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The Spin Cycle: Should the Indians sign Ubaldo Jimenez

Ubaldo Jimenez (AP Photo/Mark Duncan)

Ubaldo Jimenez (AP Photo/Mark Duncan)

In this week’s Spin Cycle, we are going to continue to look at the Indians’ starting rotation, as we have the past few weeks. The Indians have been quiet since they dealt Drew Stubbs this past December, because their club as a whole seems to be fairly complete. While the Indians have minor concerns at shortstop and third base, their pitching remains the question mark heading into the 2014 season.

How much of a question mark depends on who’s looking.

Today, we are going to focus the spotlight once again on Ubaldo Jimenez, who remains a free agent in an unknown market for starting pitchers.

Two weeks ago, we took a look at the #5 slot in the rotation, and Carlos Carrasco came out on top with 32% of the vote.

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The Spin Cycle: Is Danny Salazar elite?

Danny Slazar (REUTERS/Aaron Josefczyk)

Danny Salazar (REUTERS/Aaron Josefczyk)

In this week’s Spin Cycle, we are going to continue to take a look at the starting rotation, where the one tangible hole on the 25-man roster remains. While it’s vital that the Indians address the #5 spot in the rotation, what happens in the 1-4 slots may be equally important. While the Indians seem to have those spots locked down with Justin Masterson, Danny Salazar, Corey Kluber and Zach McAllister, there are questions that remain.

Before we get there though, let’s take a look at last week’s Spin Cycle, again, with interesting results.

Last week, we took a look at who the Indians #5 starter would be between Carlos Carrasco, Shawn Marcum, Josh Tomlin, Trevor Bauer, or by a potential move that had not been made yet. I was purposely vague on what that move might be, thinking that it could either be a big money signing, like Ubaldo Jimenez returning, or another minor league contract.

There was no clear majority, yet again, for the results, but there was a fairly clear cut between what Indians’ fans want, and what they likely don’t want. The top two results garnered 58 ½ % of the total voting, so it’s clear that there’s an arm that most want to see succeed, unless the Indians go about getting another proven arm.

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The Spin Cycle: Who will be the Indians fifth starter?

In this week’s Spin Cycle, we are going to take a closer look at the starting rotation, and in particular, which starter is going to take over that #5 slot in the rotation. Before we get there, let’s take a look at last week’s spin cycle, and the rather interesting results.

Last week, the Indians had yet to make any moves of significance after they had signed David Murphy in November. I decided to open up the spin cycle by giving the Indians Baseball Insiders’ readers a chance to make some moves of their own. Here’s a quick look at the top nine selections in this past week’s voting:

Sign a mid-level, free agent closer/reliever (Axford, Rodney, Crain, FRod) 73 13.49% 13.49%
Sign what you have long-term: Justin Masterson 69 12.75% 12.75%
Trade Asdrubal 69 12.75% 12.75%
Trade Drew Stubbs 52 9.61% 9.61%
Trade Michael Bourn 38 7.02% 7.02%
Wait and hope for high price starter to drop in $ or years 38 7.02% 7.02%
Sign a low-level, free agent starter (Hanson, Marcum, JWilliams) 37 6.84% 6.84%
Sign a high priced, free agent starter (Ubaldo, Santana, Garza, Arroyo) 30 5.55% 5.55%
Sign a mid-level, free agent starter (Maholm, Hammel) 21 3.88% 3.88%

There wasn’t a majority, as will tend to happen with so many selections, but the top three choices by Cleveland Indians’ fans were very clear.

First, the Indians needed to sign a mid-level, free agent closer, with the ones I’ve listed being John Axford,Fernando RodneyJesse Crain and Francisco Rodriguez. The Indians didn’t waste any time viewing our poll, seeing what we wanted, and going out and making a deal.

On Monday, it was announced that the Indians were going to sign former Milwaukee Brewers’ and St. Louis Cardinals reliever, John Axford. Axford may not have been the top choice for many Indians’ fans, but he certainly was a much more cost-effective signing than some of the other choices out there. The question with Axford is really with regards to his upside, and if he truly has any.

None of the other players listed have signed yet, but it does appear that Fernando Rodney may be about to hit a gold-mine after Grant Balfour’s deal went into a garbage can after the Orioles didn’t like what they saw after his physical.

Rodriguez has had moderate interest thusfar in the offseason, but it’s clear that teams are waiting to see what the market makes available after the top names fall off the market.

Jesse Crain has reportedly had several offers that he’s mulling over, but his market has been relatively quiet up to this point.

My gut feeling here is that the Indians may not be finished signing bullpen arms. If they could get Crain or FRod to sign a one-year, low-cost deal, I think they would do it. Another interesting name out there is Joel Hanrahan, who missed most of the 2013 season thanks to Tommy John surgery. It’s unknown if Hanrahan will pitch in 2014, but I could see the Indians taking a low-cost flier on either Hanrahan or Crain, gambling on health at some point during the season.

Justin Masterson is clearly on everyone’s mind this offseason, as he has only one year left on his contract and will command big dollars once he becomes a free agent at the end of the 2014 season. Indians fans know this story all too well, as we’ve seen players come to this point several times, and have often seen them walk without a deal if the team performs well throughout the season, or get traded at the deadline if the team isn’t performing.

It’s clear that fans want Justin Masterson signed to a long-term deal.
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The Spin Cycle: What would YOU do if you were the GM?

David Murphy

David Murphy

What is going on with the Cleveland Indians?

They clearly aren’t going to be doing anything this offseason since they haven’t made a major move since the David Murphy signing on November 25th.

Look, it’s December 15th, and the while “the rest” of Major League baseball are busy spending ludicrous amounts of money on the rather adequate 2013-2014 free agent pool, the Tribe has been busy sitting on their hands over the past several weeks.

Okay, so they really haven’t been sitting on their hands. They’ve been working the phones of several agents and GMs searching for the right mix of player and money. That’s clearly a finicky job for a team like the Erie Warriors, who are already at or near their soft pay ceiling as they try to fill out their 2014 roster.

Last season, Chris Antonetti had a similar difficult path in front of him, but had more dollars to work with. Last year, even with Terry Francona in tow, Antonetti had to convince a free agent or two to actually come to Cleveland.

He had some advantages last year with most of the rest of the big league front offices trying to figure out the ramifications of the group of players that had turned down their qualifying offers, costing a team signing them their first round pick.

The Tribe didn’t have to worry about that pick because theirs was protected, so when you combine that with some financial flexibility, Terry Francona and a Free Agent who’s more or less from Ohio and attended Ohio State, you had a perfect storm of sorts.

Past that though, Francona and Antonetti were able to do some other things prior to their January 3rd Nick Swisher signing.

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The Spin Cycle: Who is the Indians next closer?

 (photo: AP)

Cody Allen (photo: AP)

In our last Spin Cycle, we took a look at which current rookie or minor leaguer that would have the biggest impact with the Indians in 2014. In essence, what we were looking for was which player might have the Yan Gomes effect next season. Rare is the day that a player enters a season as a rookie, or if not a rookie, having never been a major league regular and ends the season having been a major factor with the big league club.

Yan Gomes was that player last year.

We took a look at several different prospects, and while there wasn’t a majority, there was one player that far exceeded the rest.

That one player was Jose Ramirez, with 59 votes of the total 303 votes for 19 ½ percent of the vote.

It should have been higher.

The only other player with a double-digit percentage was reliever Kyle Crockett, with 31 votes and 10% of the vote.

Trevor Bauer, C.C. Lee, Bryan Price and Carlos Carrasco all came in with 30, 29, 29 and 27 votes.

This week, we are going to take a look at who the Indians are going to ultimately use as their closer in 2014.
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The Spin Cycle: Which player makes the most impact in 2014?

JRam

JRam (photo: Lianna Holub)

In our last spin cycle, I asked the readers of Indians Baseball Insiders what the front office would do with Scott KazmirUbaldo Jimenez and Justin Masterson over the offseason. It seems appropriate that we take a quick look at that poll before heading into our next one.

It’s rare that our polls ever hit a 50% majority, but this one was one not only crossed the line, but was a no-doubt-about it.

66% said that Chris Antonetti and the front office should ‘Sign Kazmir this year, then Masterson next year, and let Jimenez sign a crazy five-year deal elsewhere.’ The Indians have yet to sign any of the aforementioned starters, but news should begin matriculating sometime soon that Ubaldo Jimenez is officially a free agent.

That’s part one of the majority scenario.

Part two would be that the Indians sign lefty Scott Kazmir.

If you were to believe the rumors, the Indians aren’t likely to sign their ‘comeback player of the year’ because they are haggling over the years of the deal. Reportedly, the Indians want to sign Kaz to a one-year deal, while his agent is looking for a two-year deal.

If the Indians lose Kazmir over the years of the deal, and the years are one and two, then shame on them. Of course, rumors tend to be a little off-skew, so we’ll just have to wait and see.

Coming in at a distant second was for the Indians to ‘Go for broke, and sign Kazmir, Jimenez and Masterson’ for next season. That got a whopping 11% of the vote.

Nothing else had double-digit percentages.

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The Spin Cycle: What to do with Jimenez, Kazmir and Masterson?

The season is over.

It’s still hard for me to decompress from that statement and the 2013 season, but it’s time to close the doors on a fantastic run to the playoffs. I’ll focus my next Corner of Carnegie and Ontario on this 2013 team, but it’s time to move the power poll forward, and start taking a look at the 2014 season and beyond.

Last week’s question was ‘What should Terry Francona do with Chris Perez?’ This question got a clear majority from IBI’s faithful readers.

The poll received 215 total votes, and 128 of those voters, or 59.53% of the entire vote wanted Chris Perez to be “booted off the playoff roster.” This isn’t surprising considering his final performance with the Cleveland Indians almost cost them their shot at the playoffs. 68 of the voters, or 31.63% of the voters wanted to see Perez left in the bullpen, but not as the closer. Only 19 voters, or 8.84% of the vote thought that he should be allowed to earn his way back as the Indians’ primary closer.

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The Spin Cycle: What should the Indians do with Chris Perez?

It’s the final day of the regular season for the Cleveland Indians, and there are many, many different directions IBI’s power poll could take. Before we head in that direction, let’s take a look at last week’s power poll, as it stands today.

Last week’s question was ‘Which two teams will win the American League wild-card?’ Of course, the answer to that question isn’t really any clearer today than it was last Saturday, but the choice of the IBI following was very clear, even though not team reached a majority.

The Cleveland Indians topped the poll with 81 of the potential 186 votes, or 43.55% of the entire vote. That wasn’t very surprising, taking into account the fact that this is a Cleveland Indians’ site. You could also point to the Indians final schedule, which was against the three worst teams in baseball. The Indians currently hold destiny in their hand with a one-game lead, and only one game to play.

The Tampa Bay Rays, who were one game ahead of the Indians when this poll was posted, finished a strong second, with 74 of the potential votes, or 39.78% of the vote. The Rays were plugging right along until this past weekend, when the Toronto Blue Jays decided to become a true spoiler. The Jays beat the Rays on both Friday and Saturday to bump the Rays to one game behind the Indians heading into Sunday’s games. If that were their only issue, things would still be rosy for the Rays. Of course, they have a Texas Rangers’ problem.

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The Spin Cycle: Who are the American League wildcard teams?

Welcome to a brand new season of the Weekly Power Poll. The power poll is a piece that will show up semi-regularly here at Indians Baseball Insider, and will focus either on an important weekly topic for the Cleveland Indians, or look at something with historical perspective. Last season, we took a look at several issues, including the top players in the long history of the Cleveland Indians franchise. We’ll revisit those polls over the next several months as we begin to formulate a top 100 players of all time here at IBI, but we’ll also cover several other topics, especially with the Cleveland Indians playing “meaningful September baseball.”

The 2013 regular season is winding down and the Cleveland Indians are knee deep in the race for the wildcard. It’s time for the Power Poll to kick into full gear and take a complete look at the teams involved in the American League playoff race.

The division winners in the American League are locked.

The Boston Red Sox have already clinched the American League East, and the Detroit Tigers (six games up on the Cleveland Indians, with a magic # of three games) and Oakland A’s (seven-and-a-half games up on the Texas Rangers, with a magic # of two games) have virtually locked up the Central and the West.

The wildcard is far from settled.

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