Storylines: Indians pick up club option on Milke Aviles
- Mike Aviles will be back on the Indians roster for the 2015 season. The Indians decided to exercise their $3.5 million option on him for 2015 instead of buying him out for $250K. According to Paul Hoynes, the Indians could have went either way with the decision since they are limited financially for the upcoming season. Aviles hit .247 with 5 HR and 39 RBI. He only played in 113 games last season which was 11 games less than what he played in 2013. The possibility exists that he could be traded this offseason, but he looks likely to open the 2015 in his customary utility role.
- The Kansas City Royals defeated the San Francisco Giants on Wednesday night, 7-2. The series is now tied 1-1. They will play Game 3 at AT&T Park in San Francisco on Friday.
Other News and Notes
- Ken Gurnick of MLB.com reports that former Arizona Diamondback and San Diego Padres GM Josh Bynes is gaining interest from the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Dodgers just recently hired Andrew Friedman as President of Baseball Operations and promoted former GM Ned Colletti.
- Alex Spier of WEEI.com reports that James Shields disappointing performance in Game 1 of the World Series could lead to a lower free agent price tag.
- According to David O’ Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the Atlanta Braves will likely deal catcher Evan Gattis to an AL team so top catching prospect Christian Bethancourt can start.
- James Wagner of the Washington Post reports that Palm Beach County in Florida has approved $108 million in public funding for a $135 million spring training complex that will be shared by the Washington Nationals and Houston Astros in the future once a mutual site is agreed upon.
- According to Corey Brock of MLB.com, hitting coach Phil Plantier has been relieved of his duties as the hitting coach of the San Diego Padres. The Padres had one of the worst offenses in baseball last season.
- According to Mike Berardino of the St.Paul Pioneer Press, Paul Molitor’s interview with Minnesota Twins GM Terry Ryan went “fine,” but did not result in his hiring as manager.
- The Minnesota Twins have declined the option of righty Jared Burton. The option was worth $3.6 million and he will be bought out for $200K.
- The Los Angeles Angels have claimed catcher Jackson Williams off waivers from the Colorado Rockies. He is recovering from knee surgery.
- According to Darren Wolfson of ESPN 1500, the Minnesota Twins have sold lefty Kris Johnson to the Hiroshima Carp of Nippon Professional Baseball in Japan.
- Chris Cotillo of MLBDailyDish.com reports that the Philadelphia Phillies have agreed to a minor league deal with catcher John Hester.
- Jason Beck of MLB.com reports the Detroit Tigers will still use Joe Nathan as their closer next season. Nathan struggled in the role throughout last season.
"Realistically, there isn't alot to do to this team to make it a playoff contender. A RH bat if one is available, some SP depth, and better defense should do the trick."
If Kipnis stays the only change opportunities are RF and 3b. If infield defense is to change - and Kipnis stays the only change possible is at 3b.
Unless there are some stunning structural changes - our focus should be on how the team deals with Chiz.
I am a big fan of Walters, but his plate discipline needs alot of attention. He needs reps and he won't get them consistantly being a utility player. Columbus would appear to be his destination unless he displays improved bat to ball skills and strike zone discipline. As far as his defensive abilities, he looks to be as good or better than Kipnis at 2B and is a damn sight better than Cabrera was at SS. Regardless, offense is his calling card while being servicable defensively.
I do share some of Supertickedoff's sentiments, but I'm more willing to take the chance on young players with higher upsides than most. This isn't a recent epiphany either. Money spent on guys like Murphy, Aviles, and some bullpen arms that are easily replaced by younger, better, and cheaper options add up quickly. I'm sure they have their reasons and I do trust that this management team is atleast trying to put a winner on the field. Realistically, there isn't alot to do to this team to make it a playoff contender. A RH bat if one is available, some SP depth, and better defense should do the trick.
However, as one of the foremost defenders of advanced stats on this site, and someone who generally advocates for using limited dollars as wisely as possible, I felt the need to weigh in here.
Mike Aviles, as far as I can tell, is a largely useless player. He can play a bunch of positions, but he can't play any of them well. He can't get on base, and provides almost no power.
However, I have no problem with this option being picked up. Tondo provided some very intelligent commentary on the options available to the Indians for cheaper, and he's right. The same type of player could be signed for a couple million $ discount.
But the front office already knows for sure that Mike is a popular guy in the clubhouse, and I have no trouble believing that many core players were lobbying the FO for this option to be picked up. By no means am I suggesting that the players should dictate which contracts should be extended, but when it's a small amount of money, and the difference in who could be signed is so marginal, I don't blame the front office one bit.
The other guys available might not fit in to the clubhouse atmosphere, much less be a unifying figure the way Aviles is. I suspect the FO took that into account when they made this decision.
While I am a proponent of building a team as efficiently as possible, even I can understand keeping marginal guys around when they keep the core guys happy. Anybody who watches the interaction between core guys and Aviles on twitter and other social media knows just hoe popular he is in that clubhouse.
What has Mike Aviles done in the last three years that shows he's got any value? He can't even get an OBP above .280. Jose Ramirez far outplayed him in Cleveland last year. Aviles isn't a good defensive player and he sucks offensively. So let's reward him with $3.5 million next year.
And this is to Tony...why you're defending this move is beyond me. "Most importantly" it allows the Indians to take their time with Francisco Lindor -- that flexibility sure as hell isn't worth $3.5 million. That is RIDICULOUS. Let's not forget that Mike Aviles sucks ... the Indians can't find some guy that sucks with the bat but can play mediocre D at SS, 3B and 2B? Those guys are available to sign for far less than $3.5 million.
This is what pisses me off...when the Indians don't do anything this offseason to add a bat from free agency, all the Indians apologist journalists will say, "The Indians just don't have the money". The fact is the Indians would HAVE THE MONEY if they didn't do stupid things like commit $6 million to D Murphy, $2.5 million to Raburn and $3.5 million to Aviles -- it's no secret those guys suck but the Indians are committed to paying them $12 million in 2015. That is $12 million that could be used to get someone that is actually good. Murphy, Raburn and Aviles are all replacement level players, where comparable players are available for a million bucks or less a piece. It's a TOTAL JOKE and I AM SICK OF THIS WASTEFUL SPENDING. These players are NOT GOOD. I get Swisher and Bourn b/c those guys were once impactful players but we're committing tons of money to MEDIOCRE PLAYERS.
I sure hope Mike Aviles is saving his money b/c this is the last real paycheck he'll ever get b/c dude will be OPS'ing .700 in the Mexican League next year where he belongs. This Aviles money should come out of Francona's salary, b/c TF is the only reason why he's coming back. TF is gonna be back on pain pills when he looks at Aviles' .260 OBP next year
Lets not kid ourselves. If the Indians somehow make the playoffs in 2015, we all very well know we'll never look back at any important part of the season and thank our lucky stars that we had Mike Aviles. YOU KNOW ITS TRUE. Dude just is not a difference maker. $3+ million WASTED.
Mike is a solid member of the roster that provides a major league backup at all infield positions.
The challenge of this team is resolve the value of guys like KIpnis.
"OMGWTF WHY DIS MIKE AVLIES SUCKS SO BADZ STOOPID CHEEP DOLINS!!"
Completely forgot Chris Gimenez, enough said. :)
I think it would have been much easier to let him go if Zach Walters had played better, and shown any kind of plate discipline. Walters has the same positional versatility as Aviles (even if his glove isn't as good). But Walters struck out 35% of his PAs at the major league level, and that means he basically has to be ticketed for AAA. If Walters had impressed, though, I think we'd be seeing Aviles let go.
If so holding onto Aviles is critical as Mike would pair with Urshella or some other person to cover 3rd base until a permanent answer is determined...
One of Barnes/Maronde will get the ax too, Shuck should be next. Those two along with the open spot, leave 3 more, but 1-2 FAs need to be facored in that equation. I think the next likely to be picked is Soto as a true LOOGY. 19:4 K:BB and .141 BAA vs LHB at AA will get the attention of MLB GMs. Anderson, Colon and Roberts could be picked, but I don't see how any MLB team can hide any of them for an entire season, but it's still a risk. Merritt hasn't pitched above A+ yet, so I don't see him picked and thus protected
Indians should look to clear some 40 spots if they make a trade, 2 or 3:1 type deals
It's highly unlikely that any of the others will be taken, because the new team would then either have to carry them on the 25-man roster for the entire season or forfeit their rights back to the Tribe.
There will be some RH options out there for the Tribe, maybe guys like Trumbo, Viciedo, Van Slyke and Byrd become available.
OF Alex Rios or 3b Chase Headley could be FA targets that fit the Tribe budget and meet the need.
Other guys...Beltre, Donaldson, Frazier, Ramirez, Harrison, Puig, Ozuna would all be intriguing adds, but costly.
Giambi - FA
Sellers, Barnes, Shuck, Price, Maronde
Raburn - (doubtful)
Anderson, Merritt, Armstrong, Wolters, Urshela, Colon, Roberts
Others? - (much less likely)
JSmith, Tejada, Arajuo, Soto, Lowery, Monsalve, LRod
in my scenario, Walters would only be the UTIL for the first 5 weeks. That's what? 1-2 starts at SS? Ride JRam until Lindor clears the contract stuff. If he looks horrible in ST, you can still option him to Columbus and open with Elliott Johnson-type. It wouldn't be the first time the Indians did that. The Indians are basically paying Aviles 3.5mil for 2 months of bench and a couple of starts a week? Sure, he "fills" two bench spots, but the part you forgot to mention is that he fills them at bad level. He's a bad player, with the bat or glove, so pardon me for not being excited to read that he can suck twice a week at different spots on the field. I know many more players who can accomplish the same and I've seen it live and in colour for the past two seasons.
That's my problem: why be happy with that? Was there really no alternative? At least give some young guy a chance who could surprise. Nobody thought JRam would be good enough at SS until we found out. Walters played SS for the Nationals. He has played exactly the same positions Aviles has, who was far from a good defender himself. Too many around here have adopted this "not to look bad" mindset, it's apologetic in nature. We trot out the same guys again next season? Guess what, we won't look better guaranteed
As for Aviles, I'm okay with this as he's an experienced backup. If you are starting a lot of youngsters (J-Ram and/or Lindor) vets are very useful plus.
I don't have a big problem with Aviles, but picking up his option is just reminding me of what is wrong with the Indians: they have so much fear that gambling on someone like Walters to take up a bench spot, that they rather overpay for a guy they know exactly how much he's gonna suck. With Aviles they know what they get and even if it is bad pretty much all around, they seem to be relieved that it can't be "rookie level bad". And when, like Raburn or Swish last year, those vets suck as much or worse than rookies, then they at least have the "track record" excuse. They manage "not to look bad" style and to me that's become the equivalent of the "not to lose" coaching in football, as in: it's a loser's mindset
What this does is setup the infield for the next few years. Assuming Lindor comes up and does his thing sometime this season and Kipnis stays at second base, then Ramirez will move into Aviles' role and be a cheap utility option and excellent 10th man option for the lineup.
Ramon Santiago should come cheaper and he's a better defender with the same questionable bat. Aviles is a backup anyway. Why not give Walters the job? He has nothing left to prove at AAA. Get one of the millions of Sellers, E.Johnon types as a Minors FA as insurance. The Indians wouldn't win or lose one more game with this setup, if anything Walters offers considerably more upside. They would also save some much needed 3mil in the process.
And it's not only a waste of money. When the Rule 5 is over and we lose a LOOGY like Araujo or Soto, keep in mind then that the loss of those prospects goes to the "Francona guy" tab. The Indians are not only wasting 6mil between Aviles and Raburn, they're also letting prospects get away for free because those guys eat up a 40 spot. Bad managing and a huge waste of resources all around
Many are saying they want a utility player for 500,000. Ramirez is to young to hold that position. The player that would meet that criteria is Sellers. I would rather have Aviles over Sellers.
Probably most importantly, he allows the Indians to choose when Lindor comes up and not rush him. They always planned to have Lindor open the season in Columbus and bring him up in May/June at the earliest. If anyone felt that Lindor (or Urshela) were possibilities to start the season in Cleveland, you have not been paying attention to the way they handle rookies, especially zero service ones who are potential core players. Whenever Lindor arrives, assuming JRam is healthy and playing well, a decision will come then on what to do with JRam and what role he fills.
I know a lot of fans are tired of hearing about "clubhouse presence", especially when it comes to guys like Swisher and Giambi, who have not produced enough on the field. But regardless, it is a crucial factor to this team. No way would they have kept their heads above water and stayed in the playoff race this season up until the end if they didn't have the calming and rallying influence of those guys, including Aviles.
The Indians are stuck with the fact that Lindor may be the only blue chip position above A ball. The rest are possible players, but you have to go down to Lake county before another appears and that is Frazier.
I don't like the move.
Given that Lindor will almost certainly be up some time in the first half of the season, picking up that $3.5MM option is just flushing (scarce) cash down the swanny. If Tito really needed Aviles back as a safety blanket then they could simply decline the option and re-sign him as a free agent for less cash.