IBI Digest: 12/15/13 - 11/21/13
Recapping the week on Indians Baseball Insider
The Indians were once again active on the Hot Stove market as they found their new closer in John Axford as well as signing veteran starter Shaun Marcum to a minor league deal and acquiring left-handed reliever Josh Outman from the Colorado Rockies in exchange for outfielder Drew Stubbs. The IBI staff breaks down the moves and how they can prove to be very productive for the Tribe in 2014. Plus, the Carlos Santana experiment at third base continues in winter ball. Will we see him manning the hot corner in Cleveland in the future? Also, Tribe Madness has reached the semi-final rounds as the search for the greatest Indian is nearing its conclusion.
Here's what happened this week on IBI:
Coach's Corner '13: Double-A Akron manager Edwin Rodriguez: In another edition of Coach's Corner, Tony Lastoria discusses the 2013 Akron Aeros season with manager Edwin Rodriguez and goes in depth on the players who took the biggest steps forward and how they can continue to improve in the future.
Around the Farm: December 14, 2013: Carlos Santana had another solid night at the plate, but his defense at the hot corner has started to look shaky as he committed two errors. Tony Lastoria covers the latest on the Santana experiment and more highlights from the winter leagues.
MLB News and Rumors: Uribe returns to LA: Andy Nichols discusses the Dodgers re-signing Juan Uribe as well as the latest Hot Stove rumors, including the latest on Bronson Arroyo and the Yankees' plans for second base.
IBI Power Poll: What would YOU do if you were the GM?: Since the Indians have been somewhat dormant since theDavid Murphy signing, Jim Pete wants to know what fans would do if they were sitting in the GM's chair in the latest IBI Power Poll.
Tribe Madness: First Energy Region semi-finals results: The semi-finals continue in Tribe Madness as Tito Francona and Al Rosen prove to be the winners in the First Energy Region and will move on to the regional finals. Rick Lamborn has the latest.
Around the Farm: December 15, 2013: Jesus Aguilar put together another multi-hit game with a double and RBI as his strong winter ball campaign continues. In other news, Carlos Santana went hitless for the first time since his season started. Arthur Kinney has all the highlights.
MLB News and Rumors: Indians find new closer in Axford: According to reports, free agent closer John Axford has agreed to a deal with the Tribe. Also, the Cardinals have signed veteran second baseman Mark Ellis to a one-year deal. Andy Nichols gives us the latest from the Hot Stove.
Winter Ball Notebook: Is Aguilar's season in jeopardy?: In this week's Winter Ball recap, Steve Orbanek discusses the current dispute between the Indians and Leones about when Jesus Aguilar's winter ball season should end so he can participate in a team development program.
Tribe Happenings: Winter Meetings provide clarity to closer role: As the Indians are set to add John Axford as their new closer, Tony Lastoria discusses how the rest of the bullpen sets up behind him as well as the latest Masterson speculation in his weekly feature.
Around the Farm: December 16, 2013: It was a very light schedule on Monday as Elvis Araujo was the only Indians player who was in action. He did have a decent night only allowing two runs (one earned) in three innings of work. Michael Hattery gives an in-depth analysis on his performance and winter ball season as a whole.
MLB News and Rumors: Marcum, Indians agree on low risk deal: Just a day after the Indians had reportedly agreed to a deal with Axford, they signed veteran starter Shaun Marcum to a minor league contract. Andy Nichols breaks down the move and discusses the latest news and rumors from around the league.
Breaking down Axford: What went wrong and can it be fixed?: With John Axford setting up to be the Indians next closer, Jim Piascik takes a look at what has changed for the right-hander between 2011 and 2013 and whether or not he can return to form with the Tribe.
Swinging for the Fences: From the gutter to the grail: How has Trevor Bauer gone from being a third overall draft pick to a depth starting option and can he still reach his potential as a top of the rotation big league starter? Jake Dungan recaps the young right-hander's career thus far and speculates whether he can still reach his full potential.
Around the Farm: December 17, 2013: The Carlos Santana experiment at third base is really getting off to a rocky start as he committed another pair of errors on Tuesday. Jesus Aguilar played both games of a doubleheader and went 3-for-9 with a run and two strikeouts. Arthur Kinney reports on all the action.
MLB News and Rumors: Balfour, Orioles reach an agreement: The big news of the day is that Grant Balfour and the Orioles have reached an agreement on a two-year deal pending a physical. Additionally, Matt Thornton has signed with the Yankees and former Indians prospect Jason Knapp is attempting a comeback. Andy Nichols discusses all the latest news and rumors.
Envisioning Carlos Santana at third base: What would it look like if Carlos Santana was manning the hot corner at Progressive Field at some point in the future? After the promotion of Yan Gomes to everyday catcher, Santana needs a new position to fit into in more of an everyday role. Jim Piascik speculates Santana's potential at third base.
Optimistic offense at the Corner of Carnegie and Ontario: Outside of the addition of David Murphy and promotion of Yan Gomes to a starting role, the Indians have not made any significant upgrades to their offense this offseason, but is that necessarily a bad thing? Jim Pete explains.
Around the Farm: December 18, 2013: For the first time this offseason, Carlos Santana had a good night at the plate and in the field as he racked up three hits, including a home run and played errorless baseball at third base. Also Jesus Aguilar put together another multi-hit performance. Michael Goodman has the full recap.
MLB News and Rumors: Benoit signs with Padres: Following the Indians' acquisition of Axford, that appeared to open the door for the Padres to sign former Tigers closer/setup man Joaquin Benoit, whom the Indians had interest in as well. Also, the Tribe was busy again shipping Drew Stubbs off to Colorado in exchange for lefty reliever Josh Outman.
Trend Spotting: Quiet additions edition: While some teams are spending like there's no tomorrow, the Indians have been making smaller, more economical deals to improve their team. Michael Hattery explains what kind of value the team could get from Axford, Marcum and Outman in his weekly column.
Around the Farm: December 19, 2013: It was a good night for Tribe pitchers as Joseph Colon, J.C. Ramirez andToru Murata each put up quality outings on Thursday. Carlos Santana racked up another pair of hits and didn't have to make a single play at third base the whole game. Tony Lastoria recaps the highlights.
MLB News and Rumors: Balfour deal in jeopardy: It appears the deal agreed upon between Grant Balfour and the Orioles may have hit a snag as an issue has reportedly cropped up in his physical. For now, the deal has been put on hold as both sides continue to negotiate. Andy Nichols discusses that and all the latest MLB news and rumors.
Tribe Madness: Progressive Field Region semi-final results: Joe Jackson and Sam McDowell have advanced to the regional finals in the Progressive Field Region as the semi-finals are nearing their conclusion. Rick Lamborn has all the latest Tribe Madness news and results.
Orbiting Cleveland: Ubaldo Jimenez will be back in 2014: Steve Orbanek makes a bold prediction in his weekly feature saying that Ubaldo Jimenez will return to the Indians next season and believes the Tribe should pursue re-signing him as much as they can.
Around The Farm: December 20, 2013: The errors are back with Carlos Santana as he continues to struggle at third base in winter ball. It's getting to the point where the Indians must decide if the experiment is worth continuing or if they should pull the plug before it affects his mental game heading into next season. Arthur Kinney reports.
MLB News and Rumors: Balfour drama continues: The deal between Grant Balfour and Baltimore has now officially dissolved as the Orioles have reportedly turned their attention to another free-agent closer in Fernando Rodney. Andy Nichols has the latest on the Balfour saga and more.
Asdrubal Cabrera, plate discipline, and bouncing back: With a contract year coming up, Jim Piascik speculates whether it would be worth keeping shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera around in 2014 in hopes of him having a bounce-back season as he aims to get a big paycheck next offseason.
Friends of the Feather
New Indians pitcher Shaun Marcum is better than you than you think: From a quick glance, Shaun Marcum looks like a pitcher who is old, injury-riddled, and coming off a horrific season. However, Chad Young of Let's Go Tribe feels that the addition of Marcum could pay off in a big way for the Tribe in 2014.
Chris Antonetti continues to rebuild Cleveland Indians pen with Josh Outman: Paul Hoynes of the Plain Dealer weighs the new Tribe acquisitions for the bullpen against the relievers they have lost this offseason and analyzes how well Chris Antonetti has done at rebuilding the bullpen.
The Tribe Walk-offs – WFNY Top 10 Cleveland Sports Stories: No. 8: As the Waiting For Next Year staff looks back at the highlights of 2013 in Cleveland sports, TD Dery recaps all the walkoff wins for the Tribe during their exciting playoff run this season.
Yan Gomes: Ambassador of the Game: As Major League Baseball continues to make attempts to expand the game internationally, the Indians' own Yan Gomes travels back to his native Brazil to promote baseball in what could be the next major hot spot for big league talent. Brian Heise of Wahoo's On First recounts the catcher's work in Brazil this offseason.
Jake Dungan is a communications student at Stark State College and an intern with the Akron RubberDucks. Follow him on Twitter @MajorLeagueJake.