New job, new life. Less time to write, blog, plan, etc. I’m just going to go ahead and point you in a direction for great information on the Indians. I still plan to drop in from time to time and write about the Tribe, but most of my thoughts are sticking in my head these days.
Check out these sites, phenomenal write-ups about the Tribe.
Tony & Paul currently host a show on BlogTalkRadio that covers all areas of the Cleveland Indians, and usually features a call-in or two from current Indians’ prospects. A great show last week featured the cream-of-the-crop of Cleveland Sports’ Writing, Terry Pluto. Be sure to check it out.
After acquiring Michael Brantley to complete the CC Sabathia trade, I’ve decided to break down what I believe will be the core starting lineups for each level of the Indians’ minor league system. Being that it will be the first year the Indians will be affiliated with Columbus at the new Huntington Bank Stadium, Indians fans and the people of Columbus together have a lot to be excited about.
For the most part, the Indians Major League team is intact. They will likely look to add a solid infielder at any position and move the rest around accordingly. However, I think the key player will likely be that of a second baseman or third baseman. If the player is a second baseman, expect Asdrubal Cabrera to move to SS and Jhonny Peralta to 3B. If the player is a third baseman, Andy Marte will be on his way out, and the rest of the infield will likely stay the same. I also look for the Indians to try to add a closer in the likes of a Huston Street through a trade, potentially sending Ryan Garko or Kelly Shoppach the other way.
Here is the lineup I expect the Columbus Clippers, at this point in time, to be putting on the field on a pretty regular basis.
1) Michael Brantley – CF
2) Trevor Crowe – RF
3) Matt LaPorta – LF
4) Wes Hodges – 3B
5) Jordan Brown – DH / 1B
6) Stephen Head – 1B / DH
7) Chris Gimenez – C
8) Josh Rodriguez – SS
9) Josh Barfield – 2B
* Backup C – Wyatt Toregas
* Unless Chris Gimenez is rostered, he could be lost to the Rule 5 draft.
I believe Michael Aubrey will either be with the major league club next season, or on his way out through a trade. If he’s not, Stephen Head could find himself again in AA. With the year he had at Akron, it’d be a shame to send him back down. Head brings as much defensively as Aubrey, and his bat seems to have caught up with Aubrey’s as well. If both are healthy, they’ve become almost an identical player.
As for the rotation, there’s far too much speculation as to who will make the ML club and who will be in AAA. JD Martin will more than likely be a starter for the Clippers next season while the others are up in the air. Potentially the others are David Huff, Scott Lewis, Aaron Laffey, Jeremy Sowers, Bryan Bullington, Frank Herrmann, and with a potential big comeback, Chuck Lofgren.
The list of minor league free agents for the Cleveland Indians will be
released on October 15th, but according to the Indians Top Prospects
blog, the list is as follows.
Pitchers (9): T.J. Burton
(RHP), Eddie Buzachero (RHP), Matt Ginter (RHP), John Halama (LHP),
Jeff Harris (RHP), Juan Lara (LHP), Preston Larrison (RHP), J.D. Martin
(RHP) Jeff Weaver (RHP)
Catchers (3): Armando Camacaro, Damaso Espino, Yamid Haad
First basemen (1): Matt Whitney
Second Basemen (2): Andy Cannizaro, Brandon Chaves
Shortstops (1): Niuman Romero
Third Basemen (2): Morgan Ensberg, Tony Graffanino,
Outfielders (5): Jason Cooper, Andy Gonzalez, Todd Linden, Nathan Panther, Bronson Sardinha
In my mind there are potentially 3-6 players that we should plan to re-sign. The rest could all potentially be re-signed if need be, but none of the rest are necessities and probably just filler if signed.
First off, I think we need to add JD Martin to the 40-man roster, therefore trumping the minor league free agency he would be granted. If he isn’t added to the 40-man, he’d likely sign on with another team as a minor league free agent with an invitation to the Major League camp. I think he’s shown healthy enough over the past year to now have a chance on this club.
I would also try hard to re-sign Niuman Romero. I think he played over his head this year and wouldn’t need to be added to the 40-man roster, but with our lack of depth at middle infield in our minor league system, he might have a future somewhere with this team. He’d probably be a utility guy, but it’d be nice to have a utility guy that can handle the bat a little bit like Romero.
Other potential guys we should attempt to sign are Matt Whitney, TJ Burton, Bubbie Buzachero, and Andy Cannizaro. Burton and Buzachero are potentially good enough to make a Major League ballclub, and it’d be nice to have that bullpen depth still within our system. Matt Whitney had a down year in Akron, and may not ever be the same, but he still has great power potential and could play first, third, and DH at Columbus. The only reason at all to keep a near 30-year old Cannizaro is our lack of depth at 2B. He’s a slick defender and had a good stick at Buffalo this year after we picked him up. However if Barfield starts the year at Columbus, no need to hold onto Cannizaro.
The rest are just taking up room in our system. With how many solid core players are going to be moving up in each level of our system, we can just cut ties with the rest. Let me just wish the best of luck to Juan Lara in whatever he does with the rest of his life. His injury in his homeland was indeed tragic, and I hope he can find success somewhere in life even if it is outside of baseball.