Garland, Cespedes and rankings

Depth. It’s a word you’ve heard countless times this offseason as the Indians have signed player after player after player to Minor League contracts that include invites to Spring Training.

Well, guess what? Here comes that word again.

The Indians are reportedly working to sign free-agent right-hander Jon Garland to — drumroll, please — a Minor League contract that includes an invite to attend Spring Training with the Major League club, adding to the team’s pitching depth.

The deal is pending a physical, which will likely take place at the team’s spring site in Goodyear, Ariz., later this week. Pitchers and catchers are slated to report for the Tribe on Feb. 20, so no rush to get this done. Get him into Goodyear, get him his physical and announce the move officially when everyone’s on hand.

This is a low-risk, high reward situation for the Indians, and one that could enhance the team’s rotation depth. This starting staff has the potential to be a solid group, but there sure are a lot of questions.

Can Justin Masterson really take that next step in becoming an ace? Can Ubaldo Jimenez right the wrongs of 2011 and be the front-line starter Cleveland believes he can be? Can Derek Lowe and/or Kevin Slowey bounce back after poor 2011 showings? Can Josh Tomlin build on a promising season that ended in injury?

Will Fausto Carmona (or Roberto Hernandez) ever pitch for the Indians again?

As for that last question, there is no clear answer right now. In a panel discussion with Cleveland.com on Monday, though, GM Chris Antonetti did acknowledge that the club will now call the pitcher by the name Roberto Hernandez. His legal and visa woes in the Dominican are ongoing, though.

Right now, the fifth spot is seemingly up for grabs between Slowey, David Huff and Jeanmar Gomez (in no particular order). Behind that group are arms such as Zach McAllister, Scott Barnes, Corey Kluber and Austin Adams. Garland, if healthy, can undoubtedly boost the depth chart.

His 2011 season ended in July due to a shoulder surgery that required at least six months of recovery. It stands to reason that, if there haven’t been complications, that Garland might be in the mix for that fifth rotation job as well. Another comeback story to follow this spring.

Worth noting is this: Garland’s 2,083 1/3 innings and 132 wins since 2000 rank 12th and 16th, respectively, among all Major League pitchers. He is 132-119 overall with a 4.32 ERA across 353 games in the big leagues. Garland has won at least 12 games in a season seven times and he has topped 190 innings nine times.

A’s to sign Cespedes

The one remaining move on the board that I felt could serve as a statement for the Indians is now, well, off the board. Oakland has agreed to sign Cuban outfielder Yoenis Cespedes to a four-year deal worth $36 million. CLICK HERE for the story from MLB.com’s Jane Lee.

The Indians expressed interest in Cespedes and this was a move I thought had the potential to benefit the Tribe in a couple ways. First and foremost, he fit the criteria of being under club control for an extended period of time. Second, the price tag in terms of money and length would have shown a willingness to spend and commit.

That said, it takes two to tango. And, clearly, Cespedes liked the A’s better as a dancing partner.

Spring has nearly sprung

I’m leaving Cleveland on a jet plane on Saturday to bring you Spring Training coverage from Arizona. Make sure you’re following me on Twitter (@MLBastian), checking back here on the blog for updates and reading the daily news and features on Indians.com. I’ll be taking photos, too. I’ve got you covered.

For a quick rundown of the Indians’ situation as camp is set to begin, CLICK HERE. Pitchers and catchers report on Feb. 20. Physicals are Feb. 21 and the first workout is Feb. 22. Position players report on Feb. 23 with physicals the next day. The first full-squad workout will be Feb. 25.

In case you missed it…

Indians signed SS Asdrubal Cabrera on Friday.

Indians Player Twitter Power Rankings

Week 4: Major League Rankings

1. @VinnieP52 (Vinnie Pestano) – Last week: 1 (4)
2. @TheJK_Kid (Jason Kipnis) – Last week: 2
3. @thethree8 (Joe Smith) – Last week: 3
4. @ChrisPerez54 (Chris Perez) – Last week: 4
5. @LouMar6 (Lou Marson) – Last week: NR

Sixth Man: @SippTony – Last week: 5

Top Twitter Prospects

1. @TDaddyNeal (Thomas Neal) – Last week: 2
2. @C_M_Cook (Cole Cook) – Last week: 1
3. @EBerger18  (Eric Berger) – Last week: NR

–JB

3 Comments

hmmmmm…cleveland needs a power hitting right handed outfield/first base bat and it took 9 mil. to get him (cespedes). instead cleveland signed a strikeout machine mediocre power hitting lefty who has been injured the last 2 1/2 years and can’t play more than 80 games for a mere 9 mil. and threw another 3 mil. per year to a guy who has had one…count them one good year in the majors from a BA standpoint. No, our front office guys are really smart. Where do I buy my season tickets again??? SELL THE TEAM DOLAN.

Jordan, I mean no disrespect, but are you employed by the Indians or MLB? or is that merely splitting hairs? I find your articles really slanted to see the brighter side of what the Indians are doing, however, I would bet that if you are truly a baseball fan and could really say what you think of the Indians “offseason”, you would tell a different tale? Am I right or do you really believe that what the Indians are doing is smart? If you were an outsider, so to speak, would you be impressed with the Indians offseason?

Baseball is here! Check out the Unofficial Guide to the Cactus League.
http://www.westsideculture.com/free-spring-training-guide/

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