Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

This Week on Wahoo’s on First: Francona Speaks and Rocky Colavito


Here are the highlights from Wahoo’s on First this week.

From Photobucket, by Andy Cummings

Brian paid homage to the somehow-unappreciated Rocky Colavito:

That got me thinking. Just how good was Rocky Colavito? Was he everything everyone claims he was? Was he even better than people say? Was he possibly worse? I honestly had no idea. I decided to do some digging to find out and finally formulate an opinion of my own—and so I concluded that Rocky Colavito was a beast and the stories back up what was truly an impressive career.

Jason wondered how Cleveland’s offseason acquisitions will change the character of the clubhouse:

On the good side, no discussion of what Nick Swisher will do for the Indians is complete that doesn’t talk about his personality. Swish (and his many faces) will bring positivity and showmanship to a clubhouse whose most outspoken member of late (Chris Perez) is best known for his criticism of the team’s fans and front office. Swisher wears his passion for the game on his sleeve. And though some commentators think his over-the-top style also make him an agitator at times, by all accounts he is a great motivator. He should get the players fired up the way Victor Martinez used to with his individualized handshakes. It’s easy to see why Chris Antonetti considers him a “perfect complement for the team.”

Lewie supported the Indians’ interest in Travis Hafner and Jim Thome:

Without knowing their respective asking prices I’m not sure which of the two would be a better fit for the Tribe (Hafner is a safer bet, while Thome has higher upside and is more popular in Cleveland) but I’m all in favor of the Indians’ approach. Yes, using a 25-man roster spot on a player who will miss half the season and can’t field has its downsides, but despite their reputations as washed up both Hafner and Thome are far better hitters than anyone else Terry Francona could plug into the DH spot on a regular basis.

Brian looked at 10 questions facing the Tribe for 2013:

6. Will strikeouts be an issue? This is one of those questions that will probably be answered as the season plays out. You’d like to think strikeouts won’t be an issue, but Drew Stubbs and Mark Reynolds are two of baseball’s all-time greatest windmills. It’s hard to ignore that fact regardless of how much importance you place on strikeouts. Can the Indians coaching staff figure out a way to help them and promote more contact? Here’s hoping.

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Lewie explained that discussions of trading Chris Perez have to start by figuring out whether he’s worth his 2013 salary:

Depending on which figure you prefer, the cost of a win’s worth of production on the free agent market (if you can think of players in such abstract terms) is between $5 and $9 million. That means Perez would need to be worth between 0.8 and 1.4 wins in order to earn his keep in 2013. The major WAR (wins above replacement) systems all pegged him at around that minimum value in 2012, so at a minimum he’d need to keep up—if not build on—his breakout performance last year. As a prerequisite, then, the team has to believe that the strides Perez made last season were legitimate and there is no real risk of him regressing to his 2011 level.

In this week’s Wroundtable, we debated whether or not the Indians should trade Perez:

Charlie Adams (Indians Prospect Insider): Regardless of their record (literally, even if they are in 1st place by 10 games), the Indians should trade Chris Perez to a team in need of help and, in doing so, save themselves $3 million this year, $10 million next year, receive a quality asset in return and be little worse off than they started thanks to a deep MLB bullpen and even deeper farm system (Haley, Salazar, Armstrong, Price, Stowell, and others). Giving up Perez costs you less than half a win over the course of a season, let alone ~80 games and teams always overpay for proven closers at the deadline. No brainer.

Ed covered the interviews that Mark Shapiro and Terry Francona gave at TribeFest:

Francona was up next, and his enthusiasm was apparent the moment he took the microphone. He said when he found out the Indians job was open, he decided he would either be managing the Indians or back at ESPN as an analyst. Two other times during the Q&A, he was asked in various ways why he would consider coming to Cleveland, and he made it clear he thought very highly of Shapiro and Antonetti, and considered them friends. He made a point to say “when we (the Indians) win,” and how he feels that at this point in his baseball career, money and market size aren’t as important to him as feeling comfortable and being in the right situation, which he felt Cleveland was.

Meanwhile, Lewie offered some thoughts on Terry Francona’s ESPN interview:

Again, this is kind of a softball question, but it’s nice to hear Francona’s humility. Despite what you might hear on ESPN, a manager really isn’t as important as an ace pitcher or a starting shortstop. Francona isn’t the star of this team, and while you wouldn’t expect him to say he was it’s reassuring that he acknowledged that he isn’t.

Evan asked whether Justin Masterson has what it takes to be an ace:

Masterson is a very good starting pitcher, who is worth more in real baseball than fantasy baseball, and sometimes that is overlooked. While he won’t post any Greg Maddux-like numbers, he could, very well, be the pitcher that he was in 2011 going forward, and while that may not garner Cy Young votes from our friends in the BBWAA, it would at least be enough to provide the Indians with their version of a No. 1 starter.

Steve admired the just-signed Ryan Raburn‘s versatility:

Raburn may be signing a minor-league deal, but barring injury or noticeable deterioration of skills odds are very favorable that he will be on the Opening Day roster. He provides the team with depth in the infield and at both corner outfield positions and his bat will help bolster a lineup that posted AL lows for OPS  (.664) and HR (40) against southpaw pitchers in 2012.

Jeff offered his thoughts on how an expanded replay system would work in baseball:

I sincerely hope that Major League Baseball, by being the last major sport to embrace replay, has learned from the foibles of the other professional leagues. It is easy to make a list of the things we do not want: endless delays, reversals of calls without clear evidence of a mistake, umpires becoming indecisive because they anticipate Big Brother watching over them. This list is easy to make because we have seen all of these things happen.

Finally, Brian suggested some throwback uniforms for the 2013 Indians:

1. 1970 Home Uniforms: This set was used for one only season back in 1970. A similar version was used the following season in 1971, minus the red drop shadow on the lettering, but this actual version had only one year in the spot light. It’s a shame, too. This set had a lot to offer. The pinstripes are a classic look and the unique lettering is something we hadn’t seen before and haven’t seen since. The dark navy cap with the red wishbone C really pops. It’s a good contrast of dark navy with a vibrant red and makes for good looking uniform. This is one that I’m not sure a lot of Tribe fans even know existed.

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