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Jeff Niemann

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Jeff Niemann

Postby Hermie13 » Tue Feb 03, 2009 11:11 am

Wasn't sure if this should be a 'prospect' thread or not.....so posted it here instead.

There's been a few articles on different sites about players out of options and if they'll be traded or make their clubs. Rich Hill was just traded since he was out of options, for example.

The articles list 2 Tribe players out of options in Reyes and Marte (though I thought Mujica was too). They're acting like Reyes may not make the club (not sure why), and then we all know Marte hasn't lived up to expectations....and the recent talk from Shapiro sounds like he's a deadman walking for the Tribe.


There are some interesting names on these 'out of options' lists. One that really stands out to me is Jeff Niemann of the Rays. He's been a top prospect for a while now and was even top 100 by BA last winter. He's a starter by trade.....but the Rays have a full rotation with Shields, Kazmir, Garza, Price, and Sonnanstine. They also have others in the wings like Talbot and Davis. So Niemann may not even be the first option after those two.

He could go to the pen.....but most reports say he's not a fit there as he takes too long to warm up and hasn't been able to adjust. That could change maybe with a full spring working on it.....but maybe not. Second issue with the pen may be an open spot. They've signed Joe Nelson and now Brian Shouse this winter. Balfour, Wheeler, Howell, Bradford, and Percival are all still there as well. That's a full pen. They may be able to move Bradford....and Percival could be injured....but they may not....

Personally I like the thought of taking a chance on Niemann and seeing if he can't win the 5th rotation spot out of camp. It's make us very righty dominate (Lee would be the only lefty)....but Reyes and Pavano are no sure things health wise.....so having Laffey, Sowers, Huff, and Lewis in reserve would be nice.

I wouldn't give up a lot for Niemann since he is out of options and we have other pitchers who could fill the last rotation spot.....but Niemann's stuff may be better than all of those guys, even Huff's. He sits around 92-93 with his fastball but can hit 95-96. His slider is a plus pitch. And his curveball can be at times. Changeup is average at best though. Control and consistency are his big issues. His mechanics are a bit funky.....if he can get those straightened out, it could solve many problems and help him realize that great potential. Willis and company have done a good job with the pitching staff of late. I think they could be a good match for Niemann.


With him being out of options and not projecting well for the pen....you may be able to get a steal here (kinda like Guthrie)......


I have a feeling that if the Rays rotation is healthy in camp, that Niemann will eventually be moved.....Tribe obviously doesn't 'need' him.....but for the right price, I'd take a shot at him.

Thoughts on him?
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Re: Jeff Niemann

Postby TheWord » Tue Feb 03, 2009 2:24 pm

With the glut of outfielders we have in the system, coupled with their supposed lack of depth, I wouldn't mind sending them a Stephen Head or Chris Gimenez in exchange for Neimann.

My estimation is that the asking price would be too high, as they would probably want a better prospect.
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Re: Jeff Niemann

Postby Hermie13 » Tue Feb 03, 2009 2:39 pm

TheWord wrote:With the glut of outfielders we have in the system, coupled with their supposed lack of depth, I wouldn't mind sending them a Stephen Head or Chris Gimenez in exchange for Neimann.

My estimation is that the asking price would be too high, as they would probably want a better prospect.


I'd be willing to move either of those two.

The Rays will likely ask for a better prospect than that.....but I doubt they really get it. Look at Rich Hill. Not as highly rated of a prospect (when he was a prospect), but actually has some ML success and only got a PTBNL.

Guthrie was a top 60 prospect in all of baseball at one point.....Tribe took him off the 40-man after being out of options and wasn't able to find a trading partner after 10 days, so went to the O's on waivers.

There's just not a big market for guys with as little ML experience as Niemann has (16 innings), if the player is out of options.....

Maybe the Rays do decide to stick him in the pen though if they don't like the low offers for him....


Rays could always do what the Cubs did with Rich Hill too.....trade for a PTBNL and have caliber of that player depend on how well Niemann does with his new team....
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Re: Jeff Niemann

Postby TheWord » Tue Feb 03, 2009 4:20 pm

Sounds good to me, put in an open letter Hermie.
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Re: Jeff Niemann

Postby petes999 » Tue Feb 03, 2009 5:26 pm

I would pass .... but I don't think that they will get that much from him as he has fallen as a prospect (#10 this year for Tampa). One site said that his control is terrible due to a stabbing motion in his mechanics. Sounds like it will take awhile to clear up ... maybe a Washington or Seattle is interested (someone out of contention that can ride him in April).

I have a feeling he will be cut in April, thus why even trade a prospect in the 20 or so range with options especially when we have so many options?

I think that with Reyes, Laffey, Huff, Sowers, Lewis, Pavano that 3 will stand out in ST for the remaining spots. Plus, next year we have Lee, Carmona, Westbrook as our top 3 with all Huff, Laffey, Reyes, Miller and Sowers battling for 2 spots. I rather trust our in house talent and see which one makes it than take a flier on someone right now.

Good idea ... just think that shuffling through 6 starters for 3 slot will take most of spring training anyways to be adding more .... especially when our bullpen is stacked and we can't stash him there. I think Huff and Laffey are ready ... so why do them a disservice by keeping a guy out of options and stifle them by sending them to AAA? I think that Tony would put Huff ahead of him. One scout said that Huff was ready last year. So why make him wait some more.

Now, if it was a player like Kennedy, Hughes, Masterson, etc. that may be another story ....

Yet, then again, I didn't like the Reyes trade which may pay lots of dividends to us.
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Re: Jeff Niemann

Postby jellis » Tue Feb 03, 2009 6:54 pm

everying I heard on the guy says he cant pitch out of the pen and thats why he really hasnt for TB, he needs a lot of warm up time
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Re: Jeff Niemann

Postby Hermie13 » Wed Feb 04, 2009 10:21 am

jellis wrote:everying I heard on the guy says he cant pitch out of the pen and thats why he really hasnt for TB, he needs a lot of warm up time


Did you copy that straight from my post? :s_dunno
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Re: Jeff Niemann

Postby Hermie13 » Wed Feb 04, 2009 10:35 am

petes999 wrote:I would pass .... but I don't think that they will get that much from him as he has fallen as a prospect (#10 this year for Tampa). One site said that his control is terrible due to a stabbing motion in his mechanics. Sounds like it will take awhile to clear up ... maybe a Washington or Seattle is interested (someone out of contention that can ride him in April).

I have a feeling he will be cut in April, thus why even trade a prospect in the 20 or so range with options especially when we have so many options?

I think that with Reyes, Laffey, Huff, Sowers, Lewis, Pavano that 3 will stand out in ST for the remaining spots. Plus, next year we have Lee, Carmona, Westbrook as our top 3 with all Huff, Laffey, Reyes, Miller and Sowers battling for 2 spots. I rather trust our in house talent and see which one makes it than take a flier on someone right now.

Good idea ... just think that shuffling through 6 starters for 3 slot will take most of spring training anyways to be adding more .... especially when our bullpen is stacked and we can't stash him there. I think Huff and Laffey are ready ... so why do them a disservice by keeping a guy out of options and stifle them by sending them to AAA? I think that Tony would put Huff ahead of him. One scout said that Huff was ready last year. So why make him wait some more.

Now, if it was a player like Kennedy, Hughes, Masterson, etc. that may be another story ....

Yet, then again, I didn't like the Reyes trade which may pay lots of dividends to us.


Ranking 10th in the TB system isn't a bad thing. That system is still stacked. His star has definitely fallen though...

A mechanics issue can be cleared up very quickly actually. That was one of Reyes's big issues in St. Louis......he turned it around almost immediately. All it takes is a different pitching coach changing a small thing or allowing a pitcher to change it himself (like in Reyes's case).

I also disagree about bringing him in. Yeah, we have plenty of others....but Sowers (as much as I like him and think he's gonna have a breakout year) has struggled the last two years. Laffey started off amazing last year...then had issues, and then some arm problems. Lewis only has 8 starts above AA. Huff has zero ML experience....though does appear very ready for the MLs.

Adding Niemann (who has better stuff than all of them), would add more depth in case of an injury.....consider that every starter being considered for our rotation has been on the DL or had an arm issue in the last 2 years (except for Sowers).....you can see why depth is a big issue for the Tribe still.

One idea could be trading Mujica and a PTBNL for Niemann. Mujica is out of options as well. But unlike Niemann, he actually is made for the pen. They may end up with a spot in the pen open....not saying Mujica is worth Niemann (hence the ptbnl)....but kinda like a 'you take my garbage, i'll take yours' type of thing. Not happening, but something along those lines could work.

Now I do agree that it's highly unlikely Niemann comes here. I was actually thinking Texas would be a great fit for him. He's from Texas (Houston though) and went to Rice University. Texas is ALWAYS starved for pitching. They do good by bringin Niemann in. They have bats that could be moved as well, which is the one area the Rays are still a bit weak at, especially in their system. I was thinking Max Ramirez made sense for the Rays. He can play C, 1B, and DH. The Rays have Navarro, Pena, and now Burrell at those 3 spots....but Pena and Navarro are both arbitration eligible already, and Burrell only signed a 2 year deal. Ramirez should start in AAA, get more at-bats, and work on defense (where he's terrible). He could be a good option in 2010/2011 for them as a starter at one of those two spots.

Now, Ramirez is probalby too much to give up for a guy that's out of options......but the Rays could toss something else in or work something out. Again though, just an idea. Seattle doesn't really work as they are pretty well set in the rotation. Washington would make sense though.
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Re: Jeff Niemann

Postby MickS » Wed Feb 04, 2009 11:08 am

Niemann's lack of options would be just as problematic for the Indians as it is for the Rays. What makes him a better bet than the host of guys that we already have (Laffey, Lewis, Sowers, Jackson, Huff)? And our guys have options which gives us flexibility. I think we'd be throwing away a good prospect to acquire Niemann. Wait till he hits the waiver wire and then deliberate based on what's going on with our own guys.

If we're going to expend prospect bulletts, I'd rather we acquire a proven M.O.R. guy than another "maybe" prospect (we've got enough of those already).
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Re: Jeff Niemann

Postby Hermie13 » Wed Feb 04, 2009 11:26 am

If you've seen Niemann pitch....you'd see how good his stuff is when on. Has a better fastball than any of the our 4 lefties (5 if you want to count Jackson). Has a good slider and curveball combo as well....

If he ever gets his control/consistency issues sorted out, he'll be a #2-3 in this league, and better than Guthrie is even.


And no one is saying throw away a real prospect really. Do you really see Head ever getting at-bats in a Tribe uniform? It's possible....but he won't be starting. Same with Gimenez. Maybe he becomes a utility guy/back-up catcher.....but we have Torregas still and a few guys that can be utility men.....


I wouldn't give up a Huff or Laffey, or a Valbuena type for him.....and with the PTNBL option, you could end up giving away a lower prospect even.

Only problem with waiting for the waiver wire is teams like Texas, Washington, and Baltimore would get first cracks at him.....not that the Tribe would even be instered (they may not be)....but again, he looks very good on the mound still. His stuff can be filthier than Adam Miller's some days....
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Re: Jeff Niemann

Postby MickS » Wed Feb 04, 2009 11:47 am

"If he ever gets his control/consistency issues sorted out, he'll be a #2-3 in this league"

Famous last words. How many times have we heard a variation of this? Fernando Cabrera. Jason Davis. Daniel Cabrera, etc., etc, etc. History is littered with "he would have been great, if only" guys.

One more point. With so many quality players still w/o jobs (Manny, Abreu, Dunn, Sheets, Hudson, O-Cab, etc.) rosters are still unsettled. These guys WILL be signed if only for one year deals. Lot's of quality players, especially those out of options, will be hitting the waiver wire during and at the end of spring training. To act on Niemann would be premature unless you are certain of 2 things:

1. Niemann's problems are easily and quickly fixed and we're pretty certain he will contribute in '09.
2. Niemann is the best that's going to be available during the shake-out.

I don't have any conviction on either of those fronts. I say, No, to Niemann unless he comes so cheaply that it wouldn't hurt to cast him aside at the end of Spring training.
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Re: Jeff Niemann

Postby Hermie13 » Wed Feb 04, 2009 12:15 pm

Big differecne though is that Niemann has better stuff and been much more highly rated throughout his career than guys like F. Cabrera, Davis, and D. Cabrera. Though I do agree somewhat with the point you're making.


As far as the 2 things......number 1 is the big question; however, number 2 seems like an almost certain yes. When looking at the players out of options, he clearly looks like the best pitcher of the bunch, both on stuff and potential.....

On any other team, they wouldn't hesitate to put him in their rotation....unfortunately for him, he may be on the team with the best rotation in the AL in the Rays.


It definitely is too early for the Tribe to talk trade....and way too early for the Rays to even consider trading him. Kazmir is playing in the WBC...he's got a history of injuries and could easily not be ready to go on opening day, thus opening a spot for Niemann. He could have such a great spring that he 'beats out' Price for the last rotation spot (though I think there may be a riot in TB if that happened).


One of the reason I brought him up now is because of the different articles about players out of options (plus the fact that I've loved his arm for a while now....and I was tired of talking about what Brantley may or may not be as a hitter).

Still 2 months til opening day.....lots can change for both the Tribe and Rays......

But if we could get him for something like what the Reds got Phillips from us for (a guy out of options even after opening day...yet we still got a decent player in return), I'd call that a nice deal. Stevens was a good prospect....but even had Phillips not panned out, the Reds really wouldn't have lost a lot. Tribe could do the same...will they? Probably not.....
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Re: Jeff Niemann

Postby MadThinker88 » Wed Feb 04, 2009 10:05 pm

If it costs me 'last of the Mujica' and a lower level (non-top 40) prospect as PTBNL, I make the trade for Niemann. Too many of our starter possibilities are lefties.

One can never have enough pitching and if the Rays are willing to deal more away, so be it.
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Re: Jeff Niemann

Postby jellis » Thu Feb 05, 2009 12:24 am

MadThinker88 wrote:If it costs me 'last of the Mujica' and a lower level (non-top 40) prospect as PTBNL, I make the trade for Niemann. Too many of our starter possibilities are lefties.

One can never have enough pitching and if the Rays are willing to deal more away, so be it.


I dont think they are really looking to move away Neiman though, at the end of the day hes a valuable trade chip and will prolly be a central part of a bigger deal for them to fill a hole, which I bet arises in there pen. I really think you dont get a Neiman unless you trade a lewis or a perez
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Re: Jeff Niemann

Postby Hermie13 » Thu Feb 05, 2009 9:42 am

jellis wrote:I dont think they are really looking to move away Neiman though, at the end of the day hes a valuable trade chip and will prolly be a central part of a bigger deal for them to fill a hole, which I bet arises in there pen. I really think you dont get a Neiman unless you trade a lewis or a perez


No way any team would do that unless Niemann has a sub 3 ERA in spring training.....Teams know that the Rays don't have a spot for Niemann unless a big time injury arises in Spring Training. Other teams have the upperhand in trade talks, just like they did for Brandon Phillips.

The Rays won't get a MLer for Niemann unless it's a fringe MLer out of options (like Mujica or Marte) or they include something else in the deal. I recall seeing a 'rumor' about Niemann and Brignac to the O's for Sherrill. The Rays needed a closer and a lefty at the time. Percival seems healthy and they've since signed Shouse as a lefty, so the deal isn't likely now.....but shows just how low Niemann's value actually is.....
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Re: Jeff Niemann

Postby jellis » Thu Feb 05, 2009 7:07 pm

Hermie13 wrote:
jellis wrote:I dont think they are really looking to move away Neiman though, at the end of the day hes a valuable trade chip and will prolly be a central part of a bigger deal for them to fill a hole, which I bet arises in there pen. I really think you dont get a Neiman unless you trade a lewis or a perez


No way any team would do that unless Niemann has a sub 3 ERA in spring training.....Teams know that the Rays don't have a spot for Niemann unless a big time injury arises in Spring Training. Other teams have the upperhand in trade talks, just like they did for Brandon Phillips.

The Rays won't get a MLer for Niemann unless it's a fringe MLer out of options (like Mujica or Marte) or they include something else in the deal. I recall seeing a 'rumor' about Niemann and Brignac to the O's for Sherrill. The Rays needed a closer and a lefty at the time. Percival seems healthy and they've since signed Shouse as a lefty, so the deal isn't likely now.....but shows just how low Niemann's value actually is.....



sherril has been pretty solid of late and it doesnt matter that that they may not have a spot they will find a place to hold him. He is a top 10 spec in a top 5 system trust me they can get a good MR for him, him plus a lesser spec would net sherril I am sure
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Re: Jeff Niemann

Postby Hermie13 » Fri Feb 06, 2009 10:47 am

jellis wrote:sherril has been pretty solid of late and it doesnt matter that that they may not have a spot they will find a place to hold him. He is a top 10 spec in a top 5 system trust me they can get a good MR for him, him plus a lesser spec would net sherril I am sure


Kinda my point. Sherrill is not worth Niemann and Brignac, it's not even close. But Niemann's value is sooo low right now, it may actually work.

Sherrill had a 4.72 ERA and 1.50 WHIP last year......that's pretty terible for a reliever unless he's mop-up guy. Sherrill did have a very good 2007 season....but only threw 45 innings that year and used mostly against lefties only. In 2008, he actually pitched to more righties. And you could kinda predict his bad year this year. He had an ERA under 2 and a WHIP under 0.70 the first half of 2007....his ERA jumped 3 points and WHIP more than doubled...BAA raised nearly 100 points as well. Carried over into 2008. The guy is gonna be 32 in April this year.......He's a situational lefty still though.....not worth many prospects, unless one is out of options like Niemann and has little trade value.


We'll see what he eventually goes for. Unless there's an injury, he's almost certain to get traded, and I have a feelign it won't be for much....
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