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This Week on Wahoo's on First: Pitcher WAR and Trading Asdrubal

Here are the highlights from the past week here at Wahoo’s on First:

Lewie unveiled a new version of the Simple WAR Calculator—for pitchers!—and wrote a primer on how to use it.

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In our most popular article of the week, Evan tried to envision a trade that would send Asdrubal Cabrera to the Cardinals:

If I’m Chris Antonetti, I start by asking for Oscar Taveras, a future All-Star right fielder who can absolutely mash. When a 20-year-old is compared to Vladimir Guerrero, you have to have interest. From there, Carlos Martinez would probably be the next request, as his small frame and electric stuff is reminiscent of a guy named Pedro Martinez. Shelby Miller, Lance Lynn, and Trevor Rosenthal are all excellent returns, as well.

Jeff explained why, even after the SportsTime Ohio sale, attendance is the most important factor for the team’s finances:

At an average ticket price of $22, ticket revenues probably totaled about $35 million dollars in 2012. If most people attending games spend like my family, they probably double that total in parking, concessions, and souvenirs from everyone who comes through the turnstiles. That would come close to fitting the Forbes estimate of total revenues. So if every additional 100,000 fans that buy tickets result in $4 to $5 million dollars in additional revenue. Thus, an attendance of two million would result in an extra $16-20 million.

Ed argued that the Indians don’t need Chris Perez—and debunked some myths about closers in the process:

Look, the Indians have made some moves this off-season that appear to be pretty shrewd, and I can forgive them for not wanting to get too trigger-happy and push their luck. But Perez is a luxury this team shouldn’t be affording. Even if this team is a contender (which, even for an eternal optimist like me, is a bit of a stretch unless everything goes right), the team already has a better reliever in Vinnie Pestano to take Perez’s place.

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Jeff explained why the Indians could actually get a worthwhile return for Ubaldo Jimenez:

Second, I would note that Francisco Liriano almost signed a two-year, $14 million contract with Pittsburgh. Liriano’s performance over the past year or so has been almost as inconsistent as Jimenez’, with the added issue that he cannot stay healthy. Indeed, a new arm injury may have scuttled the entire deal, which probably has the Pirates’ front office breathing a sigh of relief. What this tells me is that any pitcher perceived to have some degree of talent, which Jimenez certainly does, has some value, either financially or in trade.

Steve offered a rebuttal to Jim Bowden’s assertion that the Tribe will regret signing Nick Swisher:

Bowden may be correct in his assertion that Swisher’s skills will deteriorate over the life of the contract. But if there ever were a window of opportunity to sign a player when the cash investment would have the least impact on an organization if it goes south and the biggest bang for the buck should contract value be realized, it was this offseason through the next four years.

Meanwhile, Lewie suggested that Rafael Soriano‘s just-signed two-year deal at the same average annual salary makes the Swisher deal look like a steal:

Swisher will play 150 games (he’s played at least 148 seven years in a row), get 600 plate appearances, and hit somewhere in the middle of the order. Soriano will throw 60 innings at the ends of games that his team will almost always win anyway. And while Swisher’s contract will take him to an older age, Soriano has a year on him now so their average ages for the durations of their contracts will be the same—Soriano will actually be older on average if his 2015 option vests

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In this week’s Wroundtable, we debated whether or not the Indians should re-sign Travis Hafner:

Nino Colla (The Tribe Daily): Seeing as how I will forever respect and love what Travis Hafner did for the Indians, I would love to see him back in an Indians uniform. If the Indians could hold a 26th player and be guaranteed he could play twice or so a week against week right-handed pitchers, man I’d sign him now. But you significantly hurt the chances to be flexible with your roster if you bring Hafner back.

Jeff tried to project the Tribe’s 2013 bench:

Once the starting eight and the pitching staff are accounted for, there are still five roster spots to be filled. At least one of those guys will spend significant time at designated hitter. Chances are a couple of them will spend significant time in the starting lineup because of injury or trade. Right now, though, the only bench player we can pencil in with any assurance is Mike Aviles.

Katrina did the same for the bullpen:

There are a lot of interesting bullpen arms, such as Trey Haley and Chen Lee, who will be candidates to replace the more-expensive options in the near future. In the meantime, the Indians need to keep their three main late-inning relievers. Doing so leaves a collection of lesser pitchers to compete for the remaining spots, add depth or be traded.

Lewie praised the Indians for getting something of value for Jeanmar Gomez:

All 29 other MLB teams knew that the Indians had 10 days to either trade him or expose him to be taken from them outright, either by putting him on waivers or releasing him. It’s unlikely that many teams were interested enough in Gomez to give up anything for him, so the Pirates probably could have just waited the Tribe out and then simply claimed or signed Gomez. Yet the Indians still managed to get something out of it.

Steve wondered how the team will deal with Carlos Carrasco‘s still-pending six-game suspension from two years ago:

If ever the old saying “the best laid plans of mice and men often go astray” applied to a situation this is it. From suspended to injured to missing the 2012 season and now still facing a six-game suspension when he returns to action in 2013. What does this mean for Carrasco?

Finally, Brian argued that the Indians are now Cleveland’s premier sports team:

And no, I’m not just saying the Indians are the closest to winning a championship because the Cavaliers and Browns are so bad. Yes, that helps, but the fact of the matter is that this Tribe team has potential not just this upcoming season, but in the years ahead. Even with the few holes remaining on the roster (most notably DH) there should be an excitement beginning to build for this team as we move closer to Spring Training.

Tags: Cleveland Indians

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