staff. Ramirez is the best second baseman you got defensively, and better than virtually any other option you can realistically get. Plus, he's probably the best option for the 2-hole, as evidenced by the speed, bunts, contact ability and sacrifices he's had in the short amount of time he's been there. I don't think some of you guys are giving enough consideration to the fact of the impact it will have on the Indians of removing Ramirez from this lineup and from the field. He's been one of the key cogs in this late run, as the infield defense has been steadier and the top of the order has been a little more productive. I think the impact of trading Ramirez will be greater than what you guys are thinking, which will largely negate how much positive impact Beltre will have, especially if Kipnis remains the second baseman on this team. The defense won't be improved that much- the biggest infield issue in my mind is Kipnis, not Chisenhall, being that Kipnis plays up the middle. Lindor and Beltre are not going to impact that, and even if Kipnis was that bothered by his injury, he's never been a great second baseman- he doesn't hold a candle to Ramirez defensively, and quite honestly, he's not better offensively either (not just in 2014 either- Kipnis has definitely been overblown offensively).
Andy Moor feat Carrie Skipper
September 19, 2014 - 1:19 PM EDT
Joe Chengery, you're frickin nuts man. Jose Ramirez has never even been considered a top 100 prospect by any source, but you're unwilling to trade him for one of the best position players in the game, Adrian Beltre. Wendle and Rodriguez are worth nothing. I think Gonzalez has trade value, but he's not a centerpiece in a deal for a good MLB player.
Joe Chengery
September 19, 2014 - 1:41 AM EDT
If it was for Stanton, Trout, someone of that caliber, I might be willing to part with Ramirez, but for Beltre, I'd find another package that would work. You've got several middle infielders to work with in the farm system (Rodriguez, Wendle, Gonzalez, one or two others who escape my thought at the moment, plus probably one or two youngsters down at the lower levels), and Kipnis is NOT the answer at 2B, regardless of his contract. If the Indians aren't going to trade him (and I suspect they won't, either due to low value, loyalty, belief in him, etc.), he needs to be moved to LF for 2015- he cannot remain at 2B. We talk about upgrading the defense- removing Kipnis at 2B would do as much or even more than moving Chisenhall from 3B, since Kipnis has almost as much consistency issues as Chisenhall and has more problems with his range, which is a big problem at 2B. That's where I see Ramirez at long-term on this team. His defense alone makes him an upgrade over Kipnis, and being that he can do virtually everything Kipnis can do offensively, much of it better (no, I don't see Kipnis being much of a power hitter), I'd find another way to make the Beltre trade without giving up Ramirez.

Heck, the Tigers gave up next to nothing for Price (Smyly is a mid-rotation starter at best, never mind the fact that Detroit's pitching prospects are always overblown- Andrew Miller, Jacob Turner, Rick Porcello- all of them touted as frontline starters, traded as such, yet none of them are aces, with only Porcello remaining a decent/solid starter, with Smyly still to be determined). Our farm system had and still has more depth and probably more impact players than Detroit's- I can't believe we couldn't acquire Beltre who is no longer in his prime in some other way, being that we have a good amount of quality depth, especially midfield depth.

I personally wouldn't be that eager to give up Ramirez. We have a hole at 2B- Kipnis is NOT the answer long term regardless of his contract, and Aviles or Walters isn't the answer either. As I said, I'm really not wanting to break up any part of the ML team for Beltre, with the possible exception of the five starter- Tomlin, McAllister, even both, along with two to three prospects for Beltre and maybe a young Minor Leaguer or AA/AAA long-shot or organizational depth prospect. Yes, I'd include a Lee or someone out of the bullpen, since he's not really part of the bullpen yet- same with Adams, even Price or Sturdevant (not Crockett or Hagadone, though- see them as part of the bullpen moving forward).
September 18, 2014 - 11:11 PM EDT
Again, to me Adrian Beltre is a different maker and I make that deal if the headliner is any prospect not named Lindor. I have no problem dealing Ramirez. He's not an All Star type of player. He's a solid guy, but more a complementary type. No reason to hold up a deal for a player of Beltre's caliber because we don't want to part with a guy like Ramirez. Bottom line, it is time to start using the system to supplement the big league team via trade with some legit ML options. We can't wait 2-4 years for guys to pan out, especially since a great majority of them won't. And we can't wait for a player's value to drop because of bad performance where we THEN are okay with trading them. To get something you have to give up something.....

Amazing that Shuck once again was in the lineup....
Joe Chengery
September 18, 2014 - 9:54 PM EDT
It's telling about Aguilar when Shuck has been with the team for, what, three weeks, and he still doesn't have a hit. Heck, Aguilar has done that, and he's lucky to get three to four at-bats a week.

It's a new experience for the Indians, and especially for Francona, but they have to rely on the young talent to help carry this team- it won't improve sitting on the bench. That's why I think as well it's unfortunate Aguilar isn't getting more playing time and Urshela isn't up here and getting playing time. I mean- Shuck, Giambi, Gimenez, Dickerson? The youngsters can do at least as much, if not more, than these guys. And, the youngsters will almost certainly get better. Will those four guys I mentioned? Uhh... no.

And, again, why is Kipnis in the 5-hole? He is NOT a middle-of-the-order hitter, never was, and very likely never will be in terms of talent. Why is he there? Gomes and Chisenhall are better fits 5 and 6, and Murphy can outhit Kipnis. Baffling, and maybe Francona's biggest weakness as a manager- sticking with middling veterans and keeping them in the lineup and at very inopportune places in the lineup- Kipnis should have been removed from the middle of the order 3 months ago, shortly after he returned and showed he was not going to hit. Heck, he admitted himself he wasn't hitting HRs in batting practice- he has no business in the middle of that lineup- none.
September 18, 2014 - 9:50 PM EDT
The Tribe has plenty of OF, INF and BP depth to make a big time move, IMHO.

Some ideas as basis for discussion....

I'm thinking big trades like going after Josh Donaldson from the A's. Maybe something like Lonnie Chisenhall, Tyler Naquin, Erik Gonzalez, and Austin Adams for Donaldson and Ryan Cook.


Anthony Rendon from the Nationals. Maybe something like Danny Salazar and Francisco Lindor for Anthony Rendon and AJ Cole.

Another 3b I'd like to to see the Tribe get is Kyle Seager (or his brother Corey) from the Mariners, but he's another LH hitting bat so he really wouldn't fit the lineup.
Joe Chengery
September 18, 2014 - 9:43 PM EDT

While Texas may think they can contend next year, they have a lot of issues, not to mention they likely will finish behind the Astros this season. While they might be able to jump the Astros, it likely won't be a cakewalk to jump Seattle, Oakland, and LAA, even if they are healthy, in 2015. Never mind the fact that rotation and bullpen are erratic. Plus, they have a good amount of inconsistency in that offense (Andrus is not a great hitter, Moreland is erratic, the OF is iffy, including Choo, especially without Cruz. Prince can help, but he can only supply so much power, and he's quite streaky himself, prone to peaks and valleys. Even with that short RF porch, good pitching can keep him contained more times than not- he's not Cabrera or Victor Martinez when it comes to batting average capability).

Really, I think even if healthy, they will be longshots to contend next year in the West or for the Wild Card. Even if teams such as Oakland (whose weaknesses are becoming more apparent) and KC (especially if they lose Shields) fall off in 2015, the Rangers will still have a hard time contending next year, even if Prince stays healthy and has a big bounce back year. You still have three teams in the West, two to three, maybe four in the Central (whether KC stays in contention and either Chicago or Minnesota surprises), and four to five teams in the East (really, all five could be in play next year, and I would think at least NYY, BOS, and BAL at a minimum would, with both TOR and TB both having the ability to surprise).

If the Rangers realize this, they might be more willing to trade Beltre, especially since a lot of their young talent (including Gallo) is a few years away, right when Beltre's contract expires.
Joe Chengery
September 18, 2014 - 9:28 PM EDT
"ions" should be "one."
Joe Chengery
September 18, 2014 - 9:27 PM EDT

Remove Ramirez from that list, and I'd be open to any of the others, including adding Cody Anderson into a package for Beltre.. However, trading Ramirez would be quite bad, since that essentially means Kipnis remains your starting second baseman - ugh! Yes, he might have that contract (the ions bad contract extension out of the ones the Indians signed- have no problems with Brantley, Santana, or Gomes).

As I said, any of our rotation, Lindor, and Ramirez need to be off-limits. Anyone else, I'll consider.
September 18, 2014 - 9:11 PM EDT
I love the idea of getting Marcel Ozuna from the Marlins. They have several players I'd covet in a trade.... Obviously, Stanton that's a no brainer, lets get real here. He's probably not getting traded. I think the right infielder(s) might get Ozuna from the Marlins. They have SP depth in the minors so Andrew Heaney would be a target too. Mike Dunn, Steve Cishek are getting more expensive and would be nice adds. Then there's Casey McGehee, I think could be a decent handcuff to Chisenhall, with Chisenhall getting time as a corner UTL guy.

September 18, 2014 - 8:35 PM EDT
Belte, I don't get that. He's at an age where he's likely to fall off a cliff. When he was in a park that suppressed power it really hurt his performance. There's a reason Cleveland has focused on left-handed hitters, Progressive field is death to right handed power unless you're a Mark Reynolds type. Beltre would probably hit fewer home runs than Chiz. He should play much better defense, but then again, at his age, you never know. Swisher went from above-average at 1st to the worst first baseman in MLB in the space of a few months, and he's younger than Beltre.

If you're going to spend that money on Beltre, and give up prospects, why not just go after Victor Martinez in free agency?

Or, while Stanton is not going to happen, but maybe they could work out a mutually beneficial trade with the Marlins for Ozuna. The Marlins need infielders, the Indians have spare major-league ready infielders and the Indians need an outfielder. Offer Frazier and Ramirez, could throw in a McAllister, or that Ramsey guy.
September 18, 2014 - 4:00 PM EDT
The Reds just finished a series with Cubs scoring just one run for the whole series against the Cubs. You think the Indians have problems hitting/scoring the Reds are even worse. There is no way they are going to give away one of the very few hitters on this team. We complain that Swisher and Bourn contracts have hand strung the team. That's not even close how Votto, Bailey, Phillips, and Bruce have done the same for the Reds. Now they have 4 pitchers heading into there last year of arb eligibility or contract in Cueto, Latos, Leake and Simon.
September 18, 2014 - 3:58 PM EDT
Totally agree Tony. What's the purpose of a Minors system? Ultimately, it's there to help the Big league team, be it by playing them or trading them.

I'm a spec nerd too, but not only will some of the top guys fail, the system is simply stacked and there are blocked guys everywhere, from bullpen arms to CF to SS. The most blocked player in the org is EGonzalez. I also happen to think that he's overrated a bit around here and probably among scouts. He's not better than JRam, let alone Lindor, so that pretty much makes him a trade chip.

That said, I'd start any offer for Beltre with EGonz, then one of House or ZMac, a ML ready SP will have to go too. Plus probably a Naquin or Aguilar, as the Rangers both need OF and a 1B. That should get their attention. If push comes to shove, I'd also include Frazier, but would exclude at least House then. If they accept Frazier, EGonz and Aguilar with maybe some AA/AAA arm (Colon, Roberts) or ML bullpen guy (CC Lee, Hagadone), I would probably do that
September 18, 2014 - 3:49 PM EDT

If I'm giving up one of my prime prospects it's going to be for a guy who isn't 36 years old and could be on the downside... Sorry, I can't make that move. Now if Cincy came to me and said I'll give you Todd Frazier for Lindor then you have my attention. You might be thinking that the Indians only have a couple of years to contend which isn't true if you are thinking this
September 18, 2014 - 2:55 PM EDT
Indians have lots of depth in the outfield, shortstop, first base and pen arms. It is time to start using some of that depth as currency to finish off the team. Few options better than Beltre to get in a deal. I'm as big a prospect honk as there is, but I think we sometimes overvalue them. The reality is that several of Naquin, Aguilar, Frazier, Zimmer, Myles, Anderson and so on will not live up to the hype and never even reach the big leagues. They have to be wise in what prospects they do trade and for who.....that's a given....but the time is now to use some of that depth, especially on the position player front, to get this team over the hump.
September 18, 2014 - 2:49 PM EDT
If Beltre is made available this offseason, I'm very much on Tony's side here. That's exactly the kind of player the Tribe needs. Yes, he's old but he's still incredibly productive and you only have to make a 2 year commitment. Adrian Beltre is 35 and is one of the top 5-7 players in the AL. He also plays above average D at a position where the Tribe has a black hole.

I absolutely don't understand the reluctance to part ways with Frazier for that deal. Frazier is an exciting prospect, but Beltre is an elite contributor and bolsters the actual contention window that the Tribe has.

My only concern about that deal is that I can't see the Rangers dealing him. He's an excellent player and they're going to try to compete next year. They're not entering a rebuild; they have a roster that, if healthy, will compete for a postseason berth next year.
September 18, 2014 - 2:38 PM EDT

no way would I do that deal... Agree to disagree
September 18, 2014 - 2:06 PM EDT

If you mean by cagey as more major league experience than the answer is yes. However from the playing time that Francona has given him, he is working his way of being DFA of the 40 man roster this off season.
September 18, 2014 - 1:45 PM EDT
I'd start the deal with any prospect not named Lindor. Yes, I would be fine with parting with Frazier, Ramirez, Naquin, Ramsey, etc plus someone else for him.
September 18, 2014 - 1:40 PM EDT

it would depend on what they wanted for Beltre
September 18, 2014 - 1:33 PM EDT
Go big or not at all this offseason. I would try for Stanton.....that is probably a longshot but he is the piece they need in the middle of the order. A more logical fit would be Beltre. Shores up the defense at third AND the middle of the lineup AND the veteran/makeup/presence/leadership stuff they like. And it would be for just two years.
September 18, 2014 - 1:06 PM EDT
Tony has his sights on Giancarlo Stanton or Mike Trout being dealt to the indians. He keeps talking about a middle of the order hitter but fails to say any names and if he does then I bet they are unrealistic names
September 18, 2014 - 1:03 PM EDT

that's fine but I know he's had a down year this year in terms of Power but in previous years like last year his .260, 22-70 would look good. IDK, what you have in mind in terms of middle of the order but I have an Idea that it's going to be expensive in terms of money and/or players. In some degree in could be unrealistic too.


No problem with Tito on a personal level but I do think he gets away with making really bad in game decisions, poor lineup construction and is too loyal to bad veterans. Instead of being open minded giving someone else a chance he would rather ride it out with Raburn, Giambi, Swisher, Kipnis and others who simple didn't produce this year and that's what I have an issue with. keeps throwing shaw out there and he's in the middle of blowing games... Why not give Adams a chance to see what he can do??
September 18, 2014 - 12:58 PM EDT

What is your beef with Francona? I cant figure it. Any other manager the way this team has played so inconsistent would be in last place. He did start a rookie last year in the one game playoff against Tampa Bay. Shy comments hits it right on the head regarding Aguilar. Never know he might become a better option next year for the Indians or becomes a important trade chip this off season.
September 18, 2014 - 12:57 PM EDT
No thanks on Hardy. First off, he is a shortstop and will sign with someone to be a shortstop. Even if he were to play third base for the Indians, it still doesn't solve their offensive woes - most notably in the middle of the lineup.
September 18, 2014 - 12:36 PM EDT

I understand to a degree where you're coming from but to make a long story short, I think you're reaching at this point with the Aguilar thing.

Looking at the free agents that can help the Indians the #1 guy that I think that can help this team next year is JJ Hardy. I would put Hardy at 3B and move Lonnie to RF



Then all the Indians would need to do is tighten up the bullpen and add pitching to AAA
September 18, 2014 - 12:28 PM EDT
Hiram, Ramirez was not an everyday shortstop option this time last year. Limited experience at the position and very raw. Cabrera was by far the better option for the team last year. Now this year, now that Ramirez is a year older, has more experience and has gotten more time at the position he has shown at worst to be on par with Cabrera and even be better. So it was an easy choice to trade Cabrera and move Ramirez into the role to see what he can do. He's proven to be a solid average defensive shortstop who flashes plus. That's a good handcuff to have around for Lindor when he eventually takes over the position.

It's just a different situation with Aguilar right now. It's one thing when someone like Cabrera or Kipnis are blocking you from is another when Chris Gimenez, Jason Giambi and others are blocking you. Last night against a lefty they put Gimenez out there.....all you need to know. Actions speak louder than words. It happens all the time with prospects, and often times with players at the big league level too.
September 18, 2014 - 12:03 PM EDT

I see your point but the overall thing with Tito is that he doesn't trust rookies right away to throw them in. Similar to what he did with Ramirez last year he did to Aguilar this year. When Swisher went down initially he moved Chisenhall to 1B and played Aviles at 3B. It's not that he doesn't like him, he's not apart of the "plan" it's that he doesn't trust rookies. Cabrera wasn't better than Ramirez this year and probably wasn't last year but because Tito doesn't "trust" young players you would've never known. Don't see how you can see Cabby was better than Ramirez last year when he did the same thing he did this year.

Anyone could be traded but I wouldn't look to trade him because he could be invaluable considering the issues Swisher is having with the injuries. I need someone I can count on to hit a couple of HR's or more and contribute down the stretch . Don't need Manny or Albert Pujols. If you trade Aguilar and Swisher goes down then good luck in trying to trade for someone to fill in because it's going to cost you and arm and a leg.

The bigger issue is that Tito needs to be spoken to about his disdain for young players. This isn't Boston where you can go out and just get proven vet talent at any cost. Indians/Dolans should be doing more but they must rely on young players a bit and he simply doesn't seem to get that message
September 18, 2014 - 11:48 AM EDT
You don't really know what you have w guys like Bryan Price or Jesus Aguilar until their nerves quiet down and they are able to focus on the pitch or the at bat and do what they are capable of. These guys are high strung and making the jump to the bright lights/big city can be somewhat fearful and paralyzing for them. Francona and staff are the right guys to be playing for and learning from and the "emergence" of Carlos Carrasco growth is a wonderful case in point.
September 18, 2014 - 11:46 AM EDT
i would take an extra 2 million bucks if they have it and bonus it to kluger. $514,000 gimme a break. They have additional 25 million at least (masty cabby ax) and i would lock in carrasco for an extra year or two after eligible for FA, and put to gether multi year packages for klubs chiz and allen et al. they have a lot of young talent however unless sure (yan gomes) i would not go nuts locking in players except to avoid Arbitration, or reward. honestly except for RH bat in RF they only need the players who are having bad years to revert to form. The pitching appears to be as good as any in baseball regardless of salary and experience. i would maybe like to see them do to zac mac what the royals did to davis and turn him into set up guy unless they need to add him to rotation due to injury.
Canadian Joe
September 18, 2014 - 11:26 AM EDT
The advantage we have is that depth/fillers are what we are after. The rotation is pretty well set, barring injuries/trade. The market should be more reasonable dollar wise for that type of pitcher. Nice place to be.
September 18, 2014 - 11:24 AM EDT
Carrasco vs cleanup hitters:

.160 BAA (8-50), .372 OPS, 1:19 BB:K

Only leadoff hitters have an OBP over .300 and OPS over .700 against him (.350/.768)
September 18, 2014 - 11:20 AM EDT
I watched the Astros feed of this game and their announcers were raving about Carrasco's stuff all game long and how he's a guy every FO would shop for etc. His 96+ FB and slider/split mix was dominant. He and Kluber seem to have arrived finally. Now if Salazar and Bauer can become more consistent and avoid their usual blowups, then we're looking at a WS rotation.

As for SP depth, look for a LHP. I've always liked Capuano and Wandy. Wade Miley could be available via trade. Getting pitching depth seems to be easier now than a good bat. The league has changed and so will the market I suppose
September 18, 2014 - 10:53 AM EDT
When we are mathematically eliminated it will be interesting to see who gets PT.

I would like to see Walters and Aquilar play each day once we are out.I would also like to see McAllister get a couple of more starts. Austin Adams some PT as well.
September 18, 2014 - 10:49 AM EDT

Are you suggesting that JB Shuck is some kind of cagey vet?
September 18, 2014 - 10:46 AM EDT
Hiram, the use of Aguilar is different than Lee and Ramirez last year. Last year they had Cabrera and Kipnis in the middle infield and neither was going to come out of a game during a postseason run. Ramirez was brought up specifically to be a late inning pinch running option and an extra infielder. He was not going to play from the outset of his callup. As for Lee, the pen was rock solid last year and there were limited opps to mix him in.

In the case of Aguilar, the Indians are playing the likes of Chris Gimenez, Jason Giambi and J.B. Shuck instead of him. That's a completely different animal than Lee and Ramirez who had superior players playing in front of them (yes, for all his flaws, Cabrera was a superior player to JRam last year). With Swisher out it opened the door for Aguilar to get more playing time.....but instead that time went to Walters and others. It is very interesting and goes beyond Tito just not liking young players.

I too am fine if Aguilar is just Triple-A depth at first base next year and fills in if Swisher or Santana gets hurt. But I would certainly look to deal him in the offseason as part of a package for an upgrade. He apparently does not seem to be much of a fit with the Indians either because he has no open position to play or role to play because the Indians don't have a lot of faith in him.
September 18, 2014 - 10:40 AM EDT
I believe that Francona is best manager the Indians have had in 45 yrs following the Tribe. Francona is here to win not rebuild. Which most likely he will play veteran players over rookies. For the critics tell me how many rookies did Francona played on the 2007 World Series champion Boston Red Sox ?

September 18, 2014 - 10:34 AM EDT
No Joe Saunders, s.v.p. And yes, we should shuck Shuck while we're at it.
September 18, 2014 - 10:33 AM EDT

don't see how you can judge anyone off 28 AB's when they play once every two weeks. I mean this is MLB 101. Stunned by some of the things that I'm reading with you guys
September 18, 2014 - 10:30 AM EDT
Once again Tony seems to forget that Tito has a pattern in dealing with young players. Handled Chsenhall wrong last year, handled Carrasco wrong this year. Tony seems to forget that this year and last year how Tito handled Jose Ramirez too. Last year he brought. him up and sat him on the bench, did the same with CC Lee and countless others. Please don't forget that if not for the injury to Cabby in the KC series, he would still be on the bench or in AAA. It was when the injury occurred that you could see that Ramirez was a better player and the Indians were better off with him in the lineup.

As for Aguilar. I wouldn't deal him and if he's nothing more than a depth option for Nick Swisher I'm fine with that. Considering the two years the Indians have had Swisher he's been injured with significant injuries. You need an option in case this happens. All in all, It's Tito being Tito with young players. Aguilar can help this team if given a chance. Not going to ask him to be a big time run producer but at the very least be someone that can give you some production from the right hand side and with that being so scarce it would be foolish to give up on someone like this so soon. Especially, when considering the the things I mentioned before.

I think ppl are trying to take something and make it into something else when it has been a obvious pattern with Tito from day one. So of course Tito doesn't like the guy so let's trade him. This type of thinking is very flawed, IMO
September 18, 2014 - 10:11 AM EDT
I'm with you Joe. The Indians season will be deemed as a failure by many because they missed the playoffs, but in my view it was a huge success in that they found themselves a legitimate rotation - and one that if they stay the course they are on with the all the talent these guys have and don't get hurt is a no doubt a rotation that can guide a team to the World Series.

The big key now will be supplementing the bullpen, fixing the infield defense (which will only make our starters better) and getting at least one legit bat. Those are still some considerable needs....but they need to do whatever they can this offseason to address those needs. Go all in. And saying that doesn't mean spending ridiculous just means to be aggressive in the deals they make.
Canadian Joe
September 18, 2014 - 9:59 AM EDT
Sure is nice watching these starters continue to grow and mature. There are a LOT of teams out there that would love to have these 5 young guys on their staff. And just think how great it would be if Bauer suddenly realizes that Callaway knows more about pitching than he does. Wow !!!! Can't wait for 2015.
What is the point of having Aguilar on the roster if they are not using him ? I just hope they don't deal him, and he comes back to haunt us.
September 18, 2014 - 9:56 AM EDT
Aguilar is a fine Triple-A player. His numbers there were fantastic but he's shown nothing at MLB level. I trust Francona here.

I think the player that could bring most up-side in a trade in the offseason is Jason Kipnis. If we want to change lineup construction and go for something bigger, he is the guy we can move and get the most in return.
September 18, 2014 - 9:27 AM EDT
As for Shuck - why in the world - why - would the team need another 4A left handed hitting OF?
September 18, 2014 - 9:27 AM EDT
There is no faith in Aguilar with his defense or his offense. Actions are speaking louder than words as to how they view him right now. At this moment, he has no chance to be a part of the team next year except as a depth option if Swisher/Santana get hurt. He's trade bait if you ask me, and I am more than willing to include him in offers and listen to deals.
September 18, 2014 - 9:25 AM EDT
I suspect Francona does not trust Aquilar at 1b in a close game.

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