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MLB News and Rumors: Kazmir heads west to Oakland

MLB News and Rumors: Kazmir heads west to Oakland
December 3, 2013
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With the offseason now in full spring, news will continue to become more and more frequent. 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: @ajnicholsIBI.

Here are the stories from Monday, December 2nd.

Top Stories

  • The Indians have lost their second major free agent, with Scott Kazmir agreeing to a two-year, $22 million deal with Oakland. The A's were said to have been the runner up to Tim Hudson, who got a two-year, $23 million deal with the Giants. For $1 million less, the A's have landed a pitcher who has several risks, but also a ton of upside. Bartolo Colon now looks like an extreme long shot to re-sign with Oakland, and many inside sources have stated that A's pitcher Brett Anderson may be on the move now with the Kazmir signing.

  • The Indians non-tendered Lou Marson, Matt Carson, and Tyler Cloyd on Monday. Cleveland also avoided arbitration with relievers Frank Herrmann and Blake Wood, signing them to Major League contracts worth $560,000 each. The 40-man roster now stands at 38.

  • Among those non-tendered on Monday were catcher J.P. Arencibia, and pitchers Tommy HansonJohn AxfordAndrew Bailey, and Daniel Bard. For a full list of players non-tendered, as well as those tendered contracts by their teams, check out MLB Trade Rumors' non-tender tracker:www.mlbtraderumors.com/nontenders2014

  • Catcher Dioner Navarro agreed to a two-year, $8 million deal with the Blue Jays. Navarro is coming off of a career year and is expected to get the majority of the at-bats at the catcher position.  

  • The Nationals have acquired pitcher Doug Fister from the Tigers. In return, Detroit will receive utility manSteve Lombardozzi, reliever Ian Krol, and minor league starter Robbie Ray.

  • Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reported late Monday night that the Orioles have traded closer Jim Johnson to Oakland for second baseman Jemile Weeks.

Other News and Notes

  • The Mariners reached an agreement with utility man Willie Bloomquist on a two-year, $5.8 million deal.

  • The Pirates acquired catcher Chris Stewart from the Yankees.

  • Rosenthal said that Mets GM Sandy Alderson met with Curtis Granderson on Sunday.

  • Jayson Stark is reporting that the market for Jacoby Ellsbury is heating up quickly and it may not be surprising to see a deal done during next week's Winter Meetings.

  • Peter Gammons of MLB Network reported that the earliest the Padres will trade Chase Headley is June. San Diego does not want to sell low on Headley, after his sub-par 2013 season.

User Comments

Hermie13
December 4, 2013 - 9:13 AM EST
I'd definitely give the Red Sox a call and try and see if Bourn entices them at all. They do have Jackie Bradley Jr but they may not be ready to hand him the CF job. Even if they are ready to go with him in the OF, they may need to use Nava at 1B which could open playing time in LF as well as CF. Probably would prefer Brantley to Bourn (though they gave Victorino a similar contract to what Bourn has left last winter)...and for the right deal I'd move him.

I think Peavy would be a great add if you could get him. Makes a lot but only 1 year deal. Vet type that could slot behind Masterson. Rumors are they could move Lackey (not sure how real those are).
Willie
December 3, 2013 - 9:27 PM EST
Now that Jacoby Ellsbury is destined for NY, I wonder IF Boston might have interest in any of Brantley, Stubbs or Bourn for SP. Then again, they do have Jackie Bradley Jr. so they may be content to let him man CF.

Curtis Granderson is available, but I doubt they'd want to give up their first and the pool money for him.

Hiram
December 3, 2013 - 5:37 PM EST
Willie,

I understand where you coming from and agree with you for the most part. I think if the Indians can get Arroyo who btw is 12-15 wins, 200 innings and four ERA just about every year, Webb and then a lefty specialist I would be ok with going to battle with all the other things that I have.

IMO, what's going to set the Indians apart is when July and August roll around, teams start to get tired the Indians will have the farm system to replenish those ppl who are under performing, injured, etc. Looking around at MLB not alot of teams have that and that is one of the things that separated Boston from the rest of the teams.

This team isn't that far away and a starter like Arroyo and those Bullpen guys would do the trick, IMO
Willie
December 3, 2013 - 5:28 PM EST
Hiram,

I completely agree, on Ryan Webb, and 1 of: Wesley Wright and Jose Mijares. I'm not sure on Arroyo, I haven't seen him pitch in a few yrs.

My point re: the bargain bin is they have to have a few hits here. Last yr they landed Kazmir and Raburn via FA and all 'lesser' types such as...Aviles, Gomes, Rzepczynski, Shaw and even Albers via trade. If the Tribe can be aggressive (like they were trading Choo) they could land a few more necessary pieces.

There's plenty of time for the Tribe to work deals, even IF they took this club to ST, I wouldn't sweat it...they would still have time to make a few moves. They should be able to land a qlty BP arm pretty late, last yr Soriano and KRod were late signings, and there seems to be a deep mkt still.

I'm not an advocate of selling the farm, I think we could see a trade of a cpl prospects, but I can't see the club trading away any of their better pieces. That's just not the way this club works, but if they could land a young controllable SP I think they'd seriously think about it.
Hiram
December 3, 2013 - 5:07 PM EST
Willie,

We need to get out of the habit of saying the Indians need to shop in the bargain area because quite simply no one know how much they will spend, budget or what they are looking for. The offseason is still early and we don't see a ST game til about ten weeks so alot can transpire.


I think the Indians don't need to be super aggressive because with the farm system coming together and adding depth to the team don't need super big names but we could use a few productive vets to help us get over the top.

I would suggest Bronson Arroyo, Ryan Webb and a Wesley Wright or Jose Mijares


If they made those couple of moves the Indians would be a top team and be able to compete with anyone in the Majors. I won't say they would be the most star studded team in MLB but they would be up there with anyone because of the obvious depth.

I will give them time before I become critical. I won't even sweat if they do nothing in the Winter Meeting or into January but when Spring Training roles around I want to see the fact that they are a better team then they ended the year with and if not then we will all know the Dolans aren't serious about winning and should look to get out.
Willie
December 3, 2013 - 4:37 PM EST
Hiram,
I completely agree, IF the Indians appear less than aggressive in trades and FA, many fans will simply write them off as back to their old practices.

As several fans have discussed on here, they have options. Trading a few big names to free salary could be tough, but I think they need to look aggressively at making a move or two. In order to improve this club, bc right now they look worse on paper than last yr.

I think the Tribe has to shop the bargain bin aggressively, that's where they really hit on last yr. Some of the 'lesser' guys really came up big for the Tribe. If the Tribe could sign a cpl of Andrew Bailey, Daniel Bard, and Mitchell Boggs to minor league deals that would help to fortify the BP. Maybe a cpl of Hanson, Webb, Axford, Mijares and Wright from the non-tender list would be good buy low candidates.

As for Brett Anderson, the price will likely be high, even with his injury history. I read on mlbtraderumors they want BP help. Hmm, Vinnie Pestano for Anderson? Probably, not enough, not happening, and I'm not sure Id want Anderson even as talented as he is.
Hiram
December 3, 2013 - 4:14 PM EST
Tony,

I perfectly understand and it will signal to the fans once again that the Dolans aren't really serious. It goes back to what Jim Pete wrote a couple weeks ago.

Don't get me wrong I understand that it's about making money so so forth but they refuse to understand that if they spend now they will gain it all back and then some later.

I hope you're wrong and I will be patient to see what they do going forward and be fair to them. It's early in the offseason and I admit it's tough seeing other teams improving but I will wait to see what they do before judging them and saying they stink. I'm going to keep a positive attitude about them and suggest things the can do.

Tony
December 3, 2013 - 3:58 PM EST
Just think your expectations are not realistic Hiram. I too believe the Indians *should* go out and spend and make some of the moves being suggested.....but that has never been their play. I expect them to piece meal the rest of this roster together and I expect when it is all said and done many to be less than happy about what is done. I hope I am wrong......but just going by what they have always done.
Hermie13
December 3, 2013 - 3:17 PM EST
With the A's getting Gentry...I'd say Stubbs is off the table there.
Hiram
December 3, 2013 - 3:13 PM EST
Tony,

that's up for interpretation because that can mean anything. Best thing we can do is sit back and be objective and fair.
Tony
December 3, 2013 - 2:46 PM EST
First off, I don't see Stubbs as a fit for Oakland. Even so, the Indians can't simply trade his salary for Anderson, it doesn't help the payroll issue much. They need to trade Stubbs in a separate move and if they trade for Anderson get salary relief in THAT deal. I also don't see a big move coming in free agency. The market is too crazy, and the Indians have never been big players there when the value is not there. The value was there last offseason with Swisher and Bourn because their market was driven down by the draft pick compensation. Also, today Antonetti is quoted as needing to find the "right value". That's not a sign of a guy looking to spend a lot of money. More like trying to find pieces-parts to fill in on a very tight budget.
Willie
December 3, 2013 - 2:32 PM EST
Some interesting players non-tendered. I'd like to see the Tribe make a run at several of these guys...

Tommy Hanson - could be a good buy low option.
Jeremy Hefner - minor league deal.
John Axford - potential late inning arm.
Andrew Bailey - currently recovering from shldr surgery
Daniel Bard - minor league deal
Ryan Webb - posted a 2.91 era in 80 IP, the Marlins non-tendered him to avoid paying near $2 M for a RP.
JP Arencibia - would be interesting backup for Gomes.
Wesley Wright - need another LHRP.
Justin Turner - utilityman with experience at every INF spot and LF.
Mitchell Boggs - minor league deal - was a solid BP arm in '11.
Kyle McPherson - minor league deal - recovering from injury.
Hiram
December 3, 2013 - 1:50 PM EST
Tony,

here you go. This is what I would do.

Trade Stubbs for Anderson and the difference in Money. Put Anderson in the bullpen until he builds up arm strength and plus he could be a nice insurance policy in case someone falters or because of injury. Take that money and sign Paul Maholm, then splurge on getting Balfour, Rodney or Mujica when their price comes down a bit because soon it will be more guys out there than teams.


Rotation:

Masterson
Kluber
Salazar
Maholm
McAllister/Carrasco


Bullpen:

Anderson
Rzepczynski
Lee
Shaw
Pestano
Allen
Balfour

Lineup:
Bourn
Asdrubal
Brantley
Santana
Kipnis
Swisher
Murphy/Raburn
Chisenhall/Aviles
Gomes
Hermie13
December 3, 2013 - 11:19 AM EST
Reports are now saying the Tigers are close to signing Joe Nathan.

Have to imagine it's for at least $10M. Would put their payroll at about $155M....without adding an OFer...and going with a rookie at 3B.
Canadian Joe
December 3, 2013 - 10:46 AM EST
Again, with Dombrowski in charge, you never know what to expect.
Just don't think he's done dealing yet. They are definitely weaker right now, but think they want a Championship now. There should be more fireworks coming out of Detroit before the season starts..
Hermie13
December 3, 2013 - 9:59 AM EST
@Tony

They haven't shed payroll really though. Again, they are at around $145M after the Fister trade for 2014 with their guaranteed salaries, arby guys, and league min guys. Payroll in 2012 was $133M and $148M in 2013.

They have $102M already in guaranteed salaries. Plus $33M in arbitration estimates (per MLBTR). That's $135M...for only 14 guys! Would have 11 league min guys then, which adds in another $10-11M. Looking at about $145M right now....again, 2013 payroll was $148M. Highest the Tigers were at any season prior was $133M.


I do think DD was told that there was no more money to add to the payroll hence why he's moving money (but also adding players like Kinsler still). Adding in a closer would put them around $150M....can they add Beltran? Maybe...but $160M+ is pushing it...
Seth
December 3, 2013 - 9:59 AM EST
The only rational explanation for the Fister trade is that ownership told Dombrowski he needed to cut payroll asap and he was angry about it, so he took the guy he robbed from Seattle and traded him for peanuts out of spite. The owners were like, "Doug who? I didn't know he even pitched for us, go ahead."

I really hope the Indians don't just sit there spinning their wheels. They should be looking at the Tigers and seeing visions of the AL Central crown. Lost Peralta, Infante, exchanged Fielder for Kinsler, Fister for a backup infielder and a LOOGY. They are a much worse team right now.
Hiram
December 3, 2013 - 9:51 AM EST
Tony,

that's a possibility but the way Dombrowski was talking he put it like they were making moves to give them flexibility not only in making moves for this year but for making moves for the future too. They couldn't spend anymore so Dombrowski made these moves so he could reconfigure his team and then have money to negotiate with both Scherzer and Miggy too. This is why I don't think they will sign Choo because it will give them yet another big contract when they worked so hard to shed payroll to give more flexibility
Tony
December 3, 2013 - 9:44 AM EST
Something to ponder about the Tigers....and just throwing this out there as I realize this is very likely not the case. But what if they have a mandate to shed payroll from ownership? From what I gather, Ilitch is not doing well health-wise and who knows, maybe the team could at some point be up for sale? Again, it is a wild idea and likely not true....but I have to think there are some ownership concerns....unless it is being kept in the family.
Hiram
December 3, 2013 - 9:35 AM EST
Apparently the Indians and the A's are talking about Brett Anderson. I hope not and if they do get him, I hope they don't give up anything of any significance for him. He's injured way too much and has only thrown 163 innings in the past three years. We need someone that can give up 200 innings this year.
Hermie13
December 3, 2013 - 9:31 AM EST
@Canadian Joe

I don't think prospects would be an issue at all with getting Headley. Tribe could nab him easily IMO if they wanted. Question is though is he worth it? Great glove but bat took a step back. I firmly believe he'd be better outside of Petco (and in a walk year) but there's risk there.

Issue too is price. Not cheap in his last arby year. Would have to move at least Cabrera to get him, and maybe Bourn too if you want to add a nice SP in addition to Headley.
Seth
December 3, 2013 - 9:30 AM EST
I don't know, I thought the Fielder move was pretty brilliant, but the Fister trade smacks of a mandate to lower payroll, and now. Like there must have been some kind of urgency to shed payroll now. It's not like you couldn't move Fister at any time between now and the start of the season if that's all the return you're looking for. Why not wait to see if you can sign the free agent, and then trade Fister? You're certainly not going to be wary of paying Fister $6.5 million so you can then pay Cano $100 million more than he's likely to be worth. Choo is more plausible, but again is looking for a long-term deal where the minimal Fister savings this year shouldn't be impacting your thought process much. And no reason to move him beforehand.
Hiram
December 3, 2013 - 9:28 AM EST
Would you guys go two years and an option on Arroyo??
Tony
December 3, 2013 - 9:27 AM EST
The Indians are not signing Garza. If they won't even go 2 years on Kazmir, they are not going 4-5 years on Garza and paying him $14-17M per as well. He comes with some durability concerns which are enough to scare the Indians away from a long term deal.
Canadian Joe
December 3, 2013 - 9:20 AM EST
Would love to see Headley in Cleveland, but the cost would be very high. Our farm system is getting better, but still has a ways to go, before a hit like Headley could be considered.
The Fister deal is a head scratcher, no question, but with Dombrowski in Detroit, we have to wait to see what other aces he has up hs sleeve.
Matthew
December 3, 2013 - 9:12 AM EST
I think the Kinsler deal made them a slightly better team, while giving them some financial flexibility. However, this Fister deal absolutely made them worse. Fister is an outstanding pitcher (13.1 fWAR over the last 3 seasons) who was only due $7M next year, with one more year of team control after that. Maybe Robbie Ray turns into the next Verlander and this deal works out for the Tigers, but for 2014, the Tigers are weaker.

That being said, they are definitely not done. I agree with Tony, I believe they will end up with either Choo or Granderson, and could also still spin Kinsler off and sign Cano.

However, it makes no sense to me that they would be in on Garza. Fister is clearly a better pitcher than Garza, and is cheaper than Garza. Why in the world would they dump Fister only to sign a more expensive, less effective RHP?
Hermie13
December 3, 2013 - 9:04 AM EST
@Canadian Joe

I agree the FO is likely looking at trades now. There's a rumor the Padres may be willing to move some pitching, and Burch Smith's name came up. Not the vet/sure thing the Tribe probably wants but he is a guy they drafted twice...

Would love to land Headley but can understand the Padres not wanting to sell low.
Canadian Joe
December 3, 2013 - 9:01 AM EST
I believe the FO is looking more at trades right now, with, hopefully a deal done at the winter meetings. Perhaps a starter or a productive bat. The free agent market is just starting to take shape, and I can see Antonetti sitting back, like last year, to see what happens. Guess we just have to be patient, hard as that might be.

It will be interesting to see how Kazmir and Ubaldo work out this year. Both are somewhat high maintenance, and with Callaway still here, will the new teams have the coaches to coax the best from these two ? A loss for us to be sure, but not sure how much of a gain it will be to the new teams.
Seth
December 3, 2013 - 8:59 AM EST
Regardless of what the Tigers do or don't do in the future, the Fister trade is horrendous. No idea what they were thinking. If Fister were on the open market, what would he be worth over the next 2 years, $40 million? How could they not have gotten something better? Too bad they're in the division, the Indians could have give them Cody Anderson, Nick Hagadone and Cord Phelps and their starting pitching issues would be solved, for cheap. And how much does the $6 million they saved really impact their ability to sign a Cano, Choo or extend Scherzer? You're talking guys who wanted $100-200 million. But if you're going to dump salary, at least do it in a responsible manner and ask more than one team what they'll give you for a pitcher who's quietly been one of the best in MLB for the past 3 years.
Hermie13
December 3, 2013 - 8:56 AM EST
The Tigers payroll is NOT $50M less than it was in 2013, it's only $7M less.

You aren't including all the arbitration eligible guys and the league min guys they will need to fill out their 25 man roster. Prior to the Fister trade, the Tigers payroll was at $148M...the exact same as it was in 2013.

As I've been saying all offseason, the Tigers were very financially strapped and needed to move money.


I do think they can add a big bat for LF along with a closer but their payroll isn't going over $160M.
Hiram
December 3, 2013 - 8:54 AM EST
Tony,

No way will they get Garza(I think the Indians will end up with him) the reason for the Fister deal was to make room for Smylyl. I think they will indeed get a big bat like Choo or Granderson and get a closer . They got the lefty in the deal for Fister so they could move Smylyl back into the rotation. Signing Garza would be counterproductive.

I think the Indians will come out with Garza, Wilson and Mijares. If they do that it will be a fun Summer because that team would compete for the division if not win it. I know Tigers would be the favorite but they would have their hands full with the Indians, IMO
Tony
December 3, 2013 - 8:34 AM EST
Yeah, agree tat the Tigers have re-positioned themselves. I fully expect them to sign one of the top bats (Choo or Cano) or even go after an arm like Garza. Their payroll right now is at $50M less than last year, and even with a Scherzer extention, they have room for a big time contract or two. I wouldn't be surprised if they nabbed Choo and Garza, or something along those lines.
Hiram
December 3, 2013 - 8:23 AM EST
It's way too early to say what the teams are in the offseason. I think the Tigers have reconfigured themselves to the point where they've improved their infield, flexibility both for short and long terms. They will make more moves in getting a Closer and another hitter. They will be tough again next year. Folks need to keep in mind that it's Dec. 3 and not March 3
Alton
December 3, 2013 - 3:27 AM EST
So far the Tigers have done nothing but get weaker, I def like what I'm seeing.......but it's still early tho.

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