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Indians left-handed pitching prospect Eric Berger could be going places.Being a part of a military family, the 23-year old Berger has already been all over the world. His father Mitch Berger is a squadron commander currently stationed in Germany, and he has been out to visit his father in other places in the past like Korea, Alaska, Kansas and many others. One place Berger has never been though is the major leagues. It is his focus at the moment and something he has worked hard to get to throughout his amateur and now professional pitching career. Tony talked to him about that journey as the basis for his latest piece for us.
Since Paulie C's Sunday was not "Lazy" in any sense of the word (what with the 1:30 AM delivery of a new baby boy, the ensuing maelstrom of activity, and the subsequent visitors that accompany the birth of a child), we'll roll out slowly into a late Lazy Monday, as Paul put some stuff together while he was still waiting to make the trip to Fairview for the delivery. Paul hits on the dynamic signings of rock stars Austin Kearns and Shelley "don't call me Sandy" Duncan, he talks about Kelly Shoppach's new deal and the Indians catching situation, and continues to express disbelief at the acquisition of Mitch Talbot. Congrads on the new boy Paulie!!!
One of the biggest strengths in the Cleveland Indians farm system is the depth of talent they have in the outfield.They have high ceiling big league caliber players such as Nick Weglarz and Michael Brantley, and also have others like Jordan Brown and Trevor Crowe who look to be solid complementary big leaguers in the making. One of the more interesting outfield prospects who emerged after a very good season last year is Donnie Webb. Tony sat down to talk with him this past week.
We are about eight weeks from the start of minor league spring training in early March. By now almost every player in the Indians system is well into their offseason workout programs and has already begun preparations for the 2010 season. For second baseman Jason Kipnis, it's all about preparing himself to handle the daily grind of his first full season. Taken in the 2nd round of the 2009 Draft out of Arizona State University, he only played in 29 games last year with short-season Single-A Mahoning Valley, but even still it was an eye opener for him on how much of a struggle it can be to play baseball professionally every day. Tony had a chance to speak with him this week.
Paulie C has been sitting around the house for the holidays waiting for the call to action on the birth of his second child. I got one of those e-mails I love getting from him. It said "Been working on a 4,000 word thesis on the current state of baseball ... what is wrong and how it could possibly be fixed". Anyone that has been reading Paulie these last three years on the site knows why that e-mail is exciting to me. And anyone that watched Cliff Lee and C.C. Sabathia face off in game one of the World Series as members of the Phillies and Yankees knows how frustrating the current economic state of the game is for fans like us in cities like Cleveland.
The final year of the first decade of the 21st Century was, once again, devoid of world championships for Cleveland's teams. But even without trophies or rings, there was still plenty to remember from the sports year 2009 in Cleveland. From the good (anything involving LeBron James or Josh Cribbs) to the bad (another Tribe fire sale) to the ugly (Braylon Edwards slugging a friend of LeBron's, then getting traded) it was another eventful sports year on the North Coast. Erik Cassano has been counting down the top ten biggest Cleveland sports stories of 2009, and today, brings us his #4 moment.
With Paulie C's hands cramping from two days of putting together PlayMobil police cars and pirate ships (which apparently requires an advanced degree in engineering) let's roll right into a Lazy Sunday as Baby Watch 2009 continues and as his pleas to induce before the end of the calendar year (for the tax deduction obviously) continue to fall on deaf ears. In this edition, Paul hits on bad free agent signings, the lack of big bats in the AL Central, and other tidbits from the world of Indians baseball.
On Monday the Indians completed the Kelly Shoppach trade with the Tampa Bay Rays which was originally made on December 1st. As part of the original agreement to trade Shoppach to the Rays, the Rays (not the Indians) had until 11:59 p.m. on December 20th to make a choice from a list of two players and they ended up deciding to send right-hander Mitch Talbot to the Indians. In Tony's latest, he tells Indians fans about Talbot, the Indians mindset on him, and how he may fit into the 2010 plans of the big league club.
With only four shopping days left before the arrival of one Baby and with things that need to be done before the arrival of another baby, let's roll right into a Lazy Sunday where The Reservation remains quiet, but that certainly doesn't mean that we're hurting for topics to dissect. Paulie C this week takes a look at the questionable return the Indians and Phillies got for Cliff Lee, Travis Hafner, Carlos Carrasco, and his recent appearance on "More Sports with Les Levine". Happy Sunday Cleveland fans ... stay warm.
Monmouth University is located just off the Atlantic Ocean coastline in upper New Jersey, about an hour east of Philadelphia and an hour south of New York City. For a small school lacking much college baseball prestige and so far out of the way, it is another example that baseball talent can be found almost anywhere. The Indians did just that by selecting right-handed pitcher Brett Brach in the 10th round of this year's draft out of Monmouth. Tony had a chance to sit down with Brach this week to talk with him about his first year in the Indians organization.
While North Coast is busy trying to make sense of Mike Holmgren and why a Miami Dolphins jet was seen at Burke Lakefront Airport on Tuesday morning, a little trade went down in MLB with a particular Arkansan that you may remember...middle name of Phifer. With the BIG trade (step aside, Granderson) finally consummated, let's bring in Paulie "soon to be a father of two" Cousineau to shoot off some quick tomahawks on what it took to get Lee to the Pacific Northwest, among other topics.
The Indians removed three players from their 40-man roster late Saturday night, as they non-tendered right-handed pitchers Anthony Reyes and Jose Veras and also removed right-handed pitcher Adam Miller from the 40-man roster. In less than 24 hours, Reyes and Miller were back in the organization as they were resigned to minor league deals on Sunday. While the moves themselves don't come as a shock, the timing of them is certainly interesting. The moves have been unsettling for some fans as they try to understand the timing of the moves and who they decided to keep rostered and not roster. Enter Tony Lastoria to make sense of it all for us ...
Successful poker players may lose many small pots and still be totally happy, for their goal is to win the occasional big ones. The same thinking comes naturally in football. When the "Browns are in a fourth down, "moving all in", in the meaning of going for it, is worthwhile only if the odds for success are good enough. In most other cases, itï¿½s probably wiser to just "fold" the hand, as in punting the ball away. In the same way, winning or losing a single yard means nothing as long as they manage to get a first down.
With a very pregnant wife and the in-laws in town, credit Paulie "The Good Soldier" Cousineau for even cranking out a Lazy Sunday column for our readers today. Bully for us though ... as there is a lot of post-Winter Meetings and post-Rule 5 draft info to sort through, which Paul does for us. Who is Rule 5 draftee Hector Ambriz? Can he help us? Should we be mad about losing Chuck Lofgren? What does Paul think about Charlie Nagy rejoining the organization? And the Detroit Tigers recent sell-off? He tells us in his latest Lazy Sunday piece.
For the first time in a long time the Cleveland Indians were participants and not just spectators in the Rule 5 Draft. They awoke from their seven year Rule 5 slumber yesterday to take not only a player in the Major League portion, but they also snatched up outfielder another player later on in the Triple-A phase of the draft as well. The big pickup in the Major League phase was 25-year old right-handed pitcher Hector Ambriz who is an interesting arm they were able to scoop up out of the Arizona Diamondbacks system. Tony tells us all about him in his latest.
The Indians have built up an impressive amount of depth in the pitching ranks at Triple-A and Double-A. But with so many options at their disposal, sometimes a player or two can slip through the cracks because they don't have anything in their arsenal which stands out or they lack any eye-popping numbers. One of those players who often gets overlooked in the Indians system and sort of lost in a deep sea of average to above average pitching is left-hander Ryan Edell. Tony Lastoria had a chance to speak with him this week.
In honor of the Winter Meetings being in Indiana, let's give a nod to the second best sports movie based in Indiana (and if you have to ask why it's only #2, I'm going to have to see your Fan ID) while we release some tomahawks during a week in which we're all feeling like "Cutters" while all the rich kids (and Italian cyclists) enjoy their fun toys. Paulie talks about the Indians (in)activity at the Winter Meetings, and hits on Adorable Jamey Carroll, Jon Nunnally, and who the player to be named later in the Kelly Shoppach trade may be.
We are on the eve of the 2009 Rule 5 Draft which will take place at the conclusion of the Winter Meetings tomorrow out in Indianapolis, IN. Looking at how things stand right now, it looks like if the Indians lose anyone it will be a pitcher or two. There are a lot of solid arms available, though very little as far as upside goes. There are only but two or three position players who may get any consideration, if even that. With that in mind, lets bring in Tony to take a last minute look at the ten players in the Indians system who could draw the most interest.
It was a move that was planned almost from the day right-hander Steven Wright was drafted by the Indians in the second round of the 2006 Draft. Coming out of college at the University of Hawaii, Wright was a high profile pitching prospect set to go in the first few rounds of the draft with a dominating fastball and slider but questionable off-speed pitches.As a result, Wright has always projected as more of a reliever than as a starter, and a few weeks into the 2009 season the Indians finally made the move where they converted him from a starter to a reliever. Tony talked to him about it this week.
I think it's pretty safe to say that this week's Winter Meetings figure to be pretty uneventful for the Indians and while the terms "bargain shopping" and "discount bin" figure to be peppered throughout the local coverage of the event in Indianapolis in terms of the Tribe's involvement, haven't we all been expecting all things to be quiet on the North Coast Front this off-season since last July? In today's Lazy Sunday, Paulie C talks about what (not) to expect from the Tribe as the hot stove season begins to heat up.
A lot of speculation has circulated around who the player to be named later in the Kelly Shoppach trade may be. A couple days ago, Tony speculated that player could be infielder Willy Aybar, and we have since realized that is not the case. So who IS the player to be named later? Tony gives us his latest thoughts, and also hits on the quickly approaching Rule 5 Draft, and also the Indians latest exploits in the international free agency market.
The Indians yesterday completed a deal with the Tampa Bay Rays sending catcher Kelly Shoppach to them for a player to be named later. In the wake of the trade, Tony is here to provide information on what the catching situation will be like next year in Cleveland and just who the Indians may get in return as the player to be named later. Tony also chimes in on some of the recent coaching announcements up and down the system.
As the first player-related news of the off-season has finally arrived, Kelly Shoppach has been traded to the Tampa Rays for a PTBNL that must be decided upon by the Indians by December 20th. The trade was neither unexpected nor unwelcome as the Indians had made it clear that Shoppach would not be a part of their future, immediate or long-term, with the inclusion of Lou Marson in the CP Lee deal and the emergence of mega-prospect Carlos Santana. Paulie C talks about the deal in his latest.
The Cleveland Indians short-season Single-A affiliate Mahoning Valley had a very good season in 2009, anchored by a starting pitching staff which had four regulars in the rotation with an ERA at or under 2.79 on the year. The lone exception to the dominance that was the starting staff in Mahoning Valley was right-hander Preston Guilmet who finished the season 6-6 with a 4.09 in 15 starts ... but the numbers don't tell the whole story. Tony does in his latest.
Now that the hoopla surrounding Thanksgiving has died down, let's cast our gaze back to the corner of Carnegie and Ontario where things have remained relatively quiet. While things figure to remain quiet most of the off-season, it is Sunday and it's time to bring in Paulie C to let loose on a Lazy Sunday that today focuses on the Indians pursuit of a utility infielder, Hector Rondon & David Huff, and whether or not the Indians should spend money on a free agent starting pitcher this offseason. And with that, we're off...
With the 2009 baseball season officially over with the conclusion of the World Series almost a month ago, many fans, players, and the organizations themselves are already getting primed and ready for the 2010 season which starts up in four months. For Cleveland Indians first base and outfield prospect Stephen Head, the end to what was a very torturous 2009 season where he was saddled with several injuries, setbacks and disappointments is very welcomed. He now has his sights set on doing everything he can to come back strong and healthy in 2010. Tony sat down and talked with the Indians prospect about it this week.
If there is one area of the Cleveland Indians minor league system where they have a lot of depth and talent, it arguably is in the bullpen. They have relievers of all different types up and down the system, be it high impact potential prospects or just good middle relief depth options. While the high profile guys tend to get more attention because they were once starters who converted to a relief role, there are several pitchers in the system that have made a name for themselves as a reliever for almost their entire minor league career. One of those is right-hander Erik Stiller. Tony spoke with him this week.
The 2009 Arizona Fall League (AFL) season wrapped up last week, and of the ten total players the Indians sent to the AFL the one player who really made a name for himself and stood out was right-handed reliever Josh Judy. Judy was coming off a breakout season in 2009, and has used his time out in the AFL to vault himself into the upper echelon of relief pitching prospects not only with the Indians, but arguably in all of baseball. Tony had a chance to talk with him this week.
Inching closer and closer to Turkey Day with the tasks of the weekend revolving around getting the house ready for what promises to be a holiday season full of house guests, let's bring in Paulie C to get us going with another edition of his mega-popular "Lazy Sunday" piece. This week, Paul hits on Manny Acta's Christmas List, some roster decisions, and the latest organizational Top Prospect rankings.
On Friday afternoon the Indians added seven players to their 40-man roster to protect them from the Rule 5 Draft which occurs on December 10th. There were certainly some surprise additions and non-additions as well as some non-removals from the roster that may be puzzling to a lot of fans. Tony breaks down all of the decisions and provides some detailed analysis on why the Indians made the decisions they did. Don't forget to listen into the special edition of his on-line radio show he does with Paul Cousineau "Smoke Signals" this Sunday night at 9:30pm!
While everyone attempts to erase the events of Monday night on the lakefront from their memories, let's bring in our guy Paul Cousineau to fire a few tomahawks off. In his latest, Paul covers the latest happenings on The Reservation as it relates to a more complete coaching staff for Manny Acta, more 2010 projections for Indians players, and some Must-See-TV. Fire away Paulie ...