Results tagged ‘ Blue Jays ’
Teams have been busy leading up to this year’s annual offseason gathering, with Adam Dunn signing with the White Sox, Jayson Werth inking a seven-year pact with the Nationals, the Blue Jays trading away Shaun Marcum and the Red Sox pulling off a swap with San Diego to reel in Adrian Gonzalez.
As for your Indians? Well, don’t expect any huge, headline-hogging news this week in Lake Buena Vista. Tribe GM Chris Antonetti will surely be kicking the tires on some third base options, as well as looking into finding a starting pitcher, a backup catcher and a right-handed-hitting outfielder. Antonetti might also be hunting down uberagent Scott Boras for a chat about an extension for Shin-Soo Choo.
Us Cleveland scribes will meet with Antonetti this afternoon and Indians manager Manny Acta is scheduled to hold his sit-down today at 4 p.m. ET. While the Indians might not be the most active team at these Winter Meetings, I’ll do my best to keep up up to date on all that’s going on with the club.
Stay tuned for more…
UPDATE — 3:51 p.m. ET: One rumor making the rounds is that the Indians have some level of interest in free-agent outfielder Jeff Francoeur. The Royals, Phillies and Rockies have also been tabbed as suitors for the outfielder. The Tribe is in the market for a right-handed-hitting outfielder to help break-up the all-lefty combo of Michael Brantley, Grady Sizemore and Shin-Soo Choo.
UPDATE — 5:49 p.m. ET: The Indians, along with more than half a dozen teams, have reportedly inquired about outfielder Fred Lewis. On the surface, this doesn’t seem to be a fit. The Tribe already has three lefty outfielders and Lewis became increasingly unhappy as his playing time decreased down the stretch last season with the Blue Jays.
Notes & quotes from Day 1:
- Antonetti would not spill the beans when asked if he has met or plans to meet with Boras this week to continue talks about an extension for Choo. He did say that they will have to talk because Choo is eligible for arbitration, so talks of an extension will “naturally” be a part of the process. The GM noted that he is reluctant to discuss long-term deals once the regular season has started.
- In discussing the situation at third base, Acta said that Jason Donald, Jayson Nix and Cord Phelps could all be in the mix for the job, barring an offseason addition. “There is a chance of everything in the world,” Acta said. “There is a chance. We’re very deep and our depth is great up the middle.”
- Antonetti and Acta both emphasized the importance of having a strong defender at third base, especially due to having a young all-righty rotation that is so reliant on ground balls. That would seemingly rule out Encarnacion. But, Antonetti left the door open by saying, “If there’s an exceptional offensive player available at that position that may not be as strong defensively, we’ll be open-minded to that as well.” So, yeah…
- Antonetti is not one to dive into specifics, but I asked him if there were any surprise decisions at the non-tender deadline. Maybe the Tribe had its eyes on someone who they thought would become a free-agent. Antonetti replied, “Up to that point you have dialogue with teams to get some sense. There may have been a couple of surprises on either side, here or there, but for the most part a lot of the guys we expected to be non-tendered were non-tendered.” More to the point, the Indians probably would’ve preferred the A’s non-tender Kevin Kouzmanoff — not Encarnacion.
- If the Indians are going to find rotation help through free agency, a signing is not likely to happen this week at the Meetings. The Tribe needs more time to see how the market develops. “We’re not in a position to preempt the market,” said the GM. Obviously, if the Tribe is looking at trades, it could come sooner rather than later. It’s been pretty quiet on that front.
- Antonetti offered some unsolicited praise for former GM Pat Gillick, who was voted into baseball’s Hall of Fame on Monday. Said the Indians GM: “I’m elated at the fact that Gillick got elected to the Hall of Fame. That is great. There’s not a classier, more respected person in all of baseball than Pat. He’s so deserving of that.”
- Acta noted that center fielder Grady Sizemore (left knee) passed a checkup on Sunday and remains on target for Opening Day. So far, the same can be said for catcher Carlos Santana, who is also making his way back from a left knee operation.
- While you can never have enough pitching, Acta likes the way his bullpen is set up for the time being. As things currently stand, it’s closer Chris Perez, with Rafael Perez, Tony Sipp, Jensen Lewis and Joe Smith under contract. Then, there will be a bevy of arms in the mix for the other jobs. Names that quickly rolled off Acta’s tongue were Josh Judy, Zach Putnam, Bryce Stowell and Vinnie Pestano.
- Asked about Luis Valbueno’s play in winter ball in Venezuela (.271 average, .341 on-base in 48 games), Acta had this to say: “The main thing is Luis’ playing. He needs to get
his confidence back. Hopefully before the year’s over, he gets up there in the .270s, .280s, .300s, and comes to camp re-energized.”
The title of this post — my first as MLB.com’s beat reporter for the Indians — is a kind of tribute to the scribe I’m replacing here in Cleveland. I love Anthony Castrovince’s creative use of song lyrics on his Castroturf blog and look forward to seeing him continue that style in his new columnist role for MLB.com.
Castrovince is a great reporter and a strong writer and I know — as many Tribe fans have already informed me via e-mail and Twitter — I indeed have some sizeable shoes to fill. For all you “Castronauts” out there, you can at least take comfort in knowing that Anthony is sticking around in Cleveland and his voice won’t be too far away.
Now, however, is the time of the “Bastianauts!”
Many of you might recognize my byline from MLB.com or from Twitter. Since 2005, I have covered the Toronto Blue Jays for our website. It was a great experience working north of the border, but the time has come for my family to get closer to home. I’m not a Cleveland native, but I am a Midwest boy at heart and Ohio just feels right.
I was born in California, but moved before memories of palm trees and beaches could be planted in my brain. Home is originally in the south suburbs of Chicago and my wife and I still have a large portion of family in that area — both on the north and south sides. I graduated from Michigan State University in ’05 and jumped at the chance to follow my dream of writing about baseball when the opportunity came up to cover the Blue Jays.
With a wife, and now a 1-year-old son, I had been looking for a chance to return to the Midwest. When I learned that Anthony was transitioning into a new role with MLB.com, I immediately wanted the chance to assume the Indians beat. Having lived here since the end of this past season, I can already tell that taking my talents to Ohio was a great decision.
You will have to get used to a few changes now that Anthony is no longer on the beat, though.
First of all, there will not be as many Bruce Springsteen references (Sorry, bro). With me, you’ll have to get used to the fact that Pearl Jam is the Greatest Band of All-time. You’re also going to have to put up with me talking about my Spartans from time to time. Go Green! Hey, at least it’s not maize and blue. (We share a mutual hatred in that regard). I’ve already had a few of my new neighbors roll their eyes upon seeing my giant MSU flag hanging in my garage. I’m sure they’ll try to turn my son into an Ohio State fan as he grows up here.
You’ll find that I’m very active on Twitter. You can find me under @MLBastian and follow along. I’ve already received a wave of kind words welcoming me to the Tribe beat and I appreciate it very much. It was great to hear from so many Indians fans right after it was made known that I was taking this job.
And, despite what some people might say, I think this is a great time to be a fan of the Indians. Maybe the wins and losses aren’t there at the moment, and the playoffs might seem far away, but the team is young (youngest in the Majors at the end of the season) and in a position to grow as a group in the next few seasons.
I was in the pressbox in Cleveland in 2007 when the Tribe sat only a few outs away from a World Series berth, so I’ve witnessed first-hand the frustration the city feels. It wants a winner and it’s been a long time. I grew up living and dying with the Cubs, so I know the feeling. It’s tough to say “be patient” when so much time has already flown by.
As a reporter, I think this is a good situation in which to begin my career in Cleveland. With a young cast of players, a relatively new Tribe manager in Manny Acta and a first-year GM in Chris Antonetti, this club is in a transition period and looking to build on the successess it experienced down the stretch in 2010.
Tossing a new Indians reporter into the mix can’t hurt, and I’m definitely happy to be here.
Now, let’s get this thing started…