Thursday, December 18, 2014

Brantley Confirmed For Tribe Fest 2015

it was announced today that Michael Brantley will be attending the 3rd annual Tribe Fest, presented by KeyBank, at Progressive Field on January 24 & 25, 2015.

photo cropped off Indians.com

tickets for this event are on sale now. adult tickets are $10 and children 12 and under are free as long as their tickets are "bought" in advance. the maximum is 2 free kid admissions per adult ticket. on the days of the event, a child ticket will cost $5. fans can purchase general admission tickets alone, or bundle them with an autograph ticket. there are three different autograph sessions to choose from: January 24 from 10 am - 2 pm, January 24 from 4 - 8 pm, and January 25 from 10 am - 3pm. while you cannot choose which specific player you will get an autograph from, you can pick between a current Indians player ($20 ticket) or an alumni player ($25).

the following players have also confirmed to appear at this year's Tribe Fest (although this is subject to change):
Cody Allen
Mike Aviles
Trevor Bauer
Michael Bourn
Carlos Carrasco
Lonnie Chisenhall
Yan Gomes
T.J. House
Jason Kipnis
Corey Kluber (just announced today, too)
Roberto Perez
Jose Ramirez
Marc Rzepczynski
Danny Salazar
Carlos Santana
Bryan Shaw
Nick Swisher

the alumni scheduled to attend are:
Sandy Alomar, Jr.
Paul Assenmacher
Dennis Martinez
Charles Nagy

John Adams, Tom Hamilton, Jim Rosenhaus, Mark Shapiro, and, of course, Terry Francona will be at this event as well.

aside from getting autographs, fans will have the opportunity to hit in the batting cages, tour the Indians clubhouse, and participate in Q&As with the players. additionally, fans can visit the Club Lounge for concessions. for more information, go to Indians.com/TribeFest.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Where Are You, Chief Wahoo? Save The Chief!

this is going to be my final planned blog for the year 2014 and then i'm taking a good 2+ months off from writing. i think i deserve it after the record-breaking amount of blogs i posted over the previous 12 months =D


have any of you Tribe fans noticed the gradual disappearance of the Cleveland Indians' Chief Wahoo? i'm sure you have. this has been a hot topic of debate for the last few years and i've kept my mouth shut long enough about it. i absolutely HATE how the Wahoo is being phased out in all aspects of baseball, including at Progressive Field, despite what the team states.

photo courtesy of didthetribewinlastnight.com

the Indians organization insists that they are not eliminating the Chief. but the truth is, they've scaled back their self-promotion of it quite a bit (more than i realized until i really thought about it), to the point where even the players themselves are rarely seen rockin' the Wahoo. in spring training, the Indians only wear the C on their jerseys and hats. during regular season batting practice, their shirts and hats, again, only display the C, and all bp gear sold to fans also features the C. as for the game uniforms, players wear the hats with the Wahoo on them with just their blue jerseys and white home jerseys. luckily, the left sleeve of all 4 jerseys still has the Chief, but who knows how long that will continue. their batting helmets recently dropped the Wahoo for the C. even the mini helmets they put the ice cream in at the ballpark concession stands now exclusively have the C on them in place of the Wahoo. come on.

photo courtesy of clevescene.com
photo courtesy of amazon.com

plus, all Indians personnel currently wear shirts with only the block C on them. that to me sends a big message to the world about how they want the Indians to be viewed, and it is NOT by the Wahoo anymore.

photo courtesy of fans247.com
photo courtesy of tribevibe.mlblogs.com

let me give you some more disturbing examples. on the scoreboard at the park, they no longer use the Wahoo in any capacity. looking back at the photos i've taken when i've gone to games over the last 5 years, i can say with confidence that this change happened just this past season, in 2014. now every time the Tribe is represented with a symbol, it's the "C," and the Chief is nowhere to be found.

photo courtesy of monkeywithahalo.com

moving outside of Progressive Field, you'll find the same thing on the TV sports shows and news. when they're talking about the Tribe, you don't see the Wahoo anymore; you see the C. on MLB Network, and probably ESPN too (idk cause i don't watch that channel), when they have their list of topics to discuss on the side, and the Indians are on the agenda, they're represented only by the C. even on the sports websites, the Tribe logo is the C. it may be the politically correct thing to do in the eyes of the media, but it actually came about because this C logo has unofficially become the Indians' primary logo, while the Wahoo has slipped down to its secondary. i say unofficially because the Indians have yet to formally announce this change in words, but these actions all speak loudly and clearly.

photo courtesy of news.sportslogos.net

reflecting back to when the Indians first introduced that secondary C logo, i didn't think much of it. i certainly didn't think one day that would be taking over for the Chief. i'm sure a lot of people see those C hats on fans and have no clue who/what team that represents. C could mean so many different things. but with the Wahoo, you always knew what that was for; the Cleveland Indians were always recognizable by that. and let's face it, the Wahoo is way cuter than some dumb old block letter C lol

the Indians used to be one of 3 teams in baseball that didn't use a letter or letters as their primary logo. now there are just 2 teams left standing, both in the American League, that use actual non-letter symbols to represent them: the Baltimore Orioles and the Toronto Blue Jays. sigh. i suppose it could always be worse. i mean, we could be like the Minnesota Twins. i promise you that someone who's unfamiliar with baseball would never assume that the overlapped "TC" on their hats stands for "Twin Cities" and represents the Minnesota Twins. at least we aren't that confusing i guess.

so why did the C become more prominent in recent years? it's somewhat odd to me honestly, but more and more people have decided the Wahoo is racist and offensive to Native Americans. i always hear about the protesters coming out to Progressive Field before the Home Opener to bring more awareness to their cause. i've never seen them though because i get to the ballpark insanely early, early enough that i apparently avoid running into all that. anyways, it's obvious to me that the Indians are trying to appease the protesters by cutting down on their usage of the Wahoo.

photo courtesy of tattoopins.com

on the contrary, for every person who's against the Wahoo, there seems to be someone IN FAVOR OF the Chief.

photo courtesy of indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com
photo courtesy of usatoday.com
 
i don't know if that makes any real difference, but i deeply hope those people who are outwardly, openly, and proudly throwing their support to the Chief are enough to convince the organization not to entirely rid the Indians of the Wahoo.

this all just begs the question, why is the Chief so offensive now when it wasn't a century ago? smh. the first Chief Wahoo logo didn't appear until 1928. did different groups initially start getting riled up about it back then? or did it all begin when the image took on the present-day cartoon-like Wahoo? because, if anything, i would have thought the evolution into this caricature of a Chief detached it from the group of real life Native American Indians, and consequently wouldn't be offensive to them since it was no longer pictorially tied to those Indians. if you're up on your Cleveland Indians logo history, then you know the first couple of Chief Wahoos resembled an actual Indian. were people just as pissed about that? were they demanding a logo change then, too? cause that i would understand, but considering the design of the current Wahoo, i don't agree with the protesters' stance on the issue.

photo courtesy of thediehardnerd.com

look at all the Tribe logos--carefully. the Chief logo, once it started reflecting an Indian, was revised several times after the first one was revealed. as of 1946, the Wahoos have only contained 1 feather. Walter Goldbach, creator of the cartoonish character, stated that since then, technically, we have all been mistakenly referring to him as Chief Wahoo, when really he is not a Chief anymore because he's no longer sporting a full headdress. i feel like that fact only adds to my case about it being the opposite of offensive.

and can i also quickly address that the Chief isn't even the team's mascot, as some people incorrectly argue? we have Slider, who for all intents and purposes is a made-up kid-friendly fuchsia creature (not even a real animal, mind you), completely unrelated to ALL Indians--the Cleveland team AND the racial group. nobody is dressing up as a Native American parading around the ballpark as an official Tribe mascot. the Wahoo is simply a team symbol. so again i ask, what is all the vitriol about?!

photo courtesy of fathead.com

sadly, the issue isn't even solely with the Chief. he's half of the dispute, but the other half concerns the team name. a lot of people want a name change in addition to a logo change. in my opinion, that's too far. and i can't help but wonder if the protesters recall how the Indians name was established, because there's nothing disrespectful or inappropriate surrounding its formation.

for those fans who don't know the story of how the Indians got their name, i'll tell you. from 1903-1914, the Indians were called the Cleveland Naps after player-manager Napoleon Lajoie, even though he was widely referred to as Larry. after the 1914 season ended, owner Charles Somers was broke and the team needed to cut payroll. (some things never change, huh?) so Nap was traded to the Philadelphia Athletics, literally given away just so Somers wouldn't have to pay his then-expensive $9,000 contact. at that point, it was decided that they needed a new team name. Somers asked several writers from the Cleveland News, the Cleveland Press, and the Plain Dealer to run a contest to rename the team. once they got some names from the fans, they would all get together and make a decision. 30 different suggested names were chosen to mull over, but Indians wasn't one of them.

Somers and the writers couldn't get over the big story of 1914, how the "Miracle" Boston Braves went from last place on July 4 to winning the World Series after sweeping the Phillies. clearly, they couldn't name the team the Braves, but they could name them the Indians. it was remembered that the team was briefly called the Indians back when Louis Sockalexis played on the team from 1897-99. so the Indians name presumably paid homage to the old National League Club of the late 19th century in hopes that the team could be like their National League opponents in turning themselves around. in some fans' eyes, it may also be in honor of Sockalexis and a time when Cleveland's baseball team was really good. and so the decision was made. however, when each newspaper announced the new name as Indians in 1914, they all stated it was a temporary nickname. yet here we are, 100 years later, still called the Cleveland Indians. =D

(btw, if you want even more details about this and the Indians' previous names, i suggest you read Terry Pluto's book "Our Tribe." it's a fantastic read and that is indeed how i learned the true story behind the Tribe's name/naming.)

the intentions behind the name were pure and in no way defamatory. the name was supposed to be an inspiration to the players to play hard and never give up. besides, if some people see it as a tribute to Native American Sockalexis, then how can Native Americans today be upset by that? i am going to be fuming if one day the Indians decide they have to change their name due to all this controversy. i'd seriously be sick.

so with the team name Indians, what other kind of logo would you expect? yes, Cleveland started out with the C, but it needed to be updated. and now that you know how the Indians got their name, you know it was never meant to be offensive and, as a result, neither was the Wahoo logo.

i feel like some people are trying to make way more out of this whole issue than is necessary because they may not have been fully aware of the history regarding the name.

photo courtesy of lefthookjournal.wordpress.com

and once again, how is it that people loved the name Indians back in 1914, but not in 2014? as time passes, we are supposed to be making progress in the area of racism and be more open-minded about things. in spite of this, there are people who remain more sensitive than ever about topics such as this. so i'm confused. are you telling me that a hundred years ago, people were more tolerant than people in the world today? at this point i'm like, everyone who's pissed now can take it up with the people who started this thing in 1914. oh wait, that's not possible.

i cannot and will not tell any group of people how to feel about this subject. i can't change your mind any more than you could change mine. but i can provide strong reasons to back up my feelings. i'll also suggest that maybe all those opposed could try to see the other side and not take the Indians' name and logo so literally to the point of offense. they were never meant to represent the entire group of Native Americans. therefore, is it really something for people to get offended over and protest against?

if you don't agree with that, consider this. by now, the Cleveland Indians have already succumbed to some of the desires of the angry Native Americans and other groups. the Wahoo logo is not nearly promoted as much as it used to be. the protesters have practically already "won" half of their battle. can't we now just leave it be? i wish =(

i personally love the Chief and its attachment to the Indians team. the smiling Wahoo is part of what originally drew me in to becoming a fan (in 1996). i don't think i would have gotten that same warm feeling watching the guys on TV if their logo had simply been C. and i look good in red, white, and Wahoos, so i'm definitely gonna continue to buy and wear as much Tribe merchandise with the Wahoo on it as i can. i do fear that one day all that stuff will be discontinued and not made or sold by the Indians anymore. because as much as they claim the Wahoo isn't going anywhere, i've got news for you--it already has =/

Saturday, December 6, 2014

And The Winners of the 2014 GIBBYs Are...

...not Michael Brantley =(

tonight, on December 6, the 2014 GIBBY winners were announced in an awards special on MLB Network. back on October 30, Michael was nominated for 3 Greatness in Baseball Yearly Awards, in the categories of every day player of the year, breakout every day player of the year, and most valuable major leaguer. unfortunately, he lost out on all of them, though he was a finalist for breakout hitter (one of four). ultimately, Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels was named every day player of the year, Jose Altuve of the Houston Astros was named breakout every day player of the year, and Clayton Kershaw of the Los Angeles Dodgers was named MVML for 2014.

fans had the ability to vote as much as they wanted for 23 days, and their vote counted for 20% of the final decision. the winners were also determined by votes from 4 other outlets--media, front-office personnel, MLB alumni, and the Society for American Baseball Research--each counting for 20% overall as well.

i had a feeling that winning one GIBBY award would be tough for Michael, let alone a potential 3. there were 10 A-List players in each of his 3 categories. plus, these awards took postseason performances into consideration, so Michael winning anything was really a long shot. or was it?

while he finished in 10th place in the every day player of the year category,

screenshot cropped from mlb.com

he was the runner up with 24.7% of the final vote in the breakout every day player of the year category.

screenshot cropped from mlb.com

sigh. i'm admittedly appalled that Michael only received 1.4% of the vote for best every day hitter. winner Mike Trout smoked him there with 31.5%. but the real kicker here is how close Michael actually was to winning the GIBBY for breakout hitter. he lost to Altuve by 1.1%. 1.1%! the other finalists (J.D. Martinez and Anthony Rendon) weren't nearly as close. with just a few more votes, Michael literally might have won that category. and honestly, knowing that, i'm taking it hard. if only i'd voted more times and/or on more days, i could have made the difference, flipped the results, and gotten Michael a GIBBY. i truly feel like that's on me and i feel badly about it. =(

as for the most valuable major league GIBBY award, that category was strictly limited to the top 3 vote getters after fan voting concluded, and Michael did not place in the top 3. that doesn't bother me much because he did finish 3rd for BBWAA's AL MVP Award this year. =D

in the end, regardless of him not being honored with any GIBBY, Michael still had an unforgettable 2014 and i am very, very proud of everything he accomplished.

oh and btw, Indians' starting pitcher Corey Kluber won a GIBBY for breakout pitcher of the year, and 3rd baseman Lonnie Chisenhall won one for Must C hitting performance of the year. congratulations to them!

the rest of the GIBBY winners can be found here.

and this concludes my Brantley blogs for 2014! i'm seriously kind of sad LOL


so now there is only one baseball awards reveal show left before the 2014 year can officially come to a close, and that is for MLB Network's 2nd Annual Social Media Awards. obviously, Michael is not nominated for any of those because he is not on social media. however, Indians' pitcher Trevor Bauer is nominated in the Socially Savvy Rookie category. there's 1 day left to vote for him, and you can vote through facebook and twitter here. the winners will be announced on Sunday, December 14 at 8 pm EST on MLB Network. good luck to Trevor.


idk about you all, but i am so ready for the 2015 baseball season to get underway. Go Brantley! Go Tribe! =D

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Brantley Nominated For 2014 Bob Feller Man Of The Year

but he did not win =(

today, on November 23, the Cleveland chapter of the Baseball Writers' Association of America honored Corey Kluber with the 2014 Bob Feller Man of the Year Award. basically what that is is a local Indians MVP award. some form of Man of the Year has been given out since 1937, when Cleveland BBWAA writers selected Johnny Allen as the first winner. the award title evolved from Most Valuable Player (1937-1943), to Indians Man of the Year (1944-2009), to Bob Feller Man of the Year (2010-present).

aside from that news, the nominees for the award were also revealed today. the lucky three players included Kluber, Michael Brantley, and Yan Gomes. additionally, there was a co-winner award option for both Kluber and Brantley. it took 3 ballots and a lot of discussion between the writers, but ultimately Kluber won outright. his Cy Young win less than 2 weeks ago weighed heavily on the decision. congrats to Kluber!


now it's time to express my disappointment lol of course i'm saddened to hear that Michael didn't win. he had a career year, setting career highs for himself in 20 categories as well as 3 new franchise records. he doubled his home run total from a year ago, drove in 97 runs, had 200 hits, bat .376 with runners in scoring position, and finished with a .327 batting average, 3rd highest in baseball. and they couldn't even give him the co-win? come on!

this is the 3rd straight year Michael's been nominated for this award, losing to Justin Masterson in 2013 and Vinnie Pestano in 2012. if he couldn't even win it this time after his extraordinary season, then shit, he may never win it. he's irrefutably due, and he better be taking home the title next year. because if there's one thing we know about Michael, he's consistent. i expect more of the same production in 2015 and then he'll have to be the favorite to win. i won't accept otherwise lol ;D

Friday, November 21, 2014

Brantley Silver Slugger Bobblehead Giveaway!

look how far he's come. last year at this time, Michael didn't even have 1 bobblehead; now, he's getting his 2nd! it was announced today that a Michael Brantley bobblehead will be given away at the Saturday, March 7, 2015 spring training game at Goodyear Ballpark against the Los Angeles Dodgers at 1:05 pm mountain standard time. this bobble will be limited edition and honor Michael's 2014 AL OF Silver Slugger Award. only the first 1,500 fans will receive this special bobblehead. no picture has been released at this time, which probably means the bobble has yet to be constructed. but as soon as i get more info, i will let everyone know.

i personally will need to pull off some kind of miracle in order to get this, as going to Arizona for spring training is absolutely out of the question for me. and what's sadder than Michael's #1 fan not having his Silver Slugger bobble? this would have been a fantastic promotion for a regular season Tribe game and i have to express my disappointment that the Indians opted to hold this giveaway for a Cactus League game. maybe they did it in hopes of drawing more fans to Goodyear, but that's not really fair to those of us who would love this bobble but can't fly out there to get it. i supported Michael long before he ever became a slugger, back when he was batting .118 as a rookie, and i blogged about every career moment he had this season. i am super bummed and totally jealous of all the fans who will end up with this exclusive Brantley bobblehead. it really is a tragedy that i won't be one of them.

despite my bitterness, i'm still happy that the team is once again recognizing Michael for his extraordinary talent. so congratulations, Michael, on adding another bobblehead to your collection, this one in celebration of your outstanding ability at the plate! you most definitely deserve it! =D

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Tribe Needs: Looking Ahead to 2015

normally, i write this blog a couple weeks after the end of the season, about a week or so after my Season Recap blog goes live. this year, i had a lot of extra Brantley stuff to write about, so this one had to take a backseat for a while. but it's finished now, and includes any moves already made up to this point, so enjoy.


2014 was a bit of a step back compared to 2013. in Terry Francona's second year as the Indians' manager, we didn't make it to the postseason in any capacity and had 7 more losses. next year has to be better. and i'm not saying that in the "there's nowhere to go but up" way. i mean it in the "we HAVE to do better next season because there's no other option for us" type way. improvement is dependent upon both roster upgrades and internal progression. we can't just count on the latter and i really hope the front office realizes this. otherwise, it'll pretty much be a crapshoot on whether or not the Indians will reach and have an extended stay in the 2015 postseason.

the issue for the Tribe is always the same--money. so just how much of the payroll do we already have committed to our current players, and how much is left to spend? well, we're not gaining any extra cash from free agents this offseason because we only have 1, and he wasn't making much money to begin with. the fact that we have a lot of players who stand to make more money in 2015, by way of pay raises and arbitration, isn't exactly saving the Tribe any money either. right now, 10 players on the roster have set deals in place, and 5 players are eligible for arbitration. most of the rest will be getting paid the league minimum, another salary which always increases a little each season. if the team stays in the $80-85 million range, like it has in the last few years, then we're not going to have much cash left to spend in free agency. as usual.

let's start with adding up all of the 10 set contracts for 2015.
Swisher - $15 million
Bourn - $13.5 million
Santana - $6 million
Murphy - $6 million
Brantley - $5 million
Kipnis - $4,166,666
Aviles - $3.5 million
Raburn - $2.5 million
Gomes - $1 million
Atchison - $900,000
that's a total of $57,566,666, an increase of $9,816,666 from the set contracts that were already in place going into last year's offseason.

next in the arb eligible group, we have Chisenhall, Carrasco, Tomlin, Shaw, and Rzepczynski. i went over what everyone made for the 2014 season and weighed that against their performance to come up with what i felt were fair salary increases for 2015. my total was around $8 million. (and if it ends up being much more than that, then a lot of guys must have gone to arbitration and won lol) that brings the payroll up to $65,566,666 and the roster to 15 players.

so this leaves 10 players left to make the 25-man roster out of spring training, and most of those will be earning the league minimum. it's hard for me to guess which guys will for sure make the roster though, because after our top 4 relievers, i have no idea who else will be filling up the bullpen. and we could also bring in outside players to the team, taking some other guys' spots and forcing them to be optioned out to Columbus at the beginning of the year.

guaranteed to be a Cleveland Indian next year on the league minimum's salary are Kluber, Allen, and Ramirez. but there's also gonna be McAllister, Salazar, Bauer, and House fighting for spots in the rotation, as well as Lee, Crockett, and Hagadone fighting for bullpen spots. we need to name a backup catcher, too, so Perez could very well open up the season with the Tribe for the first time. and it's anyone's guess as to whether guys like Walters or Holt will be on the 25-man.

currently, the league minimum for 2015 is set at $500,000 plus a cost of living adjustment rounded to the nearest $500. so i really can't do an exact calculation for this. the league min increased by $10,000 the last 2 years, and it's a safe bet that it will increase a little more next year. i'll estimate a 520K salary for 2015. i shouldn't be off by too much regardless. odds are we won't fill our roster with 10 of the above guys, but i'll account for 8 league minimum contracts next season. going by that, the total is $4,160,000 for league min contracts.

the next category of players is quite easy--free agents. the only free agent we've got this time around is Giambi, and he's not coming back as a player next year. so there's no cost to be added here.

that's gonna bring the grand total to $69,726,666 just to keep the majority of our players. for simplicity's sake, we'll call it $70 million already committed to players. going back to the assumption that we have a payroll between $80-85 million, that means we'll have between $10-15 million to spend. or maybe more if not all those league min players are gonna make it to the bigs. still, that's probably not enough to get us everything that we need and get it in the form of high quality players.

in typical Tribe offseason fashion, we are most likely going to add new faces by acquiring reclamation projects for cheap and inviting them to spring training, and also by making other minor signings. i think it's pretty clear that we aren't going out and signing any big name free agents, not like we'd have the money for that even if we wanted to. we'll be looking for the cream of the crap in regards to free agents that we can afford who might actually make an impact lol think in terms of more Murphy and Raburn type role players who will cost anywhere from $1-6 million. that's certainly not what Tribe fans want to hear, but you guys know as well as i do that if any "big" moves are going to be made this offseason, they will have to come through trades. it's possible that we'll part ways with some current players in a multi-team deal to bring in help. i will get into who could potentially be on the trading block and some lesser name free agent targets a little further down in this blog. but those are really our only options, cause we sure as hell aren't handing out any more 50 million something dollar contracts to anybody again.


truthfully, i can't blame the Indians for being hesitant about signing free agents to big deals anyways. look at what's happened with our last 2 big FA signings. how's that Nick Swisher contract working out? before coming to Cleveland, this was a guy with good health, durability, and decent numbers. since he's been here, he's been hurt half the time and sucked at the plate the other half. he's a 56 million dollar joke so far. when this signing officially went down, i wasn't a big fan, mostly because he came from the Yankees. but i also knew he was part of a lineup there with guys who were much better hitters than him, and that made some of his numbers look better. in Cleveland, we don't have the power hitters that he was used to playing with, so now Swisher's shortcomings are more obvious. first, all the sudden he couldn't be playing right field because of his shoulder. then, he had to be limited at 1st base because of his knees. it wouldn't be surprising to see him mainly in a DH role next year. and that's not worth the huge contract he signed. it just screams Travis Hafner all over again--another big long-term signing gone bad. and Swisher's endless, positive attitude, even when he shouldn't be smiling, is, was, and always will be obnoxious to me. Bro-hio i don't think so. if he does not come back strong next year (and yes, i realize i said this last offseason, too), then he really is a bust and his ass needs to go. to this point, he's been a 2-year, $26 million dollar waste. if this continues, and i'm convinced it will, then we have to cut our losses. all i want is a picture with his wife JoAnna first, and then he can just GTFO lol

then there's Bourn. i was not excited when we signed him either and it looks like i was right. again. he was supposed to be this amazing leadoff man who could steal 40-50 bases with his ridiculous speed. he hasn't even stolen half that since he's been here. first, the excuse was he needed to learn the American League pitchers better. now he's battling continual hamstring issues. he had been another guy who normally plays 150 games a year and he's also currently dealing with health problems that he didn't have before. not to mention when he was healthy, he was disappointing at the plate. and of course it angered me that despite all this, he was still leading off. if this had been Brantley, he would have been (and was) ripped outta the leadoff spot in less than 2 seconds. anyways, Bourn's OPS is too low for him to be the leadoff man. sadly, Francona won't move him cause he's too loyal to his vets. i'm over that. and for the record, i wanted him gone last offseason. that didn't happen and look how he played. (instead we traded Stubbs and he had one of his better seasons with Colorado. shoulda kept him and unloaded Bourn.) he's another player who needs to do better next season. although having said this same thing one year ago also, my hopes are low.

lately, every time the Indians take a chance on signing free agents to big deals, they get fucked. it's been like this since the glory days of the 90s ended. it's like there's a new curse on us. guys who have good numbers come here and slump. guys who never go on the DL are becoming all too familiar with it. so as much as fans want to bitch about our lack of activity in free agency, based on the results, i can't fault the Indians for staying away from and backing out of some big deals. we don't have a great track record here and we're still in the middle of two bad contracts. we don't need any more right now.

from a totally biased perspective, this just really makes me appreciate what Brantley did this season even more. boy was he lucky that his little health issues didn't amount to anything serious that would have kept him out long and hurt his numbers. and i also got to thinking, if we make a trade and pick up that big bat that we need, Brantley may never lead the team with his numbers again like he did this year. plus, if Swisher and Bourn do get healthy, along with Kipnis, and if Santana finally reaches his full potential, there could be more competition next year. but i know that really doesn't matter. while being a team stat leader is nice, it's by no means an end-all be-all goal. this was simply something that came to my mind, being the ginormous Brantley advocate that i am lol


now before i get into our team needs and this offseason's free agent market, let's say our goodbyes to the players who i think are outta here:

--Jason Giambi is our only free agent and he is too old to be playing. if Francona can find a spot for him on his coaching staff, that'll be the only way we see him in Cleveland next year.

--J.B. Shuck. he was brought in towards the end of the season due to a few injured outfielders and made little to no impact. he won't be back and won't be missed.

--Chris Gimenez signed a minor league deal with the Rangers earlier today (on November 20). he was picked up as a backup catcher when Gomes went on the DL with a concussion. however, Roberto Perez ended up taking over the catching duties, so Gimenez didn't even play much in his time here.


since we have no free agents that we need to worry about extending qualifying offers to and retaining this offseason, i think the front office should definitely approach Mr. Cy Young Award Winner, Corey Kluber, about a contract extension. odds are he would accept it too, because the mind-boggling truth of the matter is he's only due to make the league minimum right now for 2015. i would offer him a very generous deal, buying out some of his arb eligible years, and ensure that he's here during what i'm assuming will be the best years of his career. it won't be a Miami Marlins-Giancarlo Stanton type contract (that shit was nuts lol), but Corey should still make out pretty good.

after that, i would scour the free agent pool for some glimmer of a decent starting pitcher and right-handed bat. while we can't afford any big names, we could potentially take on an older vet--Francona's favorite lol--and bring him in on a cheaper, 1-2 year deal. or we might sign a player who's been struggling recently, for whatever reason, yet maintained a strong reputation in his past. you never know, a change in scenery and the right circumstances could bring someone here who surprises us and positively contributes to the team and its ultimate goal. 


specific Tribe needs for 2015 include:

--a starting pitcher for more depth

--a right-handed hitter with some pop (when have we NOT needed one of these? lol)

--a backup catcher needs to be decided upon, whether internally or externally

--more bullpen depth

--potentially another 3rd baseman (could kill 2 birds with 1 stone if he was a righty too)

--possibly another right fielder (again, a righty would be nice, and it'd be a huge plus if he could also play 3rd lol)


i'm going to break things down by position in a second, but first i want to go back to our guaranteed spots. we have 10 players with set contracts and 5 who are eligible for arbitration. of those 15, i think only 14 are truly locked in for Opening Day. we don't technically have to start with Tomlin here, so i'm not committing him to a spot just yet. then we have Kluber, Allen, and Ramirez--3 more who are definitely guaranteed. that brings the total to 17 committed roster spots, giving us 8 open spots.

now let's run through the roster positions and see just where we have open spots that need filling. 


Outfield:

left field: Brantley, Raburn

center field: Bourn, Brantley

right field: Murphy, Raburn

other OF possibilities: Swisher, Aviles, Walters (if he makes the team)
waiting in Columbus: Tyler Holt, James Ramsey, Carlos Moncrief


the outfield seems pretty set. however, with the unreliability of Bourn, Raburn, and sometimes Murphy, i'm sure the Indians will bring in another outfielder or two to spring training on a minor league deal or non-roster invite and stash him in Columbus until needed.

taking into account the 25-man commitments at the moment and our immediate team needs, i'd say this is an area where we have 0 open spots to fill.


Infield:

1st base: Santana, Swisher, Chisenhall

2nd base: Kipnis, Aviles

shortstop: Ramirez, Aviles

3rd base: Chisenhall, Aviles

other IF possibilities: Walters
waiting in Columbus: Jesus Aguilar, Francisco Lindor, Giovanny Urshela


i personally would find a way to squeeze Walters onto the 25-man roster because he can play a variety of positions and that's never a bad thing. i know we also have Aviles signed for next season, but because of our tendency for injuries, another versatile player couldn't hurt. additionally, i think we could use another 3rd baseman to platoon with Chisenhall, other than Aviles. it's probably safe to say that Santana won't ever see the hot corner again lol Urshela was making progress at 3rd in Columbus last season, but he recently injured his knee playing winter ball in Venezuela. thankfully, he won't need surgery and is expected to participate in some spring training. as for the highly-touted Lindor, he shouldn't be promoted before the 2nd half of the season unless there's an injury. Ramirez will play short for now, but there's nothing set in stone about what's going to happen to him when Lindor is finally ready to be an Indian.

regarding the infield and our priority of team needs, i think w/o a trade, again we have 0 open spots here to fill.


Behind the plate:

catchers: Gomes

other possibilities: Perez?, Santana in an emergency?
waiting in Columbus: n/a


at this point, i can only guess that Perez makes the team out of spring training this year. i really don't think Francona wants Santana to be Gomes' backup catcher anymore, playing behind the plate 1-2 times a week. so we need to find a different backup, and Perez would fit that role nicely. then again, you can't rule out a spring training invite to someone who can catch and also play another fielding position.

we have 1 open spot to fill here.


DH:

Swisher, Walters?

other possibilities: Santana, Gomes, Chisenhall, anyone else who needs a break to get off their feet or when someone's bat needs to be in the lineup


like last season, anyone on the roster could essentially be the DH for a game, depending on who all needs to be at specific fielding positions. but i have a feeling the main guy will be Swisher. and if Walters makes the roster and continues to hit for some power, he could also be a frequent designated hitter for the Tribe. it's been years since we've had a middle of the order power hitter; maybe together Swisher and Walters could provide that. or someone else we might bring in. keep in mind though, there is 0% chance that we add a player who is strictly a DH.

we have 0 open spots to fill here, since any current hitter we have or plan to acquire can be a DH as necessary.


Starting Pitchers:

Kluber, Carrasco, Salazar, McAllister, Bauer, Tomlin, House

other possibilities: Shawn Marcum
waiting in Columbus: Tyler Cloyd


only 5 of the above will make the OD roster and presently only the #1 and #2 spots are committed (to Kluber and Carrasco). unless Bauer totally flops in spring, i think he's a favorite for one of the last 2 rotation spots right now. i'd bet that House starts the year in Columbus and will be one of the first call ups when needed. as for Tomlin and McAllister, it's hard to say. Tomlin could also start the season as a Clipper, but the same cannot be said for McAllister, who's out of options. consequently, if he's not on the 25-man, we will lose him. for that reason, he may just start out in the bullpen as a long reliever. i have no idea what the Indians plan to do with Salazar, but i don't think his rotation spot here is guaranteed yet. Marcum is a long-shot. very long. he will have to prove that he's not only fully healthy, but reliable during spring training. we brought him in as a non-roster invite last season too, when he was still recovering from 2013 shoulder surgery. needless to say, he never made it to Cleveland. he's also likely to be in Columbus next year, if he's not simply released during spring. i figure we'll invite another starter to camp in some capacity. we need more depth for our rotation, so look for another cheap, older, middle of the order type signing.

we have 3 open spots to fill in our rotation.


Bullpen:

we have some solid in-house options for our bullpen. as it stands, here are the 4 guaranteed to be on the 25-man roster:

closer: Allen

8th inning setup: Shaw

7th or 8th inning: Rzepczynski

long relief: Atchison

other possibilities: McAllister (if he's not in the rotation), Lee, Crockett, Hagadone, Dustin Molleken
waiting in Columbus: Austin Adams, Bryan Price


part of the Indians' M.O. is to bring several relief pitchers to spring training and then hang onto the ones that look promising. one or two might make the team, and the rest will end up in Columbus. and after losing a couple guys last year that we'd previously kept around for depth (Pestano, Herrmann), we will need some new arms. luckily, Francona loves to keep his bullpen as full as possible. at minimum, we know there will always be 7 guys in the pen. going by that, i would put Lee and Crockett in there to start, along with our top 4. so there's at least one open spot for a newbie. that could be an older veteran, but hopefully not as old as Atchison lol one thing i'll say about him is he really impressed me last year. but i don't know if he can put together another solid season. the hands of Father Time might be against him. it's very possible he (or someone else) gets DFA'd mid-season, because someone always does, so we definitely need to have some other arms ready to go.

we have 3 open spots to fill here in the pen.


so to sum up, we have needs for 1 catcher, 3 starters, and 3 relievers. that's 7 position-specific needs that are guaranteed to make the team. who exactly will take those spots is not yet completely known.

if we add those 7 to our other 17 guaranteed spots, we're at 24 total players. that means we have only 1 spot left to add an additional player, whether he be an outfielder or infielder or extra relief pitcher, to the 25-man roster. that could go to Walters or someone new that we sign. there's no telling what and who this offseason will bring.


now that i've just pinpointed our needs and where we have open roster spots, i'm going to list some free agents on the market that we could realistically acquire who might provide the extra help we've been searching for. but brace yourself; this is not going to contain players on a Nelson Cruz and James Shields type level lol

FA starters:

--Justin Masterson. i've heard the rumors about possibly bringing him back on a one-year deal. he might take that to prove to the other 29 teams that he's worth a longer contract after 2015. and i might honestly be okay with it. Masty has a habit of being off one year and on the next. 2014 was definitely an off year, so odds are good that 2015 will be an on year. he and his agent claim he's healthy now so, i'd take the chance. however, another ballclub could offer Masterson more than one year, and he might prefer that over reuniting with the Tribe.

--Chad Billingsley. he would be affordable because he's been recovering from Tommy John surgery. this signing would have the potential to mimic the Scott Kazmir deal from 2013. i'm very curious to see what Callaway could do with him.

--Carlos Villaneuva. should be cheap, could provide depth.

--Franklin Morales. he's interesting because he could start or come out of the bullpen. might be another cheap signing worth looking into.

FA relievers:

--Jeanmar Gomez. how about bringing back another former Indian? this time we could strictly use him out of the bullpen. he will assuredly be budget-friendly.

--Kyle Farnsworth. yes he's another oldie--39, like Atchison--and he might be a little costly for his age, but this is a guy who's still got it and he's exactly the kind of veteran role model that Francona loves. 

--Luke Hochevar. this is my long-shot pick. he will probably be too expensive and want a multi-year deal that we won't want to give him.

FA catchers:

--J.P. Arencibia. he is all i could bring myself to suggest, but i'm still not sold on him because he just doesn't have great numbers. i'd rather go with Perez and i hope the team agrees.

miscellaneous FAs to fill our final roster spot:

--3B Chase Headley. this would be a Tribe fan's dream signing, a right-handed 3rd baseman who can hit, but the probability of it happening is extremely low. the Indians would have to commit to him long-term and he will surely get better offers elsewhere, if we even try for him.

--3B Mark Reynolds. wanna bring him back? he's a right-handed hitter we could probably get for under 2 million. he could potentially become the new Giambi, a la 2013, except he can play the field.

--3B Jack Hannahan. speaking of throw backs, i feel i have to mention Hanny. his numbers aren't great but he would come cheap. then again, he's another lefty and we did try the Chiz-Hanny platoon once before.

--CF Nyjer Morgan. would both parties want to give this another try? Morgan was doing well for us until he played a position he shouldn't have been playing and got hurt. i wouldn't mind another year with T-Plush in the house.

--OF Ryan Ludwick. right-handed hitter, right field option, won't break the bank. sounds good to me.

--OF Corey Hart. another affordable right-handed hitter who can play right field. worth exploring.

--OF Jonny Gomes. disregarding the weirdness of having two Gomeses on the team, this one could be another option in case Murphy/Raburn don't play well or get hurt. he'd be my third choice behind Ludwick and Hart in terms of righty right fielders.

while the above could all be intriguing to the Tribe, the money issue might very well still stand in the way. these players may be cheaper than some of the top dog free agents, but it is possible that they receive better contract options--more money and more years--from other teams. and then we'd lose out. which brings us to the possibility of a trade. 


so who's on the trading block this offseason?

it's not as cut and dry as last year. we already traded our 2 biggest free agent names--Masterson and Cabrera--during the season before the trading deadline so they wouldn't just walk away from us with no return. and i have no qualms about it because it was the right thing to do.

the players we should be looking to move now include Swisher and Bourn, but with their contracts, that will make it difficult to find trading partners. if we traded Swish, we'd literally be exchanging one bad contract/iffy player for another. it's probably wiser to just leave him alone and pray for improvement. with Bourn, we might get a little better return, but that's still a long shot imo. it's possible that Chisenhall could be included in the right deal. and it wouldn't come as a shock to me if one of our starting pitchers ended up in a trade, such as Salazar or McAllister. if you put one of them, along with a lower level prospect, or some kids in Columbus, and cash together in a package, then we might be able to get a decent bat in return. also, because Ramirez has recently emerged as a capable shortstop, and we have Lindor down in Columbus just waiting for a call up, the Indians may decide to use Double A infielder Erik Gonzalez in a deal. then again, Ramirez could be the one to go mid-season if the Indians are ready to let Lindor run the show at short.

study up those names for a minute and then answer me this: do you think we'd have enough to include in a trade for Yoenis Cespedes? picture him in right field alongside a healthy Bourn in center (ha! i know that's hard) and All Star Brantley in left. that's a very likeable outfield. i'm sure we only have a slim chance in hell of making that a reality, but i hope the Indians do their due diligence about him anyways.

and can i just squash the rumors out there about the return of Ubaldo Jimenez? it's NOT HAPPENING! anybody seriously spewing that out has no idea what our team is trying to do. we've been down the Ubaldo road before and we will not go down it again. he's the past, not the future. he's no better than anyone we already have. there's no point in swapping his contract for Swisher's, because Swisher has much a higher chance of making a comeback.

it's just gonna be very interesting this offseason because we have a lot of untouchable, core guys on the team now. there aren't many established, major league level players left to use in a trade who would actually be attractive and tradable. i'm undeniably anxious to see what Antonetti puts together. or doesn't. every year we always hear about trades that were on the table but never went down, and fans complain...until they hear exactly what the other team demanded. then they realize yeah, we were right to say no to that deal. but i think i can speak for every Tribe fan when i beg, please Antonetti, find a (satisfying) deal you can say yes to.


moving on to some less frustrating and more pleasant news, one area that we don't need to hold a scavenger hunt for is the coaching staff. it looks like the Tribe might be retaining that gang in its entirety, and unlike last year, everyone should remain in their specific coaching roles. Brad Mills will continue as Francona's right-hand man/bench coach. Sandy Alomar, Jr. interviewed for a manager's position during the offseason but was not selected, so he's still here as our 1st base coach, while Mike Sarbaugh will keep waving our boys home as the 3rd base coach. Ty Van Burkleo is set to stay on as our hitting coach, and his assistant, Matt Quatraro, will continue to assist him. and, in what i consider to be our most important coaching role, pitching coach Mickey Callaway is still on deck to help out the rotation. he did some amazing work with Ubaldo in 2013, and he worked wonders last year with Carrasco, who became almost unstoppable in the 2nd half as a starter again. now he's rumored to be working with Bauer this offseason. he is one asset the team could not afford to lose, and i'm glad it didn't come to that. the exception here is bullpen coach Kevin Cash. like Callaway, he played a role in Carrasco's turnaround, and like Alomar, he also was a candidate for a few managing positions. at the time that i'm posting this blog, no final decision has been made yet regarding the Rays' new manager. if Cash is chosen, it will be sad for the Tribe, but i'm confident that they will find an adequate replacement.

as for our manager Francona, he is not going to simply settle for finishing above .500 while he's here. and he's gonna be in Cleveland for a while because he signed a contract extension earlier this month that goes through 2018, with options for 2019 and 2020. i'm hoping that show of faith by Tito will encourage and persuade Antonetti and company to make the necessary upgrades. Francona's clearly committed for the long haul, but he's not here to rebuild--he's in it to win it. so give the man what he needs to win.

Francona might arguably be the biggest name the team has, and the biggest draw for ballplayers. he's always had his say in what players we bring in. so far in his first 2 seasons, he's tried to get some of the band back together so-to-speak, reuniting with many players he once managed in Philly and/or Boston. will that happen again? probably lol but they won't be in their prime anymore, that's for sure. all the other guys we've added over the last 2 years have said how excited they were to play for Francona and become part of the Indians' atmosphere. that's all well and good, but it would be nice if some of these enthusiastic Tito supporters could earn their keep.


i honestly believe there's grounds for hope and positivity for next year. we've got some guys in the rotation who really stepped up this season, and some who showed flashes of greatness. if they all integrate, we could have one of the better rotations in the league. not to mention we already have some of the best bullpen arms in baseball. additionally, we have some reliable hitters in the lineup with the ability to come through in the clutch.

but, as always, there are still needs. it's imperative that the players who bombed out this year at least hit for average next season. it's to be expected that some guys who did well this year will regress, so we'll need other guys to make up for that, and not necessarily the guys we currently have. we are on the cusp of playoff longevity, we have a good core group of players locked into contracts for the next 4-6 years, but we need another piece or two to finally get over that hump. i hope the front office is ready to get creative to add some help, and takes a (trade) risk to reap a reward, but i am not naive to the Tribe's ways lol

worst case scenario, no significant moves are made. then we'll solely be looking internally for improvement, which we kinda need to have happen either way. the potential is there if we can get Kipnis and Swisher and Bourn to improve and stay healthy. if Santana can come out the gate swinging instead of faltering for the first 2 months, that will also help. then if Raburn can hit like he did in 2013, that'd be an advantage as well. (so many ifs, what else is new?) and i can't wait to see what Ramirez is going to do in his first full season in the big leagues. imagine all that went right. now add it to our Silver Sluggers Brantley and Gomes, our Cy Young Kluber, a clear-headed Carrasco, and a dominant back of the bullpen. that's indisputably enough reason for me to get excited.


137 days until Opening Day as of this blog post. Go Tribe 2015! =D

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

And The Winner of MLBPAA's 2014 Heart & Hustle Award Is...

...not Michael Brantley =(

Josh Harrison of the Pittsburgh Pirates was revealed as the winner of this year's Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association's Heart & Hustle Award. he was presented with his award tonight, on November 18, during the 15th Annual Legends for Youth Dinner at Capitale in New York City.

Harrison finished the 2014 season with a .315 batting average, 164 hits, 38 doubles, 13 home runs, 52 RBI, 77 runs, 18 stolen bases, 22 walks, and 81 strikeouts in 143 games. defensively, he played 1,027 innings in 127 games. Harrison saw time in both the infield and the outfield, playing 2nd base, 3rd base, shortstop, left field, and right field. he had a total of 151 putouts, 6 errors, and a .983 fielding percentage. additionally, he had 4 assists in 52 games as an outfielder.

the Heart & Hustle Award, created by the MLBPAA, is given to players who demonstrate passion for baseball and embody the values, spirit, and traditions of the game. one player from all 30 major league teams was named as a preliminary winner back on July 22, based on his passion, desire, and work ethic on and off the field. then, at the end of the year, fans, alumni, and active players voted on the final winner. it was later made known that the fan vote counted for just 5% of the overall decision. so unfortunately, we fan voters didn't have much of a say in the results of this award. all of this year's nominees can be found here.

it didn't seem likely that Michael would win 2014's H&H award, even though he fits the description to a T, but it was a great honor for him just to be named as the Cleveland Indians' recipient. it was a career first for him and i was so proud, particularly because he was chosen by former MLB players. regardless of him not being the overall winner, it still makes me very happy to see Michael getting recognized for things that he wasn't being recognized for in his previous seasons as a major league ballplayer. he put together an incredible year for himself, and i know we can expect more of the same in the upcoming years. =D

Friday, November 14, 2014

Brantley Contract Update & BABY ANNOUNCEMENT!

cha-ching!

photo courtesy of expertwager.com

here's some good news for Michael. because he placed in the top 5 voting for BBWAA's American League Most Valuable Player this season, he's earned himself a little additional salary for the future. his base salary in 2017 and 2018 has now increased by a cool million. i had no idea about this MVPerk, but that's freakin' awesome!

so this is what Michael was going to make before his bonus:
2014 salary - $1.5 million + $3.5 million signing bonus
2015 salary - $5 million
2016 salary - $6.5 million
2017 salary - $7.5 million
2018 salary - $11 million club option/$1 million buyout

before the 2014 season, his contract was for 4 years guaranteed and totaled $25 million, including the 5th year $1 million buyout. and if he stayed with the team in 2018, then he'd get an additional $10 million, giving him a grand total of 5 years for $35 million.


now here is Michael's new updated contract break down for the next 3-4 years:
2015 salary - $5 million (no change)
2016 salary - $6.5 million (no change)
2017 salary - $8.5 million (1 million increase)
2018 salary - $12 million option/$1 million buyout (1 million increase)

he currently stands to earn $21 million in the next 3 years, including the $1 million buyout. if he stays for the 2018 season, the total becomes $32 million.

and if we add that to his $5 million salary for the 2014 season, that's $26 million for 4 years plus the buyout, bringing the minimum contract total as of right now to $37 million for 5 years if that 5th year option is picked up.

but wait. let's not forget about the other bonuses he earned this year:
$100,000 for making the All Star team
$50,000 for earning a Silver Slugger Award
$150,000 for finishing in 3rd place for AL MVP

that's $300,000 worth of bonuses. so that gives Michael an overall $5.3 million made in 2014 and a potential $37.3 million earned from 2014-2018.

this is still a ridiculous steal for the Indians, omg lol


BREAKING: all that extra money's gonna come in handy because it was announced yesterday that... Michael's wife will be having baby #3 early next season! (i just really hope he doesn't go on Paternity Leave during the Home Opener Series lol)

congratulations, Michael! on both counts! =D

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Brantley Finishes 3rd For BBWAA's 2014 AL MVP Award

it was revealed today, on November 13, at about 6:17 pm on MLB Network, that Michael Brantley finished in 3rd place for Baseball Writers' Association of America's 2014 American League Most Valuable Player Award! this has to be my most favorite offseason career first of them all of his.

photo courtesy of @Indians twitter
photo courtesy of @dmansworld474 twitter**

**BBWAA made an error in the initial tabulations that were showed on TV during the live show and posted on their website. it was corrected about an hour later online, taking one 5th place vote away from Bautista and rightfully giving it to Brantley. that pushed Bautista down to 6th place overall and moved Cano up to 5th. the chart included below is accurate.

as expected, the AL MVP winner this year is Mike Trout, with his .287 batting average and 184 strikeouts lol =P i kid, i kid. however, he is the first position player to win this award for a season in which he had a higher number of strikeouts than hits (173).

Michael has never placed in MVP voting in his career before, let alone been a finalist. this is an extraordinary honor, and the honor comes with some perks. first, he earns a $150,000 bonus for this year. additionally, because he finished in the top 5, he's earned an increase of $1 million to his base salary for the 2017 and 2018 seasons. sweet! (look for an updated Brantley contract post on my blog tomorrow.)

here are the complete AL MVP results:

Player, Team
1st
2nd
3rd
4th
5th
6th
7th
8th
9th
10th
Points
Mike Trout, Angels30








420
Victor Martinez, Tigers
1643321


229
Michael Brantley, Indians
865411
11191
Jose Abreu, White Sox
163165221145
Robinson Cano, Mariners
116524211124
Jose Bautista, Blue Jays
11384153
122
Nelson Cruz, Orioles

63222
11102
Josh Donaldson, Athletics
122
3365296
Miguel Cabrera, Tigers
122221
6582
Felix Hernandez, Mariners
211
1111148
Corey Kluber, Indians

112
3
2245
Alex Gordon, Royals


112231244
Jose Altuve, Astros




1333941
Adam Jones, Orioles



13112234
Adrian Beltre, Rangers





151122
Greg Holland, Royals



11

1
13
Albert Pujols, Angels





1

15
Howie Kendrick, Angels






1

3
James Shields, Royals






1

3
Kyle Seager, Mariners








11
*chart copy and pasted from BBWAA's website

Trout won in a unanimous vote. the 2 voters from Cleveland were Paul Hoynes of The Plain Dealer and Chris Assenheimer of The Chronicle-Telegram. while Hoynsie gave Michael a 3rd place vote, Chris decided that Michael's season was good enough for a 2nd place vote. all the individual ballots can be found here, and it's worth a look.

in total, Michael finished with 191 points. he received 27 votes overall--8 votes for 2nd place, 6 votes for 3rd, 5 votes for 4th, 4 votes for 5th, 1 vote for 6th, 1 vote for 7th, 1 vote for 9th, and 1 vote for 10th place. i gotta say, the people who voted Michael 9th and 10th are straight up nuts. look at his numbers again. i think Toronto and Oakland are just jealous. and don't get me started on the 3 voters who didn't even have Michael in the top 10. you know what they say...haters gonna hate =P

photo courtesy of @dmansworld474
photo courtesy of @MLB twitter
photo courtesy of @Indians twitter

let me also give a quick shout out and congrats to Michael's teammate, Corey Kluber, for finishing just shy of the top 10. Kluber received 11 total votes, ranging between 10th place and all the way up to 3rd place. oddly enough, the 2 media representatives from Cleveland did not vote Kluber in their top 10. (so nobody can accuse them of being homers lol)

Michael was named an MVP finalist along with Trout and Victor Martinez on November 4 and he briefly spoke about it in an interview on November 7. "really, it's just an honor to be mentioned. that's not something you take lightly. it's a lot of hard work. obviously, your peers and voters and everybody have their say as well. i'm just honored to be mentioned in that category of guys that i'm in. i just think it's a good tribute to a lot of hard work paying off."

photo courtesy of @Indians twitter

today the finalists had a chance to say a few words on MLB Network's award show before the MVP was announced. (no, Victor Martinez was not there.) Michael's interview is here.

photos cropped from a video on Indians.com

looking sharp, Michael!

on his move from leadoff man to 3 hole slugger: "in the beginning of my career, that's all i knew, was how to hit leadoff, how to set the tone, get on base for my teammates. and now hitting in the 3 hole, it's about driving in runs, getting a good pitch early and trying to get that guy in from 2nd or 1st or wherever he's at, 3rd base, and do the best you can for your team."

on how he's evolved against left-handed pitchers as a left-handed hitter: "just really trying to stay on the ball. and doing a lot of homework. the best thing about being in the major leagues is that you have a chance to, you know, have scouting reports and do video work and try to figure out what they're gonna do to you. left-handed pitchers are not easy, especially when you don't see them as much and especially how good they are on the major league level. so i just try to get a good pitch, put a good swing on it, and then whatever happens from there happens."

how important is it for him to put the ball in play? "well, it's very important. the more times you put the ball in play, the better chance you're gonna get a hit. it's no secret. it's not always easy. major league arms, they're just getting better and better. guys are throwing harder, better out pitches. you just gotta come to the park every day prepared and do the best you can for your team."

Michael also spoke with the Cleveland media after the MVP special concluded. here is some of what he had to say.

"there's no disappointment at all. i was honored and blessed to even be mentioned in that category. my whole goal is wins and losses. i don't look at stats. i don't care where i finish in the MVP. i care about getting that World Series ring." (omg, i hope that's not what he'll say if he ever wins this award LOL jk) 

"this game is team-oriented and as long as you keep thinking like that, it keeps you motivated to keep playing hard and always working to get better."

"the day before i left for spring training, my father sat me down and asked me to do something. he said, 'i want you to get ready to hit every pitch.' that means from the first time i stepped in the batter's box, the first pitch the pitcher threw to me, that i was ready to hit.

my father told me, 'listen son, your numbers will not go down, they'll go up.' i thought if i swung at the first pitch more often, i'd get out more often because i'd never done it before. he's been trying to get me to do it for the last few years, but i never bought into it. i had that leadoff hitter mentality. this year i told him i'd accept the challenge and try it in spring training. the key word was try.

in years past, i hit like a leadoff hitter. i wanted to make sure i got a perfect pitch. i wanted to make sure that i had, you know, a deep at bat, make sure i saw some pitches. this year, if i got a first pitch fastball early, i put a good swing on it, i didn't care where it went. it worked for me in spring training, so i decided to keep that mentality during the season and it worked out."

"i want to improve in every category. i want to strike out less. i want to make more plays defensively. i want to do whatever i can to help the team get farther."

"when your teammates start respecting how hard you work, respecting how you carry yourself, respecting how, you know, you care for one another on the field, and they see that, i believe that everybody kind of draws to you or wants to talk to you or kind of leans on you. me personally, i just go out there and try to lead by example. i don't say too much, i'm kind of quiet, but i play hard each and every day. i try to be the best teammate and pick up my teammate when he's down or who needs help, and they do the same for me."

on 2nd place MVP candidate, Victor Martinez:


on the Indians' future:

transcription photos courtesy of @MLBastian twitter

this full interview, including some of his thoughts about CyKluber, can be found here.


i agree with what Michael said after he learned he was a finalist, about being honored to be in this position. this is one of those times where it truly is just an honor to be nominated. no doubt Michael had the numbers to win MVP this season but there is no animosity from me here about him placing 3rd. that's outstanding and this recognition is very deserved. he's such a selfless player, always putting the team first no matter what and without complaint. his leadership and work ethic are invaluable to all the players on the team, especially the young kids. much like Michael's consistency on the field, he prepares the same way each and every day and he trains so hard. hopefully one day all his relentless work will result in an MVP award.

i feel like i've been saying this a million times over the last month and a half but, congratulations, Michael! i am so proud of you! =D

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Corey Kluber Wins BBWAA's 2014 AL Cy Young Award!

way to go, CyKluber! today, on November 12, it was announced that Corey Kluber won Baseball Writers' Association of America's 2014 American League Cy Young Award! this is Kluber's first career Cy Young. he was a finalist along with Felix Hernandez of the Seattle Mariners and Chris Sale of the Chicago White Sox, and he won the award by 10 points.

photo courtesy of @Indians twitter
photo courtesy of @MLBastian twitter

after he was revealed as the winner, in typical stoic Klubot fashion, he looked off camera to his wife, Amanda, and gave her the thumbs up lol

photo cropped from a video on Indians.com

two writers in each American League city cast their ballots for this award before the conclusion of the regular season. a 1st place vote is worth 7 points, 2nd place is worth 4, 3rd place is worth 3, 4th place is worth 2, and 5th place is worth 1.

here are the complete AL Cy Young voting results:
Player, Team
1st
2nd
3rd
4th
5th
Points
Corey Kluber, Indians17112

169
Felix Hernandez, Mariners1317


159
Chris Sale, White Sox
2195378
Jon Lester, Red Sox/Athletics

315746
Max Scherzer, Tigers

46832
David Price, Rays/Tigers

23416
Phil Hughes, Twins


146
Wade Davis, Royals



33
Greg Holland, Royals



11
 *chart copy and pasted from BBWAA's website

Kluber and Hernandez were the only 2 players to appear on every individual ballot. Dennis Manoloff of The Plain Dealer and Jim Ingraham of The News-Herald were Cleveland's media voters for this award and, of course, they voted for our boy. to see all the individual ballots, click here.

now let's take a quick look back at some of Kluber's final #s for the 2014 season:
18-9 record
235.2 IP
269 K
51 BB
64 ER
2.44 ERA
2.35 FIP
34 G, 3 CG, 1 SHO

he also
--worked into the 7th inning in 26 of his 34 starts
--struck out 8 or more batters in 21 games
--struck out 10 or more batters in 11 games
--struck out a season-high 14 batters in a single game 2 times
**thanks to Hoynsie for these tidbits
 
photo courtesy of @ESPNStatsInfo twitter

and he did all that in his first full season in the big leagues and on a $514,000 salary. the bonus he received for winning this award is reportedly between just $10,000 and $25,000. hey, Cor, ask for a BIG raise in a long-term deal ;D

Kluber had this say about his first Cy Young: "yeah, it's pretty awesome. i definitely didn't expect it, so it's a pleasant surprise. i'm definitely surprised. it's a credit to all the hard work and stuff that i've put in through the past. a lot of people have helped me out along the way. a lot of things had to come together at the right time."

"when i switched to that [sinker] pitch instead of a four-seam fastball it really allowed me to command my fastball better, and that in turn made all my other pitches more effective. it all came together at the right time this year i guess."

has that slurve always been his go-to offspeed pitch? "uh yeah. it's kind of evolved over time. there's been, for the most part, the same grip since college, tweaking things here and there. because it's a pitch i've thrown for so long, it's something that i'm pretty comfortable with."

so what does he plan to work on to get better? "i think there's always room for improvement and i think you can improve every pitch, become more consistent with them. me personally, i think my biggest pitch that i can improve on is the changeup."

and how is he going to celebrate this momentous occasion? "probably go home and give my daughters a bath or something boring like that." well, Kendall and Kennedy are lucky little girls to have a father like him lol =D

photo courtesy of @AmandaKluber twitter

Kluber did another interview with MLB Tonight to talk about his award and his season. you can watch that one here.

prior to Kluber, the last Indians player to win the Cy Young Award was Cliff Lee in 2008. C.C. Sabathia and Gaylord Perry are the only other Indians to win Cy Youngs (2007 and 1972) in franchise history.

photo courtesy of @dmansworld474 twitter

Kluber became the ace of the Indians' pitching staff long before the Justin Masterson trade to the Cardinals on July 30. he's a true team leader and had one hell of an outstanding season. congratulations, Corey! well-deserved! =D