Indians GM Chris Antonetti talks with Fan Correspondent @ClevelandChick: Part II
Our Spring Training Fan Correspondent @ClevelandChick had the chance to sit down with Indians General Manager Chris Antonetti and throw a few questions from Twitter at this Tribe legend. There were so many great questions from you and responses from Chris that it became a two-parter! For Part I of our Fan Correspondent’s interview with Indians general manager Chris Antonetti, click here.
Cleveland Chick: How do you feel Ubaldo Jimenez is going to perform this season? I want to believe in him, but my husband says I’m wasting my time. (question from Kim on Twitter)
Chris Antonetti: I wish I knew with a high degree of confidence. What I know for certain is how hard Ubaldo and (pitching coach) Mickey Callaway have worked to put him in a better position to be successful. I’m confident he’ll be a lot better than he was last year, and I know Ubaldo is confident because of the work he’s put in.
Mickey went and visited with him a couple of times, and actually (manager) Terry (Francona) went on one of the visits, to visit with Ubaldo in the Dominican Republic this winter. Once Ubaldo started his throwing program, Mickey was there with him to make sure he was on the right path. Since reporting to Goodyear, Mickey and Ubaldo have worked really hard to put him in a position to be successful. For Ubaldo, that all starts with executing his delivery consistently. He still has a lot of potential; we just now need to see that potential turn into consistent performance.
CC: Is this year’s free agent spending spree the new norm, or a one-year wonder?
CA: What I would say is that we had a great opportunity this winter, where we had financial resources available to invest back into the team, and there were the right players that were the right fit for us. So we not only signed one prominent free agent, but we were actually able to sign a couple. Ownership extended far beyond probably what we could’ve reasonably expected.
We thought in a lot ways, that we would be done after signing Nick Swisher– and the other free agents that we signed (Mark Reynolds, Brett Myers) – because that was a very significant investment. But there was another opportunity to bring in a very talented player, Michael Bourn, on a deal that made sense for us, not only for this year, but for the next few years. Ownership really stepped out and pushed the envelope in terms of what we were able to do. It was a combination of a lot of things coming together: this being the right opportunity for us, with the right players, at the right cost, to make those investments.
I’m confident as we move forward, if we have opportunities and there are the right players that are the right fits for us, we have resources available, that ownership will again make those investments.
Ownership has always tried to invest back into the organization, throughout their time, (even in) their early years where we tried to maintain top-level payrolls despite not having the revenue to support it. Every dollar that is at their disposal they’ve invested back into team, whether that’s at the Major League level, or in player development or in scouting.
Obviously in this offseason, there was the potential for some new revenue streams to come down the line. What our ownership was going to do was not only spend revenues they had available, but revenues they were hoping to have available at a later date. So the philosophy has actually been mostly consistent: continuing to reinvest with the team. I’m confident as we have additional revenues, whether from increased attendance or increased ballpark revenue, that anything we have, ownership will continue to invest back in the team as they always have done.
CC: What would fans be most surprised to learn about your job?
CA: Probably that there’s a lot more that goes into it than just building a Major League roster. The responsibilities of leading the other areas — whether it’s player development, amateur scouting, or international scouting — all of the other things that go into the operations beyond just what you see at the Major League level.
CC: What’s your favorite part of your job?
CA: Two things. One, that I get to work doing something that I love doing. Working in baseball is something I’m exceptionally passionate about. Second, I work with an unbelievable group of people. I take fulfillment everyday from the group I get to work with every day.
CC: Have social media changed your job at all, and is it easier for discussions with other teams to leak now? Has that changed your process?
CA: I don’t think it’s changed our process in how we communicate with other teams. It has presented additional opportunities and challenges for us. It gives us a great opportunity to connect with our fans in a real-time basis and share information with them, and create connections that were more difficult to do with more traditional media. From that standpoint, it’s a great opportunity.
Now with my job, there are sometimes challenges where we are working on a trade, and social media may have that information, or a player might have tweeted it or someone from another front office may have shared that information a little prematurely, and that presents some challenges. So there are both opportunities and challenges with it.
CC: How do you feel about players on Twitter?
CA: Again, it’s all about content. Players can say great things through social media, and they can say other things that aren’t as constructive. But that’s no different than if a writer came and talked to them for a story or if someone puts a microphone in front of them; it’s just a different medium.
Again, it’s a great opportunity for players to connect with fans and to share their thoughts, but it does present challenges for them and they have to be mindful with what they say. Again, it’s no different than them being mindful to what they say to other media sources.
CC: What’s your favorite part of Spring Training?
CA: Getting back to baseball. It’s such a long offseason where we spend a lot of time focusing on issues that are baseball related, but we actually don’t get the benefit of seeing baseball being played. As boring as that may seem, of that first day when pitchers and catchers are here, and they’re throwing bullpen and things like that, it’s really an exciting day because we’re getting back to the thing that we all love and that’s the game itself.
CC: As a fan, what would you suggest we look forward to this year? What’s going to be the best thing that happens this year?
CA: I think we’ll have an exciting team to watch and I still think we have a great environment in which to watch them play. I think our team has vastly improved from where we were last year, and we have a (group of) position players that should be exciting to watch, both offensively and defensively, and we think we’ll be a competitive team.
Beyond that, we still play in one of the best ballparks in all of baseball. It’s such a wonderful setting to bring families down, or friends down, or just a place to really enjoy some time together. That combination of both the team and the environment which we play, I think they are both compelling reasons and things to be excited about.
This is the sixth installment of Traci’s series from Goodyear, including Part I of this conversation with Chris Antonetti. A recap:
- Welcome to Goodyear: @ClevelandChick arrives at Spring Training
- Day 2 in Goodyear another great one for Fan Correspondent @ClevelandChick
- Fan Correspondent @ClevelandChick hits the Arizona roads
- Fan Correspondent @ClevelandChick chats with Mike Hargrove about managing, “Human Rain Delay” and more
–TribeVibe Fan Correspondent Traci (@ClevelandChick)
Cleveland native Traci Christler, who blogs independently at
, is in Goodyear this spring and writing about the Indians for TribeVibe. The Indians are not compensating her for her coverage, nor did they fund her travel.