Results tagged ‘ Chris Antonetti ’
The Cleveland Indians on Monday signed free agent OF DAVID MURPHY to a two-year contract with a club option for the 2016 season.
Murphy, 32, owns a career Major League average of .275 (739-2690) with 160 doubles, 15 triples, 86 home runs and 364 RBI over 849 games with the Texas Rangers and Boston Red Sox since debuting in 2006. The Baylor University product owns a career on-base pct. of .337 to go along with his career on-base+slugging pct. (OPS) of .778. In 2012 the left-handed hitting outfielder batted .304 (139-457) with 29 2B, 15HR & 61RBI in 147 games, finishing 6th in the American League in on-base pct. (.380) and 10th in batting average (.304).
The native of Klein, Texas was the first round pick (17th overall) of the Boston Red Sox in 2003 and later appeared in 23 games for the Red Sox (2006-07) before being traded to Texas in July 2007 in exchange for RHP Eric Gagne. He appeared in 27 postseason games during his tenure with the Rangers from 2010-12 (.373OB%/ .759OPS) and owns a career average of .280 (571-2042) against right-handed pitching (.347OB%/.469SLG%/ .816OPS). He has enjoyed his trips to Progressive Field, hitting at a .365 (27-74) clip with 4 2B, 1 3B, 3HR & 15 RBI in 21 career games. The versatile outfielder has logged time at all three positions during his career and his 35 assists since 2009 are 8th-most among A.L. outfielders over that span.
In order to clear a 40-man roster spot for Murphy, the Indians designated RHP Tyler Cloyd for assignment. Cloyd was originally claimed from Philadelphia on October 2.
Both Murphy and Indians General Manager Chris Antonetti chatted with reporters via conference call on Monday to discuss the deal. Below are their comments:
Murphy provides strength and versatility to the outfield and the lineup
Chris Antonetti: For right now, we expect him to get most of his at-bats in right field, primarily against right-handed pitching, but he will also get some opportunities against the right left-handers as well.
We feel that we have a very good compliment of outfielders that will give Terry the opportunity to mix and match based upon what gives us the best opportunity to win that night’s game while also keeping everyone healthy and fresh. Some of that will also depend upon how we shape the DH position because there could be potential at-bats there as well. Right now with the compliment of outfielders we have, we feel we can match up well no matter who is pitching.
I think as we sit here today we feel good with the group of outfielders we have. We will continue to look for opportunities to improve the team and make adjustments as the offseason goes along. The versatility of our outfield – Michael Brantley has the ability to slide over to center, Drew Stubbs gives us great protection in both right field and center field and we are confident he could go to left as well – Ryan Raburn can play not only the corners, but also the infield, if needed. It provides us a great deal of flexibility and versatility and that was one of our strengths last year and we are looking to build upon that heading into next year.
Confident Murphy will return to form in 2013
Antonetti: In talking with David, he felt with Josh Hamilton leaving he put some pressure on himself to try to do a little more and got in to some challenging positions with his swing. He tried to create a little bit more lift to hit for more power and it took him a little while to work through that. I think combining that with a little bit of bad luck led to a down season. If you look at his track record he has been pretty consistent, especially against right-handed pitching and we expect him to bounce back and get far closer to his career norms than how he performed last year.
We spent quite a bit of time, not only looking at the objective information, but talking with our scouts who did quite a bit of video work looking at any tell-tale signs between his swing from 2012 and 2013 and there were not very many significant differences. There is a lot of reason why we are confident that he will bounce back and get back to the player that he has been throughout his career.
Murphy is well-respected on and off the field
Antonetti: He’s been renowned throughout any organization he has been with, whether it’s his initial time with the Red Sox, or his time with the Rangers. He is an exceptional person and is a guy that not only plays the game the right way but lives his life off the field that way. He and his wife are very involved in the community in which they live. They have given back to those communities and feel like that is their obligation. He had also fit in seamlessly into every clubhouse and is well respected as a team – he was extraordinarily well-respected in the Texas clubhouse.
The news broke when Murphy’s daughter said at day care, “My daddy is going to be an Indian.”
Antonetti: That was the first time a 5-year old has ever broken a free agent signing. I think they were talking about Pilgrims and Indians in advance of Thanksgiving and his daughter shouted out, “my daddy is going to be an Indian.” That’s how the story broke. It was a first for us.
On what attracted him to Cleveland
David Murphy: When the offseason began and I thought about where I wanted to go, I wanted to go to a place where I was wanted as badly as I wanted to be there. Cleveland was very aggressive from the very beginning. They were easily the front runner the entire time. Honestly, it was pretty simple. From the first phone call I received from my agent about interested teams, they were first and foremost in my mind.
On what adjustments he may make offensively in 2014
Murphy: A few different factors played into (2013). I saw we lost Josh (Hamilton), Michael Young and Mike Napoli, and I put pressure on myself to step into a role and play a bigger part in the offense. I tried to re-create my own identity instead of being the same guy I had been in the past. I had that mindset, which created a little bit more of a pull mindset instead of using the entire field. That created some bad habits that lengthened my swing and that obviously produced the results that it did.
I think every player wants to be as complete a player as possible. After having the best year of my career in 2012, I knew that I could hit for a high average after that; I wanted to add the power to it. That added to that mindset of lifting the ball and pulling the ball. After I finally got away from that mindset, halfway through the season, I didn’t have the greatest luck. Some years, balls fall. Some years, they don’t. 2013 was a year when I didn’t have the greatest luck. In the end, I’ll put it on myself in not having the right mindset. I’m looking forward to getting back to the old me in 2014.
On the Indians offensive balance and how he fits in
Murphy: There are a lot of guys I’m excited to play with on this team. I’ve loved the type of player Jason Kipnis is since he came into the league. I love what he brings in all aspects of the game. I’ve known Michael Bourn since high school; I played against him in college and the minor leagues. He’s a dynamic player that’s great in the leadoff spot. Up and down the lineup, it’s a very balanced lineup and I’m excited to be a part of it.
About his daughter’s now famous comments breaking the news Murphy was signing with Cleveland
Murphy: She was at preschool one day and with Thanksgiving coming up, they were learning about Pilgrims and Indians. She happened to speak up and said, “My daddy’s going to play for the Indians.” Nowadays, rumors spread quickly and word got out there pretty quickly. It wasn’t the best situation how that got out. But in the end it’ll be a cute story one day that we can tell her about.
On whether he feels comfortable hitting at Progressive Field; he’s hit at a .365 (27-74) clip with 4 2B, 1 3B, 3HR & 15 RBI in 21 career games at the ballpark
Murphy: I don’t know if there’s anything to that. I know the places I’ve been before and I know the places where I like to hit and feel comfortable in the box. I have no real reason for it but it’s always been a place where I’ve liked to hit. It’ll be great to play half my games there.
On his relationship with Indians manager Terry Francona
Murphy: I was drafted by Boston and had about 35 days of MLB service time with the Red Sox between 2006 and 2007, and I spent time with the team in Spring Training from 2004 to 2007. I had the chance to play under him there; he definitely played into the decision to sign with Cleveland. He called me pretty early in the process. He did a great job of letting me know how interested they were, but at the same time not putting any pressure on me. He made me realize I’d be doing an injustice if I didn’t look at all the options out there.
On his impressions of the 2013 Indians from the opposing dugout
Murphy: They reminded me of the Rangers when we started to become a good team in 2009 and 2010. It’s a group of young, talented guys, with veteran leadership with Giambi and Swisher mixed in, and it’s a group of guys that looks like they have a lot of fun on the field and believe in one another. They won 92 games last year and they look like they’re only going to get better.
Among the many important decisions being made by MLB front offices this time of year sits the deadline for teams to file their Major League and Minor League reserve lists, which occurred at Midnight ET last night – the establishment of each club’s preliminary 40-man roster is particularly notable because it helps determine which players are protected from being selected in the annual Rule 5 Selection Meeting (more commonly referred to as the “Rule 5 draft”) that is scheduled to take place on Thursday, December 12 at the Winter Meetings in Orlando, FL. In basic terms, a player who signs his first contract at the age of 18 is shielded from the Rule 5 draft for 5 years, while those 19-or-older fall under the same classification for 4 years – at that point, their respective Clubs must decide whether to extend that protection by adding a given player to the 40-man roster or alternatively run the risk of losing him to another team in the Rule 5. TribeVibe will take a more in-depth look at Rule 5 procedures during the Winter Meetings.
Late yesterday, the Indians announced that the club has added 5 minor league players to the 40-man roster, purchasing the contracts of RHP Bryan Price from the Triple-A Columbus Clippers, RHP Austin Adams, INF Jesus Aguilar and OF Carlos Moncrief from the Double-A Akron RubberDucks and INF Erik Gonzalez from the Single-A Carolina Mudcats. In a conference call with local beat reporters, GM Chris Antonetti discussed each player selected to the roster, and the difficult decisions that were made regarding players that were left unprotected.
RHP Bryan Price -
CA: “In Bryan’s case it was a guy that really thrived this year in Triple-A. He made a lot of progress in how he attacked hitters. He features a good fastball and two good secondary pitches – he was one of the more effective relievers in all of Triple-A. He could (contend for a roster spot in Spring Training). He will come into camp and we will have to see how things shake out in our bullpen, but he could be a guy that comes in and earns a spot.”
RHP Austin Adams -
“Austin has bounced back from his shoulder surgery extraordinarily well. He worked really hard to get back to where he was pre-surgery. He’s got one of the best arms, not only in our system, but throughout the minor leagues. He has a good compliment of secondary pitches as well, and has missed a lot of bats. He is another guy that we feel isn’t too far away from contributing at the major-league level if he continues to make progress. He is a reliever at this point; a power arm with really good stuff.”
OF Carlos Moncrief -
“He was one of the highlights of our development system this year, because it is a guy that has made a lot of progress. If you look at what he’s done and how he continued his development as a hitter – he really cut down in the strikeout rates, continued to improve his defense in the outfield to the point where he is now a very good outfielder with a well above-average arm with good reads and routes – that’s now become a strength for him and he’s continued to improve as a hitter. Given his limited experience as a hitter, because he started his professional career as a pitcher, it’s been encouraging to see the progress he has made.”
INF Jesus Aguilar -
“He is getting closer (to contributing to the Major League roster). He made a lot of progress from last year to this year. The Double-A level is always a good test, especially for position players, and Jesus did a really good job of anchoring that lineup. He is continuing his work in winter ball, he’s off to an extraordinary start down there and is continuing to work hard. He has a really bright future, he is on a good path developmentally and we expect this year that he will get some opportunities at Triple-A. If and when we have a need he can certainly be an option for us.
(He has played some third base in the winter league because) they had a lot of injuries. It is always good to increase your versatility. We will have to continue to see how that goes. It wasn’t something (considering Aguilar an option at first base) that was top of mind for us as the season ended, but the fact that he’s gotten opportunity and experience down in winter ball is something that we will look to maybe continue as we head into Spring Training, but right now we view his primarily as a first baseman.”
INF Erik Gonzalez -
“Another great development story; Erik is one of the hardest workers and best teammates in our organization. He did a tremendous job of improving himself as a player. He has always been a really good defensive player, and has worked hard at every position he has played on the field. We gave him an opportunity to play some shortstop and he really excelled there. We think he has the chance to be an above-average defender no matter where he plays defensively – whether that’s shortstop, second base, he can play the corners on the infield, and he can play the outfield and he has also continued to improve as a hitter. As much as any player in our system, he’s made progress through his hard work this year. I wouldn’t set any ceiling (defensive position) on him. With the work he’s put in defensively and the way he’s playing in winter ball, some of the reports we are receiving back from there (are proving) defensively he is capable of playing at a very high level right now and he’s continuing to develop offensively.”
Antonetti also addressed the inevitable difficulty in having to leave other prospects unprotected:
CA: “I won’t go through the specific guys, but there were a lot of tough decisions. We felt like there were another handful of guys that were very deserving of being on the roster, but unfortunately we only have so many spots that we can use to protect guys.”
– TribeVibe contributors Michael Stimpert/Court Berry-Tripp
Terry Francona chatted via conference call with Cleveland-area reporters on Tuesday night, shortly after he received the 2013 BBWAA American League Manager of the Year Award in a presentation broadcast on MLB Network.
Here are portions of that conference call, in some cases edited for brevity:
Question: What does it mean for you to be up against (Red Sox manager) John Farrell?
Terry Francona: I don’t think I was up against anybody. I got nominated for this because this is an organizational award. That’s what makes me so happy. I share it with coaches, players, clubhouse guys, (General Manager) Chris (Antonetti), (President) Mark Shapiro and (owner) Paul (Dolan). It’s because we did it together all year. So when things like this happen it’s an organizational award.
Question: What were you proud of in managing this year?
TF: I was proud of our effort. I thought we were resilient. I thought our guys enjoyed trying to play it the right way. We had a coaching staff that was fun to be around. I’m most proud of, from the moment I was hired, it’s always been a we mentality. From the front office, to the ownership (on down). That’s only growing. I’m proud of that. It’s not always easy to attain that. Chris and his guys have made me feel so at home. It makes my job easier and a lot more fun.
Question: What do you think was the difference this year?
TF: Winning is the ultimate award. You do the best you can every day, and when teams and organizations perform, things like this happen.
Question: Was this satisfying that you guys were able to have success while you overcame so many things?
TF: The biggest thing was how we did it. We did it the right way. When we clinched in Minnesota, those hugs were real. I couldn’t want to get to Chris, (traveling secretary) Mike Seghi, the clubhouse guys. Those were real. The next day, I didn’t feel any different when we prepared for Tampa. When you like the guys you work with, you want to do well.
Question: Did this year, reuniting with Chris and Mark, did this heal the hard feelings from your departure from Boston (after the 2011 season)?
TF: Yeah. It was easier to talk about it because of my comfort level in Cleveland.
Q: What made the team so resilient?
TF: It was a combination. We had great veteran leadership, with Giambi, Swisher’s enthusiasm, Bourn and Yan Gomes’ emergence. I could go on and on. That’s what made it so fun, had so many contributions from all over the map. That’s what made it good. When we played the baseball we were supposed to, we generally gave ourselves a chance to win.
Q: When did they tell you this?
TF: I felt like I was on a dating game. I was listening in my earpiece, and heard it when they announced it. They did a great job (keeping it secret).
Q: Will you do anything to celebrate?
TF: I have a load of laundry in. I’m going to go golfing tomorrow, like I always do. The way I celebrated it was the whole year. I got to live it.
Q: Who has called you?
TF: I got about 50 text messages and a bunch of voice mails. My dad, Chris, Joe Smith all sent some really nice messages. A lot of the players have texted, which made me feel good.
–TribeVibe contributor Joel Hammond
Indians Designated Hitter Jason Giambi spoke with reporters today during a conference call after he re-signed with the club on Thursday. Here are some of his quotes from that chat:
On re-signing with the Indians early in the offseason: “I’m ecstatic about it. … I talked to my wife, and I’ve been talking to the Indians, and there is no place I want to be other than Cleveland. I had so much fun and I love the direction we are going – with this organization and this team, with Tito and the guys on this team, I had so much fun last year playing that I didn’t want to go anywhere else. The Indians gave me the opportunity to come back and I’m definitely blessed and I’m grateful for it.”
Discussions with Indians about returning: “I talked to Chris (Antonetti, Tribe GM) and Tito (Manager Terry Francona); they were feeling me out to see what I wanted to do. Did I still want to play? Did I want to go into coaching? I told them I’d really love to play. This was near the end of August or the beginning of September and I told them I still really wanted to play. After the season, Chris and Tito definitely had to sit down and see if there was still a fit for me in Cleveland because I told them I really loved it there and I really wanted to be back. At the end of the season I had my agent reach out to them again [to see if there was a spot for me on this team]and then I talked to Chris and they really felt like there was still a spot for me to help this ball club. I was ecstatic. I wanted to jump on that opportunity to sign back there and everything came about.”
On signing another Minor League contract: “I definitely know with my age and everything like that [it’s difficult] to get a big-league deal. Unless you are going to have a Raul Ibanez year with 27 homers [it’s difficult to find a Major League contract].
“I’m not worried about it (signing a Minor League contract). I’m going to come into spring in great shape. (Signing a Minor League contract) also helps the ball club out because they can protect their extra player that they need to protect, and I’m all for it. I love being here and I love being in Cleveland, I love everything about it.”
Thoughts on still playing at age 43 (turns 43 in January): “I think you only dream about it. This will be 20 Major League seasons for me. I think when you go through your certain stepping stones of your career — whether it be I need to get to the big-leagues, I need to stay in the big leagues, I need to try and last in the big-leagues and get my 10 years in — after that, everything is kind of gravy. I’m definitely blessed and truly grateful for this opportunity. Not in my wildest dreams did I think that I would still be here. I don’t know if there will ever come a time that I’ll say that (going into a season thinking it’s the last). I think your body will give you a point and say I can’t do it anymore. There is going to come a point when that happens. I’m fighting and kicking and scratching to not make it happen, but there definitely is. I’ve been so blessed so far with my career in this game, it’s been unbelievable. Maybe someday, but right now I’m just trying to keep the attitude on what’s happening right here, right now in the present moment, which is to push this team to win a World Series because I think we have that type of ball club.”
On becoming a leader in the clubhouse: “I’m definitely honored. (Being recognized as a leader) comes a lot from your teammates. It’s not something you raise your hand and say, ‘Alright, I’m the team leader.’ I think I got such a taste of it when I was in Oakland, playing for those great teams of the late 80s – when those guys were still around like Eck (Dennis Eckersley), (Mark) McGwire, (Terry) Steinbach and Dave Stewart, all of those great players – I got a taste of it. Then when all those guys either retired, we traded Mark (McGwire) and then all of sudden (GM) Billy (Beane) and (Manager) Art (Howe) sat me down and said, ‘This is your team. You’re going to be that guy.’ I had a few years under my belt, I was still young and the team was brand new. We had (Tim) Hudson, (Mark) Mulder, (Barry) Zito, (Miquel) Tejada and (Eric) Chavez – I just really loved it (being the leader). I really wanted to embrace that position and make guys feel welcome, but also try to teach those guys what I had learned from Mark (McGwire), Steiny (Terry Steinbach) and those guys. I really felt that it was a gift that those guys passed on to me. They went out of their way to help me learn the game. I see it now, it’s kind of funny, they used to call me kid all the time when I was playing, and now I’m calling Kipnis that and it really gets passed on. I really think that’s the gift of the game. You pass it back down and even when you’re out of this game that’s how you still live in the game. You pass those lessons on and hopefully they will pass them down to the next generation.”
Thoughts on 2014 team mentality: “I definitely want this team to keep reaching further and further. I think what we have here in Cleveland is something special. I think this is a team that could have an opportunity to win a World Series. We definitely have the pitching to do it; we have the offense to make those strides. We are growing as a team, and I think we are going to keep getting better and better. Hopefully the guys come into spring training in great shape and wanting to further that. Not just, we made the playoffs last year (and be satisfied with that). I want us to keep moving forward and to not take a step backwards. I think this team, and the young players we have, and the pitching and the young pitching we have in the minor leagues, this team can be a force for years to come.”
–TribeVibe contributor Michael Stimpert
Indians General Manager Chris Antonetti spoke with reporters today during a conference call and media availability at Progressive Field. Here are some of his quotes from those sessions:
Thoughts related to Jason Giambi’s return to the organization in 2014:
“I don’t think there’s any better way to start our off-season than by re-signing Jason. I think he made such a huge impact on our team [in 2013] and he embodies everything we’re looking for in our players – his professionalism, the way he works and prepares for a game, the teammate that he is, the energy he brings to a team and the clubhouse made an immense impact on our team this year and we’re thrilled to continue to have him as part of the organization.”
“We started those discussions right away. As soon as the season was over, that was one of the first calls we made. We worked through things with his agent and ultimately Jason said this is where he wanted to be, and we obviously wanted him here. We are happy it worked out.”
On bringing Giambi back on a minor league contract for a second consecutive season:
“[We're bringing him back] in a very similar context to last year, although at this point we have a first-hand appreciation of all the other things Jason brings to a team and an organization beyond just his [physical] ability [...] we had heard that from other people about how he could impact a team in those ways, but last year we lived it first-hand and now go into Spring Training with a clear understanding of the value he adds beyond what he produces on the field.”
Comments regarding the trade to acquire LHP Colt Hynes from San Diego:
“Colt’s a guy with a good fastball/slider mix that we’ll bring into Major League Spring Training and give him an opportunity to compete for a spot on the Major League team.”
“He’s been extraordinarily effective against left-handed hitters [...] this past season, he lowered his arm-slot a little bit and was dominant against left-handed hitters at Triple-A and was very effective against them at the Major League level…[a lefty specialist role is] certainly a strength of his, one we feel he’ll excel at, but we wouldn’t limit his role to just left-on-left because we feel in time he has the ability to not only get left-handed hitters out, but right-handers as well.”
On how the organization came to the decision to give Chris Perez his unconditional release:
“We considered a variety of factors as we got to that point (unconditional release of Perez) and felt that this provided us with roster flexibility in advance of Dec. 2 (MLB tender deadline) and allows Chris the opportunity to find his next team [...] obviously (Chris) is arbitration-eligible again this year and he’s due for another raise through that process and we have to make some determinations of where our team needs are and how we’re going to allocate our resources moving forward.”
“We worked through our offseason planning process and our meetings and we made the determination that Chris would not be a fit on our roster for next year so once we got clarity on that, we felt that it made sense to move forward with the transaction now rather than waiting until Dec. 2.”
Regarding other options for the closer’s role in 2014:
“We feel that we have some guys internally that are capable of doing that, but I do anticipate that we will look externally to add to the group that we have [...] We go into the offseason with some quality alternatives, but I expect it will be an area that we seek to address as we work through the winter. We will try to bring in guys – whether it’s an experienced closer or other guys that have experience pitching in leverage innings out of the bullpen – that will complement the group we have.”
“Cody Allen and Bryan Shaw are two returning guys who have had the most experience pitching in those high-leverage situations; we’re still confident that Vinnie Pestano will bounce back and be a contributor on our team. We’ll also take the off-season to look at opportunities to fortify our ‘pen [...] we re-signed Matt [Capps] a couple weeks ago and he’s healthy at this point so he’ll come into Spring Training ready to go and compete for a spot on the team [...] the roles in the bullpen evolve over the course of the season and how those roles take shape is something that we’ll get a better sense of once we have full knowledge of the group heading into camp and how those guys pitch once they get the opportunities.”
Francona announced that all coaches were invited to return, with Mike Sarbaugh (moving to third base coach), Brad Mills (moving to bench coach) and Sandy Alomar (moving to first base coach) switching spots on the diamond.
Here’s a sampling of Antonetti and Francona’s comments.
Question: What do you think was the biggest accomplishment this season?
Chris Antonetti: Two things: Getting back to the postseason and re-establishing a winning culture was important for us. It’s a long process, and ongoing. But getting back to the postseason was meaningful to us as an organization. It didn’t end the way we wanted it to, but that was a good first step. The job Tito and hisstaff did to create an unbelievable environment from day one in Spring Training, set a tone.
Question: How important is it for you to continue that going into the offseason?
CA: Obviously we want to play in the Postseason year in year out. We want to progress through the Postseason. There are lots of things that have to happen for that to happen.
Q: How is (Nick) Swisher’s shoulder?
CA: All indications are that it’s fine.
Q: Any anticipated surgeries?
CA: We’re in the process of that right now; in a lot of cases guys just completed their exit physicals. We have guys lined up to assess some things that lingered at the end of the year.
Q: Any coaching changes?
TF: Mike Sarbaugh’s been coaching third the last few years. This isn’t a knock on Millsy; and Sandy’s passion is coaching first. We walked through it the other day and Sandy was fine with it. I was really proud of this coaching staff.
CA: I thought the coaching staff did a phenomenal job, with their commitment to putting each player in a position where they could be successful.
Q: When you took over, what was your biggest concern?
TF: I don’t think I ever thought about that. When we decided I was going to be the manager, we spent the rest of the afternoon talking about the team and moving forward. I don’t read a lot, but I did read that I was told we were going to sign free agents. The only thing I ever told Chris was that I would do my best with what I had.
Q: What’s your confidence level in the rotation?
TF: We have (Justin Masterson) coming back. We have Danny Salazar, and Corey Kluber, who’s gotten to a point where over his last 12 starts, he was one of the better pitchers in the league. Zach McAllister wants to be the best pitcher in the league, almost to a fault. Then we have (Carlos) Carrasco, and Trevor Bauer, who at some point is going to make an impact.
Q: Chris, can you speak about Ubaldo? He said he appreciated the organization’s confidence.
CA: With all of our free agents, they all made a favorable impression on us and we’d like to have them all back. How all the pieces come together, it’s hard to forecast at this point.
Q: Do you anticipate being as aggressive as you were last offseason?
CA: I think we’ll be aggressive in looking for ways to improve the team. How that plays out, I don’t know right now. I know we’ll be aggressive in trying to improve.
Q: What part of the team would you like to see strengthened?
TF: I think you want to get better every year. It’s hard to say. Year to year, you don’t know what (part of the team) will carry the same load or have the same effectiveness. In the second half of the year, our pitching was great. Our speed played a big role. When the time comes and we see the group we have, then we’ll get together in Goodyear and start over. It’ll be a little easier because when you have familiarity, it’s easier to get more work done.
Q: Do you think you’ll show up in Goodyear knowing that one guy is your closer?
TF: I think roles are important, but the way pitchers pitch defines roles.
Q: Do you think the attitude toward coming here in free agency has been changed?
TF: I think you’d like to have your players, when they’re talking to other players, tell them they like to play here.
CA: It was evident last offseason that players liked to play for Terry. I think that will continue.
Q: Is it essential for you to find that middle-of-the-order bat?
TF: It depends on how much pitching we have. You have to be one run better every night; however we do that, we have to figure that out. When Mark Reynolds was hot, that was a big plus. But after he left, we knew our margin of error was smaller – but that didn’t mean we couldn’t win.
CA: We’re going to look to improve every aspect of the team. On the position player side, we can bring back mostly the entire group that was fourth in MLB in runs scored.
Q: Do you think the attendance will hurt your ability to spend?
CA: There’s a lot that goes into that. Ultimately, those are decisions and information we’ll get a little bit later – what our payroll will be. That’s not defining to us. Our goal is to build a contending team and I’m confident we’ll have the resources we need to do that.
Q: The way everything came together late, did you feel that it could go further than one game?
TF: I tried to talk to the team when it was over. Nobody wanted it to be over. It stung. Whether it’s a week, two days, whatever – when the sting is gone, remember how much the staff cared about you guys. When you’re that fond of a group, you don’t want it to be over. You want to leave on your own terms.
Q: How much did Chris Perez’s performance at the end of the season complicate his situation with the team going into the offseason?
CA: Not that much. Chris has been a very effective closer for us and one of the most successful closers we’ve had here. We have a lot of decisions to make, not just with him.
Q: Carlos Santana said he didn’t necessarily like to (be the designated hitter). When a guy expresses that, how can you handle that?
TF: We talked to him today about similar things. Some of it will depend on the winter. We wanted to involve him in that. His bat and versatility are important.
Q: When you look at Swisher’s season, do you look at his shoulder injury as a part of it?
TF: I think he tried to do a little too much, whether it was being new or his contract. When he tried to dig himself out of it, I don’t think his shoulder helped him. Toward the end of the year, he turned it up; I think you’ll see more consistency out of him.
CA: In some of our most meaningful games of our season, he was our most productive hitter.
Q: How about Bourn?
CA: Michael cares so much and so deeply, that he may have tried to do a little too much. Plus, he switched leagues. What you’ll see next year from both is that they’ll be a little more comfortable with the league and organization.
TF: He’s so conscientious, that’s what you want. You don’t want players to kill themselves over things. Sometimes they try to do too much because of it, but I’d rather fight that than the flip side.
Q: Is Trevor Bauer ready?
CA: He’s still developing. He’s further along than at this time last year. I think we underestimated the magnitude of the changes he was undertaking in his delivery. We’ll have a much better sense of that come Spring Training. Trevor is committed to putting in the work this winter to continue his progress. He’s talked with (pitching coach) Mickey (Callaway).
Q: Were the changes he made working?
CA: It’s still a work in progress. Where he envisions his delivery being, we’re good with. But it’s still a work in progress.
Q: Do you view Carrasco as a starter?
TF: I think we need to exhaust every possibility with him as a starter; his arm is so big and his secondary stuff is there. We think he can help us most there.
Q: Did you get a sense from Jason Giambi what he wanted to do?
CA: I think he wants to play. He was proud of what he contributed and he wants to continue that.
Q: We may have forgotten what this ballpark is like when it’s out of control. What was that like?
TF: I don’t really pay a lot of attention usually, because when you’re in the dugout, you’re so closed off. … When they did the introductions, I was getting a kick out of it, like when they announced G. That was really cool. And when I got out there, it was LOUD. It was pretty cool. Those people are dying to do that. I never got caught up in (the attendance). The people who came were so into it, and that was great. Whoever comes to a game, we want to make them proud. And I think we’re making those strides.
Q: How did you sense the crowd?
CA: It was great to see the excitement in the ballpark and across the city. They embraced the team and it was a cool environment. The fans that were here throughout the season were unbelievable. They were passionate, vocal, intense and unbelievable.
Q: Do you think (Vinnie) Pestano will be able to get back to where he was?
CA: I think Vinnie has more determination than never to get back to the pitcher he was for so long for us. We have not lost sight of the contributions he’s made; we know it’s in there, and I have no doubt he’s going to work his tail off this offseason and come into Spring Training to assert himself as a dominant back-end reliever.
–TribeVibe contributor Joel Hammond
The Tribe worked out on Tuesday evening prior to Wednesday’s American League Wild Card Game at Progressive Field. Check out these awesome photos!
–Photos by Kyle Emery
You may have heard that the Indians clinched a Postseason berth on Sunday with their 10th consecutive victory and seventh four-game sweep of the season — the first time the latter has been done since 1943.
Here’s photographic evidence of the feat. Enjoy. Go Tribe!
–Photos by Kyle Emery
So that Danny Salazar … not bad, huh?
Salazar followed up his first Major League start – a six-inning masterpiece on July 11 vs. Toronto — with another impressive outing: 7 2/3 innings and 10 strikeouts, the latter the most for an Indians rookie since Kaz Tadano did it in 2004. Salazar took a no-decision after allowing a home run to Miguel Cabrera in the eighth before the Tigers won, 6-5, in 14 innings.
Here’s what the principals were saying about Salazar after a long day at the ballpark:
Tribe manager Terry Francona
“Besides a couple mistakes, I thought he was tremendous. He had poise, competitiveness. I wish I could sit here on a win, but it doesn’t change the fact of how he pitched or how we feel about him. That was pretty awesome.”
“I went out there and I gave my 100 percent. Every inning, every pitch, I did. And I feel great.”
”I got him a couple times with my fastball, so I was going to try it again. I left it in the middle and he hit it. If you throw outside or inside to him it doesn’t matter. He’s a great hitter, the best right now. He just hit that pitch really good.”
“I don’t want to face him the fourth time. He [struck] me out the first three times. I was saying to myself, ‘It’s time to bring in the bullpen.’ And when they decided to leave him in there, I say, ‘Let’s grind out this at-bat, try to make something happen.’”
Tigers manager Jim Leyland
”That kid was really something special. It’s not very often that I’m in the dugout saying, holy crap. But tonight, that was impressive. Man, he was throwing easy 98, 99, easy. That was pretty nasty.”
Tribe GM Chris Antonetti, pregame
“Corey (Kluber, now on the DL, has) been exceptional. It’s hard to overstate what he’s meant to our team, but at the same time, we have a guy in Danny Salazar that will come up and get an opportunity to pitch. He’s a really talented player that we think is ready to contribute up here. Now, we’ll have to rely on Danny and the other four guys to carry the load until Corey is ready to come back.”
–TribeVibe contributor Joel Hammond