Tag Archives: Cleveland Indians

Season Preview: AL Central


With Spring Training well under way and the first games already in the books, I figured it was a good time to take a look at my own predictions for the league, and the changes the respective teams have made. Today’s group is the American League Central.

Last Year’s Records
Minnesota – 94-68
Chicago – 88-74
Detroit – 81-81
Cleveland – 69-93
Kansas City – 67-95

Notable Additions

Chicago – Adam Dunn, Lastings Milledge

Cleveland – Orlando Cabrera

Detroit – Victor Martinez, Brad Penny, Joaquin Benoit

Kansas City – Alcides Escobar, Lorenzo Cain, Jeff Francoeur, Melky Cabrera, Vin Mazzaro

Minnesota – Tsuyoshi Nishioka

Notable Losses

Chicago – Andruw Jones, Manny Ramirez, Freddy Garcia, J.J. Putz, Bobby Jenks, Scott Linebrink

Cleveland – NONE

Detroit – Johnny Damon, Jeremy Bonderman, Gerald Laird, Armando Galarraga

Kansas City – Zack Greinke, David DeJesus, Brian Bannister, Gil Meche

Minnesota – J.J. Hardy, Orlando Hudson, Brendan Harris, Jon Rauch, Brian Fuentes

Continue reading

Who are the Faces of their Franchise? AL Central Edition


Next up in my look at each organization’s Face of the Franchise is the AL Central…

  • White Sox – I think that at this point it has to either be Paul Konerko or Mark Buehrle. Both players have been with the team a long time, and both are known for being with the team as well. Buehrle may have gotten himself into a little bit of hot water earlier in the week regarding his comments about Michael Vick, but I think either would fit this title. Continue reading

Prospect Review – Jason Kipnis


The next prospect up for review made quite a splash in 2010, as he climbed way up on many prospect rankings. I am referring to the Indians’ top 2B prospect, Jason Kipnis.

The Basics
Bats: Left
Throws: Right
How Acquired: Drafted by the Cleveland Indians out of Arizona State University in the 2nd round of the 2009 amateur draft
Age as of 4/1/11: 24

Scouting Reports and Statistics
The Baseball Cube

Tm          Lg Lev  G  R HR RBI SB BB SO   BA  OBP  SLG
Kinston   CARL  A+ 54 33  6  31  2 24 46 .300 .387 .478
Akron       EL  AA 79 63 10  43  7 31 61 .311 .385 .502

Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 1/15/2011.

Prospect Ranks

Hardball Times: #5 (CLE – 2011)
Deep Leagues: #50 (Overall – 2011), #3 (2B – 2011)
Project Prospect: #4 (2B – 8/2010)
Bullpen Banter: #3 (2B – 9/2010)
Baseball America: #3 (CLE – 2011), #9 (Eastern League – 8/2010)
John Sickels: #3 (CLE – 2011), B+
Baseball Prospectus: #1 (CLE – 2011), 5 star
Scouting Book: #2 (2B – 2011), #94 (Overall – 2011)
Top Prospect Alert: #4 (CLE – 2011)

Analysis

Kipnis spent one season at the University of Kentucky prior to transferring to Arizona State.  He continued to hit extremely well at ASU, posting a batting average over .371 in both seasons, hitting 30 home runs, and stealing 51 bases in his time in Tempe. Taken in the second round of the 2009 draft, Kipnis ended up signing with the Indians for a $575K bonus in early July. This allowed him to play in 29 games for the Indians’ Low-A affiliate in Mahoning Valley, where he hit .306/.388/.459 with a home run and a stolen base. Continue reading

Season Previews in Review: American League Central


Back during Spring Training, I took a look at each team and made predictions about how each team would do and how I thought their season would go. This was the first year doing this, and I figured now was a good time to take a look back and see how it went. I reviewed the AL East previously, and now it’s on to the AL Central.

Chicago White Sox

Predicted Record: 84-78            Actual Record: 88-74

This team’s record ended up slightly better than I thought it would, but actually finished in the same spot in the standings I believed that they would. They got solid pitching as usual, but not as much from Jake Peavy once he suffered a season ending injury. The move to second base for Gordon Beckham seemed to cause him some serious struggles throughout most of the season, and he didn’t seem to get his bat back until after the All-Star break.

Continue reading

Trade Deadline Review


Well, we are now officially one day past the non-waiver trade deadline, and there have been quite a few different trades made. It was definitely one of the more active periods in a lot of years. I wrote up the major trades as they happened, and you can read my thoughts with the links below.

Major Trades

Texas Rangers acquire SP Cliff Lee and P Mark Lowe from the Seattle Mariners for 1B Justin Smoak and 3 minor leaguers
Los Angeles Angels acquire SP Dan Haren from the Arizona Diamondbacks for SP Joe Saunders and 3 minor leaguers
Philadelphia Phillies acquire SP
Roy Oswalt from the Houston Astros for SP J.A. Happ and 2 minor leaguers

Semi-Major Deals

1. New York Yankees acquire RP Kerry Wood from the Cleveland Indians for a player to be named later or cash
2. New York Yankees acquire 1B Lance Berkman from the Houston Astros for P Mark Melancon and Jimmy Paredes
3. Los Angeles Dodgers acquire SP Ted Lilly and IF Ryan Theriot from the Chicago Cubs for IF Blake DeWitt, minor league P Brett Wallach and Kyle Smit
4. St. Louis Cardinals acquire SP Jake Westbrook from the Cleveland Indians and minor leaguer Nick Greenwood from the San Diego Padres, San Diego Padres acquire OF Ryan Ludwick from the St. Louis Cardinals, Cleveland Indians acquire minor leaguer Corey Kluber from the San Diego Padres
5. Pittsburgh Pirates acquire C Chris Snyder and OF Pedro Ciriaco from the Arizona Diamondbacks for P D.J. Carrasco, IF Bobby Crosby, and OF Ryan Church
6. Chicago White Sox acquire SP Edwin Jackson from the Arizona Diamondbacks for SP Daniel Hudson and P David Holmberg
7. Minnesota Twins acquire RP Matt Capps from the Washington Nationals for C Wilson Ramos and minor league P Joe Testa
8. Texas Rangers acquire IF Jorge Cantu from the Florida Marlins for minor leaguer pitchers Evan Reed and Omar Poveda
9. Los Angeles Dodgers acquire OF Scott Podsednik from the Kansas City Royals for minor leaguers C Lucas May and P Elisaul Pimentel
10. Los Angeles Angels acquire 3B Alberto Callaspo from the Kansas City Royals for P Sean O’Sullivan and P Will Smith
11. Toronto Blue Jays acquire SS Yunel Escobar and P Jo-Jo Reyes from the Atlanta Braves for SS Alex Gonzalez and minor leaguers Tyler Pastornicky and Tim Collins
12. Los Angeles Dodgers acquire RP Octavio Dotel from the Pittsburgh Pirates for OF Andrew Lambo and P James McDonald

Minor Moves

1. Texas Rangers acquire IF Cristian Guzman from the Washington Nationals for minor leaguers Ryan Tatsuko and Tanner Roark
2. Texas Rangers acquire C Bengie Molina from the San Francisco Giants for P Chris Ray
3. Toronto Blue Jays acquire 1B Mike Jacobs from the New York Mets for a player to be named later
4. San Diego Padres acquire IF Miguel Tejada from the Baltimore Orioles for minor league P Wynn Pelzer
5. Tampa Bay Rays acquire RP Chad Qualls from the Arizona Diamondbacks for a player to be named later
6. New York Yankees acquire OF Austin Kearns from the Cleveland Indians for ?
7. Detroit Tigers acquire IF Jhonny Peralta from the Cleveland Indians for minor league P Giovanny Soto
8. San Francisco Giants acquire P Javier Lopez from the Pittsburgh Pirates for P Joe Martinez and OF John Bowker
9. Atlanta Braves acquire IF Wilkin Ramirez from the Detroit Tigers for cash or a player to be named later
10. Florida Marlins acquire RP Will Ohman from the Baltimore Orioles for P Rick VandenHurk
11. San Francisco Giants acquire RP Ramon Ramirez from the Boston Red Sox for P Daniel Turpen
12. Atlanta Braves acquire OF Rick Ankiel and RP Kyle Farnsworth from the Kansas City Royals for P Jesse Chavez, OF Gregor Blanco, and minor league P Tim Collins
13. Boston Red Sox acquire C Jarrod Saltalamacchia from the Texas Rangers for 1B Chris McGuiness, P Ramon Mendez and a player to be named later or cash

Wow. There’s still stuff coming in as I write this, and in the last hour there have been a lot of these to get done. So who did well here and who didn’t?

Winners

The Yankees – Let’s see if we have this right. The Yankees picked up Lance Berkman to be their designated hitter. They added Kerry Wood to help solidify the back end of the bullpen behind Mariano Rivera. And they got both of them for a pair of players that are of no use to the Yankees, and even got some money in the deals? Really? They already have the best record in the Majors, and have decidedly improved their team with both acquisitions. Oh, and they added to their bench depth with Austin Kearns as well.

The Rangers – With a decent lead in the AL West, the Rangers went out and got themselves an ace starter (Lee), a solid catcher who can help them play defense at the position (Molina), a run producing right handed bat who can play two positions (Cantu), a backup infielder who will be able to spell their third baseman and shortstop, and fill in while their second baseman is on the disabled list (Guzman),  and moved a player that they had soured on for some prospects. They are the prohibitive favorite in the AL West at this point, now being 8 games ahead of the 2nd place Angels and 8.5 of the 3rd place Athletics. They plugged nearly every gap they had in their team, and will go into the pennant chase with a very good chance of being in the World Series at the end of it.

The Angels – Even though the moves may end up being more for next season, acquiring Dan Haren to give them a very good 1-2 punch in their rotation for “some magic beans” as Matthew Berry put it on the Fantasy Focus podcast was a stroke of genius. Callaspo also gives them a solid hitter to play at 3B which they had sorely been missing. While it may not be enough to catch the Rangers, they gave up very little of value to do both trades.

The Pirates – They took D.J. Carrasco, Bobby Crosby, Javier Lopez, Octavio Dotel, and Ryan Church and turned them into a major league backstop (Snyder), two solid potential major leaguers (Bowker and Martinez), and 2 higher end, albeit risky prospects (Lambo, McDonald). Someone must have put something in Neal Huntington’s coffee that helped out a lot. They did extremely well to turn a lot of random pieces that aren’t really that helpful into all that.

The Royals – Pieces that aren’t for the future: Podsednik, Ankiel, Farnsworth, Callaspo. All moved for players with varying levels of upside who can help with the rebuilding process: Lucas May, Tim Collins, Jesse Chavez, Gregor Blanco, Sean O’Sullivan, Will Smith. Not the most amazing group of players, and definitely no high-end prospects here. But the Royals have a lot of high-end prospects already, and need others to help give them some balance as well with regard to position scarcity and depth overall. Very well done today.

The Padres – They gave up a pair of pitching prospects to acquire a much needed outfield bat, and a utility player who should provide some value over the remainder of the season. Nothing too major here, and definitely nothing that mortgages the future. I like the Ludwick acquisition, as he could see an improvement with a change of scenery. I’m not 100% sold on the Tejada acquisition, but they didn’t really give up that much to get him in my opinion.

Losers

The Nationals – The trade of Matt Capps was nice, netting them a very good catching prospect in Wilson Ramos. But the way that they handled Adam Dunn leading up to the trade deadline was inexcusable. They clearly had not made up their mind as to what they wanted to do with him, and in the end they simply ran out of time. They clearly could have gotten more for him had they moved him instead of waiting for his free agency to play out, and the only reason to do that would have been to get him signed to an extension (which they didn’t do either). Not sure what happened here, but we’ll see if this was a really bad plan from the start.

The Dodgers – In a division where they are 7.5 games back of the leader and 5 games back of the wild card leader, the Dodgers decided to go for it, sending prospects Brett Wallach, Kyle Smit, Lucas May, Elisaul PimentelAndrew Lambo, and James McDonald (along with Blake DeWitt) to other teams to acquire: the remainder of this season from Octavio Dotel, Ted Lilly and Scott Podsednik, and also Ryan Theriot. I’m pretty sure that if they had offered those players to the Diamondbacks they would have been able to get Dan Haren, Kelly Johnson, and a bullpen arm. I’m also pretty convinced that they could have offered that group to the Mariners and gotten Cliff Lee, Jose Lopez and possibly David Aardsma. I’m not at all impressed with what they did here, and are only one bad week from being completely out of the race.

The Orioles – It’s a tough beat, but they were only able to move Will Ohman and Miguel Tejada, and would have been served by moving Ty Wigginton and Kevin Millwood, among others. Unfortunately, neither player has been playing well of late, and had essentially managed to knock their own values down to next to nothing.

The Twins – They needed some help in the bullpen, and really could have used another starting pitcher behind Francisco Liriano and Carl Pavano. Unfortunately, they only filled one of those gaps, and at a cost that seems high even considering that the prospect that they gave up had no place to play in the Twins’ future.

Mixed Bag

The Astros – They were able to get out from under a lot of the big dollar contracts owed to Roy Oswalt and Lance Berkman, and got back at least a reasonable return. Brett Wallace will slot in at 1B to replace Berkman, and J.A. Happ will fill Oswalt’s slot in the rotation. But time will tell if they get anything other than salary relief for Berkman, and Happ and Wallace will have to be very good to replace the value of Oswalt in my opinion.

The Phillies – They gave up a lot more to get Oswalt than they got back in return for Cliff Lee, who would have played a similar role for the Phillies this season had he not been traded. Oswalt will need to be the piece that moves them over the top for this one to really be a winner for them.

The Diamondbacks – They acquired a pretty good young pitcher in return for Edwin Jackson (Hudson). But they practically gave away Dan Haren, a better pitcher who was not that much more expensive than Jackson. They got back a bunch of garbage essentially for their second catcher Snyder. Crosby is a free agent after the season, and Church and Carrasco are both likely candidates for a non-tender after the season. They also did not move Kelly Johnson and Adam LaRoche, both of whom had a lot of value built up despite poor performance of late. Some of the players they acquired could turn out to be good, but it remains to be seen.

The White Sox – They really could have used a bat, and it sounds like they were trying to get one by acquiring Edwin Jackson. I honestly can’t remember the last time I heard about a player being acquired with the hope of moving him to another team, only to have that other team tell them it wasn’t enough. Jackson is a nice pitcher, but is not that much better than Hudson should be.

Overall, a very exciting trade deadline, and there is still the possibility that we will see a lot more trades before the waiver deadline of August 31st.

Trade Retrospective: Bartolo Colon


The next trade up on the retrospective list is the acquisition of Bartolo Colon by the Montreal Expos in exchange for 1B Lee Stevens, P Cliff Lee, OF Grady Sizemore, and SS Brandon Phillips. The trade was completed on June 27, 2002.

The Background

The Indians had started the 2002 season hot, winning 11 of their first 12. However, by midseason they had faltered, and it had become quite clear that they were not going to compete that season. Their most coveted trading piece had become starting pitcher Bartolo Colon.

The Expos had spent the majority of the offseason prior to the 2002 season trying to keep from being contracted by MLB, but had managed to stay in the race much to everyone’s surprise for a large portion of the 1st half of the season. It was an extreme surprise to say the least when the Expos went out and acquired Colon from the Indians.

The Moving Pieces

Bartolo Colon came to the Expos, and his main goal was to help guide the Expos into the playoffs.

Lee Stevens was slotted in to help out at 1B and in the OF, but was not particularly expected to be a part of the future of the Indians. He was included more to help offset some of the salaries.

Cliff Lee, Brandon Phillips, and Grady Sizemore were prospects at the time, and the Indians were hopeful that all 3 would provide value at the Major League level when they were ready to compete again.

What Happened Next

Colon pitched extremely well. In 17 starts, he went 10-4 with a 3.31 ERA, 74 strikeouts and 39 walks in 117 innings pitched. Unfortunately, he was not able to carry the Expos to the playoffs, as they finished 83-79, good for 2nd place in the division, but unfortunately 12 games out of a playoff spot.

The Indians sent all 3 prospects to the minors, and had September call-ups for Lee and Phillips.  They finished out the 2002 season with a 74-88 record, which was surprisingly able to put them in 3rd place in the division.

The Net Moves

Montreal – First Level

  • Colon was moved in January of 2003 in order to help cut salaries for the Expos. He was traded to the White Sox for pitchers Rocky Biddle and Orlando Hernandez, 1B Jeff Liefer, and cash.

Montreal/Washington – Second Level

  • Biddle spent the 2003-2004 seasons with the Expos, posting a 9-16 record with a 5.83 ERA in 120 appearances. At the end of the 2004 season, Biddle was released by the team.
  • Orlando Hernandez spent the entire 2003 season rehabbing in the minors for the Expos, and was a free agent at the end of the 2003 season.
  • Liefer finished the 2003 season with a .193/.217/.330 batting line with 3 HR and 18 RBI in 35 games. The 26 strikeouts to 3 walks were not particularly helpful to him either. He was waived at the end of the 2003 season.

Cleveland – First Level

  • Lee Stevens finished off the 2002 season, appearing in 53 games and hitting 5 HR and 26 RBI for the Indians. He didn’t play in the Majors after the end of that season.
  • Brandon Phillips spent portions of the 2002-2005 seasons with the Indians Major League team. In 135 total games, he hit .206/.246/.310 with 6 home runs and 38 RBI. He was traded 4/7/06 to the Reds for minor league P Jeff Stevens.
  • Cliff Lee evolved into a top-tier pitcher. With the team from 2002-2009, he posted an 83-48 record with a 4.01 ERA in 1117 innings pitched. He also won the 2008 Cy Young award with a 22-3 record and a 2.54 ERA. At the trade deadline in 2009, he was traded to the Phillies for P Carlos Carrasco, P Jason Knapp, IF Jason Donald, and C Lou Marson.
  • Grady Sizemore spent the 2002-2003 seasons in the minor leagues, and has been the starting center fielder since 2004. In that time, he has hit .275/.366/.484 with 129 HR, 418 RBI, and 131 SB. He also won 2 Gold Gloves and a Silver Slugger in that time.

Cleveland – Second Level

  • Jeff Stevens spent the 2006-2008 seasons in the minors for the Indians, and was traded during the offseason after 2008 to the Cubs as a part of the trade which brought the Indians IF Mark DeRosa.
  • Carlos Carrasco, Jason Donald, Jason Knapp, and Lou Marson are all still with the team, with Marson being the only one who has already become a regular starter for the Major League team. Carrasco and Knapp are both considered to be high-end pitching prospects.

Cleveland – Third Level

  • Mark DeRosa spent half of the 2009 season with the Indians, posting a .270/.342/.457 line with 13 HR and 50 RBI in 71 games. He was traded on 6/22/09 to the Cardinals for pitchers Chris Perez and Jess Todd.

Cleveland – Fourth Level

  • Chris Perez has been slotted in as the closer while Kerry Wood has been on the disabled list, and Jess Todd is currently working in the minor leagues for the Indians.

Overall Reactions

This trade looked like a steal for the Expos at the time, as Colon was a widely sought after starter and had been pitching extremely well. As time has progressed, the Expos/Nationals clearly would have been better served if they had not made this trade. Lee and Sizemore both have been All-Stars for the Indians, and Phillips has been an All-Star for the Reds. The Indians essentially traded 1.5 seasons of Bartolo Colon to the Expos for Carrasco, Donald, Knapp, Marson, Perez, and Todd, along with 6 seasons of Cliff Lee and 6 seasons of Grady Sizemore. The Expos then got 1/2 a season of Colon for essentially nothing back in return from the White Sox. The Indians CLEARLY won this trade.

Trade Retrospective: Ken Griffey Jr


I always find it extremely interesting to see how trades worked out for the teams involved, and what effects the trade had on both teams’ fortunes. I’ll be doing one of these each week, as there have been so many blockbuster trades that happened in recent years.

One of the first blockbuster trades of the 2000s was the requested, and achieved trade of Ken Griffey Jr to the Reds for OF Mike Cameron, SP Brett Tomko, IF Antonio Perez, and P Jake Meyer.

The Background

Griffey requested a trade to Cincinnati so that he could be closer to his home and his family. Griffey had posted 3 consecutive seasons of 45+ home runs and 134+ RBI, and was going to be 30 years old in 2000. Griffey was going to be a free agent after the 2000 season, and the Mariners must have known that they were unlikely to keep Griffey.

The Mariners were coming off of a 79-83 season where they finished in 3rd place, and also knew that young SS Alex Rodriguez would also be a free agent after the 2000 season. The team would most likely have to begin a rebuilding effort based on the rest of the competition in the division, and moving Griffey would help to move that forward.

The Reds had finished 1999 with a 96-67 record, losing a play-in game against the Mets for the Wild Card playoff spot. I imagine that they had to feel that bringing the elite Ken Griffey Jr in would be enough to help put them over the top in their division.

The Moving Pieces

Griffey went to Cincinnati, and almost immediately signed a 9 year, $112.5 million contract extension. The Reds slotted him in to play CF, and were hopeful that he would help to bring them closer to a championship. With 398 career homeruns, it was widely expected that he would be able to compete for the all-time home run record in Cincinnati, and reach that number before the end of the contract.

Mike Cameron was slotted in by the Mariners to replace Griffey in center field. Cameron had been the starting center fielder in Cincinnati, and posted a .256 batting average with 21 HR, 66 RBI and 38 SB. While he wasn’t going to be Griffey in the outfield, he still had the potential to be a very solid center fielder and was also under team control for 4 more seasons.

Brett Tomko was 26 and coming off of a 5-7 season record with 132 strikeouts in 172 innings (33 appearances).

Jake Meyer was a 24 year old minor leaguer who had finished the season with the Reds’ AA team. He had posted a 3.57 ERA with 16 saves between A and AA.

Antonio Perez had been an international signing by the Reds, and was a 19 year old shortstop who had dominated the Midwest League with a .288 batting average, 7 home runs, and 35 stolen bases.

What Happened Next

Ken Griffey had another excellent season, although slightly below his previous levels. He hit .271/.387/.556 with 40 HR, 118 RBI, and 100 runs scored. Unfortunately, this didn’t lead to the improvement that they had hoped, and the Reds finished 85-77, 10 games back in the division and out of the playoffs.

The Mariners, almost surprisingly, went in the opposite direction, finishing 91-71 and winning the AL Wild Card. Mike Cameron hit 19 HR and stole 24 bases while playing a solid center field.

The Net Moves

Cincinnati – First Level

  • Cincinnati had Griffey for the 9 seasons of the contract, but it didn’t quite play out the way they had hoped. Griffey spent large portions of the 2001-2007 seasons on the disabled list, and the contract hamstrung the team. The performance surrounding Griffey was poor also, as they never won more than 80 games while Griffey was with the team.
  • At the end of his stint with the Reds, Griffey had hit 210 home runs, but had only averaged 105 games per season there.
  • In 2008, he was traded to the White Sox in the hope that he could compete for a championship. The Reds acquired P Nick Masset and IF Danny Richar for him.

Cincinnati – Second Level

  • Richar spent the remainder of the 2008 and 2009 seasons with the Reds, appearing in only 23 games total. He was not brought back for 2010.
  • Masset has spent both the remainder of 2008 and all of 2009 with the Reds. He has posted a 6-1 record with a 2.74 ERA in 95 innings over the two seasons, and remains in the bullpen for the Reds in 2010.

Seattle – First Level

  • Mike Cameron spent the 2000-2003 seasons with the Mariners, averaging 152 games a season, hitting 87 home runs, stealing 106 bases, and posting a .256 batting average. He left via free agency, and no compensation was received.
  • Brett Tomko spent the 2000 and 2001 seasons with the Mariners, posting a 10-6 record overall in 43 appearances (12 starts) and a 4.82 ERA. He was traded in the 2001 offseason, along with C Tom Lampkin and IF Ramon Vazquez to the Padres for C Ben Davis, IF Alex Arias, and P Wascar Serrano.
  • Antonio Perez never played in the Majors for the Mariners, and was traded to the Devil Rays in part of the compensation that the  Mariners received for signing manager Lou Piniella. The Mariners received OF Randy Winn as well.
  • Jake Meyer never made it to the Majors, not with the Mariners or with anyone else. He was traded to the White Sox in 2002 as a part of a trade involving another minor leaguer.

Seattle – Second Level

  • C Ben Davis was included in the trade of SP Freddy Garcia to the White Sox. This trade netted the Mariners C Miguel Olivo, IF Mike Morse, and OF Jeremy Reed. Reed, it was thought, would be able to play CF for the Mariners and help to bring some offense to the lineup as well.
  • P Wascar Serrano and IF Alex Arias had essentially no impact on the Mariners, as neither played in a game for the team. Arias was released, and Serrano did not pitch.
  • OF Randy Winn played for the Mariners for the 2003-2005 seasons, being traded to the Giants at the trading deadline for P Jesse Foppert and C Yorvit Torrealba. Foppert played in AAA for the Mariners, never pitching in the Majors before being released. Torrealba spent the remainder of the 2005 season with the Mariners before being traded to the Rockies for a minor leaguer.

Seattle – Third Level

  • Miguel Olivo was traded to San Diego for a pair of minor leaguers (Nathaniel Mateo and Miguel Ojeda), neither of whom pitched in the Majors.
  • Mike Morse was traded in 2009 to Washington for OF Ryan Langerhans, who played in 38 games for the Mariners, and is currently on the Major League roster.
  • Jeremy Reed never really fulfilled the potential he was thought to possess, playing sporadically from 2004-2008 and posting a .255 batting average with 11 HR and 19 SB over the 4 seasons. He was traded after the 2008 season as a part of the 3 team trade with the Mets and the Indians. The Mariners sent RP J.J. Putz and Sean Green to the Mets, and IF Luis Valbuena to the Indians, and received back from Cleveland OF Franklin Gutierrez, and from New York received IF Mike Carp, OF Endy Chavez, RP Aaron Heilman and Jason Vargas, and prospects Maikel Cleto and Ezequiel Carrera.
  • Gutierrez is a fixture in the Mariners outfield, and widely considered to be the top defensive center fielder in all of baseball right now.
  • P Aaron Heilman was traded to the Chicago Cubs for SS Ronny Cedeno and P Garrett Olson without throwing a pitch for the team.
  • During midseason 2009, the Mariners moved SS Ronny Cedeno as a part of the trade that brought SS Jack Wilson and SP Ian Snell to Seattle.

Overall Reactions

This is a trade that overall, I thought would be really good for the Reds at the time. Griffey had shown himself to be an elite outfielder, and well on his way to being the greatest player of all time. Injuries derailed that thought, and the Reds spent a lot of money and unfortunately did not get nearly the production and wins that they had hoped for.

For the Mariners, this trade has eventually worked itself out to some extent. Frankin Gutierrez, Ian Snell, and Jack Wilson are all major players on the current Mariners roster, and the team was able to make the playoffs in 2000 and 2001 with the contributions of the players acquired.

I think that overall, this is one of those trades that had the potential to be really a good one for both teams, and in the end they both got lackluster results overall.

Prospect Review – Carlos Santana – C – Cleveland Indians


Baseball-Reference.Com Profile
FanGraphs Profile
Indians Prospects.com Profile

The Basics
Bats: Switch
Throws: Right
How Acquired: Traded from the Los Angeles Dodgers for 3B Casey Blake (7/26/2008)
Age: 23

Statistics
2008 – Inland Empire (California League – Dodgers High A) – 99 games

  • .323/.431/.563
  • 14 HR, 96 RBI
  • 69 BB, 59 K

2008 – Kinston (Carolina League – Indians High-A) – 29 games

  • .352/.452/.590
  • 6 HR, 19 RBI
  • 20 BB, 24 K

2008 – Akron (Eastern League – Indians AA) – 2 games

  • 1-8, HR, 2 RBI

2008 Totals

  • .326/.431/.568
  • 21 HR, 117 RBI
  • 89 BB, 85 K

2009 – Akron (Eastern League – Indians AA) – 130 games

  • .290/.413/.530
  • 23 HR, 97 RBI
  • 90 BB, 83 K

Prospect Rankings
Baseball America – #1 (CLE – 3/2009)
Project Prospect – #2 (Overall – 9/2009)
Baseball Prospectus – #1 (CLE – 12/2009)
John Sickels – #17 (Hitters – 3/2009), #1 (CLE – 12/2008)

Analysis

In 2008, Santana really came into his own offensively. He showed truly elite power production, especially when considering the premium defensive position that he plays. In 2008, he posted 21 homers, 117 rbi, 39 doubles, and 5 triples along with a .326/.431/.568 line. While I would normally have some concerns about the stats that he put up in the California League, he continued to perform at a high level when he changed over to the Carolina League.

The part of his offense that I really like is his batting eye. This skill set was visible even in his early years, as he has always drawn nearly as many walks as strikeouts.

2005: 16 bb/8k
2006: 53/62
2007: 40/45
2008: 89/85
2009: 90/83

I am a firm believer in the idea that the ability to draw walks and make contact are critical to major league success. Of some concern from that 2008 season would be his batting average on balls-in-play (.413). As a result, I would have expected to see a correction to the mean, and see a reduction in his statistics in 2009. However, he posted a BABIP of .300 in 2009, while still showing excellent power and a solid batting average.

Digging a little deeper, I looked into his hand splits (LH/RH), as he is a switch-hitter.

2009 vs. Left     .340/.464/.627 BABIP of .353
2009 vs. Right  .266/.390/.492 BABIP of .286

Career vs. Left   .327/.448/.552 BABIP of .350
Career vs. Right .271/.383/.464 BABIP of .301

The fact that he has such a drop between the two hands concerned me, so I looked at what I believe to be a comparable player.

Jorge Posada

Career vs. Left    .299/.381/.496 BABIP of .351
Career vs. Right ..268/.378/.474 BABIP of .307

Having seen this, I don’t believe that the drop in on-base and slugging percentage to be that much of a red flag. While it is definitely too early to expect Jorge Posada out of Santana, I do believe it is a fair comparison (switch hitter, catcher, slugger).

The bat definitely appears to be legitimate. So what are the chances that Santana can stick at catcher?

In 2008, Carlos threw out 34 of 127 basestealers (27%), and 24 out of 80 in 2009 (30%). This should experience a slight dropoff as he goes towards the Majors and sees better basestealers. However, the major league percentage for 2009 was 27.6%, so he definitely should be at least league average at holding baserunners. I can see him being a Victor Martinez type, where he’s not an issue behind the plate, but is probably not going to be the best defensive catcher you’ve ever seen.

Outlook

Realistically, I did not see the Indians bringing Santana to the Majors to start 2010 even before his injury. They have Lou Marson currently slotted as their starting catcher, and it seems to me that it would be a step backward in terms of development to have Santana either platoon with Marson or be his backup. Added together with the surgery to remove his hamate bone, I am thinking that he spends the majority, if not all, of 2010 in AAA. Ideally, when they are ready to bring him up to catch, I think it would be in their best interests to pair him with a defensive minded veteran catcher to help teach and tutor him (like a Brad Ausmus type).

Prediction for 2010

.285/.400/.520 – 25 doubles, 25 homeruns, 95 rbi (AAA)

Expected ETA
Late 2010. Starter in 2011 most likely.

Weekly Links


Once a week, I will be posting articles and links that I found interesting related to baseball.

- Baseball America has begun posting its organizational top 10 prospects. They started with Atlanta. For more in-depth information, you’ll need to subscribe. It does give some good basic info though.
– One of the Philadelphia papers made a mistake. Not a particularly good one either. After losing both games at home, I’d probably be pretty upset too.
– Jorge Says No! is starting a series of columns reviewing some of the worst contracts in baseball, beginning with Jake Westbrook. Interesting read, and I’m looking forward to the future columns as well.
-Yawkey Way Academy looks at what it would take for the Red Sox to acquire Javy Vasquez from the Braves. I love these “what-if” articles. Always fun to play the GM. (Thanks to OvertheMonster for the link)
Vicente Padilla apparently has a small problem. But he’s going to be fine, and apparently there’s interest from the Dodgers in him returning next season.

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