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Category Archives: Cleveland Indians

Ross, Swisher Off the Board for Phillies

Earlier today, it was reported that heavily sought corner outfielder Cody Ross had signed a three-year, $26 million deal to play in Arizona.

Last week, the Phillies intense pursuit of Ross was reported. It was known that Ross wanted a three-year deal and the Phillies were willing to go after the 31-year-old left fielder who hit 22 homers, 81 RBIs and had a .267 average and .807 OPS.

Even though the Phillies weren’t in heavy pursuit of Nick Swisher, the 32-year-old switch hitter is close to signing a deal with the Cleveland Indians. They offered him a four-year, $52 million deal, and he is close to signing there.

With Arizona signing Ross, it is possible that Jason Kubel could be available via trade, even more likely than his teammate Justin Upton.

Singleton, d’Arnaud, Gose Among Amaro’s Mistakes

Former Phillies prospect Jonathan Singleton (Astros AA) is tagged out at second by Jean Segura (Angels AA) during the Futures Game on July 8. (Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

Hindsight is and always will be 20/20 for the viewer.

A look back at four of the biggest trades Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro has made will raise two opinions: 1) Amaro pulled some seriously big names from Cleveland, Toronto and Houston; 2) Amaro also depleted the Phillies farm system so much that it ranks near the bottom of baseball currently.

Let’s cut to the point: Jonathan Singleton (23), Travis d’Arnaud (19) and Anthony Gose (38) rank in the top 50 in Baseball America’s prospect list. The Phillies have none on that list.

For a while it’s bothered me that those three names are very close to being every day Major Leaguers with the potential to be very good mainstays in the bigs. It wasn’t until Matt Gelb went to Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City to watch the Phillies past and future prospects play and wrote a fantastic piece this morning that I had to at least say something about it beyond an occasional tweet.

Let’s break down Gelb’s report.

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Season Preview: AL Central

Expectations: Prince Fielder hopes to live up to his father’s legacy in the Motor City, and the Tigers hope to snap a near 30-year title drought.
Key Addition: 1B/DH Prince Fielder (signed from Milwaukee)
Key Loss: DH Magglie Ordonez (free agent)
Projected Record: 97-65
Summary: Expecations are very high in Detroit as the Tigers are coming off a 95 win season and have signed one of the biggest free agents in Prince Fielder. Fielder allows Miguel Cabrera to move back to third base which is his natural position. The combination of Cabrera and Fielder in the lineup should allow the Tigers to score a tone of runs and take control of the AL Central.

The Tigers also have a very strong pitching staff. Justin Verlander is the reigning AL Cy Young and MVP and was a dominating 24-5 in 2011. Combine that with Max Scherzer and Doug Fister, who can win 15 games this year, and this is one of the stronger rotations in the American League.

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RUMOR: Indians contact Phils about Victorino

“(The) Philadelphia Phillies (are) reportedly listening to offers for CF Shane Victorino, attempts to clear money for a big move.” – Rich Smith of All Sports Intel, a Twitter account for rumors.

Granted this isn’t a serious source, it’s still something to think about. If the Phils do in fact intend to clear money for a big move, Victorino is one of the players teams would covet as well as guaranteeing the Phillies a good return of prospects.

As noted by one of our followers, this “source” is the only one to report on a Victorino trade. Until a serious Phils beat writer or ESPN/MLB reporter weigh in on it, it’s nothing but a harmless rumor to stir the pot and get Phils fans a little riled.

Thome becomes 8th player to hit 600 home runs

(Photo by Dave Reginek/Getty Images)

It only seems like yesterday that Jim Thome hit his 400th home run in Philadelphia back on June 14, 2004.

“Could it be, could it be? It is outta here! Number 400 for Jim Thome!”

That call by Harry Kalas still rings in our ears. It makes me emotional to hear it.

Over seven seasons later, Thome, who may still be a shell of his former home run hitting machine-like self, battled the test of time to reach a milestone only seven other players have reached.

Thome’s 600th home run landed in the bull pen in left field, an inning after #599, in Minnesota’s win over the Tigers last night. The ball was served up by Tigers reliever Daniel Schlereth.

“It’s an unbelievable night, obviously,” Thome said. “I think it’s something you never dream of doing. You dream about it, but when it finally happens, it’s kind of surreal. It’s a neat thing, it really is. Hitting home runs can be very difficult.

“You sit in bed at night and you think how’s it going to be. How are you going to do this? It goes back, it goes back to trying to slow yourself down and not being too antsy, too hyped up, and it’s just a great night. To share it with my teammates there at home plate, my family, obviously, I love you. It’s a very, very special night.”

Only seven other men in the history of baseball reached that plateau (we all know what the asterisk denotes): Barry Bonds* (762), Hank Aaron (755), Babe Ruth (714 home runs), Willie Mays (660), Ken Griffey Jr. (630), Alex Rodriguez* (626), Sammy Sosa* (609) and now Thome.

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Four teams splash big at the deadline

Phillies OF Hunter Pence. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

The final week leading up to the trade deadline makes for some of the most exciting and exhausting news in baseball. Beat writers, fans and owners dread the July 31 date and breath a huge sigh of relief when 4:00 PM passes.

This year was no different. With teams like the Phillies, Giants and Braves looking to bolster their offense and the Yankees and Red Sox looking to make splashes in pitching, the deadline can get hairy for the serious competitors and first timers.

Here are a handful of teams that made the biggest splashes at the deadline, hoping for that final push into the post season and baseball greatness.

THE WINNERS

Cleveland Indians – Ubaldo Jimenez: The Indians made a huge splash at the deadline, trading for Colorado’s ace Ubaldo Jimenez. Jimenez is one of the game’s best young starters and will have an immediate impact on a team that could be one good starter away from winning their first AL Central crown since 2007.

A year removed from winning 19 games and posting a 2.88 ERA, Jimenez is struggling this season. He’s been mediocre at best, compiling a 6-9 record and 4.46 ERA on a Rockies team that is 10 games behind any chance at the post season. But the Indians are 2.5 behind the Detroit Tigers and Jimenez’s presence is a significant upgrade.

The only interesting thing that remains to be seen is if Jimenez will be effective in the American League. He’s been struggling this season and is now walking into a tougher hitting league. This move could prove to be a huge step forward for the Indians or a monumental bust.

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Five teams to watch in the 2nd half

Atlanta catcher Brian McCann (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

With the second half of the 2011 season underway yesterday, division races, Wild Card races and the push for the best record in baseball begin to heat up. With just under 100 games out of the way, five teams jump out as the favorites to make the playoffs and do some serious damage in their respective leagues.

There really are no new teams in this year’s hunt. The Reds have stumbled in the first half of the season but are still four games out of first place in the NL Central. The Philadelphia Phillies and San Francisco Giants are riding their pitching to the best two records in the league.

In the American League, the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox and Tampa Bay Rays are back at their three-way fight for the division and Wild Card while the Central and West are up in the air for two teams each: Cleveland/Detroit and Texas/Los Angeles.

The Wild Cards for each league will also present some interesting match-ups. Atlanta will have to battle with the NL Central if they can’t overcome Philadelphia and the Yanks/Sox/Rays may have some competition.

So with that, here are five teams to watch. This is not a Top 5 post but five teams who could make some serious noise in the second half of the regular season.

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Season Preview: AL Central

Chicago White Sox

Expectations: Ozzie Guillen tweets every lineup change from the dugout.
Key addition: 1B/OF Adam Dunn (.260, 38 HR, 103 RBI with Washington)
Key loss: RP Bobby Jenks (1-3, 27 Saves, 4.44 ERA)
Projected record: 92-70

Summary: Most of the puzzle pieces remain from last year’s team, with a power addition of Adam Dunn.  The team has speed (Juan Pierre, Alex Rios), power (Dunn, Paul Konerko) and pitching (John Danks, Mark Buherle).  Alexei Ramirez, Gordon Beckham and Carlos Quentin are all solid ballplayers. The White Sox have a question mark in the bullpen, as they will have Chris Sale or Matt Thornton closing.  Jake Peavy’s injury concerns are troublesome, but as an end of the rotation guy, he won’t be relied on as an ace.

Minnesota Twins

Expectations: Increased amount of man-crushes on all-star catcher Joe Mauer.
Key addition: 2B Tsuyoshi Nishioka (.260, 14 HR, 41 RBI with Chiba of the Japanese League.
Key loss: 2B Orlando Hudson (.268, 6 HR, 37 RBI)
Projected record: 89-73

Summary: Mauer leads the Twins, who are bitter after two straight first round exits to the Yankees.  The core of the team returns, although key component 1B Justin Morneau missed the second half of last year with a concussion, and has only played six spring training games thus far.  The Twins rotation is decent; no stud ace, but some solid pitchers to get the job done.  One of the biggest question marks is the bullpen.  Joe Nathan is coming off Tommy John surgery, and if he is the Joe Nathan of old, the Twins will be fine.  If not, Matt Capps will be their go-to guy.

Detroit Tigers

Expectations: Leading the league in DUI arrests.
Key addition: C/1B Victor Martinez (.302, 20 HR, 79 RBI with Boston)
Key loss: OF Johnny Damon (.271, 8 HR, 51 RBI)
Projected record: 85-77

Summary: The Tigers underachieved last season going 81-81, finishing 13 games behind the first place Twins.  They added Boston’s Victor Martinez, who is a .225 career hitter at Detroit’s Comerica Park.  Will Martinez continue his struggles at his new spacious home?  He will likely DH for the team, hitting behind Miguel Cabrera and Magglio Ordonez, so RBI opportunities will be there.  Detroit’s pitching is good with Justin Verlander, Matt Scherzer and Rick Porcello.

Cleveland Indians

Expectations: The Indians beg Pedro Cerrano and Rick Vaughn to come back and play for the team.
Key addition: OF Austin Kearns (.263, 10 HR, 49 RBI with Cleveland and New York AL)
Key loss: Uhhhh…. I guess 3B Andy Marte (.229, 5 HR, 19 RBI)
Projected record: 70-92

Summary: Carlos Santana has recovered from a knee injury he suffered last August, only two months after being called up to the major league club.  The Tribe are going to rely on their young catcher and OF Shin Soo-Choo, who hit .300 last year, with 22 HR and 90 RBI.  Other offensive weapons, Travis Hafner and Grady Sizemore, have had trouble staying healthy in recent years.  Pitcher Fausto Carmona had a good year last season (3.77 ERA), despite losing 14 games.

Kansas City Royals

Expectations: Could contend for the AAA Championship.
Key addition: OF Jeff Francoeur (.249, 13 HR, 65 RBI with New York NL and Texas)
Key loss: SP Zach Greinke  (10-14, 4.17 ERA, 181 K)
Projected record: 65-97

Summary: The Royals fortunately have a deep minor league system, stocked up from many years of top draft picks.  However, that won’t help them this year.  They do have 1B Billy Butler, who hit .318 last year.  Top prospect 3B Mike Moustakas is ready for a promotion, and might get one this season.  Unfortunately the Royals traded away their best player, SP Zach Greinke for a boatload of prospects.  It’ll be a while before Kansas City is a competitor again.

Durbin signs with Indians; Phils v. Yanks

As reported on Twitter last night, the Cleveland Indians have reportedly signed former Phillies relieve Chad Durbin to a one-year deal.

Durbin was a possible candidate to return to the Phillies bull pen this season but the Indians pried him away. The deal is worth $800,000 with $1 million in incentives.

The 33-year-old was 4-1 with a 3.80 ERA in 64 appearances last season with the Phillies. He will fill one of the glaring holes in the Indians bull pen.


Phils/Yanks today on MLBN – The Phillies will travel to Tampa today and play the New York Yankees to open Grapefruit League play. The game will be at 1:05 and aired live on the MLB Network. Today’s line ups:

Phillies: Rollins SS Gload DH Ibanez LF Howard 1B Francisco CF Brown RF Larish 3B Schneider C Valdez 2B Hamels P.

Yankees: Jeter SS, Swisher RF, Teixeira 1B, Rodriguez 3B, Cano 2B, Posada DH, Granderson CF, Cervelli C, Gardner LF, Colon P.

Tomorrow’s game against the Yankees will also be shown on MLBN at 8 PM.

Bats Explode As Phils Earn Sweep

The weather was hot in Philadelphia… hot enough to heat up the Phillies’ offense. They scored in bunches and batted around twice to beat the struggling Cleveland Indians 12-3 to sweep the AL Central basement dwellers Thursday afternoon.

The runs rained down like the typhoon-like conditions that hit Citizens Bank Park in the top of the eighth inning. The winds whipped up and then all of a sudden, the rain fell with some hail mixed in as play was halted.  The game was delayed for an hour and 37 minutes while the grounds crew fought with the treacherous conditions.

Placido Polanco erupted for a monster game, going 4-for-5 with a double, two runs, and two RBIs. Jayson Werth had a 3-for-3 day with two runs and an RBI. Since June 10th, Werth is hitting .395 with three home runs and 10 RBIs.  Dane Sardinha hit his first career home run to lead off the sixth, a blast into the left field bleachers.

Joe Blanton was spectacular aside from letting up a two-run homer to former Phillies prospect Jason Donald, who was a part of the Cliff Lee deal. Blanton went 7.2 innings, allowing three runs on six hits with eight strike outs.  Fausto Carmona got shelled for seven runs, five earned, in four innings off of nine hits.

Before the game, the Phillies announced that reliever Chad Durbin was placed on the 15 day disabled list.  Durbin suffered a strained right hamstring in Wednesday’s game.  In 35.1 innings this season, Durbin was 0-1 with a 3.31 ERA.  Reliever Nelson Figueroa was recalled to take Durbin’s roster spot. 

Doubles: Polanco (15). HR: Sardinha (1).

WP: Blanton (3-5). LP: Carmona (6-6).

Boxscore.

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