The 2012 MLB season is now officially over, but here at Wahoo’s on First we’re not going into hibernation. Here are some of the highlights from this week.
In this proposal, Cleveland would be acquiring two cost-controlled players who have options remaining but whose MLB careers have not been defined. Phelps may end up being a back-of-the-rotation starter, and Mesa possesses a tremendous blend of power and speed. Although neither Phelps or Mesa will be found on a top prospect list, each has upside and the Indians would be adding talent to their system including and freeing up about $7 million in salary that can be reapportioned to other parts of the roster.
Vinnie Pestano has a 2.50 career ERA. He’s fanned 168 batters in only 137 innings. He’s got a great fastball and a wicked slider. Plus, a setup man sees plenty of opportunities in close and late situations—in fact, Manny Actaoften deployed Pestano in higher-leverage situations than Perez. And for those who put stock in such numbers, he actually has a better ERA (2.12) in save situations than he does in non-save situations (2.87).
Merritt outlined his plan for rebuilding the Indians’ rotation for 2013:
Step one is cleaning house. This means that coming into Goodyear next spring, at least two men should not be in attendance: Roberto Hernandez hasn’t been a viable starter for two or three years, and Ubaldo Jimenez has been just terrible his entire Indians career. I don’t care what kind of egos or whatever are tied up in these guys—losing can get a GM canned much faster than bad decisions.
If the Indians are about to start rebuilding, Hafner’s roster spot would be better used on a younger player who has a chance of sticking in Cleveland for the long haul. But if the Tribe wants to compete? Even if you expect him to miss half the season, 81 games of a very good hitter isn’t something to shake a stick at.
Evan feared that Cleveland fans might be putting too much faith in Francisco Lindor:
The Indians have counted on young talent through their many rebuilding processes over the years. How often has that talent come through for them in Cleveland? How many of those who did come through were traded for the next next big thing who then became nothing for the Tribe? Counting on Lindor may be the team’s next such mistake.
I think there’s a strong inference to be made here: the Indians both hired Callaway and retained Jimenez because they thought Callaway could fix Jimenez. The former case is less clear-cut—we don’t know exactly what Francona & Co. saw in Callaway—though I have to imagine fixing Ubaldo was one of the team’s top priorities for whomever got the job. But there’s no way picking up Jimenez’ option would have been worth it if the organization wasn’t confident that he could reemerge as at least a middle-of-the-rotation starter.
Although the Indians can certainly afford the probable $1.6 million in salary that Perez would command in the arbitration process, it may be preferable to non-tender him, then offer him a one-year contract which includes a lower base salary plus incentives for appearances. If he is unwilling to sign for less than the $1.6 million that he’d earn in arbitration, the Indians should allow him to test the free agent waters and explore other options on the free agent market.
In our Weekly Wroundtable, we debated whether Gold Glove finalist Shin-Soo Choo deserved to take home the hardware:
Vince Guerrieri (Did The Tribe Win Last Night?): Choo’s regarded, and not without some merit, as having a strong arm, capable of cutting down runners at the plate from near the visitors’ bullpen at Progressive Field. But it’s really hard to argue with Josh Reddick’s season.
Lewie also offered a more in-depth opinion of the situation:
UZR, perhaps the best-known of the newer sabermetric defensive statistics, estimates that Choo cost the Indians a full 17 runs (roughly the equivalent of two whole wins) with his glove as compared to a league-average right fielder. Such statistics require more than a full season of data to stabilize and should thus be taken with a grain of salt, but for a result this extreme the smallness of the sample size is not a sufficient explanation.
Finally, Lewie came up with 10 Halloween costume ideas for Tribe fans:
3. The 1997 World Series. Affix a television to your torso and have it play footage from Game 7 on loop. This one is not for the faint of heart.