Tag Archives: Mark DeRosa

Original Draft Series: #1 – Atlanta Braves


For those that missed the guidelines I am using for this series of posts, you can find them here.

Team #1: Atlanta Braves

General Managers(since 1994)

John Schuerholz (1994-2007): 1298-902
Frank Wren (2008-Current): 158-166

Team Performance

Playoffs Division Finish
WC League Playoff App 1st 2nd 3rd 4th Last
1 3 11 11 1 3 1 0

All information is drawn from Baseball Reference.

Position Name Acquired Years with Org.
Stats with Organization
Left?
C Brian McCann 2002 – 2nd Rd 8 5 All Star Appearances, 3 Silver Sluggers
741 gm, .290/.360/.491, 111 HR, 463 RBI
Currently with Org.
1B Adam LaRoche 2000 – 29th Rd 6+1 457 gm, .281/.346/.512, 77 HR, 253 RBI Traded to PIT – 1/19/07
2B Martin Prado
Int’l FA – 2001 9 1 All Star Appearance
389 gm, .309/.357/.459, 29 HR, 159 RBI, 9 SB
Currently with Org.
3B Chipper Jones 1990 – 1st Rd (1) 20 1999 NL MVP, 2 Silver Sluggers, 6 All Star Appearances
2261 gm, .306/.405/.536, 436 HR, 1491 RBI, 147 SB
Currently with Org.
SS Rafael Furcal
Int’l FA – 1996 9 2000 NL ROY, 1 All Star Appearance
817 gm, .284/.348/.409, 57 HR, 292 RBI, 189 SB
Left via Free Agency – 10/31/05
LF Jeff Francoeur 2002 – 1st Rd (23) 7 1 Gold Glove
631 gm, .266/.308/.424, 78 HR, 359 RBI, 14 SB
Traded to NYM – 7/10/09
CF Andruw Jones Int’l FA – 1993 14 5 All Star Appearances, 1 Silver Slugger, 10 Gold Gloves
1761 gm, .263/.342/.497, 368 HR, 1117 RBI, 138 SB
Left via Free Agency – 10/31/07
RF Jason Heyward
2007 – 1st Rd (14) 3 1 All Star Appearance
128 gm, .288/.403/.483, 18 HR, 71 RBI, 9 SB
Currently with Org.
DH Mark DeRosa 1996 – 7th Rd 8 393 gm, .266/.318/.371, 17 HR, 99 RBI, 6 SB Non-Tendered – 12/21/04
SP Adam Wainwright 2000 – 1st Rd (29) 3 No Major League Appearances with Org. Traded to STL – 12/13/03
SP Kevin Millwood
1993 – 11th Rd 9 1 All Star Appearance
75-46, 3.73 ERA, 1004.1 IP, 840 K, 303 BB
Traded to PHI – 12/20/02
SP Tommy Hanson 2005 – 22nd Rd 5 21-15, 3.32 ERA, 311.2 IP, 276 K, 97 BB Currently with Org.
SP Kyle Davies
2001 – 4th Rd 6 14-21, 6.15 ERA, 237 IP, 172 K, 126 BB Traded to KC – 7/31/07
SP Kris Medlen
2006 – 10th Rd 4 9-7, 3.90 ERA, 175.1 IP, 155 K, 51 BB Currently with Org.
RP Matt Harrison
2003 – 3rd Rd 4 No Major League Appearances with Org. Traded to TEX – 7/31/07
RP Charlie Morton
2002 – 3rd Rd 6 4-8, 6.15 ERA, 74.2 IP, 48 K, 41 BB Traded to PIT – 6/3/09
RP Blaine Boyer
2000 – 3rd Rd 9 6-9, 5.46 ERA, 117 IP, 105 K, 47 BB Traded to STL – 4/20/09
RP Jonny Venters
2003 7 4-2, 1.81 ERA, 74.2 IP, 83 K, 34 BB Currently with Org.
RP Kenshin Kawakami
Int’l FA – 2009 2 8-22, 4.32 ERA, 243.2 IP, 164 K, 89 BB Currently with Org.
CL Neftali Feliz
Int’l FA – 2005 2 No Major League Appearances with Org. Traded to TEX – 7/31/07
BN Yunel Escobar
2005 – 2nd Rd 5 446 gm, .291/.368/.403, 29 HR, 183 RBI, 17 SB Traded to TOR – 7/14/10
BN Elvis Andrus
Int’l FA – 2005 2 No Major League Appearances with Org. Traded to TEX – 7/31/07
BN Kelly Johnson
2000 – 1st Rd (38) 9 490 gm, .264/.346/.430, 45 HR, 206 RBI, 29 SB Non-Tendered – 12/12/09
BN Garrett Jones
1999 – 14th Rd 3 No Major League Appearances with Org. Released – 5/21/02
BN Jarrod Saltalamacchia
2003 – 1st Rd (36) 4 47 gm, .284/.333/.411, 4 HR, 12 RBI Traded to TEX – 7/31/07

June Amateur Draft

The Braves have done extremely well in identifying talent in the amateur draft, with Chipper Jones represent the glory days of the past and Jason Heyward the unfulfilled future that is to come. And in between they have had a lot of solid Major Leaguers in Brian McCann, Adam Wainwright, Kevin Millwood, Yunel Escbar, and Adam LaRoche. The key to them being my top team however is the fact that with few exceptions, they have gotten this value for the Braves themselves, and only Adam Wainwright has had extreme success with another organization.

International Free Agency

The Braves have had their fair share of international free agent signees, with Andruw Jones clearly providing the most value to the Braves themselves. Unfortunately, the trade to acquire Mark Teixeira didn’t quite work out as planned, as they gave up a starting shortstop (Andrus) and an All-Star closer (Feliz) in the trade, along with 3 other valuable players. They don’t always make the big splash it appears, but they do end up with quite a few solid players as a result of their efforts.

Overall Grade

A+. To me, the Braves are in a class by themselves for this project. There was no difficulty in filling out the roster for this organization, and many of the bench players would have been considered starters for a lot of the other teams. The on-the-field success has shown that they have known what they are doing for quite a while, and their ability to make trades (although they didn’t always work out), and retain their talent has been crucial to their success.

Trade Deadline Thoughts


With the trade deadline rapidly approaching, I put out a call to some of the team-centric bloggers from the Baseball Bloggers Alliance with 3 questions each, dependent on whether or not they considered their team to be a contender or not. Below are the questions, along with each of the responses.

Note that most of these responses were received over the last week, so some may be a bit out of date with the information now known, but that has more with my inability to sit down and write it all down and not with the respondents themselves.

The Respondents

Bill Ivie from I-70 Baseball (Responses are for the Cardinals)
Daniel Shoptaw from C70 at the Bat (Cardinals)
Bee Hylinski from Contract Year (Athletics)

For Contending Teams:

1.  What would you say is your team’s most pressing need to help them get to (or stay in) the playoffs?

Ivie: I will take the opinion side of this.  I have said it for months now.  The Cardinals need some strong help in the middle infield.  When they get production and table setting from the 2b/SS position, they produce and win.  When those positions are quiet, the team loses.

Shoptaw: There are two glaring holes on this team–middle infield, most especially shortstop, and the back of the rotation.  With the hopeful emergence of Tyler Greene to replace Brendan Ryan‘s woeful production, getting another starter would seem to be the most pressing need.  The team can not continue to run out Jeff Suppan and Blake Hawksworth on a regular basis and expect to play in October.

Interesting to me is the fact that both writers agree that the Cardinals’ middle infield is pretty much a black hole in terms of offense. I’m also inclined to agree with Daniel about the fact that the Cardinals need something in their rotation, but I think they are going to have to either make a small acquisition or wait to find out if and when injured pitchers Brad Penny and Kyle Lohse will be able to return to the rotation.

2. What player(s) do you think would most effectively fit that need? Generally, these would only be players that actually have a decent chance of being traded, so no offers for Albert Pujols :)

Ivie: What if I want to offer for Albert…oh, wait…we got ‘em.  Dan Uggla is always and intriguing name.  I also like the discussions that are suggesting Stephen Drew at SS.  Other than that, I think the market is kind of small for help, but hopefully they can find something out there.

Shoptaw: While the Cardinals would be well-suited to a Dan Haren or a Roy Oswalt, their contract situation most likely leaves them out of the crosshairs of GM John Mozeliak.  All moves must be filtered through the prism of the potential Albert Pujols extension.  Therefore, they’d much rather have someone that was a free agent after this season rather than someone taking up space in the next year or two.  You would think, in that case, they’d look for someone like a Jake Westbrook or perhaps a Kevin Millwood.

I actually really like the idea of the Cardinals acquiring Dan Uggla for a playoff run. While he is a bit expensive at $7.8 million for this season, he is under team control for next season as well, and could conceivably be moved during the offseason if they feel he will be too expensive. I actually really like the Stephen Drew thought as well, but he has more seasons under team control and would realistically cost more to acquire than Uggla. The Cardinals also seem like they would be a good team to take a risk on a Jake Westbrook/Kevin Millwood/Jeremy Guthrie type, and pair them up with Dave Duncan and let him do his magic.

3. What player(s) in your system are most likely to net you the player(s) for those needs?

Ivie: This probably is the biggest obstacle for the Cardinals.  I would say that Bryan Anderson (AAA Catcher), Mitchell Boggs (ML Reliever), and Brendan Ryan (ML Shorstop).  Brendan may be thrown in for a change of scenery and take a team that feels that is what he needs, but it will be hard to tell.

Shoptaw: What they can give up is another story.  Since they used a lot of their chips last year acquiring Mark DeRosa and then Matt Holliday, there’s not a lot on the farm.  There are potentially useful players such as Mark Hamilton and Joe Mather, along with current big leaguers Jon Jay and Allen Craig, that could be used as parts of a deal.  Most likely, St. Louis would have to take on payroll, something that ownership has said there is flexibility to do, and give away lesser quality prospects.  Expect that Brendan Ryan could be a part of a deal as well, especially if they do make a deal for a shortstop.

After looking at the Cardinals system myself, it’s pretty empty at the higher levels. The biggest name that I have heard for them is pitcher Shelby Miller, who I would assume would have to be included in a trade if they were to get themselves someone like Roy Oswalt or Dan Haren. The other thing to remember at this point is that if they acquire a player who has a longer term contract, they may start running into a problem with their payroll limits after 2011 when they will need to resign Albert Pujols.

For Non-Contenders:

1. Which player(s) on your team do you think are most likely to get moved before the deadline?

Hylinski: Pitcher Ben Sheets, notwithstanding Billy Beane’s comments that he doesn’t plan on moving anyone.  Sheets has pitched better with every start recently.  His fastball is up to the mid nineties and all his other pitchers are working more accurately.  He’s a veteran presence and great with the young pitchers.  Speaking of the latter,  if a team would give up a great player and need more than Sheets, the A’s have a plethora of young pitchers in the minors to sweeten the pot.

I really thought that they were going to move him, and that despite his veteran presence he could bring back a fair amount in return. Unfortunately, he was placed on the disabled list on Saturday, and could potentially miss the rest of the season.

2. What would you like to see the organization get in return (ie, a 3B prospect, starting pitching prospects, salary relief, etc)? Specific players aren’t necessarily a requirement, unless you see a specific good match.

Hylinski: A slugger, a 3 or 4 hole hitter who can also play in the field (not another Jack Cust, please)  Someone like Hanley Ramirez would be terrific: a young major league hitter (or major-league ready hitter) with substantial pop in his bat.

I agree that this is definitely what the Athletics need, because the lineup just isn’t good enough in terms of power. Even when Sheets was healthy, I’m not sure I saw a player on the A’s current roster that could have brought that in return. Maybe catcher Kurt Suzuki, but with him now signed to a contract extension, I don’t think he’s going anywhere for at least a couple of seasons.

3. Do you see a good fit for these players that you think could get a deal done?

Hylinski: I am not convinced that Billy Beane and the ownership will pay top dollar for a hot bat.  But that’s what the team needs.  The only 2 bats at top of the A’s minor league system (Sacramento River Cats) are Chris Carter who can only play 1st base, so unless something happens to Daric Barton who has been a hitting and field machine, he’s not coming up; and  Michael Taylor who is at least a year off.

Another possibility might be 2nd-baseman Mark Ellis (though I’d really hate to see him go).  I understand the Phillies and maybe the Red Sox are looking for a 2nd baseman.  Probably Kevin Kouzmanoff will not be traded unless the other end of the deal is too good to pass up.

I’m inclined to agree with these points also, unfortunately. With the stadium situation continuing to drag on in Oakland, and with the team possibly moving to parts unknown, San Jose, or half a dozen other places, they just seem extremely unlikely to pay to get someone like that. The two prospects Bee mentioned have unfortunately been disappointments at AAA to this point, and signs are pointing that they may actually have to repeat the level again next season.

Overall, I thought it was interesting to get the perspective of some writers who are clearly very knowledgeable about their teams, and see if their observations about their teams were similar to mine as someone who sees it a little more at arm’s length. Thanks to everyone who responded to my questions, and you should check out their blogs at the links above as well.

Also, Allen Teruel over at Prorumors.Com had a series of writeups regarding potential trade targets for each team and certain types of players as well. You can find these stories here:
http://blog.prorumors.com/2010/07/rumors/national-league-west-buyers-and-sellers/
http://blog.prorumors.com/2010/07/rumors/american-league-west-buyers-and-sellers/
http://blog.prorumors.com/2010/07/rumors/nationals-league-central-buyers-and-sellers/
http://blog.prorumors.com/2010/07/rumors/american-league-central-buyers-and-sellers/
http://blog.prorumors.com/2010/07/rumors/national-league-east-buyers-and-sellers/
http://blog.prorumors.com/2010/07/rumors/american-league-east-buyers-and-sellers/

Here are a few Top 10 lists that can help you out too:
http://blog.prorumors.com/2010/07/rumors/top-10-mlb-power-hitters-that-could-be-traded-by-july-31/
http://blog.prorumors.com/2010/07/rumors/top-10-mlb-starting-pitchers-that-could-be-traded-by-july-31/
http://blog.prorumors.com/2010/07/rumors/top-ten-prospects-that-could-get-traded-by-july-31/

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.

Team Preview – San Francisco Giants


Roster Makeup
Lineup Pitching Staff
Pos Name Role Name
C Bengie Molina SP 1 Tim Lincecum
1B Aubrey Huff SP 2 Matt Cain
2B Freddy Sanchez SP 3 Barry Zito
3B Pablo Sandoval SP 4 Jonathan Sanchez
SS Edgar Renteria SP 5 Todd Wellemeyer
LF Mark DeRosa Bullpen
CF Aaron Rowand CL Brian Wilson
RF Nate Schierholtz RP Jeremy Affeldt
Bench RP Sergio Romo
OF Eugenio Velez RP Brandon Medders
1B Travis Ishikawa RP Dan Runzier

Additional roster information can be found at MLB Depth Charts.

Off-Season Transactions
Key Additions Key Losses
Pos Name How Pos Name How
1B Aubrey Huff Free Agency SP Brad Penny Free Agency
OF Mark DeRosa Free Agency SP Randy Johnson Retirement
C Bengie Molina Resigned SP Noah Lowry Free Agency

Top Prospects: Buster Posey (C), Madison Bumgarner (P), Zack Wheeler (P), Thomas Neal (OF)

2009 Review

The Giants came into 2009 off of a losing season in 2008, and were looking to improve on their performance substantially. The team had been built around their excellent pitching staff, led by 2008 Cy Young winner Tim Lincecum. Behind him, they had slotted in multiple Cy Young winner Randy Johnson, Matt Cain, Barry Zito, and Jonathan Sanchez. Unfortunately, the team has been lacking in offense ever since Barry Bonds was not resigned. 2009 would be no different for that topic. The team did perform well overall, posting an 88-74 record, which was unfortunately good for only 3rd place in their division.

On offense, they were led by the Kung Fu Panda, 3B Pablo Sandoval, who posted a .330 batting average with 25 HR and 90 RBI. Not unexpectedly, only 3 other players on the team posted even double-digit homeruns last season besides Sandoval (Molina with 20, Rowand with 15, and Uribe with 16). The pitching staff made up for it, with Tim Lincecum winning his second consecutive Cy Young award behind an excellent season (15-7, 2.48 ERA, 261 strikeouts in 225 innings). Veteran Matt Cain also had probably his best season to date, with a 14-8 record and a 2.89 ERA. Closer Brian Wilson posted 38 saves along with a 2.74 ERA.

Team Outlook for 2010

The Giants are hopeful that the moves they have made in the offseason will help to vault them to the top of the division. They brought in some offense, with the signings of IF/OF Mark DeRosa, who will be slotted in to start in LF this season, but will see some time at 3B, 1B, and 2B potentially as well. 1B Aubrey Huff will also be asked to provide some pop as well. The Giants are looking for Sandoval to continue his torrid hitting from last season, and are looking for rookies Nate Schierholtz and Buster Posey to have impacts during the season as well. The Giants remain dependent on their pitching staff, and with the retirement of Randy Johnson will look for production from free agent signee Todd Wellemeyer. Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, and Barry Zito will lead a very formidable rotation in 2010, and all three will be requisite to any success the Giants have this year.

Fantasy Outlook for 2010

Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, and Pablo Sandoval are the class of this group, as all three are top-tier for their positions. Lincecum enters the season as the top pitcher for many rankings. For deeper leagues, I like both Jonathan Sanchez and Mark DeRosa. DeRosa is going to give you position flexibility, and some pop. He’s likely to be a drag for batting average, but in deeper leagues he is a solid play. Sanchez finally began to show some of the promise that was talked about. He has the potential to be a high strikeout, low ratio pitcher, but only if he can keep his control in check. Keeper leagues should take note of both C Buster Posey and P Madison Bumgarner, as both are likely to spend large portions of 2010 with the big club.

Prediction for 2010

The Giants offense is, in my opinion, not strong enough to compete in this division, in spite of the excellent pitching staff they have.

76-86 3rd in the NL West

Team Preview – Cleveland Indians


Roster Makeup
Lineup Pitching Staff
Pos Name Role Name
C Lou Marson SP 1 Jake Westbrook
1B Russell Branyan SP 2 Justin Masterson
2B Luis Valbuena SP 3 David Huff
3B Jhonny Peralta SP 4 Aaron Laffey
SS Asdrubal Cabrera SP 5 Fausto Carmona
LF Michael Brantley Bullpen
CF Grady Sizemore CL Kerry Wood
RF Shin-Soo Choo RP Chris Perez
DH Travis Hafner RP Tony Sipp
Bench RP Rafael Perez
IF Andy Marte RP Joe Smith
OF Matt LaPorta RP Carlos Carrasco

Additional roster information can be found at MLB Depth Charts.

Off-Season Transactions
Key Additions Key Losses
Pos Name How Pos Name How
1B Russell Branyan Free Agency C Kelly Shoppach Trade (TAM)

Top Prospects: Hector Rondon (P), Carlos Santana (C), Lonnie Chisenhall (3B), Nick Hagadone (P)

2009 Review

The Indians had recovered from the trade of SP C.C. Sabathia during the 2008 season, and were hopeful for improvement in the 2009 season. However, almost from the beginning things began to go wrong. They started the season with a 5 game losing streak, and never really recovered from it. By the end of April, they were 6 games under .500 and already 3.5 games out of the division lead. The team was decimated by poor performances or injuries from SP Fausto Carmona, CL Kerry Wood, and CF Grady Sizemore. By the time the trade deadline approached, it was clear that the Indians were not going anywhere this season. Midseason trades of reigning Cy Young winner Cliff Lee, 3B Mark DeRosa, and C Victor Martinez signaled the end of the season for all intents and purposes.

The Indians did have a few bright spots. The offense was led by RF Shin-Soo Choo (.300, 20 HR, 21 SB) and SS Asdrubal Cabrera (.308, 17 SB). SP Cliff Lee pitched well prior to his trade (7-9, 3.14), and C Victor Martinez performed well also (.284, 15 HR). Young players like 2B Luis Valbuena, 1B Matt LaPorta, and starters David Huff and Aaron Laffey all showed improvements in their development. The team, unfortunately, finished even worse than they started, posting a 7-21 record in September to limp into a 65-97 record which led to the firing of manager Eric Wedge.

Team Outlook for 2010

The Indians are hopeful for bounce-back performances from SP Fausto Carmona, RP Kerry Wood, DH Travis Hafner, and CF Grady Sizemore. This, in addition to a full season of SP Justin Masterson, give the Indians hope for the future. The only significant free agent signing they made was the recent addition of 1B Russell Branyan. He should bring some power to a lineup that appears to be severely lacking. That signing will most likely limit the playing time of either Matt LaPorta or Michael Brantley.

Their prospects for the 2010 season look pretty bleak. Their rotation, while young, just doesn’t really inspire me to thoughts that they can compete with the pitching staffs in their own division. The offense is developing, but is probably another year away from being a solid group of hitters. There is help coming, in the form of top prospects C Carlos Santana and 3B Lonnie Chisenhall, but they’re not ready yet.

The Indians are hopeful that new manager Manny Acta can help to develop these players, as they look to his experience with the Nationals as a good sign that he can handle the role. Look for the Indians to potentially move anyone not in the long-term plans of the team, including CL Kerry Wood, SP Jake Westbrook, and potentially even DH Travis Hafner if they can find a taker.

Fantasy Outlook for 2010

The players with the most fantasy value are CF Grady Sizemore, who I think will rebound closer to his 2008 performance level, RF Shin-Soo Choo, and SS Asdrubal Cabrera. Beyond that, nearly everyone else is a risky player, with some upside. One player I would watch specifically is SP Justin Masterson, as he should perform fairly well given consistent time in the rotation. Another player that could have some fantasy value would be LF Michael Brantley, as he has the potential to steal 30+ bases with a full time job.

Prediction for 2010

The Indians are in full rebuilding mode, and it really shows at the moment. They have put together a good group of young talent, led by 1B Matt LaPorta and SS Asdrubal Cabrera. But they are at least another season away, and hopefully will use 2010 as a developmental season for the many young players they have on the roster.

68-94, 5th in the AL Central

Free Agency Review – C/1B/3B


All week, I will be recapping the free agency signings this offseason, by position. Today’s group: Catchers and Corner Infielders (1B, 3B)

All salary data from ESPN.com’s Free Agent Tracker
All 2011 free agent information from MLB Trade Rumors’ 2011 Free Agent List

Catchers
Name Old New Years Total $
Bengie Molina SF SF 1 $4.5 M
Miguel Olivo KC COL 1 $2.5 M
Ivan Rodriguez TEX WAS 2 $6 M
Jason Kendall MIL KCR 2 $6 M
Gregg Zaun TAM MIL 1 $2.15 M
John Buck KC TOR 1 $2 M
Brian Schneider NYM PHI 2 $2.75 M
Yorvit Torrealba COL SD 1 $1.25 M

Notable Remaining Free Agents: Rod Barajas (TOR)

There really wasn’t a lot of available jobs for catchers this offseason, as realistically 5 jobs were vacated by free agents. Bengie Molina probably did the best, in my opinion, as he got the highest annual salary ($4.5 M), and managed to go to a team that has a very good prospect waiting in the wings. Of some concern was the fact that Molina had an even better offer on the table from the Mets, and turned it down anyway. Ivan Rodriguez was probably my favorite signing for a specific team, as he should be a real help to the Nationals rotation and lineup with his experience, and his winning track record. Nearly all of these signings are of the low-risk, high-potential variety, and no really big contracts either.

First Basemen
Name Old New Years Total $
Adam LaRoche ATL ARI 1 $6 M
Aubrey Huff DET SF 1 $3 M
Nick Johnson FLA NYY 1 $5.75 M
Troy Glaus STL ATL 1 $1.75 M
Jason Giambi COL COL 1 $1.75 M

Notable Remaining Free Agents: Russell Branyan (SEA), Carlos Delgado (NYM), Hank Blalock (TEX)

This year’s crop of free agent first basemen really didn’t have a lot of high-end talent, with Branyan and LaRoche probably having the best seasons of any of the players available. As a result, we saw exclusively 1 year contracts for most players, and some still looking for work. Branyan is really the biggest surprise, although his published demands early on during the offseason may have scared away a lot of teams. Next year’s class of 1B free agents is extremely strong, including Albert Pujols, Lance Berkman, Derrek Lee, and Carlos Pena. This may also have contributed to the lack of long contracts, as teams may not want to tie up the position for next season’s bonanza. Another group of lower-risk, higher-potential contracts that if they don’t work, will not really cause any problems for the teams that signed them.

Third Basemen
Name Old New Years Total $
Mark DeRosa STL SF 2 $12 M
Adam Kennedy OAK WAS 1 $1.25 M
Chone Figgins LAA SEA 4 $36 M
Adrian Beltre SEA BOS 1 $10 M
Melvin Mora BAL COL 1 $1.3 M
Garrett Atkins COL BAL 1 $4.5 M
Pedro Feliz PHI HOU 1 $4.5 M
Miguel Tejada HOU BAL 1 $6 M

Notable Remaining Free Agents: Joe Crede (MIN)

3rd base actually had some solid free agent signings, with some big dollars as well. Beltre got the highest annual salary at $10 M from the Red Sox. That contract actually seemed like a bit of a surprise, as the Red Sox still have Mike Lowell who will now be relegated to bench duty. Figgins was the cream of the crop of this group, and got a well-deserved $36 M contract from the Mariners. The other signing I really found interesting was the Miguel Tejada signing. Tejada has never played 3B before, but will be moving to the position in his return to the Orioles. It looks like a really good value signing for the Orioles, and provides some more veteran leadership in the Orioles clubhouse.