IBI Digest: 1/5/13 - 1/11/14
Recapping the week on Indians Baseball Insider
As activity begins to get back in full swing in the baseball community, Hot Stove baseball begins to heat up again with various minor league signings, including the Indians' signings of Jeff Francouer and Scott Atchison, as well as the bidding and negotiating for premier Japanese free agent Masahiro Tanaka. In Winter Ball, the playoffs roll on in the Caribbean and Carlos Santana is back at third base and playing surprisingly better for Leones. Also, Jesus Aguilar has been cleared to participate in the playoffs and he is back to crushing baseballs. Plus, the Tribe Madness tournament has reached the final matchup. Who will be crowned the greatest Indian?
Here's what happened this week on IBI:
Coach's Corner '13: Dave Wallace Part 1: The 2013-2014 offseason Coach's Corner series concludes with the first installment of a two-part interview with former High-A Carolina manager and new AA Akron manager Dave Wallace. Tony Lastoria discusses various prospects who spent time playing for the Mudcats in 2013.
Coach's Corner '13: Dave Wallace Part 2: In the second installment of the two-part interview with Dave Wallace, Tony Lastoria discusses the prospects working their way up and what their outlook is moving forward as well as the progress of the Mudcats team as a whole despite their losing record last season.
Around the Farm: January 4, 2014: Carlos Santana failed to record a hit on Saturday, but still managed to drive in and score a run thanks to a pair of walks. He also started at third base and had an errorless showing. In addition,Tyler Sturdevant had a bit of a rough night despite getting three strikeouts in one inning of work. Arthur Kinney reports.
MLB News and Notes: Hanrahan to work out for teams in spring: Former Pirates and Red Sox closer Joel Hanrahan is expected to be able to work out for teams this spring as he continues to work his way back from injury. Plus, the Orioles and Mets have discussed trade proposals. Andy Nichols has the latest news and rumors.
IBI Power Poll: Should the Indians sign Ubaldo Jimenez?: As the rest of the pitching market awaits the conclusion of the Masahiro Tanaka sweepstakes, Ubaldo Jimenez continues to sit on the market with little to no interest at the price he's asking. So the question being asked more frequently now is should the Indians re-sign him? Jim Pete asks the fans in this week's power poll.
Around the Farm: January 5, 2014: Carlos Santana picked up a pair of hits, including a home run on Sunday and had another night without errors at third base. Arthur Kinney recaps an otherwise slow night in the winter leagues.
MLB News and Notes: Mets officials torn on Drew: Free agent shortstop Stephen Drew has been linked to the Mets in Hot Stove rumors for weeks now, but team officials are not yet sure if he is the best fit for them. Andy Nichols discusses that as well as the latest on Ervin Santana and Ubaldo Jimenez and other top stories and rumors.
History's warning signs for Trevor Bauer's future: Looking back at past pitchers who had been in similar situations as Trevr Bauer, what are the chances that he can return to form and still live up his potential? Jim Piascik attempts to answer that question based on history.
Tribe Happenings: Payroll commitments have limited the Indians: In his weekly feature, Tony Lastoria focuses mainly on the current financial constraints of the Tribe for the remainder of the offseason and discusses the scenarios in which they would be able to sign a big name player.
Around the Farm: January 6, 2014: It was another quiet night in winter ball as Carlos Santana was the only player in action once again for the Tribe. He had a double, an RBI and a sac-fly. He also went another errorless game at third base. Michael Hattery reports.
MLB News and Notes: Indians make some minor moves: With league and team officials returning to work after the holidays, the Indians have begun making moves again by signing outfielder Jeff Francouer and reliever Scott Atchison to minor league deals. Andy Nichols reports on the signings as well as the other news and rumors from Monday.
Swinging for the Fences: 2014 AL Central early outlook: Are the Tigers the outright favorite to win the division again? Can the Indians and Royals possibly challenge them for the crown in 2014? Will the White Sox and Twins show any improvement? Jake Dungan takes an early look at the AL Central heading into 2014 and whether it will be more competitive.
Winter Ball Notebook: Top pitching performances: As the playoffs continue in the winter leagues, Steve Orbanek takes the time to look back at which Indians pitching prospects have impressed the most this offseason and how it affects their outlook.
Around the Farm: January 7, 2014: Jesus Aguilar returns to action after initially being thought to have been shut down for the remainder of the winter ball campaign. He was given permission by the Indians to participate in winter league playoffs and responded in kind with two hits and two RBI. Arthur Kinney has all the highlights.
MLB News and Notes: Ubaldo is still expecting a big contract: Despite lack of interest thus far, Ubaldo Jimenez's camp has stated that he still expects a big contract offer at some point. Also, the Indians have expressed interest in veteran outfielder Bobby Abreu, who has hit a record five home runs in five winter league playoff games. Andy Nichols reports.
The 2014 rotation at the Corner of Carnegie and Ontario: Using a transcription of the last Cleveland Sports Insiders podcast, Jim Pete takes a look at the 2014 Indians rotation as it stands right now and which pitchers can have significant impacts as well as how they stack up against the rest of the division.
Tribe Madness: The Final Four: And then there were two. The Tribe Madness tournament has come down to its dramatic conclusion with the final matchup following the final four matchups. Rick Lamborn discusses the results as well as the final matchup.
Around the Farm: January 8, 2014: Enosil Tejada made his first appearance since October in a blowout game and pitched a shutout ninth inning to seal the 9-2 win for Escogido. Also, Carlos Santana seems to have turned things around at third base to the point where the Indians may continue experimenting with him there in spring training. Tony Lastoria recaps the action.
MLB News and Notes: Three elected to Hall of Fame: The 2014 Hall of Fame class has been unveiled as Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and Frank Thomas have all been inducted. Andy Nichols discusses the election and the other news and rumors from around the league.
The 2014 Cleveland Indians: A futures betting outlook: How does Las Vegas and the gambling world view the Indians' chances in 2014? In this staff report piece, the odds of future betting the Indians are looked at from various angles based on their surprise playoff campaign in 2013 and their offseason moves thus far.
Around the Farm: January 9, 2014: Another game, another pair of RBI for Jesus Aguilar as he hit his first home run of the winter league playoffs. Meanwhile, Carlos Santana only had one hit, but also had another flawless night at third base before being lifted for a defensive replacement. Arthur Kinney reports.
MLB News and Notes: Tanaka lands stateside: The long-awaited arrival of Masahiro Tanaka in the U.S. has finally come as he will begin meeting with MLB teams during the bidding and negotiation period. Also, Tigers star pitcherJustin Verlander has undergone core muscle surgery and will be out for at least six weeks. Andy Nichols has all the latest news and rumors.
Orbiting Cleveland: Analyzing top prospect lists: With the release of the 2014 prospect rankings for every organization by Baseball America and Baseball Prospectus, Steve Orbanek analyzes whether the rankings for the Indians' prospects were accurate.
Around The Farm: January 10. 2014: A home run, a double and three RBI and Jesus "RBI Machine" Aguilar keeps on rolling. He now has 20 home runs and 57 RBI in just 61 total winter league games this offseason. Carlos Santana, on the other hand, didn't record a hit, but had a pair of walks. Arthur Kinney discusses the highlights.
MLB News and Notes: Holland out until midseason: In breaking news from Texas, left-hander Derek Holland has been ruled out until at least the All-Star break after suffering a knee injury in his home. So now the question becomes do the Rangers have enough pitching depth to cover for the loss? Andy Nichols has the latest news and rumors.
Tribe Madness: The Championship Game: The final championship matchup is here as it's down to Addie Jossand Luis Tiant to determine the greatest Indian. Who will emerge victorious in the finale of this extensive tournament? Rick Lamborn brings you the conclusion.
Jake Dungan is a communications student at Stark State College and an intern with the Akron RubberDucks. Follow him on Twitter @MajorLeagueJake.