Here are the highlights from the past few days on Wahoo’s on First as we rang in the new year with the latest Indians acquisition, Brett Myers.
Lewie wasn’t too keen on the Brett Myers signing.
Pick whoever your favorite is of Trevor Bauer, Corey Kluber, David Huff, Paolo Espino, Scott Kazmir, and any other pitchers the Indians might pick up before Spring Training—that’s who would make the team if Cleveland hadn’t signed Myers. Is the difference between Myers and whoever the best of that group is really worth $7 million for a club that’s strapped for cash? I’m not convinced.
Katrina argued that the Indians still need another starting pitcher:
The team needs to find a left-hander who can provide them with reliable results, so they need to consider trading for one final starter. One name that has been mentioned is the Dodgers’ Chris Capuano, who had an ERA+ of 102 and a 3.0 K/BB ratio last year. This past season, his WAR (according to Baseball-Reference) was 1.8. That’s a major improvement, since Masterson had the highest WAR among Tribe starters last season…at 0.0. Capuano also posted strikeout and walk rates that were well-above league average, and 18 of his 33 outings were quality starts. The veteran pitcher would be a perfect complement to the team.
Meanwhile, Lewie didn’t think Cleveland even needed Myers:
With Myers in the fold, the Tribe’s 2013 rotation is essentially set. Justin Masterson, Zach McAllister, Brett Myers, Ubaldo Jimenez, Carlos Carrasco. Quibble with the order or replace Carrasco with a dream acquisition of your choosing, but unless Jimenez is moved to the bullpen the starting five looks to have taken shape. Maybe it’s not yet etched in stone, but the metaphorical sculptors have at least traced out the carvings. The uncertainty is gone. But is that really a good thing?
Before the Myers signing, Steve made the case for the Indians to sign Kyle Lohse:
On a one-year deal Lohse would provide the Indians with everything they are looking for. Over the past two seasons he has made 63 starts, logged 399.1 innings, and gone 30-11 with a 3.11 ERA. His veteran presence could take some of the pressure off Ubaldo Jimenez and Justin Masterson, would allow for healthy competition for the last two spots in the rotation, and would give Trevor Bauer the room to grow in Triple-A if it appears that he isn’t quite ready in Spring Training.
Jeff argued that Justin Masterson and Ubaldo Jimenez are far more important to this team than Myers:
To illustrate the importance of solving this problem, in the 24 games in which these two pitchers failed to complete six innings, the Indians’ record was 4-20. In other words, the top two pitchers put the Indians 16 games in the hole before anything else happened. The bright side is that if this problem had not occurred the Tribe would have been nearly a .500 team, even with all of the other problems that occurred. Given that the front office has moved aggressively to address most of the roster’s other deficiencies this offseason, it is easy to see how rebounds by Masterson and Jimenez could lead the Indians to a winning season in 2013.
Jason tried to project Cleveland’s 2013 bullpen:
I’ve projected right-handers Perez, Pestano, Smith, and Allen as taking up four of (presumably) seven bullpen spots; I’d give the fifth spot to Scott Barnes. Tony Sipp (who had a down year but not a terrible one, and who’s given the Indians far more good memories than bad) was traded to Arizona in theShin-Soo Choo deal. Rafael Perez was designated for assignment and granted free agency in November. These moves have left the team with just Barnes, Nick Hagadone, and David Huff as left-handed options. Somehow Huff is worse against lefties (career .906 OPS) than righties, but even if he wasn’t I prefer him as rotation depth.
Market saturation isn’t the only thing that may give the Tribe pause to trade Perez. Another factor is the lack of a relief pitcher with closing experience on the current roster. Outside of Perez, the remaining bullpen candidates have a total of only 10 major league saves between them. The opinion of many is that the Indians have plenty of arms that can step in to the closers role specifically Vinnie Pestano who has 5 of the 10 aforementioned saves. But the one person who may not be that willing to go with an unproven pitcher in the closers role is Terry Francona.
When Swisher visited Cleveland the week before he signed, the Indians projected on the stadium scoreboard a picture of him in an Indians uniform, next to a lineup card that featured him batting in the cleanup spot. But the fact that the Indians placed a “TBD” next to the designated hitter spot, instead of just creating an optimal lineup from its current roster, suggests they are not satisfied with their internal options—which include Yan Gomes, Cord Phelps, Tim Fedroff, and Thomas Neal.
Finally, in this week’s special edition of the Wroundtable, we offered some New Year’s resolution ideas for the Tribe. And in a special New Year’s posts, we ranked the 10 biggest plays and the 10 biggest stories of the 2012 Indians season.