Where were you…

gavel%203.jpg… the last time the Indians went to an arbitration hearing?

I was 8 years old, growing up in Chicago and rooting on the Bulls as they pushed their way to their first NBA title. Hey, um, sorry about “The Shot,” by the way.

(True story tangent: My mom bought me a shirt that said “Air Jordan” when I was a little kid. She seriously thought it was an airline. Had no idea there was some basketball superstar with my name. God Bless her.)

Moving on…

The last time the Indians went to an arbitration hearing was 1991. Second baseman Jerry Browne wanted $1.1 million and pitcher Greg Swindell wanted $2.025 million. The sides did not budge. Arbitration hearings were required. Browne lost. Swindell won.

I’m bringing this up because tomorrow (Jan. 5) is the first day players can officially file for arbitration. Cleveland has four players — Shin-Soo Choo, Asdrubal Cabrera, and the Pitchers Perez — who fall into that category. Players file between Wednesday and Jan. 15, salary figures are due to be exchanged on Jan. 18 and the hearings, if necessary, run from Feb. 1-21.

When I covered the Blue Jays last winter, GM Alex Anthopoulos had a policy of setting an internal deadline for negotiations. In short, if he did not avoid arbitration by settling on a contract prior to the exchange date, then he would go to a hearing with the player in question. Anthopoulos believed it was an effective tool for getting talks done fast, wasting no one’s time. Either agree to a deal or we’re done talking and it’ll be settled at a hearing.

I asked Indians GM Chris Antonetti if he might use a similar policy and he said it was not something the Tribe did — not as a blanket policy anyway. Antonetti said each contract would be considered on a case-to-base basis and if an internal deadline was required, they’d implement one. Behind-the-scenes tactics aside, expect the Indians to settle with all four of their eligible players.

I’d expect Choo to reach a deal somewhere between $3 million or $4 million in his first year of eligibility. I find it hard to believe that the Tribe will sign him to a long-term contract this winter. I could be wrong, but Choo’s agent, Scott Boras, did not seem too optimistic about the possibility of agreeing to an extension this winter when he addressed the issue at the Winter Meetings.

Chris Perez is eligible for the first time due to reaching Super 2 status and Cabrera is also a first-time arbitration candidate. Rafael Perez is in his second go-round after settling on a $795K contract for last season. The Indians already avoided arbitration with Jensen Lewis ($650K for 2011) and Joe Smith ($870K plus incentives for ’11).

And, in case you missed it, here’s the latest edition of the Indians Inbox on Indians.com. Keep sending those questions to IndiansInbox@gmail.com.

Last, Go Buckeyes! That actually was painful to type for me, but after the New Years Day showing by the Big 10, I’m willing to put our differences aside and root for THE Ohio State University. Just this once.




Yeah, I think the Big Ten is being revealed for what it is, a competitive division that’s not as good as the others. If OSU loses, it’s going to be a big deal.
And what happened to the Spartans? Yikes.

My one issue with college football bowl games is the same as the NFL Super Bowl: taking teams that play amongst the elements all season and throwing them in a dome with a turf or these warm weather venues is a joke. Conversely, would it be fair to take a dome team and have them play in say, Minnesota for a January bowl game? No football games at any level should be played indoors. Midwest teams are at a huge disadvantage in these bowl games But OSU stinks in big games and doesn’t do themselves any favors from a national perspective either.

Moving on, can I say that I would rather give Hermann, Pestano or Judy a chance rather than Jensen Lewis. To read JB’s comment on the main page that he’s guaranteed a roster spot makes my head capable of frying an egg. Seriously. Can we drop this guy after signing him to arbitration? I know he’s out of options but the guy is as useless as non-functioning areolas on a bull (ok that analogy doesn’t make total sense but it’s the best I could come up with while remaining PG). AND, there’s precedent for it: we gave Aaron Fultz a one-year $2M extension only to cut him before the season started. Get it down and drop the Vandy guy… or trade him for his college roommate.

Seriously? I thought Jensen Lewis had a decent season last year, all things considered. Although I thought Hermann really came out of nowhere and was a pleasant surprise, Lewis had better numbers across the board in comparable appearances. And, I really don’t think you could make an argument for Pestano or Judy simply based on experience.
We all know the nature of the bullpen beast, and I’m confident all the mentioned will see significant time at some point this season. But, I see no real strong reason to have Hermann, Pestano, or Judy in a guaranteed spot over Lewis.

This is way better than a brick & mortar estabileshmnt.

I remember in ’09 Lewis was having problems with the velocity on his fastball, and thus made his changeup not as effective (a la Trevor Hoffman circa 2010). Lewis was hemorrhaging HRs in ’09. I think he gave up 13. Last season, I honestly don’t remember what the velocity on his fastball was, but he only gave up 1 HR in 36.1 innings.

Yeah, I don’t think Jensen Lewis has been all that bad especially in 2010. As sad as it is, we may have to accept that somewhat mediocre players like Jensen Lewis are going to make up the bulk of our team. Hopefully he and some of the other guys get it together and improve. It’s such a young team with so little MLB experience that it’s hard to even know who deserves a roster spot.

I guess my point is that despite an ok 2010 season, his history in Cleveland has been quite disappointing with the second half (and playoff run) in 2007 as the lone exception. Despite ML experience I would rather give people a chance rather than holding onto them for years and never seeing what they can do. Next thing you know, they’re unprotected in the R4D and blossom elsewhere simply b/c they never got a shot in Cleveland.

Lewis’s fastball velocity has remained slightly below his ’07 level, he average 90.1 in ’07, 89.8 last year. It was ’08 that he was real bad, he only average 88.1. More concerning last year was the 4.71 BB/9 … Anyone notice the Cubs traded Chris Archer and some other guys for Matt Garza? Archer was ranked as the Cubs’ number 1 prospect, he was the 3rd pitcher the Indians gave the Cubs in the Derosa trade.

Yes, Archer had a good year in split duties between Single- and Double AA. Yet, he’s 22 years old. Not to mention, this was an eight player deal. It’s not like Garza was traded for Archer and one other guy. This was a significant deal for both teams for a myriad of reasons. And being the #1 pitcher in an organization’s system that is notorious for being depleted and oftentimes as empty as the kitchen cupboard, I take it for what it’s worth. No one, including you ST liked the way that DeRosa was handled here in Cleveland particularly from a fielding standpoint. We get it, you liked Archer but let me ask you this question once again: would you have traded Archer et. al for Perez and Todd? I would have simply b/c the closer was/is so necessary for any team.

I don’t know if I’d make that trade or not, I don’t particularly trust C Perez to continue to have success, his wildness can be frightening. Archer’s a starter so far, but is viewed more as a reliever in the majors. I just had no idea Archer was that highly rated now … I would, however trade C Perez and Todd for Garza.

I also did not see that Archer had climbed the latter so quickly and effectively. I think a year split between Double- and Triple-A will be a significant measuring barometer for the young man. Quite often the players that are slowed early in the development dominate the lower levels simply because of their advanced age. It should be an intriguing story to follow.

Really, Perez and Todd for Garza? Interesting. You’re higher on Garza than I am and I probably value Perez more than you.

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