The end of 2012 is less than 36 hours away! Here’s a look at this week’s Wahoo’s on First highlights:
Lewie argued that Nick Swisher is a perfect fit for the Indians:
First off, the addition of Swisher gives the Indians the best defensive outfield they’ve had in recent memory. Drew Stubbs is the first true center fielder Cleveland has had since Grady Sizemore‘s heyday. Michael Brantley isn’t great in center, but his glove plays as well above average in left. And Swisher is at worst a solid option in right field and a clear upgrade over Shin-Soo Choo. For a pitch-to-contact staff whose groundball-inducing tendencies have gradually declined, outfield defense is more important than it would be to most other teams, and Tribe pitchers now have a supporting cast that’s tailored to them.
Jeff looked at how the Swisher signing could affect the rest of the team’s winter plans:
It is important to realize, however, that the acquisition of Swisher enables the Indians to use their assets to address other needs. Whereas a week ago we might have expected Chris Perez or Asdrubal Cabrera to be traded for a power-hitting outfielder, they or other players can now be used to address the other pressing needs.
Evan said that Chris Antonetti has restored faith in the Tribe front office this offseason:
Hat’s off to Chris Antonetti, who, in the month of December, signed Nick Swisher and turned Shin-Soo Choo and a couple of spare parts (Sipp and Anderson) into a huge defensive upgrade in center field (Drew Stubbs) and a potential ace (Trevor Bauer). Whoever Antonetti became over the last two months, Indians fans should be happy about the upgrade.
The downfall of Jason Kipnis’ spectacular 2012 season had less to do with me and more to do with bad luck. The significant decrease in his BABIP combined with the struggles of those around him all contributed to creating a situation in which he simply couldn’t succeed. As a young player in his first full big-league season, he wasn’t prepared to carry an offense over the course of 162 games. From that standpoint, the acquisitions of Drew Stubbs, Mark Reynolds, and Nick Swisher become that much more important.
Jeff offered some ideas for how to get Cleveland fans back to the ballpark:
One potential tactic would be to announce that any ticket not sold three hours before game time would be sold for five dollars. It seems like a ludicrous strategy to sell good seats for such a low price, but the marginal cost of selling one more seat is nearly zero, so any walkup sales at all are pure profit, and there is a good chance that the person who buys a five dollar ticket will also buy a hot dog and a T-shirt. The key objective of this strategy would be to get first-time families into the ballpark for the first time, in the hope that they would enjoy themselves and buy tickets to additional games at full price.
Steve proposed a framework for extending Trevor Bauer:
The first part of the contract would require the Indians to guarantee the 2013 and 2014 portions of his current deal regardless whether he pitches in Cleveland or Columbus. In my proposal, the following would be his yearly salaries by year: $1.325 million in 2013, $1,525 million in 2014, $2 million in 2015, $4.5 million in 2016, and $7 million in 2017. The first option year would be 2018 for $10 million and would include a $2.5 million buyout. The salaries for the remaining option years: would be $12 million for 2009 (with a $1 million) and $15 million for 2020 (with a $500,000 buyout).
Finally, in a special New Year’s edition of the Weekly Wroundtable, we reflected on the best Indians moments of 2012:
Steve Kinsella (Wahoo’s on First): Carlos Santana and Travis Hafner going back to back on Justin Verlander to tie the game at 3-3. Then a Jose Lopez single, two outs, and three straight hits to take a 5-3 lead. Chris Perez gets into trouble, thinks he has a double play ball to end it, and gets the K to end the game.
And the worst:
Merritt Rohlfing (Wahoo’s on First): The month of August. It happened so fast, it was like a moment, and at the same time an interminable misery. It just wouldn’t end.
Happy New Year!