Storylines: Indians announce stadium renovations
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: @AndrewIBI.
Here are the stories from Thursday, August 7.
- The Cleveland Indians announced major stadium renovation plans that will be completed by the start of the 2015 regular season. A 100-percent privately funded facelift will completely revamp the Gate C entrance at East 9th Street, put the bullpens among the seats beyond the right-center-field wall, dramatically enhance the size and scope of the social gathering spaces for adults and kids alike, pay homage to the neighborhoods that make Cleveland special and celebrate a significant moment in the club's -- and the sport's -- history with a statue honoring Larry Doby, among other changes. It will lead to a reduction in capacity for the 43,000-seat facility, which once housed a then-record 455 consecutive sellouts. The new capacity, estimated by Shapiro to be between 37,000 and 38,000, will put more focus on group gathering spaces, whereas the original design emphasized seats and suites. The Indians are not planning any changes to their ticket price structure, but instead sought to, in Mark Shapiro's words, "add value" to the current cost of a ticket.
- The Angels added yet another reliever to their ranks by acquiring right-hander Vinnie Pestano from the Indians in exchange for minor league righty Michael Clevinger. Both teams have announced the trade. The 29-year-old Pestano emerged as a lights-out setup man for the Indians in 2011-12, posting a combined 2.45 ERA with 10.6 K/9, 3.3 BB/9 and a 40 percent ground-ball rate in 132 innings of work. Pestano's excellent work was worth 4.4 rWAR and 2.5 fWAR in that time, suggesting that he was one of the game's more valuable relief options.
- Carlos Carrasco has pitched out of the bullpen for the bulk of this season. Come Sunday, however, Carrasco will get another chance to step in as a member of the rotation. Manager Terry Francona said that a variety of factors led to the decision to send Carrasco to the mound to start on the road Sunday against the Yankees. Two were that the righty logged 59 pitches in his most recent relief outing on Tuesday and the Indians have a scheduled off-day on Monday. If Carrasco struggles or begins to fight fatigue, Francona should be able to have plenty of bullpen arms -- including former starter Josh Tomlin -- ready to pick up the slack.
- Right-hander Shaun Marcum, whose comeback from thoracic outlet syndrome has slowed his schedule all season, was activated from the disabled list by Triple-A Columbus on Thursday. The 32-year-old Marcum will work as a reliever for the time being with Columbus.
News and Notes:
- As many have been speculating since Cole Hamels was placed on revocable waivers, the Cubs were awarded the claim on the Philadelphia ace, Mike Missanelli of ESPN 97.5 in Philadelphia first reported. However, Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times reported that a deal is almost certainly not going to happen. The Phillies, according to Wittenmyer's sources, have asked the Cubs for one of their prized young shortstops as the centerpiece to a trade. Because both Starlin Castro and Javier Baez are already on the 40-man roster and would therefore be subject to revocable waivers themselves, Addison Russell (and others) is the likely asking price, according to Wittenmyer. Baez or Castro, of course, could be included as a player to be named later and officially dealt after the season, though that also seems highly unlikely. The two sides will have 48.5 hours from the moment of the claim in order to work out a trade. Any 40-man roster players to change hands in a theoretical deal would also need to clear waivers. If and when the two sides decide that a deal cannot be reached, the Phillies can simply pull Hamels back off waivers. Hamels' contract does allow him to block trades to 20 teams, but as ESPN's Jayson Stark reported yesterday, the Cubs are not one of those 20 clubs. So, in the unlikely event that a deal is agreed upon, Hamels would have no say in vetoing the transaction.
- The Padres "never seriously considered" firing manager Bud Black despite the team's struggles this season and the dismissal of GM Josh Byrnes, Padres president Mike Dee said. He did note that it remains to be seen whether new GM A.J.Preller will want Black to continue, but he expressed confidence in Black as a manager and he noted that Preller was open-minded during the interview process about keeping Black.
- The Phillies announced that they traded Roberto Hernandez to the Dodgers for two players to be named later or cash considerations. ESPN's Jayson Stark reported that the Phillies will get two "lower-level minor leaguers," and MLB.com's Todd Zolecki added that the Phillies will select them from a group of players. The Phillies placed Hernandez, along with a number of other players, on revocable waivers on Saturday.
- Rangers outfielder Alex Rios cleared revocable waivers, according to Calvin Watkins of ESPNDallas.com. That makes the 33-year-old Rios eligible to be traded to any team, though any deal would have to be finalized before Sept. 1 in order for Rios to be eligible for an acquiring team's postseason roster.
- The Mets could jettison struggling outfielder Chris Young in the next week to ten days, Mike Puma of the New York Post reported. Young, signed before the season to a one-year, $7.25 million deal, has hit just .206/.284/.348 in 286 plate appearances, and cutting him could create opportunities for the younger Matt den Dekker (who's hitting .331/.403/.533 in hitter-friendly Triple-A Las Vegas) to play every day.
- Recently extended catcher Kurt Suzuki influenced the Twins' decision to acquire Tommy Milone from the A's, according to John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle. Suzuki, who has caught Milone numerous times as a former member of the A's, made the pitch to manager Ron Gardenhire, pitching coach Rick Anderson and bench coach Terry Steinbach — all of which were presumably relayed to the front office.
- The D'Backs announced that they designated infielder Andy Marte for assignment and selected the contract of third base prospect Jake Lamb from Triple-A Reno.
- The Blue Jays signed catcher George Kottaras and sent him to Triple-A Buffalo, Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca reported. The Cardinals released Kottaras last month after they acquired A.J. Pierzynski.
- The Rangers announced that they designated catcher Chris Gimenez for assignment. He had been on the paternity list since Monday.
Griffin and Parker are both still there and would still likely be in the rotation if they hadn't gotten hurt. Both fell victim to TJ surgery in Spring Training...had even one of them stayed healthy, I don't think the A's aquire both Hammel and Samardzija, probably only Samardzija.
I can't recall ever seeing a 1st place team completely replace their rotation, yet stay in 1st place.