Cleveland Sports Insiders

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Indians’ projections at the Corner of Carnegie and Ontario

Masterson (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

Masterson (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

While rationalizations over the firing of Rob Chudzinsky and the Browns’ ensuing head-coach search engross us here at the Corner of Carnegie and Ontario, a relatively quiet hot-stove league is finally set to give way to the sights and sounds of a new and fresh baseball season. In less than a month, 27 days to be exact, pitchers and catchers report to Goodyear, Arizona signaling the start of the 2014 baseball season.

For most readers of my column, the Browns escapades and the Cavaliers year-to-year folly are mere placeholders for the crack-of-the-bat, the pop of the glove and all of the optimism that comes with the start of every year. The Cleveland Indians won 92 games last season and tasted the playoffs for the first time since 2007. With the major pieces seemingly set, it’s time to start figuring out what is to be expected of the 2014 Indians.

Can this club match the blossoming expectations that are now in place, or is the bar set far too high thanks to an unexpected September run? Regardless of what you believe, the 2014 Indians are set to give the North Coast one thing that neither the Browns nor the Cavs can. Continue reading


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12 Days of Christmas at the Corner of Carnegie and Ontario

Progressive FieldIt’s Christmas time here at the Corner of Carnegie and Ontario, and what that means for the Pete household is a respite before loading up the Pete Family Truckster for a criss-crossing, 2000 mile trek up and down the East Coast, taking my family to both Florida and Pennsylvania over the next two weeks.

Trust me when I say that I’ll enjoy the respite of Christmas day with just my family, opening presents, watching 24 hours of a Christmas Story, and hopefully falling asleep at some point around 5:00 P.M.

Hopefully you’ll be doing the same.

With all of that said, it’s Wednesday, and the column must go on. I’ve decided to take a much more relaxed tone this week, and have delved into the land of theme.

With Christmas Day finally here, I’ve decided to go the route of the ‘Twelve Days of Christmas for the 2014 Cleveland Indians.’ Oh, I could have rehashed the 2013 season (it certainly would have been easier), but thought it would be fun to take a look into Christmas’ future, rather than Christmas past.

Jeez, I just hope I, or the Indians, don’t bump into the Grim Reaper along the way.

Let’s give this a whirl…

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Cleveland Sports Insiders: The Podcast 63: Indians sign Axford

The Cleveland Indians agreed to a deal with John Axford on Sunday evening, and while the money or length of the deal hasn’t been divulged, most people believe that the deal is a one-year, and perhaps a $5.5-to-6 million dollar deal, because Axford has three remaining years of control left on his contract.

Michael Hattery and Jim Pete dive right into the meat and potatoes of how good, or perhaps, how bad Axford may be, and how ballpark factor, mechanics, coaching and movement will be at play, and whether or not he ultimately going to end up the closer, or eventually move to a set-up role.

There’s also a brief bit on Ubaldo Jimenez and what’s going on there as well.

Click the box below for all the options  you’ll need for the pod!

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Indians sign former Brewers’ closer, John Axford

John Axford, during the glory days (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

John Axford, during the glory days (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

The Cleveland Indians have reportedly signed former Milwaukee Brewers closer John Axford, according to both ESPN’s Buster Olney and’s Tribe reporter, Jordan Bastian.

It’s unknown just how much the reported deal is for, but Bastian speculates that it’s likely to be a one year contract, because the Indians would still have two more years of control on the arbitration eligible player.

It’s hard to speculate on just how much the Indians will pay him, but it’s likely not a stretch to say that they are likely to be in the neighborhood of Joe Smith and Edward Mujica money. Smith signed a three-year, $15.75 million deal, while Mujica signed a two-year, $9.5 million deal.

Obviously the Indians would like the idea of one year and control, and if they can bring him in at around $5 million, they would likely consider that a win based on the fact that their closer last year made over $2 million more than that, and was scheduled to be in the ballpark of $10 million this season. While that contract will no doubt take the Indians to the cusp of their money ceiling, they may be looking at him as a savings, especially with other closers likely to command anywhere from $7 million to $9 million.
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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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Cleveland Sports Insiders: The Podcast 62: Ubaldo, Benoit and a podcast about nothing

The Cleveland Indians exited the Winter Meetings having allegedly made a few offers, without actually getting a reply to any of those offers. With the hot stove season coffers still sitting mostly empty other than the David Murphy signing, what is Chris Antonetti’s plans for the Indians’ future?

What’s going on with Ubaldo Jimenez, and might he return to the Indians before it’s all said and done?

Why are the Indians and Terry Francona adamant about bringing in a closer such as Joaquin Benoit, Fernando Rodney or John Axford, and is the fact that they have to a fundamental flaw in the Indians make-up, from top to bottom?

What will the rest of the hot stove season bring to the Indians, or are they going to sit back and relax until February?

Join Michael Hattery and Jim Pete, as they do some hot stove dancing, and even talk a little Eeyore and Droopy Dog.

No…not kidding.

Listen, right here, and don’t forget to check out the rest of our pods at the CSI Radio page!

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Indians and Padres battling for Joaquin Benoit

Joaquin Benoit (photo: AP)

Joaquin Benoit joining the Indians? (photo: AP)

The Cleveland Indians and the San Diego Padres are both bidding for the services of former Detroit Tigers reliever Joaquin Benoit.

Benoit began his career as a starter for the Texas Rangers in 2001, but after four years of struggle, he was moved to the bullpen because his ERA was never below 5.31. He wasn’t much better as a reliever at first in 2006, but in 2007, things turned around quickly. He struck out 87 hitters, while walking only 28 in 82 total innings, coming in with a 2.85 ERA. The Rangers rewarded him with a two-year deal worth $6 million.

Unfortunately, things started to turn for the worse after that for the power righty. He struggled through much of the beginning of 2008, before finally heading to the DL in July for over a month. He wasn’t any better when he returned in August. He ended the season with a 5.00 ERA, and 35 walks, with 43 strikeouts in 45 innings.

Talk about a bad break. He missed the final year prior to free agency.

It did, fortunately, usher in a new era in his career.
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Indians reportedly make an offer to reliever John Axford

John Axford (Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports)

John Axford (Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports)

The Cleveland Indians have reportedly made an offer to former Milwaukee Brewers closer John Axford, according to CBS Sports baseball insider, Jon Heyman.

Axford led the National League in saves in 2011, when he saved 46 games in 74 games and 73 2/3 innings, and came in with a 1.95 ERA.

Over a three-year stretch, from 2010 through 2012, Axford saved 105 ballgames for the Brewers before losing his role at the beginning of 2013 after struggling in 2012, and at the start of 2013.

Axford had been removed as Milwaukee’s closer in July of 2012, but was later reinstated, and saved 17 of his final 18 save opportunities that season.
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