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Monthly Archives: November 2013

Breaking down the 2013 Akron pitchers with Edwin Rodriguez (11.25.13)

The Akron Aeros did not defend their Eastern League championship in 2013, ultimately finishing the season 68-73, but the Aeros served a greater purpose over the course of the season. The development and improvement of the next wave of Cleveland players took precedence in 2013 as fans who came out to see the Akron Aeros saw the names who will soon play at Progressive Field.

Despite the disappointment of a losing season, Aeros manager Edwin Rodriguez and his staff did a great job working with the young players that populated the Akron roster this year. Before the final home game of the season I spoke with him at length, breaking down positives and the negatives of the key members of the 2013 Aeros.

In part one we broke down the hitters. In part two today, we will take a look at the pitchers. Read More…

From Indians Baseball Insider, November 25, 2013

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Posted by on November 27, 2013 in ZJ. November 2013

 

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Cleveland Sports Weekly: Expensive free agents might not fit for Cleveland (11.20.13)

Marlon Byrd, a 36-year-old outfielder who was suspended from Major League Baseball in 2012 for performance-enhancing drug use, signed a two-year, $16 million contract with the Philadelphia Phillies.

Tim Hudson, a 38-year-old starting pitcher who suffered a particularly nasty broken ankle in July, signed a two-year, $23 million contract with the San Francisco Giants.

The prices of free agents this offseason are soaring, which could prevent big-name additions from coming to Cleveland this winter.

General Manager Chris Antonetti made headlines last offseason by signing Nick Swisher, Michael Bourn, Mark Reynolds and Brett Myers to a combined $117 million in guaranteed money. Those signings had their ups and downs — Reynolds and Myers were both cut midseason — but the newfound spending keyed a 24-win turnaround that propelled Cleveland into the playoffs.

Reynolds and Myers both signed one-year contracts, meaning they are not counting against the 2014 payroll. Swisher and Bourn, however, have salaries that rise for the upcoming season. Bourn’s contract is jumping from $7 million to $13.5 million this year, and Swisher’s is going from $11 million to $15 million. That $10.5 million difference, along with significant raises in arbitration for players like Justin Masterson, will take up most of Cleveland’s payroll. Read More…

From Daily Kent Stater, November 20, 2013

 
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Posted by on November 20, 2013 in ZJ. November 2013

 

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Cleveland Sports Update: waving goodbye to Ubaldo (11.13.13)

With the news that Ubaldo Jimenez declined the Cleveland Indians’ $14.1 million qualifying offer for the 2014 season, it appears that the right-hander will not be back with the team next season.

But hold on. This this might not be all that bad for Cleveland.

Jimenez’s season numbers — 3.30 earned run average and 9.56 strikeouts per nine innings — made him look like the pitcher Cleveland acquired back in 2011. But those numbers do not do justice to what Jimenez did in the second half of the season.

In the second half, Jimenez posted a 1.82 ERA with 10.71 strikeouts per nine innings in 84.0 innings as he led Cleveland down the stretch to a playoff berth. Working with pitching coach Mickey Callaway on speeding up his delivery and pitching more in the strike zone seemed to help Jimenez regain his past dominance, and Cleveland reaped the benefits in 2013.

Now, Jimenez is a free agent, one that would look great atop the Cleveland rotation with No. 1 starter Justin Masterson and rising ace Danny Salazar. The three of them would be one of the better trios in all of baseball, but Cleveland’s payroll constraints probably will not allow that to happen. Read More…

From Daily Kent Stater, November 13, 2013

 
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Posted by on November 20, 2013 in ZJ. November 2013

 

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Cleveland Sports Weekly: Are the Browns a playoff team? (11.6.13)

Are the Cleveland Browns a playoff team?

More than likely, they are not. Over halfway through the season, the Browns are below .500 with a 4-5 record and an offense that ranks 26th in the NFL with only 19.1 points a game.

But why be pessimistic? Right now, the Browns sit one game back of the New York Jets for the final playoff spot in the AFC. Becuase the Browns do not have their bye week until this Sunday, Cleveland is technically in 10th place in the AFC, but that is not the bigger point.

The Browns are only one game out of the playoffs with the season half over. Who saw that coming after how this season started?

Following an 0-2 start and the trade of running back Trent Richardson to the Indianapolis Colts, the Browns appeared ready to throw away the 2013 season in order to put themselves in the best position to draft a potential franchise quarterback.

Since then, the Browns have gone 4-3 to lift themselves back into the fringes of contention. This happened despite Brian Hoyer’s season-ending ACL tear and Brandon Weeden’s questionable play. Weeden is 0-4 under center this year, but current starting quarterback Jason Campbell has offered some hope for the rest of 2013. Read More…

From Daily Kent Stater, November 6, 2013

 
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Posted by on November 20, 2013 in ZJ. November 2013

 

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Cleveland Sports Weekly: Not many options for Browns at quarterback (10.23.13)

The Cleveland Browns are only 3-4, but with a 0-4 record under current quarterback Brandon Weeden, it is easy to see the season going downhill.

So far in five games (four starts), Weeden has 1154 passing yards, five touchdowns, six interceptions and a 52.8 completion percentage. ESPN’s Total QBR rankings currently put Weeden 34th among NFL quarterbacks, ahead of only Chad Henne, Josh Freeman, and Blaine Gabbert.

Plus, if you are not a fan of just statistics, Weeden threw one of the worst interceptions you will see during Cleveland’s loss to the Lions last week.

Considering Weeden turned 30 years old last week and has looked pretty bad in his first 20 games with a 5-14 record as a starter, it certainly looks as if the Browns need to move on at the quarterback position.

If Brian Hoyer had not torn his ACL, none of this would be an issue. Hoyer had effectively taken the job and had the Browns looking up. Now that he is out for the year and Weeden has not shown any signs of improvement, a new direction at the quarterback position will come at some point.

That will likely happen in the 2014 draft — whether it be Teddy Bridgewater, Johnny Manziel, or someone else — but the question is whether help can come sooner than next May. Read More…

From Daily Kent Stater, October 23, 2013

 
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Posted by on November 4, 2013 in ZI. October 2013

 

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The IBI Awards: Best New Addition (10.20.13)

The 2013 season proved quite successful for Cleveland as the team completed a 24-win turnaround and made the playoffs with a 92-70 record.

As a part of recapping the year that was, IBI is once again giving out some year-end awards. Unlike last year, we will be focusing only on Cleveland-centric awards. Today we unveil IBI’s Best New Addition:

Rank Name Points
1 Yan Gomes 39
2 Terry Francona 30
3 Nick Swisher 28
4 Scott Kazmir 23
5 Ryan Raburn 15
6 Danny Salazar 11
7 Mickey Callaway 9
T-8 Michael Bourn 7
T-8 Jason Giambi 7
10 Bryan Shaw 5
11 Mike Aviles 3
T-12 Drew Stubbs 1
T-12 Marc Rzepczynski 1
T-12 Trevor Bauer 1

When I sent the ballots out, I did not specify if coaches were eligible for this category (because I had not really thought about it). If I had specified, I think Francona would have ran away with this award.

As it is, even unclear rules could not keep him from making his presence felt. Much like how Francona made his presence felt throughout the 2013 season.

There is no way to measure everything a manager does for a team and quantify it. Most managers are competent in one way or another (typically they are either a good manager of players behind the scenes and bad at in-game decisions, or vice versa). The ones that are good both at the people skills and at making decisions on the field are rare and special. Despite some shortcomings in decision-making that we all second-guessed this year, I believe Francona is great at both.

Things changed when Francona signed on last offseason (and again when he hired Callaway as his pitching coach). For that reason, he got my top vote.

Gomes, Callaway, Swisher, and Raburn rounded out my ballot.

Here’s what the rest of IBI thinks: Read More…

From Indians Baseball Insider, October 20, 2013

 
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Posted by on November 4, 2013 in ZI. October 2013

 

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The IBI Awards: Most Surprising Player (10.19.13)

The 2013 season proved quite successful for Cleveland as the team completed a 24-win turnaround and made the playoffs with a 92-70 record.

As a part of recapping the year that was, IBI is once again giving out some year-end awards. Unlike last year, we will be focusing only on Cleveland-centric awards. Today we unveil IBI’s Most Surprising Player:

Rank Name Points
1 Yan Gomes 49.5
2 Corey Kluber 29.5
T-3 Scott Kazmir 28
T-3 Ubaldo Jimenez 28
5 Ryan Raburn 20
6 Danny Salazar 14
7 Jason Giambi 7
8 Jose Ramirez 5
T-9 Trevor Bauer 1
T-9 Vinnie Pestano 1
T-9 Justin Masterson 1

I doubt that many people looked at Cleveland’s roster before the season and thought “this is a 92-win team.” In order to reach that mark and make the playoffs it took multiple players exceeding expectations.

Personally, I voted for Gomes in the top spot. Gomes just edged Kazmir (who finished second for me) because we really had no idea that Gomes was going to be this good. The throw-in on the Esmil Rogers trade took over the catching job (possibly for good), finished second on the team in fWAR (3.7), and posted a .294/.345/.481 line.

I easily could have voted for Kazmir, Kluber, Jimenez, or Raburn (the rest of my top-five) as every one of them is a worthy selection. Really, there are no wrong choices.

Here’s what the rest of IBI thinks: Read More…

From Indians Baseball Insider, October 19, 2013

 
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Posted by on November 4, 2013 in ZI. October 2013

 

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