Your 2013 Castoff Indians: Where’d They All Go?
Former Indians players of the past few years are scattered all over the league
By Sean Mahon
April 10, 2013
As we transition away from the core of Travis Hafner, Grady Sizemore and Shin-Soo Choo that were bound to take us from 2007 and beyond, we must not forget those Indians heroes of yesteryear, from the walk off heroics and passion of Victor Martinez to the gutsy middle relief of Andy Marte.
Are you curious how some of your favorite Tribe castoffs are doing? Look no further—here is a cream of the crop alternative lineup worth of Indians of yesterday with updates on their first week of 2013:
Kelly Shoppach (C) - The gritty backstop who was traded to Tampa Bay following the 2009 season finds himself back with good ol’ Eric Wedge in Seattle. He’s serving as the backup catcher to young gun Jesus Montero who will likely need a defensive minded mentor to assist his poor receiving capabilities. Shoppach is 2-for-6 in the early going this season and may get more playing time if Montero’s catching falters and his OBP sinks under .300 for another year.
Victor Martinez (1B) - After left knee surgery that halted his 2012 season before it started, V-Mart is looking to bounce back in 2013, though he’s off to a slow start hitting .143 in his first six games. He missed his last game against Toronto with a cut thumb, though he’s just listed as day-to-day. Manager Jim Leyland has said Victor will primarily DH for the season, spell Prince Fielder at first on some days, and may even get reps at catcher again throughout 2013. Hitting around Miguel Cabrera, Prince Fielder and Torii Hunter should help Martinez slug.
Luis Valbuena (2B) - Luis V, a hometown favorite, was stunningly the Opening Day third baseman for the Cubs, which goes to show how horrible the Cubs will be this season. The 27-year old is hitting to the tune of .182/.308/.318 in his first week of the season. Let’s (permanently) put him in the LaPorta/Marte cliental of Quad-A hitters until further notice.
Jhonny Peralta (SS) - After an All-Star season in 2011, his first full season out of Cleveland, Peralta struggled hitting a paltry .239/.305/.384 with a .689 OPS in 2012 (for comparison’s sake, Brendan Ryan is a career .244/.307/.326 hitter and is labeled among the weakest hitters in all of baseball). Peralta has gone 5-for-20 thus far without a home run, and it’s only a matter of time before Giovanni Soto proves it was a solid trade for the Tribe.
Jamey Carroll (Utility) - The utility spectacular left the Tribe after the 2009 season and had two great years with the Dodgers, putting up an OBP of .370 for the two seasons combined. Last year in Minnesota, he regressed at his age-38 season, but was still respectable hitting .268 for the lowly Twins. Carroll has played in three games thus far for the Twins and is hitting .250/.400/.250 in what may be his final season should the Twins decide to decline in option for 2014.
Jack Hannahan (3B) - Mr. Mannahan is having himself a fine start (3-for-5) for the Reds thus far, though it’s primarily in a pinch hitting and backup role. He will serve as the primary corner backup for 2012 Rookie of the Year candidate, Todd Frazier, and slugger Joey Votto. How can’t you love this guy?
Travis Hafner (DH) - Of course, Pronk, now known as the “Pronx Bomber,” would crush a three run homer to center field in his first at bat back in Cleveland. Hafner has a golden opportunity with the Yankees considering A-Rod, Jeter, Teixiera and Granderson all figure to miss serious time this season. Hitting .391/.481/.652 with two homers in your first seven games will help your opportunity, too. May I add that Pronk has noticeably lost some weight? How mad will you be when Hafner hits 40 homers this year?
Austin Kearns (LF) - Kearns actually made the Miami Marlins squad out of spring training, and aside from Giancarlo Stanton, he’s probably the next biggest name on the team. Kearns is a backup outfielder in Miami, and has gone 1-for-3 thus far on the season. If you shake your head when you see his name, just remember that Zach McAllister is a fine return on investment here.
Franklin Gutierrez (CF) - Gutz is already 30 and has struggled to stay on the field over the last two seasons as he has been plagued by injury. You may have forgotten he actually won a Gold Glove in 2010, and rightfully so: he’s always been an elite defender (and one of the Fielding Bible’s favorites). Gutierrez is hitting leadoff for Seattle and has gone 7-for-26 (.269 BA) and looks healthy for the first time in a few seasons.
Shin-Soo Choo (RF) - While you cannot argue the trade that yielded prized righty Trevor Bauer and outfielder Drew Stubbs, Choo has been crushing the ball thus far for Cincinnati. Choo is hitting .394 with 3 HRs and 6 RBIs, all in the leadoff spot for the Reds. While his offense has been brilliant, his defense has been ignominious. Choo needs a Tom-Tom and team of explorers to help him track down balls in center field, as was depicted on Tuesday when two fly balls smacked the heel of his glove to drop, allowing Cardinals runs to score. On Opening Day, Choo misplayed a ball that resulted in a triple for the Angels’ Peter Bourjos. You’ve got to applaud Choo for his willingness to take on a challenge, and even admitting the reality, but yeah… it’s going to be a long and ugly defensive season for Choo, his UZR and the Reds.
Derek Lowe (Starter) - Following his release from the Indians last season, Lowe latched on with the Yankees and did not do much of anything. Now, he’s been converted back to a reliever with the Texas Rangers. He’s thrown one inning (in two separate outings), and given up a run yielding an ERA of 9.00, which happens to be the age of teammate Elvis Andrus when Lowe made his pro debut.
Roberto Hernandez (Starter) - Speaking of age, the pitcher that aged three years overnight is now the #5 starter for the Tampa Bay Rays. He’s gone 6.2 innings in each of his first two starts, induced a plethora of ground balls and walked just two hitters in each outing. However, he’s given up 9 ER in those two games, yielding an ERA of 6.08. If Hernandez continues to do what he did in virtually every season after 2007, he’ll be slotted back in the bullpen or shipped out because the Rays have such a deep farm system with great upside arms.
Drew Pomeranz (Starter) - Can you believe this guy was picked eight slots ahead of Chris Sale? If only Sale weighed triple digits coming out of Florida Gulf Coast University (Yes, that FGCU), he may have been seen as less of a risk, and consequently drafted higher. The 24-year old Pomeranz has gone 4-10 with a career 5.01 ERA thus far. He was sent to AAA after spring training and went 5+ shutout innings in his lone start thus far. Pomeranz is young and pitching in an incredibly hitter friendly ballpark, but to date, the Ubaldo Jimenez trade has really been somewhat of a wash. If we really miss Pomeranz, we could always pick up his brother.
Alex White (Starter) - The 2009 first round pick of the Indians had a forgettable tenure with the Rockies in which he was traded to the Houston Astros (Dante’s Inferno) for 29-year old Wilton Lopez and a PTBNL/cash. White won a grand total of four games for the Rockies in his 27 starts. In spring of 2012, he was drilled with major off the field issues that have surely had a trickle-down effect to the early stages of his career. He will miss the 2013 season to undergo Tommy John surgery. Yikes.
Tony Sipp (Reliever) - The lefty has had a solid start for the Arizona Diamondbacks, pitching in four games and striking out five in his three total innings pitched. He’s won one game and figures to have a solid year in the National League.
Rafael Betancourt (Closer) - The man that could never pitch after the 8th inning or take the job from Joe Borowski was able to save 31 games for the Rockies last season and is the primary closer heading into 2013 for the Rox. Betancourt had an absurd 11.13 K/BB ratio in 2010 and has really flourished since being dealt to the NL midway through the 2009 season. Unfortunately, former University of Miami (OH) pitcher Connor Graham’s career never really fabricated as he was last pitching Indy ball last season. I suppose we could qualify the month and a half worth of time we freed up over the past four years that otherwise would have been utilized watching Betancourt leg jerking and stalling on the mound as a win in the long run.
Eric Wedge (Manager) - Wedge has recruited some of the aforementioned names to play for his cast in Seattle. The team is 4-5 in their first week of games and this should probably be Wedge’s best season out West. He has some interesting pieces with Michael Morse, Kendrys Morales and an interesting cast. If nothing else, they’ll be “grinders” of course.
I live here in AZ and saw Hector. It a tough one to take, but I understand where ShapAnt was coming from. It's one of those 'stars alinged' kind of moments.
The Cubs are rebuilding - why else would Luis Val. have a super sub home - and they could take a flyer on Rondon. It breaks my heart that the Cubs stole Hector. It literally is theft by rule 5.
He looked great this spring. In two years we will have to watch him blossom into a #3 STARTER. Mark the day.
Nobody in the Tribes FO believed anyone would take the chance given his recent Tommy J and subsequent setbacks.
So we basically gave up Rondon for our Rule 5 McGinny - who has not shown any signs of being the next Chris Davis who just needed a chance to get out of Texas.
No McGinny and Rondon could have stayed protected - even if that was unlikely.
Lastly - saw Jenmar Gomez with the Pirates in their stop to Chase against the D'backs. Very mixed results. I seriously doubt he sticks that long with the Pirates.
Of all these and the others Sean listed the one that surprises me the most is Eddie Mujica. He has gone on to be a pretty steady performer in middle relief every where he has stopped -
Who would have saw that?
Wasn't it Jensen Lewis that kept him off the roster? What a game.
To show how fickle it is in ranking players and scouting, how about the Latin Trifecta? Rondon, Gomez, and De La Cruz... all gone.