Results tagged ‘ Michael Bourn ’
Editor’s note: This Q&A with Indians President Mark Shapiro, conducted in Spring Training, has been republished here with the permission of Al Ciammaichella and The DiaTribe.
For the second year in a row, Indians team president Mark Shapiro was kind enough to take an hour out of his very busy spring training schedule and sit down for an interview with me in beautiful Goodyear, Arizona. Here’s a link to last year’s interview in case you missed it. We covered a wide variety of topics, including the difference in the 2013 and 2014 free agent market, Yan Gomes, ticket pricing, promotions, Francisco Lindor and of course, Justin Masterson and the breakdown in his long-term contract negotiations. The following is a lightly edited transcript of our conversation this past Friday.
Al Ciammaichella: This offseason was much quieter/different than last offseason. Were the moves you made last year looking forward to this year’s free agent class where you signed guys like Swisher and Bourn knowing this offseason would be quieter?
Mark Shapiro: We always have to take an opportunistic lens when it comes to free agency. When we look at free agency, if we’re dependent upon it to build our team, then we’re in a very difficult, if not impossible, spot. The reality is that we’re either looking for where the value is in the market or looking to be opportunistic. Last offseason there happened to be two guys that fit multiple year, positional needs for us at values we thought we could afford and who have some other special attributes, especially in the case of Swish, but really Bourn too, as a leader as well. They filled gaps we had in our system, where we felt like we didn’t have anyone coming up at all. And we also knew that this offseason there was a lot national TV money coming into the system and a lot less guys, so there were going to be more resources available, greater demand and less supply. So while it’s already a tough market, that was going to make it nearly an impossible market. So I look at last year as our chance to make a bigger splash in free agency, and this year was going to be “are there little things we can do?” I think we studied David Murphy, who I think is a good pick up for us. He’s going to improve both the defense, and give us a really good platoon and depth in the outfield.
AC: We talked a lot about levers last year, which became one of my new favorite buzzwords. How did you decide what levers to pull this year, with Murphy, and how did you decide which not to pull, with not bringing back guys like Ubaldo and Kazmir?
MS: Those decisions are never as simple as “do you want the player or not?” I think that the fan tends to look at it as “you didn’t want the guy.” We loved what Kaz did for us, we wanted him, but the level of risk involved with multiple years and the level of risk involved with those dollars just didn’t fit our payroll parameters this year with the natural, built in escalation of contracts. I think with Ubaldo, same thing. It ended up being a good deal for us, particularly in light of what we gave up, but it wasn’t the right fit for us this year. When you talk about levers, I think the neat things to think about from last spring to this spring are the evolution of a guy like Yan Gomes. Where all of a sudden, you look at Gomes and there’s a guy who leverages his ability to impact a game at more than just his position because of what he means defensively, what he means for his passion for making pitchers better, for helping to call a game. So I always like to think about, “where are the guys that can impact a game beyond objective statistics? Beyond just their own performance?” And Gomes is a guy who when he started to catch last year, I think that was one of the keys to our team really taking off.
AC: So when you traded for Gomes, and I could sit here all day and talk to you about Gomes, but when you traded for him, did you have any idea he’d be that much of an impact defensively? I’ve talked to some Blue Jays guys, and they were of the opinion that he was maybe a 3rd catcher while he was with the Jays.
MS: Any GM or front office guy who tells you he knows exactly what he was getting when he traded for a guy is just pounding his own chest. What you do is you try and find something you like, a defined attribute that you like about a guy. Even when we traded for Asdrubal or Shin-Soo Choo, there were always questions. We never thought they’d both be as good as they were, never. So when we traded for Yan Gomes, we thought that maybe he could catch, but really what he was, was right handed power, and a guy who could play multiple positions. That’s what we thought. When we got him, I think we did a smart thing, similar to when we traded for Justin Masterson. We didn’t know Masterson could start, but we knew he could be a dominant bullpen guy. But in our situation it’s important to maximize the value because we can’t go out and buy those things. So we put Yan back there, and right away Tito and the staff said “this guy’s got pretty special hands, he’s got some strength behind the plate.” When you go back and look at his career, whether it’s in Tennessee (in college) or in the Toronto system, he played behind Arencibia both places, and they had D’Arnaud there as well. So he was behind two of the best young catchers in the game and he never got to catch much. He just took right to it. He got better and better. He’s a worker, he’s smart, he’s tough, he has a lot of the attributes you look for in a catcher.
CLEVELAND INDIANS (3-2) vs. MINNESOTA TWINS (2-3)
RHP Justin Masterson (0-0, —) vs. RHP Ricky Nolasco (0-1, 7.50)
Game #6/Home #3 » Sunday, April 6, 2014 » Progressive Field » 1:05 p.m. (ET) » SportsTime Ohio, WTAM-WMMS/IRN
WINS & LOSSES
- After winning their 2014 home opener on Friday in come-from behind fashion by a score of 7-2, the Indians allowed Minnesota to even the 3-game series in a 7-3 loss on Saturday…Tribe fell behind early, as Twins jumped out to a 5-1 lead after 3 innings; Cleveland was down 7-1 before plating a pair of runs in the 9th…managed just a single run on 3 hits against Twins starter Kyle Gibson.
- Home Opener: Tribe was held scoreless thru 5.0 on just one hit against Twins starter Mike Pelfrey (first 12 batters retired in order) before erasing a 2-0 deficit with a pair of home runs in the 6th from YAN GOMES (solo) & NICK SWISHER (2-run)…Cleveland rallied for 4 more runs in the 7th to put the game out of reach.
- Cleveland is 1-1 to begin this 6-day, 6-game homestand against Minnesota (1-1) and San Diego (3 games)…club is coming off a brief 3-game road trip to open the season during which Tribe took 2 of 3 from Oakland, improving to 27-9 against the A.L. West since start of 2013 campaign…series win came despite plating 9 combined runs, 6 of those being scored in the 9th inning…second game of Oakland series was rained out, forcing a day-night DH on Wednesday…both Indians wins vs. A’s had same winning (Allen), losing (Johnson) and saving (Axford) pitchers…Friday began a stretch of 10 consecutive game dates before club’s next off day on April 14 in Detroit.
- Cleveland is 2nd in the A.L. Central standings, 1.5 games behind Detroit (4-0) & one half-game ahead of 3rd-place Kansas City (-2.0G, 2-2)…Tribe has spent 2 days in 1st place, 3 days in 2nd place and one day in 3rd place.
…AND IT LIVES IN MINNEAPOLIS
- The Twins are making their first of 3 trips to Cleveland in 2014, as the two clubs are set to meet 19 times…for the second consecutive season, all 3 of the Indians’ trips to Minnesota will take place after the All-Star break.
- Cleveland went 13-6 vs. Minnesota last season, going 6-3 at home and 7-3 on the road…since ‘94 re-alignment, marked just 3rd time for Tribe to beat Twins 13 times, also 2001 (14-5) & 2007 (14-4)…Tribe clinched a 2013 A.L. Wild Card berth at Target Field on the final day of the regular season, a 5-1 victory over the Twins to complete their 7th 4-game series sweep & cap a 10-game winningstreak to end the year.
- Saturday’s loss snapped a 7-game winning streak for Cleveland against Minnesota, which had been club’s longest since 2011 and 2 shy of Tribe’s all-time record against the Twins (9, 5/9/81-8/20/82…Cleveland has still gone 14-7 vs. Minnesota since start of 2013.
GET ON THE GOOD FOOT
- With the Twins’ 3-run rally in the first inning yesterday, opponents have now scored first in 4 of the Indians’ 5 games so far this season, although Cleveland has managed 2 come-from-behind victories in those 4 contests…additionally, Cleveland’s pitching staff has allowed 8 of its 19 total runs in the first inning…staff has a 14.40 ERA (8 ER/5.0 IP) in first inning, but a 2.08 ERA (9 ER/39.0 IP) from the 2nd inning on…in 2013, Cleveland went68-24 when scoring first, but 24-46 when opponents tallied first.
MY BACK PAGES
- Cleveland’s offense was active in the late innings once again Saturday with a pair of 9th inning runs before the rally fell short, this after scoring 3 runs in the 6th and 4 more in the 7th in Friday’s home opener…the Tribe has scored 13 of team’s 19 overall runs in the 7th inning-or-later…among A.L. teams in the 7th inning-or late, the Indians rank among leaders in runs (1st, 13), batting avg. (2nd, .322, 19-59), OBP (3rd, .386) and OPS (4th, .792).
- Cleveland has plated 9th-inning runs in 4 of the club’s 5 games so far (8 total runs)…OAK series: Indians broke scoreless tie w/ pair of 9th-inn. runs on Monday (2-0 win), avoided a shutout with one run in final at-bat of Game 1 Wednesday (6-1 loss) and then rallied for 3 runs in 9th of Game 2 for a come-from-behind victory (6-4 win).
- On rehab assignment at Triple-A Columbus, OF MICHAEL BOURN (15-day DL, left hamstring strain) was the starting center fielder in the Clippers’ 4-0 loss to the Indianapolis Indians at Huntington Park on Saturday, going 1-for-3 with a single in Game 1 of a doubleheader…reported no issues following the game and was around the Indians clubhouse this morning.
GARDENHIRE GETS WIN NO. 1,000
- Please join the Indians in congratulating Twins manager RON GARDENHIRE, who became the 5th active skipper – 60th all-time- to reach 1,000 career victories with Saturday’s 7-3 win over theTribe…TERRY FRANCONA (1,124) reached that milestone in2011 during his final season at the helm of the Boston Red Sox…the others are Bruce Bochy (1,535), Mike Scioscia (1,235) andBuck Showalter (1,164).
The Cleveland Indians today announced the club has signed C YAN GOMES to a six-year contract extension thru the 2019 season with club options for 2020 and 2021.
Gomes, 26, established himself as the club’s everyday catcher in the second half of 2013, hitting .294 (86-293) with 18 doubles, 2 triples, 11 home runs and 38 RBI in 88 games. The Sao Paulo, Brazil native also had a large impact behind the plate, as the club went 49-30 (.620) over his 79 starts at catcher while Indians pitchers recorded an ERA of 3.56 (281ER/710.0IP) when Yan was catching. He also threw out an AL-high 38.3% (18-of-47) of the runners attempting to steal while registering a .996 fielding percentage.
Yan was acquired from Toronto along with INF Mike Aviles on November 2, 2012 from the Toronto Blue Jays after beginning his professional career with the Jays in 2009. He made history with Toronto in May of 2012, becoming the first Brazilian-born player in Major League Baseball history.
MLB Leaders, Catcher OPS (Minimum 275 plate appearances)
- Joe Mauer, MIN — .901
- Jason Castro, HOU — .884
- YAN GOMES, CLE — .837
- Yadier Molina, STL — .836
Players under team control through 2016
- Cody Allen
- John Axford
- Michael Bourn
- Michael Brantley
- Lonnie Chisenhall
- Yan Gomes
- Jason Kipnis
- Corey Kluber
- Zach McAllister
- David Murphy
- Ryan Raburn
- Marc Rzepczynski
- Carlos Santana
- Danny Salazar
- Bryan Shaw
- Nick Swisher
CLEVELAND INDIANS (16-7-2) at CINCINNATI REDS (12-14-2)
RHP Carlos Carrasco (2-1, 5.59) vs. Alfredo Simon (1-2, 4.42)
Spring Game #26/Home #14 » Monday, March 24, 2014 » Goodyear Ballpark » 1:05/4:05 p.m. (MST/ET) » MLB Network, webcast
TODAY’S BROADCAST INFORMATION: Today’s “road” contest between the Indians and Reds will be aired lived on MLB Network at 4:05 ET…MLB Network will also air a live broadcast of the final game on the Tribe’s Cactus League schedule on March 29 at San Diego.
Today’s game can also be heard through a live online webcast which can be accessed by simply registering a username and password at http://www.Indians.com/webcast or MLB.com.
THE HOME STRETCH: With just 6 games remaining on the 2014 Cactus League schedule, the Indians are one win shy of their 2013 Spring Training total, and just 3 victories shy of matching the club’s best exhibition season since joining the CL in 2009…Sunday’s loss to the Angels marked the first time the Tribe has lost consecutive games all spring…the Indians have played 22 games in 22 days since Cleveland’s March 1 rainout at Camelback Ranch against Chicago-AL…Cleveland has still won 4 of its last 8 games as the club nears the season opener on March 31 in Oakland.
INDIANS RECOGNIZED BY BASEBALL ASSISTANCE TEAM: The Baseball Assistance Team, now in its 29th year, is a unique organization within the sports industry dedicated to confidentially assisting members of the Baseball Family through charitable contributions from corporations, foundations and individuals…B.A.T. strives to provide a means of support to people with financial, psychological or physical burdens…today, B.A.T. announced that the Cleveland Indians and Philadelphia Phillies are the recipients of the 2014 Bobby Murcer Award in recognition of the team in each league whose players commit the most amount of money to B.A.T…the Baseball Assistance Team has awarded more than $29 million in grants to date, benefiting more than 3,100 members of the Baseball Family, including former Major League players, managers, coaches, scouts, umpires, athletic trainers and front office personnel.
LATEST ROSTER MOVES: Terry Francona announced this morning that RHP C.C. LEE and RHP TREVOR BAUER have been optioned to Triple-A Columbus, and INF/OF BRYAN LaHAIR and INF DAVID COOPER have been re-assigned to minor league camp…C LUKE CARLIN was informed that he will begin the season at Triple-A Columbus, but will remain with the Indians in Major League camp…the club also announced that RHP AARON HARANG asked for and was granted his release.
Tito also announced that OF MICHAEL BOURN will begin the season on the 15-day DL, and that the club informed OF NYJER MORGAN and INF LONNIE CHISENHALL that they will begin the season on the 25-man Opening Day roster.
TODAY’S TILT: The Indians and Reds are set to meet today for the fifth and final time this spring…after dropping the exhibition opener to the Reds by a score of 8-3, the Indians took the next two decisions from Cincy and went on to enjoy a ten-game stretch in which the club did not suffer a single loss (9-0-1)…in the most recent matchup between the Goodyear Complex-mates, Cleveland saw Cincinnati rally for a pair of runs in the bottom of the ninth for a 5-4 walk-off loss…Cleveland is 12-10-3 against the club’s intrastate rivals all-time in Cactus League play…beginning with the inaugural 2010 campaign, the Indians won 5 straight and 6 of the first 8 meetings (6-1-1) here in Arizona, but are 6-9-2 over the last 17 times Cleveland and Cincinnati have locked horns…the regular season “Battle of Ohio” was a clean split (2-2) in 2013 as both teams swept 2-game sets at their home parks; this year’s version of the Ohio Cup will again feature a “home-and-home” as the 2 clubs will play four straight games against each other from August 4-7 – the Tribe will host the Reds in the first 2 contests followed by 2 games at Great American Ballpark…the Indians hold a 44-41 (.518) record all-time against Cincinnati in regular season play.
–Photos by Dan Mendlik
–Photos by Dan Mendlik
–Photos by Dan Mendlik
- Photos by Dan Mendlik
–Photos by Dan Mendlik