Cleveland Sports Insiders

Ernie Camacho's favorite blog…


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Trend Spotting: Quiet additions edition

Since the last time I opined in exacerbating detail the Indians have made three moves which will undoubtedly be impactful on the 2014 season. The three pertinent moves include the signing ofJohn AxfordShaun Marcum’s entrance into the fold, and the trade of Drew Stubbs for Josh Outman. This is of course conceding that the Matt Treanor signing to a minor-league deal will at best have the impact of replacement level production.

I will leave the Axford signing alone in this space because Jim Piascik wrote a detailed and insightful piece on Tuesday, which should be read as the definitive piece on Axford throughout the Cleveland Blogosphere.

Digressing, I would first like to touch upon the addition of Shaun Marcum. The details of course have become common knowledge but I will include them here: It is a minor league contract with an invite to spring training. If Marcum is to make the roster, he will make a million dollars with the incentives to drive the contract as high as four million.

Marcum is indeed the ultimate invite type, offering sizable upside with a fair contract, as well as zero risk for the Indians. Indeed, he appears to be in that slight way, Kazmir comparable.
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Optimistic offense at the Corner of Carnegie and Ontario

Michael Brantley (photo: AP)

Michael Brantley (photo: AP)

The winds of change are blowing here at the Corner of Carnegie and Ontario, as Drew Stubbs was sent packing to the Colorado Rockies for left-handed reliever, Josh Outman.

The deal in and of itself wasn’t something that should shake the ground that Cleveland Indians fans walk on, but it certainly showcases Chris Antonetti’s drive to reshape this team.

Stubbs became expendable back in November when they signed outfielder David Murphy to a two-year deal, and while there was speculation that Michael Bourn may be the better candidate to deal, it turned out that the initial belief that Stubbs would be dealt turned out to be true.

Who is Josh Outman?

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Trend Spotting: On Michael Bourn, Quick thoughts on pitching

Over the past three weeks, trading Michael Bourn has become a hipster approach both because of the market place that currently exists as well as his contract implications on the Indians over the next three possibly four years.

I must admit that I have fluctuated in between camps regarding whether or not he should be dealt. As well, answering a question like should the Indians deal Bourn, Justin Masterson or Asdrubal Cabrera is imperfect, irrational.

Because any certainty cannot exist unless we are able to see what the return would be, that said, the idea of trading Cabrera for any part is close to certainty for myself merely based on cost/production value.

Nevertheless, Bourn has become someone that many believe to be easily replaceable, which is understandably based on the Indians outfield depth.

The case can be made based solely on last season – and I emphasize solely – that with Michael BrantleyDrew StubbsDavid Murphy and Ryan Raburn they could cover his production loss in the aggregate.

Indeed, the marginal value gap between optimized platoons among the four outfielders and the outfield including Bourn’s production from last year may be equivalent.

In order to provide context to a possible Bourn deal, I am going to attempt to discuss the value of his contract comparatively, attempt to project a baseline of future production and discern how valuable he is as a trade asset.

This inevitably begins with discussing his 2013 production, its implications and what he truly contributed.
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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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David Murphy joins the party at the Corner of Carnegie & Ontario

Progressive FieldRumors of the first real move of the offseason were wafting through the air here at the Corner of Carnegie and Ontario on Tuesday night when the Indians reportedly came to an agreement with former Texas and Boston outfielder David Murphy.

The rumors proved to be fact as the hours passed by into Wednesday, as Jordan Bastian broke the official word on Twitter that the Indians had signed Murphy to a two-year, $10-ish million dollar contract.

The game is on this offseason.

First moves always bring out first emotions.

It’s inevitable.

Fans don’t know the complete picture yet for the Indians front office heading into 2014, and when you combine fan expectations with the unknown of free agency and the hot stove season, you get early conclusions.

I, for one, love them all, and David Murphy certainly brings out those conclusions.

Before we get into that though, who exactly is David Murphy?
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Cleveland Sports Insiders: The Podcast 55: David Murphy

The Cleveland Indians have apparently made their first volley into free agency, by signing David Murphy to a two year, $10+ million dollar contract. Is this signing a good one, or is it one the Indians will regret this early in the free agent signing period. Could this move be the first of many? Join Mike and Jim as they discuss what this signing means for the Indians.

This is a the perfect 12 minute podcast for your drivetime!!


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The Sunday Drive with playoff implications, fights and rumors

Cameron runs over Bengals (photo: AP)

Cameron runs over Bengals (photo: AP)

I’ve never gotten used to November weather here in North Carolina since I moved here from the North Coast nearly fifteen years ago. There’s always a constant battle of Summer, Fall and sometimes Winter that always leaves me a bit off balance.

I mean seriously, it snowed here this past Thursday night, then climbed up to 70 on Saturday.

It’s November.

There should be no mixing of shorts and jeans, t-shirts and coats, ice scrapers and air conditioning.

It’s nearly as off-putting as Cleveland sports, to be honest. You have the Browns at 4-5, who either have two potential quarterbacks for 2014, or none, depending on who you talk to. Of course, there’s 2013, and a legit chance at winning the division, or getting into the playoffs.

Or not.

There’s the Cavaliers, who are either beating the tar outta each other in players-meetings, or not. They had the #1 pick in the NBA, and he’s been playing like a D-League player. Dion is awesome with the ball, but bad without it. Kyrie is better without the ball, than with it. The Cavaliers will be an exciting playoff contender this year.

Or not.

Then there’s the Indians. They rebuild their team in a season and motor into the playoffs with a ten-game win streak, only to lose the one-game playoff that was instituted for the first time ever last season. They seem ready to make a few moves to take them over the top, but may not have the money to do it. They are ready to make the next move to become better.

Or not.

North Carolina weather and Cleveland Sports…hot and cold.

I wouldn’t have it any other way.
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