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July 30, 2002  

Terry Mulholland with the win, Lee Stevens the hitting hero. Who would have thought that four months ago? There won't be an update today as I'm completely swamped but the CIR will be back tomorrow.


July 29, 2002  

ESPN is reporting that Sandy Alomar has been traded from the White Sox to the Rockies for a minor league pitcher.

Monday, July 29

Jim Thome has to remain an Indian. It's that simple.

Paul Shuey was traded to the Dodgers yesterday for Terry Mulholland and minor league pitchers Ricardo Rodriguez and Francisco Cruceta in a move that we had talked about last week after the Tribe and Dodgers had hooked up on the Jolbert Cabrera deal. Shuey was actually told about the trade on Saturday night and agreed to the deal on Sunday after talking it over with his wife and father. He was also given a $500,000 assignment bonus in exchange for the waiving of his no-trade clause. Shuey was making $3.25 million this season and had two more years at $3mil apiece left on the contract he signed with the Indians in the offseason. The Dodgers will assume the full remainder of his contract and Mark Shapiro seemed to indicate that the Dodgers will be sending the Tribe a little cash to make up the current year difference between what is owed to Shuey and Terry Mulholland.

Paul Shuey was originally drafted by the Indians as the second overall pick in the 1992 draft and while he never developed into the dominating closer that was anticipated with that high of a selection, he had a fine career with the Indians and was an integral part of the bullpen for the past six and a half years. He leaves the Indians with a career record of 34-21, 21 saves, and an ERA of 3.60 in 361 games, which places him 8th on the Indians all-time list. A class act, Shuey has had nothing but good things to say about the organization and the city, and I wish him the best of the luck in finding a good fishing hole in Tinseltown.

Ricardo Rodriguez is a 6'3', 195 pound, 24 year old (aged one year in the offseason) right-handed pitcher from the Dominican Republic who signed with the Dodgers as a 18-year old in 1996. After spending three seasons in the Dominican Summer League, Rodriguez made a huge splash in his stateside debut in 2000 in the rookie-level Pioneer League as he won the league's pitching triple crown, leading the circuit in Wins, Strikeouts, and ERA. Skipped two levels in 2001, Rodriguez continued to impress as he led the high-A Florida State League in wins and strikeouts while finishing 5th in ERA (14-6, 3.21, 154IP, 133H, 60W, 154K) and being named to the Futures Game world team as well as being named the Dodgers Minor League Pitcher of the Year. Promoted to double-A to start this season, Rodriguez posted a 1.98 ERA in 11 starts (68 IP, 56H, 13W, 44K) which earned him a promotion to triple-A Las Vegas where he made two starts (1-0, 3.86, 11.2IP, 13H, 5W, 7K) before being dealt to the Indians. His fastball has been clocked as high as 95mph and he works consistently in the 91-93mph range with a sharp slider and a developing change. Mark Shapiro and Dan Evans (Dodgers GM) both referred to Rodriguez as a "Pedro Astacio type" pitcher and scouts generally project him as a #2-3 starter in the big leagues. Rodriguez has always been considered old for his leagues and that's the main reason why he was not listed among the Dodgers top 15 prospects by Baseball America in 2001 despite his dominance of the Pioneer League. His fine work last season, though, earned him the #1 spot (#69 overall) amongst Dodgers prospects entering this season by BA. In their recent midseason rankings, Rodriguez checked in as the #32 right-handed pitching prospect in the game which ranks him #1 in the Indians organization. Top Prospect Alert ranked Rodriguez number 6 with the Dodgers and #137 overall entering this season. Rodriguez will join the very talented rotation in Buffalo and probably bump his former Dodger teammate Lance Caraccioli into the bullpen.

Francisco Cruceta is a 6'2", 210 pound, 21-year old right-handed pitcher from the Dominican Republic who signed with the Dodgers as a 18-year old in 1999. Like Rodriguez, he spent three seasons in the DSL before moving to the States for Instructional League last fall and then his U.S. debut this season in the South Atlantic League. A relative unknown, Cruceta wasted no time in making a name for himself as he tossed a 7-inning no-hitter against Delmarva on April 29 in which he walked two and struck out 10. He's cooled off a bit since then, but his overall numbers are still very impressive (8-5, 2.80, 112.2IP, 98H, 34W, 111K), especially when you consider this is the first time he has been in the States. Cruceta has put on 40 pounds over the last year and Team One Baseball notes that he was throwing 92-96mph last fall with a 80-82mph curve. Mark Shapiro noted that he works between 90-94mph with the heater, has a plus changeup, and an inconsistent slider. Unranked by any prospect service entering this season, Cruceta was ranked as the #40 right-hander in BA's midseason list. He'll be promoted a level and join the rotation at Kinston.

Terry Mulholland was included in the deal to even out the salaries. A fine pitcher in the early-to-mid nineties, age has caught up with Terry and this season could be the last for him on a tour that has seen him pitch for nine different teams, SF (3 times), Phil (twice), Yankees, Seattle, Cubs (twice), Atlanta, Pittsburgh, LA, and finally, the Indians. His best seasons were between 1991-1993 when he was named to the All-Star team (93) and was a vital cog on the Phillies 1993 World Series team. He pitched 32 innings this year for the Dodgers out of the bullpen, posting a 7.31 ERA and being hit to the tune of a .331 batting average against. He's a free-agent at the end of the season and he'll work out of the bullpen for the Tribe for the next two months.

Mark Shapiro really brought in a nice haul in this trade. Baseball America went so far as to say that the Dodgers paid dearly in this deal. The Orange County Register notes that the Angels were involved in Shuey talks until Saturday night and it sounds like Shapiro was able to use that as leverage for extracting a higher price from the Dodgers. I also wonder if our willingness to take Terry Mulholland, and the $1mil owed to him this season, enabled us to have Cruceta added to the deal as a direct add-on or as an upgrade from a lesser prospect. Regardless, in the next 2-3 years, we may find Cruceta to emerge as the big name from this deal. That's not a knock on Rodriguez's abilities but more of a reflection of the upside I see in Cruceta based on what he's done the first half of this season.

I mentioned the BA midseason rankings (subscribers only) and the Indians now have two (Rodriguez, Cruceta) of the top 40 right-handers with two honorable mentions (Denham, Martin) and three (Lee, Traber, Tallet) of the top 40 left-handers, which is an unbelievable amount of depth by itself, but does not even include Fernando Cabrera, Travis Foley, Brian Slocum, Jeremy Guthrie (unsigned), Jason Davis and Mariano Gomez. Nor does it include Danys Baez, CC Sabathia and Ryan Drese at the big league level. In short, the amount of pitching depth the Indians have in the organization is unsurpassed in the 30+ years I have been following the Tribe. When you factor in that Brandon Phillips and Victor Martinez are likely be ranked number one at their respective positions, the enthusiasm only builds. The results on the field may not be pretty right now but I think its safe to say that Mark Shapiro has met and exceeded his goals of infusing the organization with talent. Of course, that talent needs to transfer into wins in the big leagues, but that's another topic for 2003 and beyond.

One interesting quote from Mark Shapiro in the Morning Journal this morning reads...
"''This was not a case of us trading a guy we didn't like,'' he said. ''We like Paul and liked his (contract) extension. He's one of the elite setup guys in the game, but at those dollars, that's a luxury, given where we're at, that we don't need.''.

Hmmm....If you substitute closer for setup guy, Bob Wickman certainly meets that profile too, doesn't he? Ricardo Rincon too, for that matter.

Speaking of Rincon, the Angels and a host of other teams are all rumored to have Rincon on a list with 4-5 other LOOGYs that are being actively shopped.

Peter Gammons on Baseball Tonight yesterday said that he doesn't expect Ellis Burks to be traded as the Indians would like to keep him around to work with the young kids next year. Interesting.

The "Insiders" from the NY Post note that the Mariners have talked internally about a Omar Vizqual for Carlos Guillen swap. Sorry, but the Indians are going to have to pass on that offer.

Due to the Shuey trade, John McDonald is the Indians new player rep after Shuey dumped all this paperwork in Johnny Mac's locker.

Kenny Lofton was traded by the White Sox to San Francisco for two minor league pitchers, Felix Diaz and Ryan Meaux. Diaz was ranked as the Giants #5 prospect by BA and Meaux is a LOOGY in the making. After Kenny's hot start (.343, 13 steals in April) and lots of cries of "Dolan was too cheap to keep him", he has cooled off dramatically and is now hitting .259/.348 with 22 steals.

The Beacon Journal notes today that David Riske has a minor hamstring injury and has been shut down in Buffalo. Riske, however, pitched an inning yesterday and I'm not sure if this was written before or after that appearance.

Ask BA has a couple of paragraphs on Ross Lewis, who was selected by the Indians in the 41st round of the 2001 draft but did not sign, electing to attend Central Florida CC instead. Ask BA has some nice things to say about him after a recent showcase event. Lewis was drafted by the Angels in the 31st round of this years draft but has not yet signed. Brandon Harmsen (Yankees) and Garrett Mock (Twins/Indy) are two other 2001 DFEs who are having good summers in pro ball.

LOOGY stands for Lefty One-Out GuY as is a term coined by John Sickels to describe a situational lefty.

Farm Recaps tomorrow.


July 28, 2002  

The Indians have traded Paul Shuey to the Los Angeles Dodgers for three players that will be announced after they are notified by the Dodgers. Peter Gammons is reporting on, however, that the three players are Terry Mulholland and minor leaguers Ricardo Rodriguez and Francisco Cruceta.

This looks to be a very good deal for the Indians. Ignore Mulholland as he's likely included for salary purposes and focus instead on Rodriguez who was ranked the Dodgers #1 prospect entering the season by Baseball America and who posted a 1.99 ERA in 11 starts in double-A this season before being recently promoted to triple-A. Cruceta has been pitching in the Sally League and has struck out 112 hitters in 111.1 innings with a 2.80 ERA and he looks to be 21 year-old righthander ( lists him as Alberto Cruceta). Sounds like a nice haul for a setup man.

Here's the ESPN article.

More tomorrow in the daily report.

Sunday, July 28

Last nights game was simply awful.

It's Steve Freakin' Sparks, guys!

CC, it's the Detroit Freakin' Tigers!

Even though I stand behind the rebuilding effort, games like this are still incredibly frustrating.

(Serenity Now, Serenity Now)

Matt Lawton was activated from the disabled list and promptly banged out a couple of hits last night, including a shot off the wall for a double. Earl Snyder was optioned to Buffalo to make room for Lawton in a move that leaves me scratching my head a bit. Travis Fryman cannot come off the disabled list until August 4 which would provide Snyder a nice stretch of games to show whether he can hit, and more importantly, field, at the major league level. I know that 7-8 games does not provide a full evaluation but it's better than no look at all. They could have sent Bill Selby to Buffalo now and then returned Snyder to triple-A when Fryman is activated. I cannot believe the extra versatility that Selby provides for the next week will be more of a long-term benefit to the franchise than giving Earl Snyder 20-25 at-bats in the big leagues. This season is about development, right?

Interesting notes in Peter Gammons latest Diamond Notes column on Here's the first quote...
"The Indians have to let the market dictate Jim Thome's value, which is real economics," says one NL GM. "He's making $8 million. He has every right to think that he should get Delgado money to avoid the market, but with so few teams playing big, the market could bring him to the $10-12 million range.

This is a tremendous point and how smart would the Indians look if Thome comes in at Sweeney or even (gasp) below Sweeney money ($55mil/5 years)? I still don't think such a scenario is likely, but it's definitely more of a possibility than it was 2-3 months ago. When you look at all the non-tenders from last year and the possibility of "reduced" dollar signings this offseason, how soon will it be before we start hearing talk of another collusion lawsuit? It's always funny to me how the players blame the owners for the ridiculous contracts they hand out (i.e., "no one is forcing them to pay us that much") but then they immediately claim shenanigans when the owners show a little fiscal restraint (or less stupidity).

Here's the next quote....
Cleveland went into the weekend negotiating with Anaheim on reliever Paul Shuey, several teams on Ricardo Rincon and still taking inquiries on Jim Thome (they keep telling the Red Sox they can have Thome, but they have to get third baseman Hank Blalock from Texas to do so, and that isn't happening) and Ellis Burks; freed of Burks' $6.5 million next season, the Indians can certainly afford Thome.

LOL, how in the world is Boston going to get their hands on Hank Blalock? Granted, John Hart doesn't have the best track record over the past few years in terms of dealing prospects, but his trade situation has changed from years past as he's now dumping instead of buying. Kudos to Mark Shapiro for setting his sights on Blalock to fill the third base hole, but The Rerun Show has a better chance of winning the Emmy for Best Comedy Series next season than this deal has of coming to fruition. That said, if Blalock ever winds up in an Indians uniform, I will be first in line at the team shop buying my authentic Hank Blalock jersey.

It sounds like the entire West Coast, 'cept for the Padres, is scouting the Indians bullpen. Anaheim and LA are looking for power relievers and have been linked to Shuey although you can believe Shapiro is making them aware of Mark Wohlers post all-star break numbers and his clearance rack asking price. San Francisco and Anaheim have been linked to Rincon and the Mariners and A's have been looking for cheap bullpen for the last month. Baseball Weekly also notes the Angels Ricardo Rincon interest in their "chatter" section of this weeks issue.

With all the interest in our bullpen, I understand why Shapiro is taking the public stance that he doesn't want to blow up the bullpen by dealing Wickman and Shuey. First of all, he has to make it seem like he's not desperate to move any of these guys to try and keep their market value from dropping like a rock. Secondly, I'm sure he's also thinking that a strong bullpen will be of benefit to a young starting rotation that needs to build confidence and learn not to overpitch in fear of a weak bullpen blowing the game for them. There is some merit to that line of thinking, but one only needs to look at the bullpen that Atlanta has cobbled together (Chris Hammond, Kerry Lightenberg, Kevin Gryboski, etc) to learn that you don't necessarily need to spend a lot of money to build a solid bullpen. Looking at the Indians recent history, how was our bullpen of the early "Era of Champions" teams put together? Jose Mesa (minor trade), Eric Plunk (waiver pickup), Julian Tavarez (farm system). It doesn't always work out this way, but when you're a developing team, the money is well-spent elsewhere. Let me put it this way, would you rather have Wickman, Shuey, and Rincon on board next year for $9-10mil or Thome? It may come down to that.

Speaking of the bullpen, it's only two games, but David Elder has been very impressive.

If you haven't subscribed yet to Under the Knife, you're really missing out on some great daily information. Like the little nugget this week that spoke about the Expos possibly turning into sellers in the next few days and unloading Bartolo Colon, Cliff Floyd, and who knows who else, in deals for cash. If Bud Selig allows this to happen, he should be brought up on the same corporate frauds that some of his fellow CEOs are facing.

(Serenity Now)

Scott Rolen is apparently on his way to the St.Louis Cardinals in a deal that will bring the Phillies two of the Cardinals top prospects, Bud Smith and Jimmy Journell, and utilityman-disguised-as-a-third-basemen Placido Polanco. If Rolen accepts the trade, it is anticipated he will also sign a long-term deal with the Cardinals. While it's doubtful the Indians would have been serious bidders for Rolen's services in the offseason, the possibility did exist of a Rolen flirtation if Jim Thome chose to sign elsewhere on the free agent market.

The Plain Dealer had an article on Johnny Peralta yesterday (no web link) that has Peralta crediting minor league hitting instructor Willie Upshaw for convincing him that he could hit at the double-A level. Peralta was a master of disguise last year as he would have a different stance every at-bat and, sometimes, even in-between pitches. This year, he's basically stuck with the same stance all season and the results have been very encouraging. Peralta is hitting .290/.351/.463/.814 with 10 homeruns and 20 doubles which is even more impressive when you consider he is 20 years old and in his first season of double-A ball. My impression, after seeing Peralta this season, was that his body looks like it could easily take on 10-15 pounds of muscle in the offseason which should only increase those rising power numbers. The article goes on to note that he's made a lot of errors (17) but has also made quite a few outstanding plays which seems to indicate a lack of concentration on the routine plays. It concludes with the statement "the only long-term concern is his range" which could make Peralta a candidate to move over to third base sometime next year, especially with Omar and Brandon Phillips in front of him.

As I write the above on Saturday night, the drill team just broke through and reached the trapped miners 239 feet below the earth. Let's hope those guys are all still alive, they all make a mint off the book and movie rights, and they and their families never have to descend below the depths and work a coal vein again. It's tragedies like this that make the players and owners inability to agree on how to split a multibillion dollar pie even more laughable. Flash to Sunday morning and unbelieveably, all those guys got out alive and in relatively good shape. Now all they have to do is figure out which one Tom Hanks is going to play in the movie :-).

Baseball Weekly has an article on Tribe prospects in their latest issue.

Deleted by James when he turned the computer off on me this morning while I was halfway through the Burlington report (sigh). I'll have a short summary tomorrow.

(Serenity Now)


July 27, 2002  

Saturday, July 27

Rough start for Charles Nagy last night. Nice return for Jim Thome.

Matt Lawton has ended his rehab assignment in Akron and will be activated in time for tonight's game against the Tigers. Lawton went 0-for-10 with three walks in three games with the Aeros.

The Akron-Beacon Journal notes that Travis Fryman is expected to be ready by August 4, which is the first day that he will be eligible to be activated from the disabled list.

The LA Times (according to the ATM Reports) and the Plain Dealer note the continuing talks between the Dodgers and Indians regarding Paul Shuey.

Burlington right-hander Honeudis Pereyra was promoted to Columbus. All Pereyra has done in his first visit to the States is lead the Appy League in strikeouts (as a reliever) with 46 punchouts in 26-1/3 innings. Control is a problem as he's walked 22 but the dominance is evident by the 9 batters who've been lucky enough to beat him for a baseknock. Pereyra is a 21 year-old native of the Dominican Republic.

Did anyone see the note in the Morning Journal that claims the Cavs are on the verge of trading Andre Miller to the Clippers for Darius Miles? I love Andre, but DaJuan Wagner, Ricky Davis, and Darius Miles would be an exciting threesome to watch develop. Cleveland hasn't seen run-n-gunners like this since the days of Mouse McFadden and Clinton Smith.

There's a couple of great articles in the Kinston Free Press today. The first covers some wacky promotions planned for Historic Grainger Stadium and the other is an excellent look at life on the road by Friend of the CIR Chris Kline. Check 'em out.

Roberto Alomar reached 2500 career hits last night with a single off Elmer Dessens. He added two more later in the game and his 2502 career total places his 8th all-time among second basemen, only 15 behind Joe Morgan, according to the ATM REPORTS.

BUFFALO: Lance Caraccioli went six solid innings in his Indians system debut as the Bisons knocked off Scranton 7-3. Caraccioli gave up three runs in six innings on seven hits while striking out five. Most importantly, as this has been the knock against him throughout his career, he only walked two. Jason Beverlin, working out of the pen to make room for Caraccioli, tossed two scoreless innings and Jerrod Riggan worked a scoreless ninth. A day after banging out 17 hits and 6 doubles, the Bisons only managed 14 hits and 6 doubles last night. Zach Sorenson needed only a homerun for the cycle as he singled, doubled , and tripled (#11) to drive in three runs. He also stole a base and was hit by a pitch. Josh Bard also had three hits, including a double, and drove in two runs. Tim Laker and Chad Allen each doubled and singled. Jody Gerut (.318) doubled, walked, and drove in a run. Todd Dunwoody doubled, Chris Coste singled, and Karim Garcia singled in a run and walked.

AKRON: Jamie Brown tossed seven innings of one-run ball but the bullpen had an uncharacteristic blowup and could not hold the lead as the Reading Phillies rallied for a 4-2 win at Canal Park. Brown spotted five hits over his seven innings and walked none while striking out two. Marcos Mendoza (1-4, 1.93) was charged with the loss as he permitted two runs to score in his 1-2/3 innings. Ryan Larson gave up a hit before recording the final out. Luis Garcia belted his first Aeros homerun, a solo shot. Johnny Peralta doubled, Ryan Church and Maicer Izturis singled, and Victor Martinez walked twice and scored a run.

KINSTON: It looked like the Shane Wallace of 2001 on the mound last night in Wilmington as the southpaw allowed only one run on three hits in six innings despite walking five. The Kinston Free Press notes that he was helped out by his buddies in the infield as he recorded 11 groundball outs. Scott Sturkie rebounded from a rough outing earlier in the week and pitched two scoreless innings, striking out three. Matt Wade worked a perfect final frame, striking out one. Luke Scott belted his 4th homerun, a solo shot, and also doubled to drive in two runs. Rickie Morton blasted a 2-run jack (#10), doubled, and singled to drive in three runs. Jorge Moreno had two hits, including a double, and also stole a base. Grady Sizemore (.329) doubled, singled, drove in a run, and stole a base. Joe Inglett singled twice, Hector Luna plated a run with a single, and Alex Requena singled and stole a base (#49). Corey Smith doubled in a run.

COLUMBUS: Rained out (again)

THE VALLEY: One night after blowing a 6-0 lead, the Scrappers did it again as they wasted a 5-0 lead through six innings and lost to Jamestown 9-5. Keith Ramsey was sensational for the Scrappers over the first five innings as he permitted only hits and struck out four. The left-handed Gator (10th round pick this year) has overmatched NYP hitters in his short professional career, posting a 1.45 ERA in 18-2/3 innings and striking out 27 batters while walking only two. The trio of Matt Blethen, Chris White, and Todd Culp combined to allow nine runs (seven earned) over the final four innings. Pat Osborn doubled twice, singled, walked, stole a base, and drove in a run in support of his fellow Gator. Andy Baxter belted his 4th homerun and singled to drive in two. Jeff Haase singled twice and was hit by a pitch. Bill Peavey also had two hits and drove in a run. Ben Francisco singled and walked, Brian Wright doubled, and Shaun Larkin walked and drove in a run with a sac fly.

BURLINGTON: Game suspended due to rain with Burlington leading 8-1 in the 4th inning.


July 26, 2002  

Friday, July 26

Brian Powell vs Charles Nagy tonight. I wonder if there are any tickets left?

The Oakland A's acquired second basemen Ray Durham from the White Sox yesterday for non-prospect minor league pitcher Jon Atkins (6.03, 97IP, 129H in triple-a). This was strictly a salary dump by the Sox and is a tremendous pickup for the Athletics. It's impact on the Indians is twofold. First of all, the A's have been rumored as potential acquirers of either Ellis Burks or Jim Thome and this acquisition may max them out financially to the point where Burks and Thome are now off the radar. Billy Beane is as creative as they come, however, so if he really wants Burks or Thome, he will find a way to make it work on the field and financially. The bigger impact is how the A's division rivals, Seattle and Anaheim, react to this move which should significantly improve the A's offense as they slot Durham's speed and .390 OBP into the leadoff role and remove the non-sticks of Mark Ellis and company. Does this mean that Anaheim steps to the plate and bolsters their bullpen with a Ricardo Rincon and/or Paul Shuey? They can have both if they're willing to part with reliever Francisco Rodriguez in my opinion (see BA article below). Or does Seattle make a move for Burks to match the A's upgrade? Things were certainly hectic in the Anaheim and Seattle front offices before this move but you can expect the pace has quickened even more so this morning.

The Tigers acquired former top prospect Hiram Bocachica from the Dodgers for a non-prospect pitcher and player to be named later. I mention this only because Bocachica was designated for assignment in order to make room for the recently acquired Tyler Houston and/or Jolbert Cabrera. It's also interesting to note how Dave Dombrowski is prowling the waiver wire for talent as this pickup echoes their successful trade earlier in the season for George Lombard who looks to be settling into full-time duty in centerfield with the Tigers after years of being a "can't miss" prospect with the Braves. Smart move by Dombrowski.

Jayson Stark comments on the tradability of Ellis Burks and Jim Thome in his latest Rumblings and Grumblings column on

The PD echoes my thoughts from earlier in the week on the Jolbert Cabrera trade in that the Dodgers and Indians have been, and continue to, talk about a Paul Shuey deal.

The PD also notes, as I've speculated over the last month, that we may not see as many Indians prospects as we would think/hope this September due to the threat of a work stoppage with the reasoning being that minor leaguers can continue to work out and play regardless of whether they are on the 40 or not. Players that were called up in September and remain on the roster as of Sept 16 (the unofficial official strike date) would be considered "on strike" just the like normal big leaguers.

The Morning Journal has an article on Jaret Wright today.

Baseball America continues their positional rankings (subscribers only) with a look at left-handers and relievers this week. Cliff Lee checks in as the #5 lefthanded prospect in all of baseball while Billy Traber is ranked #14 and Brian Tallet is ranked #22. Lee is listed as having the third best breaking pitch while Traber is ranked as having the second best command with Tallet right behind him at number five. Alex Herrera is ranked as the 9th best relief prospect in the game and is listed as having the second best breaking ball and fourth best command. Angels reliever Francisco Rodriguez was ranked #2 overall with the 4th best fastball and second best curve. His combined stats (AA and AAA) this season are just filthy (65.1IP, 48K, 24W, 94K).

The Kinston Free Press is reporting a domino effect series of moves today with the most significant being that RHP Fernando Cabrera has been promoted to Akron. One of the few bright spots from the dismal 1999 draft, the former 10th round pick dominated the Carolina League, although the record doesn't necessarily show it as he was often the victim of poor run support. In 21 starts, Cabrera allowed only 83 hits in 110 innings, walking 40 and striking out 107. He also kept the ball in the yard as he served up only seven gopherballs to Carolina League hitters. This will be the first double-A test for the 20-year old (21 in Nov) fireballer who can bring it at 97-98 but usually works comfortably in the 93-94 mph range. Under the radar for most of his career, Aeros fans may not have heard of Cabrera but they are in for a real treat over the next six weeks.

Kyle Evans will be making the trip to Akron with Cabrera as he will make a spot start for the Aeros on Saturday and then return to Kinston. Evans pitched well in an earlier spot-start for the Aeros this season. Coincidentally, Jason Rakers was placed on the disabled list with a sore right forearm (wink, wink).

Hank Thoms will replace Cabrera in the Kinston rotation, moving from the bullpen where he has a 2.22 ERA in 28 innings, including one start. Signed out of the independent leagues in the 2000 offseason, Thoms excelled as a starter for Kinston last year, posting a 7-2 record with a 2.26 ERA and striking out 74 hitters in 79-2/3 innings. At age 26 though, he needs to move up in a hurry.

Doug Lantz will move from Columbus to Kinston and replace Thoms in the K-Tribe's bullpen. Lantz was off to a fantastic start to the season, carrying a below 1.00 ERA through the first two months before he was sidelined with an injury. The Indians 14th round pick last year, Lantz has a 3-2 record with a 2.98 ERA and has struck out 51 batters in 57-1/3 innings while allowing 54 hits and walking only 12. He's making the switch to the bullpen after being a starter at the University of Kansas and with the Indians last season.

Former Indian minor leaguers Chan Perry (KC) and Marcus Scutaro (NYM) were promoted to the big leagues this week. Perry was hitting .321/.359/.480 with 11 homeruns in double-A while Scutaro was hitting .330/.386/.505 with seven homeruns in triple-A. Scutaro had been battling Bison professional hitter Chris Coste for the IL lead in hitting but has "slumped" a bit into the .330's.

Columbus played a wild game last night in the nightcap of a doubleheader (see the recaps below).

BUFFALO: Cliff Lee was dominant as the Bisons won in Scranton by a score of 8-1. Lee (2-0, 1.32) allowed only two hits in the first seven innings before allowing a solo homer and a single in the 8th. He walked three and struck out five and demonstrated skills evident of why he was ranked the 5th best left-handed pitching prospect by Baseball America. Carl Sadler mopped up with a scoreless 1-1/3 innings. Offensively, the Bisons banged out 17 hits, including seven doubles. Brandon Phillips (.244) doubled and singled as his average continues to climb. Chris Coste (.341) homered (#6), doubled, and singled and drove in two runs. Chad Allen (.339) had three hits, including a double. Karim Garcia (.426) continues to mash since resigning with the Tribe, singling twice and driving in two. Jody Gerut and Todd Dunwoody each doubled twice and singled. Josh Bard plated a run with a single.

AKRON: The Aeros needed extra innings to knock off Reading 3-2. After rallying for two runs in the bottom of the 9th to send the game into extras, Johnny Peralta knocked in the winning run in the bottom half of the 10th with a bases-loaded single. It was Peralta's second hit of the game, as he also doubled and knocked in one of the tying runs in the 9th. Eric Crozier had two hits and stole a base. Luis Garcia singled in a run. Victor Martinez singled and walk and Matt Lawton remained hitless on his rehab assignment, going 0-for-3 with a walk. Mike Spiegel allowed one earned run in five innings, striking out three. Matt White tossed three scoreless frames and Jose Colon picked up his third win with two scoreless innings.

KINSTON: Mother Nature came a callin'.

COLUMBUS: The Redstixx split a doubleheader with Savannah, winning the opener 5-0 and losing the nightcap 5-4. The opener was actually the completion of Tuesday's rainout that was suspended in the bottom of the 1st inning which helps to explain why Dan Denham shows up in the boxscore as only having recorded one out. JD Martin actually "started" this game and worked a scoreless 2-2/3. Chris Cooper earned the win with 3-2/3 scoreless innings, striking out four. Todd Pennington mopped up with 2-1/3 perfect innings of relief. Chad Peshke led the offense with a double, two singles, and two stolen bases. He was also hit by a pitch. Matt Knox knocked in a run and singled twice. Miguel Quintana doubled and singled and drove in two runs. Rodney Choy Foo had two hits and an RBI. Brian Kirby singled in a run and Dennis Malave singled and walked twice. The nightcap was a wild game as the Redstixx and Tourists went into extra innings tied at 1 apiece. They both scored two runs in the 10th inning with the Redstixx runs coming off Savannah leftfielder Charlie Bilezilejia who was pressed into duty when the Tourists ran out of pitchers. From the looks of the boxscore, he may have pitched a scoreless 9th inning which probably didn't sit too well with the Redstixx. Anyway, the Redstixx put a run on the board in the top of the 11th off catcher Jose Mercedes (yes, another position player) but ran out of pitchers themselves and had to send infielder Chad Peshke out to the mound for the bottom-half of the inning. What happened? Well, let's just say that Chad should hang onto his infielder's glove for the foreseeable future as he faced five batters, recorded no outs, gave up four hits, one walk, uncorked three wild pitchers, and allowed two runs to score for the loss. Big Daddy Rahm couldn't have done it any better. Carlos De La Cruz and Lee Gronkiewicz each worked three scoreless innings for the Redstixx. Peshke drove in a run with a sac fly. Matt Knox (.328) belted his 4th homerun and he hasn't stopped hitting since leaving the Valley earlier in the month. Miguel Quintana had three hits and JJ Sherrill and Brian Kirby singled and knocked in a run apiece.

THE VALLEY: The Scrappers lost to Jamestown 10-6. Jeff Haase (.323/.386/.645) belted his 6th homerun and singled to drive in three runs. Ben Francisco (.351) doubled twice. Bill Peavey knocked in a run and singled twice. Mike Conroy had two hits and Jonathan Von Every doubled and stole a base. Victor Kliene worked four scoreless innings but gave up five runs (four earned) in a 5th inning in which he recorded only one out. Kevin Martin tossed 2-2/3 scoreless frames. Ignacio Montano gave up his first runs of the years, five in the 8th, four coming on a salami, and was charged with the loss. Dan Rich worked a scoreless 9th.

BURLINGTON: The B-Tribe lost both ends of a double-dip in Danville, 18-2 and 5-4. The opener was the completion of yesterday's suspended game and Fernando Pacheco and Chris De La Cruz drove in the Indians runs. The pitching lins are so ugly that I'll just give props to Paul Martinez for being the only Burlington hurler to not allow a run. In the nightcap, Dan Cevette gave up three runs in four innings and Reid Casey gave up two runs in two innings and was charged with the loss. Eider Torres (.286) singled twice and drove in a run. Angel Abreu also had two hits and an RBI. Ricardo Rojas doubled and singled and drove in two. Aaron Davidson tripled and Carlos Parra and Jose Cruz Jr each singled and walked. The B-Tribe had rallied from three down to take the lead with two runs in the 5th and 6th innings before Casey gave up the two runs in the bottom of the 6th.


July 25, 2002  

Thursday, July 25

Heck of a debut last night by David Elder in an otherwise very forgettable game. All he did was hold the formidable Yankees to two walks in 2-1/3 innings while striking out two, including Jason Giambi for his first major league out. Sweet Sassy Molassy, that's something you can tell the grandkids about, huh? Elder was recalled from Buffalo to replace Heath Murray who was placed on the 15-day disabled list (retroactive to 7/22) with inflammation of his left shoulder. After optioning him out last week, the Indians got around the 10-day stay requirement because Elder is considered an injury replacement.

Matt Lawton has started a rehab stint with the Aeros and has gone 0-for-7 in two games in Akron. He's eligible to come off the DL this Saturday (July 27) and is expected to be activated this weekend.

Devil Rays left-handed reliever Doug Creek was sold to the Seattle Mariners for cash which eliminates another team from the potential list of trading partners for Ricardo Rincon. Creek was 2-1 with a 6.27 ERA in 37-1/3 innings for the D-Rays this season. More importantly, he had held left-handed sticks to a .224 average (11-for-49) but had served up three longballs. Rincon checks in with a .240 batting average against lefties (18-for-75) with two longballs. Creek is the fourth situational lefty to be dealt this season following Dan Plesac, Pedro Borbon, and Alan Embree with Cliff Politte (Plesac) being the most intriguing part of the returns. If Shapiro can get anything of value for Rincon this week, I will be really surprised.

The Indians signed their third round pick Jason Cooper (OF, Stanford) to a contract and he will report to single-A Columbus according to the Plain Dealer and Baseball America notes that Cooper received a $472k bonus which is pretty much slot money. This signing leaves only first round pick, and fellow Stanford Cardinal, Jeremy Guthrie unsigned among the Indians selections in the first 12 rounds. In a normal year, this would be considered impressive, but it's even more so this year when you factor in the $1mil the Tribe gave 2001 DFE Sean Smith and the stories that are popping up about teams (Twins and Astros) halting negotiations with draft picks to preserve cash flow in case of a work stoppage. Nice work by Shapiro, Mirabelli, and company.

Terry Pluto has a good article on all the question marks facing the Tribe this year and next.

Mark Shapiro was quoted in the Morning Journal as saying that Dan Evans, Dodgers GM, told him that Lance Caraccioli would have made the big-league club out of spring training next season as the Dodgers first lefty out of the bullpen. Shapiro went on to add that Caraccioli would be developed as a starter with the Indians but that he could contribute in the pen. As for Evans' comments, you fantasy guys know that uptalking and downtalking, to a lesser extent, never happens in trade talks, huh?

It's easy to forget about Jason Stanford with the trio of southpaws (Traber, Tallet, and Lee) currently in the Bisons rotation, but perhaps his brilliant outing (three-hit complete game shutout) on Tuesday night in Akron will cause people to take a little notice. Stanford has started 15 games in Akron and 4 games in Buffalo this year and has posted a combined 3.10 ERA in 116-2/3 innings, striking out 95 hitters and allowing 117 hits and 32 walks, numbers that aren't too far removed from his more heralded left-handed brethren. Stanford was placed on the 40-man roster last season after pitching well in the Arizona Fall League and for the United States in the World Cup in Taiwan last November. It's likely he could move to the bullpen next season with the Big Three in front of him, but for now, he just adds to the depth of the Indians left-handed pitching prospect.

Alex Herrera is back in Akron for his third stint with the Aeros this season after being demoted from Buffalo. He tossed three pretty good innings last night. Dave Maurer was activated from the Bisons disabled list and returned to action last night.

BUFFALO: The Bisons lost 7-5 to Scranton Wilkes-Barre as David Riske gave up a 3-run bomb to Chase Utley (.261, 14 HR, 35 2B) in the bottom of the 9th inning. Jason Phillips, in his first start since being demoted from Cleveland, gave up three runs in six innings on nine hits and a walk. Roy Smith worked a scoreless frame and Dave Maurer was touched for a run in 2/3 of an inning. Brandon Phillips (.233) had three hits and an RBI. Karim Garcia (.426) had two hits and two walks. Josh Bard doubled, singled, and drove in two runs. Greg LaRocca singled twice, took one for the team a la Rudy Stein, and stole two bases (#15-16). Chad Allen singled and knocked in a run with a sac fly. Todd Dunwoody doubled in a run and Zach Sorenson singled.

AKRON: The Aeros won 3-2 over Erie thanks to a pinch-hit single by Nate Grindell in the bottom of the 9th inning. Grindell was hitting for Eric Crozier who had doubled and singled in three trips to the plate. Johnny Peralta (.283) had two hits, Maicer Izturis singled in a run, and Ryan Church, Victor Martinez, and Luis Garcia added basehits. Jason Davis worked the first five innings for the Aeros, giving up four hits and three walks and only one unearned run. Alex Herrera gave up a run in three innings, striking out four in the process. Ryan Larson was credited with the win as he worked a scoreless frame, striking out one.

KINSTON: Fernando Cabrera (6-8, 3.52) won back-to-back games for the first time as a professional as he pitched six strong innings to lead the K-Tribe to a 3-1 victory over Potomac. Cabrera struck out seven and allowed only one run on three hits and two walks. Nate Fernley struck out four in two scoreless innings and Brandon Matheny picked up his third save with a scoreless final inning. Corey Smith (#10) and Hector Luna (#8) went yard and Joe Inglett doubled. Luna extended his hitting streak to 10 games while Grady Sizemore had his streak stopped at 11 games. Dueling Cabrera was Cardinals RHP Dan Haren who, hopefully, is on the short list from the Finley trade, and struck out 10 last night in six innings, giving up four hits, two of them bombs, and three runs.

COLUMBUS: The Redstixx won 5-2 in Savannah. Mariano Gomez (6-1, 3.17) continues to pitch well, striking out four in five innings and giving up only four hits and two walks. Doug Lantz permitted only one hit in four innings to close out the game. Seven Redstixx hitters had a basehit with Miguel Quintana plating two runs and JJ Sherrill and Armando Camacaro knocking in one apiece. Sherrill, Camacaro, Dennis Malave, and Ivan Ochoa each pilfered a base as the Redstixx ran wild on the bases.

THE VALLEY: The Scrappers defeated Auburn 5-3 as they rallied for three runs in the bottom of the 8th inning. Ben Francisco doubled twice, stole a base, was hit by a pitch, and knocked in two runs. Brian Wright had two hits and an RBI. Pat Osborn doubled and plated a run with a sac fly. Shaun Larkin, Dave Wallace, Bill Peavey, and Andy Baxter each singled. Baxter and Peavey each stole a base. Simon Young gave up one run in five innings on four hits and a pair of walks. Chris White was touched for a run in 1-2/3 innings and Michael Hernandez picked up his third win as he struck out four in 2-1/3 innings.

BURLINGTON: Suspended due to rain with Danville leading 8-0 in the middle of the fourth innings. Unfortunately for the B-Tribe, the game will be resumed this afternoon. Taking your first cuts of the day already trailing by 8 runs is something I thought only happened to my softball team!

TUESDAY RECAPS: Billy Traber (1-2, 3.13) gave up five runs in six innings on eight hits while striking out four. Karim Garcia doubled, singled, and walked twice. Jason Stanford (6-5, 3.35) tossed a three-hit, complete game shutout, striking out nine and walking none. Jhonny Peralta drove in two runs with two hits. Luis Garcia doubled, singled, and walked in his Indians system debut. Ryan Church drove in three runs with two hits. Eric Crozier had two hits. Maicer Izturis singled and tripled. Derek Thompson gave up a run in six innings. Columbus was rained out. Andy Baxter doubled and tripled. Carlos Parra doubled and tripled and drove in two runs. Chris De La Cruz had two hits.


July 24, 2002  

Wednesday, July 24

Just wanted to send out a quick note that there will not be a daily report today as I'm been having PC problems all morning.

The following issue isn't related, but if you had problems accessing the website last night and this morning, it appears there was a Blogger-related issue that was causing the site to display a blank white page most of the time. As of noon today, it appears this problem has been resolved, but if you should encounter it in the future, I would appreciate it if you sent me an e-mail notifying me of the problem. Thanks!

Talk to you tomorrow!


July 23, 2002  

Tuesday, July 23

Jolbert Cabrera was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers yesterday for left-handed reliever Lance Caraccioli. After being one of the more valuable utility players in the American League last season, Cabrera had a horrible offseason as he and his family were the victims of an attempted carjacking that resulted in Jolby being shot in the buttocks that was a lot more serious than it sounds. Whether or not the actual injury has affected his play, he never really recovered this season and struggled mightily at the big league level to the tune of .111/.117/.125 or 8-for-72 if that's how you prefer to look at it. His numbers were solid enough at triple-A (.286/.353/.341 in 91 at-bats) but the Indians realized they had comparable, younger players that will warrant a look in the near future which made Cabrera expendable. Specifically, Johnny Mac as the backup infielder, Chris Magruder as the 4th outfielder, and Zach Sorenson and Scott Pratt in the minor leagues. You can probably even throw Bill Selby into that mix as well, although he comes up short on the "younger" portion of the criteria. On a good team that carries 12 pitchers and a full-time DH like the Indians did last year, Cabrera's versatility, defense, and speed off the bench makes him extremely valuable. That's not the case, however, on a team like the Indians that has switched to developing players at the major league level. I think the Indians also realized there was a good chance that Cabrera was not going to be on their 40-man roster in the offseason which would probably have resulted in him leaving the organization as a minor league free-agent so they took the opportunity to get something for him while they can. Jolbert was a fun player to cheer for but, from a baseball standpoint, his loss to the organization is minimal at best.

Lance Caraccioli is a 24-year old left-hander that has spent his entire career with the Dodger organization after being selected in the 10th round of the 1998 draft out of Northeast Louisiana Unviersity, which is either called Louisiana-Monroe or Louisiana-Lafayette right now. In 1999, he reported to San Bernadino in the low-A California League and did his best Luke LaLoosh impression as he walked 126 batters in 140 innings, striking out 98 jittery hitters in the process. Back in the Cal League for 2000, he lowered his walk rate tremendously, issuing only 68 free passes in 105-2/3 innings split between starting and relieving. Promoted to the high-A Florida State League to start the 2001 season, Caraccioli was terrific in five starts, sporting a 1.82 ERA and walking only seven in 29-2/3 innings with 22 strikeouts. That earned him a promotion to double-A, where he spent the rest of the season both starting and relieving and lowering his walk rate further to 45 walks in 130 innings (87K, 139H). The start of this season found Lance back in double-A where he started 10 times and posted a 4-2 record and 3.06 ERA with solid supporting numbers of 61.2IP, 53H, 25W, 48K. That fine start earned him a promotion to triple-A Las Vegas where he's taken the hill 10 times, posting a 4-3 record and 4.14 ERA and supporting numbers of 58.2IP, 58H, 28W, 39K. In his final start for the Dodgers, he pitched seven shutout innings and gave up only two hits in a 5-0 victory over Tucson.

Caraccioli has never been on the Dodgers 40-man roster and he's never been ranked by Baseball America in the Dodgers top 10 prospects. John Sickels has assigned him a C-, C, and C- grade over the last three seasons with the consensus comment being that he's a live arm who needs to work on his command. Mark Shapiro was quoted in the ABJ as saying that he has a good breaking pitch, a deceptive delivery, and an average fastball. The most interesting comment Shapiro made was that he thinks Carccioli's downside is a middle reliever at the major league level which I found surprising given the numbers above that would seem to indicate that may be his upside. The Indians have seen him twice this season and also in spring training so we'll see if the scouts have earned their pay and plucked a diamond in the rough from another organization. At a minimum, it never hurts to add a lefty with a live arm to the system as you never know when a LOOGY is going to rear its one-dimensional head.

Caraciolli will report to Buffalo where he is expected to join a crowded, left-handed dominated rotation, that includes Billy Traber, Brian Tallet, Cliff Lee, Jason Beverlin, and the recently-demoted Jason Phillips. Beverlin would seem the most likely of the five to move to the bullpen given the prospect status of the other members, although everything is up in the air until the trade deadline passes.

Does this trade hint at another deal brewing with the Dodgers? Perhaps, as it seems unlikely that either team would be initiating a phone conversation for either of the above two players, although Shapiro did note that the Dodgers had been inquiring about Cabrera since last August. My opinion is that the two teams were talking about either Paul Shuey or Ricardo Rincon and Dan Evans mentioned his need for a utility player in small-talk, Shapiro mentioned his interest in Caraccioli as a prospect the Indians liked, and a side deal was born. But when you look at recent deals the Indians have made, there is a precedent for a minor trade preceeding the main deal. Before the Indians dealt Finley to St.Louis, they had also dealt three minor leaguers (Billy Munoz, Nerio Rodrigue, and Tommy Davis) to them earlier in the season. Before the Indians almost dealt Finley to the Reds, they had traded Jeff 'Amico to Cincinnati two weeks prior. And while the Expos were having Bartolo Colon checked out, the Indians went out and acquired the afore-mentioned Mr.D'Amico to fill the pending hole in their triple-A rotation. Does this mean the Indians and Dodgers are going to make a swap next week? No. But it does indicate that they're talking and talking is what leads to trades being made.

On a side note, I find it somewhat comical that the Dodgers had been inquiring about Jolbert Cabrera since last August as there are dozens of Cabrera-type players scattered throughout the upper levels of the minor leagues that are available every year in the minor league free-agent market. If I was a Dodgers fan, I would be feeling a little disheartened this morning.

The Indians placed Bob Wickman on the 15-day disabled list this morning with a muscle strain in his right forearm that he first reported after Sunday's game in Kansas City. Chad Paronto was recalled from Buffalo to replace Wickman in the 'pen. This injury could not have come at a worse time as it will severely reduce the chances of moving Wickman before the July 31 trade deadline. Interestingly enough, this will be Wick's first appearance on the disabled list in his major league career.

Chad Longworth (12th round pick) was officially signed by the Indians.

Jim Ingraham has an excellent article on the Indians farm system in the Morning journal today.

Victor Martinez checks in at #11 on the latest edition of Baseball America's Prospect Hot Sheet. Billy Traber makes the honorable mention list.

Mahoning Valley reliever Ignacio Montano extended his scoreless streak to 13 innings last night with a scoreless inning of work. The diminutive 22-year old lefty (5'8", 155) from Vera Cruz, Mexico has struck out 12 while walking only one one and giving up seven hits this season.

If you've been wondering why Nathan Panther has been absent from the B-Tribe's lineup, the Burlington Times is reporting that he has a groin injury.

BUFFALO: Tim Drew outdueled Brian Tallet but the Bisons rallied in the 9th against their former teammate for a 4-3 victory in Ottawa. Tallet turned in a much better performance than in his triple-A debut as he allowed only one run in 6-1/3 innings, although he did give up nine hits and two walks while striking out none. Dave Elder was touched for two runs in 2-1/3 innings but picked up his second win of the season when Carl Sadler came on to record the final out and his first save. Drew tossed eight scoreless innings before giving up a Chris Coste leadoff homerun in the top of the 9th which kickstarted the Bisons 4-run rally. Zach Sorenson (.275) and Jody Gerut (.315) had two hits and an RBI. Chad Allen doubled and singled. Greg LaRocca had two hits. Brandon Phillips, Karim Garcia, and Todd Dunwoody each singled



COLUMBUS: The Redstixx lost 8-4 in Augusta. Travis Foley suffered through an uncharacteristicly poor outing as he allowed six unearned runs in four innings on six hits and four walks. He struck out three and did pitch a scoreless 4th innings. Oscar Alvarez allowed a run in three innings and Chris Cooper worked a scoreless inning. Jesus Colmenter belted his first homerun and also singled. Brian Kirby had three hits and Chad Peshke and Dennis Malave had two hits apiece. Matt Knox singled and drove in a run with a sac fly. Ivan Ochoa hit in the leadoff spot for the second game in a row and singled.

THE VALLEY: The Scrappers knocked off Auburn 3-1 at Cafaro Field. Brian Slocum (1.08, 8.1IP, 1.08 ERA) spun three scoreless innings as he walked one and permitted four hits while striking out three. Matt Blethen earned the win as he did not allow an earned run in three innings. Kevin Martin had his best outing of the season as he worked two scoreless frames. Ignacio Montano struck out one in a scoreless inning to extend his scoreless streak to 13 innings. Jonathan Van Every belted his 5th homerun as did Shaun Larkin, both solo shots. Bill Peavey knocked in the other run as he doubled and singled and Brian Wright singled and walked twice.


SUNDAY GAMES: Jason Beverlin (10-8, 3.93) gave up two runs in seven innings to pick up his 10th win. Karim Garcia had a HUGE game, going 5-for-5 with a homerun, double, two ribbies, and three runs scored. Jody Gerut (#1) and Brandon Phillips (#3) also went deep for the Bisons. Victor Martinez belted his 16th homer in the Aeros 3-2 loss to Harrisburg. Jason Fitzgerald (#8) also did some yardwork. Jamie Brown (6-3, 2.88) gave up three runs in seven innings. The K-Tribe struck out 15 times in a 10-2 loss to Frederick. Jake Dittler (3-7, 4.76) struck out 10 and gave up one run in seven innings in the Redstixx 1-0 loss to Augusta. Blake Allen (2-3, 3.19) turned in another solid outing, giving up three runs and striking out six in six innings in the Scrappers 3-0 loss to Staten Island. Sean Smith gave up one run in 4 innings in the B-Tribe's 3-2 loss to Kingsport.

SATURDAY GAMES: Alex Herrera returned to Buffalo, giving up one run in 2-1/3 innings and striking out three. Roy Smith made the spot start and gave up a run in four innings in the Bisons 2-1 loss. Ryan Church doubled, singled, and drove in a run in the Aeros 6-4 victory. Maicer Izturis had two hits, including a triple. Kyle Denney gave up two runs in seven innings for Kinston, which won in 15 innings over Frederick 3-2. Luke Scott had three hits, including the game-tying jack in the bottom of the 9th. Hector Luna had four hits, including the game-winner in the 15th. Corey Smith was 0-for-3 but walked three times. That may be a career high. JD Martin (11-4, 4.45) picked up win #11 as he gave up a run in five innings. Lee Gronkiewicz picked up save #18. The Scrappers swept two games on Staten Island. Jeff Haase belted his 5th homerun. Keith Ramsey struck out six and gave up a run in four innings. Victor Kliene struck out four and gave up two runs in five innings in the nightcap. The B-tribe defeated Kingsport 4-2 in 16 innings. Chris De La Cruz had two hits and three walks. Paul Martinez tossed four scoreless innings of relief.


July 22, 2002  

The Indians traded Jolbert Cabrera to the Dodgers for minor league left-handed pitcher Lance Caraccioli. Here's the report from CBS Sportsline. More on this tomorrow in the daily report.

Monday, July 22

If there's one thing I learned over the weekend, it's that you never ask an aging reliever sitting in the bullpen if they're the bullpen coach. For some reason, they tend to take that the wrong way. I also learned that there is such a thing as one too many cheese puffs, but that's another story for another time.

My friends and I made the journey up to Pittsburgh on Saturday to watch the Pirates and Cardinals battle it out in a big NL Central matchup. Ok, maybe it wasn't that big, but the Pirates are only 8-1/2 out and have been playing some good ball of late. After we got over the initial disappointment of not being lucky enough to see Chuck Finley take the hill, we proceeded to meet up with members of the Pittsburgh Browns Backers for a pregame tailgate party before heading over to the ballpark. Before I go on, let me just say that these guys are hard-core. You may think you're a huge Cleveland fan, but try wearing your Tim Couch jersey on a weekly basis in the belly of the beast. The PBBers rock.

Anyway, if you've never been to PNC park, you need to add it to your "must travel to someday" list. I love the Jake, but PNC is a nicer park. The sitelines are better, the concourses are more open, the view of the city is better, it's just an incredible park to kick back and watch a ballgame in. Our seats were in the leftfield bleachers right next to the Cardinals bullpen. And when I say right next to, I mean the only thing separating the Cardinals relievers and us was a wire fence.

So we get to the game and settle into our seats when someone notices Mike Timlin sitting in the bullpen and casually mentions "I thought Timlin was retired?" Before anyone can respond, we hear this coming from the bullpen. "Hey, I'm not retired". It's Timlin and he's glaring at us. All of us are stunned that 1) Timlin heard us and 2) he bothered to respond, but that doesn't stop this genius reply from being tossed out "Aren't you the bullpen coach". Well, of course, this hits Timlin right where it hurts and you can tell he's a little pissed off so in between some friendly bantering he spent the rest of the game giving us a mix of the evil eye and skunk eye. That is, until we won his approval with our "Screech" chant when the Pirates bat-boy, and a dead ringer for the Saved By the Bell star, would run out to grab the jackets when a Cardinals reliever entered the game. At one point, Timlin handed the kid the jacket, came back laughing, and told us "he asked me to kick your guys asses for him". All of which put us back on Timlin's good side. Oh yeah, Timlin warmed up in the 7th or 8th inning and finished by chucking a ball out of the stadium and into the river. At least, we think it landed in the river. Wherever it landed, it was a hell of a toss and we can only surmise that he was upset that he was told he wasn't going to be pitching that night. As were we, as the "Bullpen Coach" chant was locked and loaded :-).

In the meantime, Luther Hackman has elevated himself in the back of the bullpen so he can scan the crowd and I'll give you one guess as to what he was looking for. Still need help? Let's just say that Luther came prepared with a set of binoculars for zooming in on anything that may have caught his attention. Luther took the "look but don't touch" approach all night so if there's a Mrs.Hackman out there, don't worry because he wasn't doing anything different than 99.9% of any other guys in the ballpark that night but that still didn't stop us from chanting "Luther, Luther" any time a female(s) walked down the aisle past the bullpen. It was so loud at one point that Luther had to bury his face in his glove he was laughing so hard, along with the other guys in the bullpen. Classic stuff.

Steve Kline, on the other hand, spent a good portion of the early innings flicking sunflower seats at us from a distance of approx. 10 feet and nodding approvingly whenever he managed to hit one of us. You can look for the seeds on E-Bay in the next few days :-). Kline also appears to be separated at birth from Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban.

All in all, we represented Cleveland well. The guys in the bullpen were great and they even tossed us a few balls as they headed back to the dugout after the game. We also gave Screech a standing ovation and a bunch of high-fives when he came out to clean up the bullpen area and there was much love in the air. The visit was equal to our trip last year when the Indians played at PNC and we razzed Derek Bell so much with chants of "Nashville" and ".113, .108. .105" (a.k.a. his batting average) that he moved over to right field in the 6th inning. Ok, maybe that wasn't because of us, but you'll never convince us otherwise. The best part of that night was the confused look on the faces of the Pirates fans as to whether they should defend their hometown player against the rabid Cleveland faithful or join in themselves. In the end, they did nothing.

As for the game itself, the Pirates won 15-6 and the immortal Adam Hydzu blasted two homers and drove in seven runs and provided inspiration in the next day boxscores for every journeyman double-A and triple-A ballplayer still chasing the dream.

Ok, let's move onto some stuff that you guys actually care about. The Tribe made a ton of roster moves over the weekend and I'll try to sum them up as efficiently as possible. Jaret Wright and Charles Nagy were recalled to Cleveland and started both games of the DH on Saturday. One took the spot of Charles Finley on the roster, the other replaced Jason Phillips, who was sent down to Buffalo. Sean DePaula was added to the roster at the expense of David Riske, who was sent out on the Bison express. Travis Fryman was placed on the 15-day DL with inflammation of the right shoulder retroactive to July 17 and was replaced by Earl Snyder. Whew. Now for a little details.

Jaret Wright was hit (5 runs, 7 hits in 4 innings) but he threw 56 strikes in 92 pitches, topped out a few times at 96mph with the fastball, retired six of the last 7 batters he faced, and, most-importantly, was pain free after the outing. Barring something unforeseen, he'll be in the rotation every 5th day from here on out.

Charles Nagy continues to do anything possible to stay in the big leagues as he put together a solid outing in Game 2 of the doubleheader and gave up only two runs in six innings on five hits. He's probably going to get at least another start since...

Jason Phillips cannot be recalled for 10 days after he was optioned out to Buffalo. Phillips had a 3.86 ERA in three starts for the Indians covering 18-2/3 innings and I love Charles Nagy, but Phillips should really have the ball every 5th day. The roster is likely to undergo some more shakeups over the next 10 days so hopefully Phillips will be in the rotation when the dust settles on August 1.

Travis Fryman has an injury similar to Omar Vizquel (torn labrum) and UTK reports that it could be season-ending. At this point, it might be best for all if Fryman does sit out the remainder of the season. The Indians can experiment with Earl Snyder and Johnny Mac at third base and Fryman can start his rehab early and get ready for offseason workouts where he'll have to demonstrate his health to prospective suitors on the free-agent market. Travis is a gamer and there's no doubt that he wants to get out there and redeem himself for the awful season he's having, but this might be the best thing for him long-term.

David Riske can't find the plate so Sean DePaula was recalled from Buffalo to replace him in the 'pen. DePaula has spent the season in Buffalo rebuilding his arm strength and reports over the last month are that he is throwing as hard as ever. For the season, DePaula has rebounded from a rocky start and posted solid numbers, striking out 38 in 42-1/3 innings, while giving up 44 hits and walking 11.

Don't look now, but Mark Wohlers may have found himself. Since the All-Star break, he's unscored upon in 10 innings and he's been particularly stingy in letting men on base as he's allowed only six baserunners (three hits, three walks). He's peaking at the right time and hopefully Shapiro can use this hot streak to move his contract in the next 10 days.

Ben Broussard and Milton Bradley had a nice weekend in Kansas City. Very encouraging stuff.

Chuck Finley won his first National League start, giving up three earned runs in six innings and striking out eight in Pittsburgh yesterday. He also sent a cueball down the leftfield line for a double. Our buddies, Mike Timlin and Steve Kline, preserved the win for Fins.

Alex Herrera was promoted from Akron to Buffalo. Herrera had a rough start to the season (Mother's heart attack, his chickenpox) but he's rebounded and pitched well the last two months. For the Aeros, he was 0-1 with a 3.07 ERA and 46 strikeouts in 41 innings (27 hits, 18 walks). Keep in mind that he's also aged as BA now lists him as 26 instead of 23.

Jose Vargas was promoted from Kinston to Akron to replace Herrera in the Aeros bullpen. Vargas actually started the season with the Aeros, pitching decent in 7-8 innings before being sent down to Kinston as the victim of a numbers game. He didn't let the demotion bother him as he was simply sensational for the K-Tribe, going 4-0 with an unbelievable 0.61 ERA in 44 innings. He struck out 50, walked 11, and gave up 35 hits.

No farm recaps today, but I'll have a 3-day summary for you tomorrow, along with some interesting notes from Peter Gammons on the failed Indians-Reds trade last week.


July 20, 2002  

Saturday, July 20

Lots of news today, but let me get some administrative stuff out of the way before we get into the Finley trade. I'm heading to Pittsburgh tonight for the Pirates game and we're having my grandfather's 90th birthday party back in Cleveland on Sunday so there's a good chance the next report won't be until Monday. It's a planned visit to PNC tonight but how cool would it be if Chuck Finley takes the hill for the Cards. The last time I went slumming in the 'burgh, I had to rush home for an early surprise (Kelley), but I'm not expecting anything like that this time :-). I also updated the links on the CIR website with a list of team-related blogs, such as TwinsGeek and Braves Journal. It's all good stuff so check them out when you get the chance.

Jason Phillips impressed me last night. Starting on three days rest and little advance notice, he clearly did not have his best stuff early but he battled and turned in a solid three innings. When his curve is sharp, as it was when it started to bite in the 3rd and 4th innings, it's a major league out pitch. I would really like to see him get the ball every 5th day from here on out.

Chris Magruder is a player. I love the way he hustles right out of the box.

Is it just me or were there more bunts in the game last night than we've seen all year?

The rebuilding process took another step forward last night as the Indians traded Chuck Finley to the St. Louis Cardinals for minor league outfielder Luis Garcia and a player to be named later. The Indians also sent along cash, somewhere in the neighborhood of $1 million, to help the Cardinals stay within their budget. The Tribe will be responsible for paying the remainder of Finley's signing bonus, of which $7 million is still owed, paid in equal installments on January 15 of 2003, 2004, and 2005. That'll help pay the Christmas bills, huh?

Mark Shapiro indicated that there were five other teams seriously involved in talks three days ago. The field narrowed to three teams on Thursday with the Cardinals and another deal stepping to the forefront yesterday afternoon. There were reports initially that Shapiro was disappointed a deal did not work out on Thursday and that trade may have been with Cincinnati as the ABJ notes today that Ken Griffey Jr had told Reds management he would defer $1 million of his salary if they could acquire Finley. Let's hope the beat guys do some investigating to find out what other teams were involved. I know the CIR spies will be hitting the virtual newsstands this morning looking for info :-).

Chuck Finley was signed by the Indians on December 16, 1999 as the "Yankee Killer" who was supposed to pitch us deep into the postseason. Unfortunately, that never happened but Finley didn't pitch too bad in an Indians uniform over his 2-1/2 years here. His final numbers come in at 28-29 with a 4.59 ERA, 1.465 WHIP, and 376 strikeouts in 437 innings. Definitely not $27 million dollars good, but probably as well as could be expected from a 37-39 year old pitcher at the end of his career. His record this season (4-11) is more indicative of the lack of run support offered by the Indians meager offense (3.1 runs/game) than it is of Finley's performance, although his last two outings were rocky.

Luis Garcia is a 6'4, 184 pound, right-handed hitting outfielder/first basemen, He was signed by the Boston Red Sox out of Mexico in 1996 as a pitcher but after spending two years on the hill, the Sox moved Garcia off the mound and into the field where his power potential could be put to use full-time. 2000 was his first full season offensively in the States and he hit .260/.329/.456 with 20 homeruns, 51 walks, and 112 strikeouts in 493 ABs in the South Atlantic League. He showed improvement in 2001, posting combined numbers of .306/.365/.540 with 26 home runs and 34 doubles in the high-A Florida State League and double-A Eastern League. He also represented the Sox in the Futures Game. His plate discipline could still use some work as he walked a combined 46 times while striking out 129 times. In the offseason, he was traded by the Red Sox to the Cardinals in the Dustin Hermanson trade. He returned to double-A this season and was hitting .266/.335/.442 with 16 doubles, 12 homeruns, 32 walks, and 59 strikeouts in 308 at-bats. The Cardinals moved him from first base to the outfield in order to increase his versatility and keep him from being blocked by the recently signed Tino Martinez and he's played 80 games in the outfield and six at firstbase this season.

Mark Shapiro noted that Aeros manager Brad Komminsk, who has seen Garcia play a lot this season, says that Garcia has an "electric bat" and the Indians project him as an everyday corner outfielder with the potential to hit .260-.270 with 30 homeruns. That's not a bad player, huh? Scouts generally say his bat speed is solid, raw power is his plus-tool, he's athletic enough to be solid defensively, and he's going to have learn the strike zone better to be an impact hitter at the major league level. Team One Baseball ranked him as the #8 Cardinals prospect, Top Prospect Alert ranked him #2, and John Sickels gave him a B- grade which was an improvement from the C grade bestowed on him in 2001.

All in all, Garcia's overall numbers are decent but he's repeating the level, albeit after only a 1/2 year in 2001, and they're actually down from his performance the second half of 2001. He's got power, which is what the Indians need, but it looks like something is going to have click for him to become more than a minor league slugger. The Indians have assigned him to Akron and I have to say that I'm a bit surprised they did not choose to challenge him and bump him up to triple-A. Garcia has now had 500+ successful ABs in double-A so there's really nothing left for him to accomplish at that level. Overall, he's a marginal prospect but he's got the one skill that's missing from the Indians system, power, and it's the one skill you can't teach. I was initially disappointed when I heard the deal but, realisitically, what more could you expect for a 39-year old rent-a-pitcher. The fact that the draft pick compensation for lost free agents will probably be eliminated in the offseason certainly did little to help the Indians at the negotiating table.

The player to be named later will apparently come from a list of four minor leaguers and Mark Shapiro indicated that the selection must be made before the end of the minor league season. Most likely, there are several players (if not all of them) on the list who signed after July 19 of last year and cannot be traded until they reach their one-year signing anniversary. I took a quick glance at the Cardinals 2001 draft and no names really stood out as a late sign. If anyone knows of, or wants to put together such a short list, please send it in.

Mark Shapiro also was quoted as saying "there are still some things we want to accomplish". Stay tuned as the Ellis Burks rumors start to heat up with Oakland and Seattle rumored as the hottest suitors.

It's not turn back the clock day today in Kansas City, but it's certainly going to seem like it with Jaret Wright and Charles Nagy on the mound. Wright will most likely replace Finley on the roster with Nagy's partner still to be determined. It could be Heath Murray after he struggled again last night.

Travis Fryman had another cortisone shot in his right shoulder and will be placed on the disabled list retroactive to July 17. Earl Snyder is the likely callup from triple-A and look for him to see significant time at thirdbase.

Milton Bradley left the game last night with a strained right hammy and he's listed as day-to-day.

Allen Simpson in a Baseball America chat" stated that Victor Martinez is the top catching prospect in the minor leagues. I agree.

BA also did a breakdown of the top 40 right-handed pitchers in the minor leagues and Columbus hurlers JD Martin and Dan Denham made the honorable mention list. Travis Foley continues to fly under the radar although that should change in the offseason. has a review of the Indians prospects playing in Kinston and Burlington. More positive reviews on Fernando Cabrera who may slowing be losing his sleeper status. It's a good read, check it out.

Nate Fernley was promoted from Columbus to Kinston. The right-hander was 1-1 with a save and a 1.61 ERA in 15 games covering 28 innings for the Redstixx. He had given up only 17 hits and 8 walks while striking out 25. This will be his first appearance in the Carolina League.

Todd Pennington was promoted from Mahoning Valley to Columbus to replace Fernley. Pennington had pitched in 8 games for the Scrappers, posting a 3-1 record with two saves. In 15-1/3 innings, he had struck out 23 and given up only 6 hits and 6 walks. This will be his second tour of duty with the Redstixx this season as he pitched in three games for them before reporting to the Scrappers when short-season ball opened. He impressed me when I saw him pitch last week and I think he's got a shot to move up through the system as a short-man in the pen.

JJ Sherrill was named the South Atlantic League Hitter of the Week for the period covering July 12-July 18 as he went 11-for-21 with a double, three homeruns, and drove in nine runs.

Sean Swedlow was placed on the inactive list for personal reasons and he will not play for the remainder of the 2002 season. Swedlow was supposed to be in Cleveland late this week to have some nagging injuries examined and I'm not sure if this announcement has anything to do with that visit or if the visit even took place. The Indians 2nd round pick in the 2000 draft has been a disappointment thus far with this year no exception as he finishes hitting .232/.299/.333 with 6 homeruns and 89 strikeouts in 285 at-bats. Hopefully, he can use this time off to recuperate, get his head straight, and report back in the fall or spring ready to fulfill his potential.

BUFFALO: Cliff Lee threw six strong innings in his triple-A debut as the Bisons won in Ottawa 3-2. Lee gave up only one run on six hits and three walks and struck out three as he picked up his first triple-A win. The fact that it came against his old organization has to made it extra sweet. Carl Sadler gave up a run in two innings and Dave Elder worked a scoreless final frame for the save. Zach Sorenson had three hits, including a double, to drive in two of the three Bison runs. Jody Gerut plated the other run with two basehits. Karim Garcia doubled and singled twice. Greg LaRocca doubled and walked, Chris Coste singled, and Todd Dunwoody walked twice.

AKRON: The Aeros won 5-2 in Harrisburg as four Aeros pitchers combined on a two-hitter. Mike Spiegel gave up both of the Senators runs in the 1st inning and he walked three and gave up a hit while striking out four in his two innings. Marcos Mendoza (1-3, 1.06) earned the win with three scoreless innings, giving up a hit and striking out four. Matt White tossed 2-2/3 scoreless innings and Ryan Larson picked up the save with a scoreless final 1-1/3 innings. The newly minted "best catcher in the minor leagues", Victor Martinez, singled, walked, and drove in a run. Troy Cameron doubled and singled twice. Ryan Church and Eric Crozier each doubled and singled with Church knocking in a run. Nate Grindell tripled and singled. Jhonny Peralta singled, walked twice, and scored two runs and Maicer Izturis singled and stole a base.

KINSTON: The K-Tribe lost to Frederick 7-4. Shane Wallace was hammered in his Carolina League debut but the results aren't important yet as he continues his recovery from TJ surgery. Wallace gave up 11 hits and six runs in five innings. Hank Thoms struck out four in three innings and Matt Wade worked a scoreless final frame. Jorge Moreno drove in two runs with a triple and single. Hector Luna knocked in a run with two basehits. Luke Scott had a single and RBI. Alex Requena, Grady Sizemore, Rickie Morton, and Joe Inglett each singled.

COLUMBUS: Brian Kirby drove in five of the Redstixx 10 runs as they pounded Augusta 10-1. Kirby (#11-12) belted a 2-run homer and added a 3-run jack a few innings later to put the game out of reach. Matt Knox (.349) added a solo shot (#3). Mark Folsom belted a 2-run dinger (#7). Is this signs of life we're seeing from Mr.Folsom, lately? Rodney Choy Foo also went deep, solo shot, and doubled. Chad Peshke singled twice, Armando Camacaro had three hits, and Ivan Ochoa tripled, walked, and drove in a run. Mariano Gomez (5-1, 3.14) struck out four in five innings and allowed only one run on six hits to pick up the win. Doug Lantz and Dan Shouse gave up one hit apiece in two scoreless frames.

THE VALLEY: Rained Out

BURLINGTON: The B-Tribe defeated Kingsport 5-1. Dan Cevette (1-2, 4.15) turned in the best performance of his young career as he allowed only one hit in five innings, striking out five and walking three to pick up his first win as a professional. Jimmy Schultz gave up a run in 1/3 of an innings. Hector Santana and Shea Douglas worked two scoreless innings apiece. Matt Whitney (.290) singled, doubled and homered (#5) to drive in three runs. Ricardo Rojas had two hits and stole a base. Micah Schilling tripled, walked twice, and stole a base. Carlos De La Cruz (.306) singled and walked, Eider Torres (.285) singled, and Luis Hodge, Carlos Parra, and Fernando Pacheco added basehits.


July 19, 2002  

Channel 8 and ESPN are reporting that Chuck Finley has been traded to the St.Louis Cardinals for a minor leaguer. Finley was scheduled to start tonight in Kansas City and Andy Baskin from Fox Sports noted on WKNR that Charles Nagy is on his way from Buffalo. Tonight would have been Nagy's normal turn in the Bisons rotation so he might be on the hill tonight for the Tribe.

Channel 8 just stated the minor leaguer is Luis Garcia. I'll reserve judgement until the official word comes out but I was hoping for more.

More details as they are announced.

Andy Baskin from Fox Sports was on the Kenny Roda show a few minutes ago and noted that the lineup has not yet been posted for tonight's game, he hasn't seen Chuck Finley at the ballpark, and Charles Nagy is on his way to Kansas City (if he's not there yet). Could be nothing, could be a trade is in the offing for this evening (Finley is scheduled to start tonight).

Friday, July 19

NOTE: No spellcheck today. Please be kind.

Torii Hunter is cool.

Danys Baez is cooler.

Did he really go over to the Twins clubhouse in the 9th inning looking to fight? Joel Skinner needs to talk to him about this, but it's still cool.

As I was listening to the game yesterday, I couldn't help but think that 2-3 years ago, it would have been the young Twins jumping out to the early lead with the Indians rallying from behind for the victory. My how the times have changed.

Hey, if you want to check out a great Twins site, make sure to visit We're going to have a friendly wager on the four game series coming up in September and I just hope one of those games isn't the Twins clincher.

Jaret Wright has been officially named as the starter for the second game of Saturday's doubleheader in Kansas City. He'll be activated in between games and the person sent down will probably be determined by what happens with the bullpen over the next 18 innings.

Peter Gammons noted this morning on ESPN Radio that the Indians and Reds have essentially agreed on a deal involving Chuck Finley but they are still working out the financial details. Apparently the Reds want the Tribe to pickup some of Finley's remaining 2002 salary and the Indians are willing as long as the Reds include another (or perhaps, better) prospect in the deal. You can listen to his "Diamond Notes" segment by clicking on the Morning Show link on the espn radio website and forwarding about 1:30 into the show. Jayson Stark backs up the above in his latest Rumblings and Grumblings column. Of course, he could have been listening to Gammons while he was working on his column too :-)

So who do the Reds have to offer? Well, we've discussed Wily Mo Pena and I still suspect he would be the centerpiece of any "Finley to the Reds" deal but here's a quick look at some of their other position player prospects. Brandon Larson is a 26-year old third basemen who was the Reds first round pick in 1997. He battled injuries early in his pro career but when healthy he's never posted the kind of numbers envisioned for him until this season where he is hitting .340/.392/.667 with 24 homeruns and 20 doubles. Nice numbers for sure, but the enthusiasm is certainly tempered by the fact he is 26. He was called up by the Reds on July 11 and has seen limited duty the past week. He's also been rumored to go to the Yankees in an El Duque deal. David Espinosa is a 20-year old shortstop who was a Reds first round pick a few years ago and I believe he is signed to a major league contract similar to Wily Mo Pena. Why? It allowed the Reds to spread the signing bonus out over a number of years (eight, if I remember correctly). Anyway, he's playing secondbase in the California League and is hitting .248/.359/.382 with 13 doubles and 7 homeruns. He's walked 61 times but struck out 102 times in 359 ABs and also made 25 errors. He's got decent pop and speed and was ranked as the Reds #7 prospect this season by BA (Broussard was #6). Edwin Encarnacion is a 19-year old 3B who was acquired from the Rangers last season in the Rob Bell deal. He's blossomed this year playing for Dayton in the Midwest League, hitting .305/.344/.495 with 27 doubles and 13 homeruns. He's struck out 73 times and walked 20 times in 370 ABs with 29 errors at third. He was ranked #14 by BA entering this season but I think he would rank much higher next year. Very young, very raw, very intriguing.

Gammons also notes in his mailbag that the Indians intend to deal Finley and Burks and resign Jim Thome.

While reviewing the "Happy Birthday" chart over on Baseball America's website, I noticed that Alex Herrera has been added to the list and that he's gained three years on us. His old birthdate is listed as 11/5/79 and his new birthdate is now shown as 11/5/76. I think a reliever is probably the least affected by this "aging" but I would still prefer he be a 22 year old flame-throwing prospect than a 25-year old in double-A.

Chad Longworth, the Indians 12th round pick this year, has decided to turn pro and forego a commitment to Virginia Tech according to the Bristol Herald. I'm not sure if he's officially signed but the article notes that he will work out with Burlington for a week towards the end of July and then report in the fall to Instructional League. Longworth was drafted as an outfielder and will play there for the Indians according to an e-mail I received from Brian Woodson of the B-Herald.

19th round pick Curt Mendoza has yet to decide whether to turn pro or attend San Diego State. Riverside CC was mentioned by as a possible stop for him which would make him a DFE candidate for the Indians.

In other draft news, the Astros and Twins have stopped negotiating with their draft picks according to Baseball America in order to preserve cash flow in case of a work stoppage. After reading this article, you really have to admire the work the Indians have done in getting their top picks signed. Negotiations with Jeremy Guthrie and Jason Cooper should be taking place now and when they sign that would round out everyone in the first twelve rounds. Very impressive.

Cliff Lee was promoted to Buffalo and he will make his triple-A debut for the Bisons tonight in Ottawa.

If anyone can translate this for me, I would greatly appreciate it.

BUFFALO: The Bisons lost 2-0 to Charlotte as they were shutout by two former major leaguers, Jim Parque and Bill Simas. Billy Traber went six strong innings as he allowed only two runs on five hits and a walk while striking out three. Chad Paronto and Dave Elder combined for three scoreless innings of relief. Greg LaRocca, Chris Coste, Chad Allen, Jolbert Cabrera, and Zach Sorenson each had a basehit.

AKRON: The Aeros lost 3-1 in New Britain. Jason Davis started and gave up two runs in 6-1/3 innings on nine hits. He walked none and struck out four. Jose Colon allowed a run on four hits in 1-2/3 innings. Victor Martinez doubled and singled and also stole a base. Ryan Church knocked in the Aeros only run with a basehit. Scott Pratt had two hits, Jason Fitzgerald singled and stole a base, and Maicer Izturis and Nate Grindell singled.

KINSTON: Fernando Cabrera worked seven strong innings to lead the K-Tribe to a 4-3 victory over Winston-Salem. Cabrera (5-8, 3.63) struck out seven and surrendered only two runs on three hits (one homerun) while walking only one. Scott Sturkie picked up the save and allowed a run in two innings. Corey Smith (.271) stayed hot at the plate with two doubles and two RBIs. Rickie Morton blasted a solo shot (#9) and also singled. Joe Inglett plated the other Indians run with a single and Alex Requena, Grady Sizemore, and Hector Luna each added a basehit.


THE VALLEY: The Scrappers won 8-3 in Batavia. Jeff Haase belted his 4th homerun to drive in two runs. Jonathan van Every had two hits, including a double, to knock in a run. Mike Conroy drove in two runs with a basehit. Dave Wallace had two hits and also walked twice. Brian Wright singled, walked twice, was hit by a pitch, and scored two runs. Miguel Pegueno singled with an RBI as did Neil Simoneaux. Bill Peavey added a basehit. Matt Rogers struck out five over five innings and allowed only two runs on three hits to pickup his third win of the season. Kevin Martin permitted a run in one inning of work. Todd Culp worked a scoreless 1-1/3 and Ignacio Montano finished with a scoreless inning and two-thirds.

BURLINGTON: The B-Tribe defeated E-Town 5-4 in 10 innings. TJ Burton returned to the mound for the first time since he was hit in the head by a line drive while sitting in the dugout a few weeks and threw four strong innings. He struck out two, walked one, and allowed only one run on two hits. Jahseam George let E-Town back into the game as he gave up three runs in 3-2/3 innings. Honeudis Pereyra picked up the win as he struck out four in 2-1/3 scoreless innings. Fernando Pacheco blasted his 2nd homerun and drove in two. Micah Schilling had two hits and drove in a run. Aaron Davidson added a solo shot, his first as a professional. Teodoro Encarnacion tripled and scored two runs. Matt Whitney had a pinch-hit single and Eider Torres added a basehit. The Burlington Times noted that Jose Cruz left the game after twice fouling a ball off his right leg and Clayton McCullough suffered a concussion as the result of a collision at home plate.


July 18, 2002  

The Daily Dish says that the Indians have promoted Cliff Lee to Buffalo.

Thursday, July 18

Torii Hunter is cool.

I hope the moves that happen with the pitching staff this weekend results in us seeing the last of Heath Murray in an Indians uniform. That was ugly last night.

Dave Elder, we hardly knew yee. He was returned to Buffalo yesterday without appearing in a game to make room for the return of David Riske from rehab. We should see Elder return in September, if not sooner.

Joel Skinner has still not named a starter for the second game of Saturday's doubleheader but he was quoted in the local papers as saying that "health-wise, Jaret Wright is fine". If that's the case, why would he not get the start? Jake Westbrook continues to be mentioned as a candidate but with five games in four days looming, why would you use your only long man as a starter when a healthy (and quality) alternative is ready in the minor leagues?

Eddie Taubensee has announced his retirement (sort of). He informed the Indians that his back condition will make it impossible for him to play again but he can't officially announce his retirement because that would prevent him from collecting the $1.8mil owed him for 2002 and 2003. The Indians could release him, but then insurance would not cover his contract. They could keep him on the roster (like the Orioles and Albert Belle) so insurance would cover the contract but with all the young kids that need to be added to the 40-man roster, that spot is needed. Therefore, the team and Taubensee are negotiating an injury settlement. Taubensee will forever be known in Indians history as the player dealt for Kenny Lofton (along with Willie Blair) but he had a solid major league career with a .273 average and 94 homeruns in 975 major league games.

On to the rumor mill...

The Boston Herald is reporting that the Red Sox have cooled on Chuck Finley after watching his start this past Sunday. The Indians asking price (prospects) also had something to do with their decision. While they're not completely out of it, the Red Sox don't consider themselves major players right now. The paper goes on to note that Finley is close to being traded with the Giants the likely destination and the Reds and Cardinals also showing interest.

So who do the Giants have to offer? Plenty of pitching with Jesse Foppert, Jerome Williams, Kurt Ainsworth, and Boof Bonser at the top of the list. They're a little soft in terms of position player prospects but one player that Mark Shapiro is undoubtedly asking for is outfielder Todd Linden who is hitting .323/.417/.490 with 25 doubles and 9 homeruns in AA this season. Lindon projects as a rightfielder and was a 1st round sandwich pick last year by the Giants who did not play in 2001 but debuted in pro ball in double-A this year. Not a bad start to his career, huh? I'm not sure when he signed so he may be a PTBNL until his anniversary date is reached. The Giants are most likely countering with the likes of Tony Torcato (OF) and Lance Niekro (3B, 7 walks in 297 ABs), among others. The Giants bullpen is a mess right now, so maybe the Indians could package Rincon and/or Shuey in the deal to land Lindon and a pitcher.

The Herald article also notes that the Red Sox are looking at Derrick Lee and Kevin Millar from the Marlins to fill their first base void which would seem to indicate that the Thome talks have cooled.

But have they? Maybe with the Red Sox, but check out this. Skip Bayless of the San Jose Mercury News notes that the Arizona Diamondbacks are aggresively pursuing Thome and adds that Thome has told the Indians he will waive his no-trade clause to a contender and then resign with the Indians in the offseason. Interesting. Bayless suggests that a Jerome Williams/Kurt Ainsworth package from the Giants might be enough to land Thome but the Indians would have to pick up his salary. The article also notes that the Giants are looking for a left-handed reliever and Ricardo Rincon is one of the players they have inquired about.

The Sacramento Bee reports in their A's notebook that Jim Thome (and Brian Giles) have been deemed too expensive by the A's so they're now looking at Ellis Burks, who may also be too expensive. No definition is given as to what "expensive" means but, being the A's, I imagine it means both in terms of dollars and prospects.

The LA Times notes that Bud Black is on the Indians offseason managerial short-list and that he would be interested in the job. Black's contract is up at the end of the season so there is also speculation he could return to the Indians as the pitching coach.

Speaking of the Angels, aside from all their bullpen woes, they lost their starting catcher, Benji Molina, last night and he is not expected to be back until September 1 at the earliest (partially torn left hammy). Might they be interested in Einar Diaz? It's worth a phone call to find out.

The Canton Repository notes that 587 players played for the Indians during Jimmy Warfield's 32 years with the organization. That's a lot of tape and ice packs.

Sean DePaula is pitching well of late as noted by the Buffalo News.

Rich Powalski has retired from baseball according to the K-Tribe's official website. Powalski was purchased last month from the Fort Worth Cats of the Central League (Independent) and had gone 0-0 with a 7.94 ERA in 5-2/3 innings for Kinston.

JJ Sherrill (sprained ankle) will return to the Redstixx lineup on Friday according to the Columbus Ledger Enquirer.

BUFFALO: Brian Tallet had a rough debut in triple-A last night as the Bisons lost to Charlotte 7-6. Tallet allowed six runs (five earned) in 1-2/3 innings and gave up four hits and four walks while striking out two. Sean DePaula struck out five over 4-1/3 innings of one-run relief. Jerrod Riggan finished with three innings of shutout ball. Greg LaRocca had four hits, including a double and triple to drive in two runs. Chris Coste doubled and singled and drove in two. Earl Snyder doubled in a run and Zach Sorenson added two hits. Karim Garcia doubled and Jolbert Cabrera, Chad Allen, and Josh Bard each banged out a basehit.

AKRON: The Aeros dropped their third in a row as they fell in New Britain 5-3. Nate Grindell went deep (#10) and also singled. Victor Martinez and Luis Gonzalez each singled in runs and Jhonny Peralta doubled. Jason Stanford took the loss as he gave up four runs in six innings on eight hits and two walks while striking out four. Matt White allowed an unearned run to score in two innings.

KINSTON: The K-Tribe lost to Winston-Salem 8-7 in 13 innings. Corey Smith had three hits to raise his average to .268 for the season. Joe Inglett also had three hits, including a double, and drove in three runs. Luke Scott went yard (#2) and also singled. Heath Wilson doubled and singled to drive in a run. Henry Pichardo plated a run with two hits. Alex Requena singled twice and stole a base (#46), Jorge Moreno doubled, and Grady Sizemore (.373) singled, walked twice, and drove in a run. Derek Thompson worked the first 5-1/3 for the Indians and gave up three runs on seven hits while striking out three. Jose Vargas (0.68 ERA) worked a scoreless inning and two-thirds. Matt Wade recorded only one out and gave up four runs (two earned) and three hits. Aquiles Pinales struck out four in 2-2/3 innings and Brandon Matheny pitched well in giving up only a run in three frames but was charged with the loss.

COLUMBUS: Won 5-1 over Savannah. Matt Knox went deep (#2). Dan Denham (6-6, 4.82) allowed one run in six innings while striking out seven.

THE VALLEY: Won 5-4 at Batavia in 10 innings. Brian Slocum gave up a run in 2-1/3 innings. Pat Osborn had three hits, drove in a run, stole a base, and walked twice. Andy Baxter had two hits, including his second homerun. Shaun Larkin walked four times. Todd Pennington lowered his ERA to 0.59 with two scoreless innings of relief.

BURLINGTON: Won 5-4 over E-Town. Eider Torres (.289) had two hits and stole four bases (#13-16). Carlos Parra belted a three run jack (#2). Blake Taylor picked up his 2nd save.


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