Results tagged ‘ Cleveland Indians ’

Bob Feller Was a True Baseball Immortal

 

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Photo:Answers.com

There are always people you meet during the course of your life that seem to click with you. It can be a piece of their personality that makes you notice them, or even something as simple as a moment of respect and courtesy shown to you that puts them always in your mind. I felt that way about former Indians great Robert William Andrew “Bob” Feller.

I first met him at a MLB Players Association Alumni game at Al Lane Field several years ago and was immediately drawn to him like a firefly to a night light. Maybe it was the way he treated the kid of all ages who came down before and after the game to get his autograph and hoping to hear the story about how the Tribe won their last World Series title in 1948. And all three of his nicknames from the “Heater from Van Meter”, to “Bullet Bob” to his most infamous “Rapid Robert” only speaks to the legend that was Bob Feller.

I felt compelled to listen to him any time I saw him after those years whenever the MLBPA Alumni players their games either in St. Petersburg, or up at BrightHouse Field in Clearwater, Florida. Always dug into a seat just out of the crowd hoping to hear another Feller original story from either the past or present about his Indians.

I always admired Feller for so many reasons. For signing at a young age with Cleveland scout Cy Slapnicka for just a $1 and a baseball. The impression that Feller left on Slapnicka stayed so sharp in his min d that when Salonika was given the GM position in Cleveland, he tried to by-pass Feller’s time in the minor leagues and bring him straight to the Majors, which was a violation of the MLB rules at that time.

Legendary MLB Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis conducted a 3-month investigation into the quick acceleration of Feller’s rise through the Indians system from Fargo-Moorhead to New Orleans to the Majors without Feller having even stepped within either minor league clubhouse concluded that it was a violation of MLB rules, but ruled for Slapnicka and Indians owner Alva Bradley even though he did not believe the team acted with good faith. Some say that the testimony of Feller and his father to Commissioner Landis helped pave his way to Cleveland.

Even if that tale is an urban legend, it solidified the legend of Feller being the ultimate team player. But how can you argue with a man who played 18 years for the same Indians franchise posted 266 victories with 2,581 strikeouts and threw three No-Hitters and 12 1-hitters during his career. Or maybe it was the exclamation point to his career of throwing a No-Hitter on Opening Day in 1940 against the Chicago White Sox that even today stands as the only No-No ever thrown on Opening Day in Major League history.

In the end I finally found out what attracted me to Feller. It wasn’t that Feller was once clocked officially throwing 107.6 mph in 1946 after returning from a few years of military service in World War II. It was for the level of respect and pride Feller had for the game and anyone who ever pulled on a pair of cleats.

I truly admire Feller for helping to formalize a petition along with fellow Baseball Hall of Famer Ted Williams that was then submitted to the Commissioner of Baseball back on January 14,1998. The document is signed by both Feller and Williams and went about asking for the reconsideration of a lifetime ban or a pardon for “Shoeless” Joe Jackson so that Jackson could be rightfully examined by his baseball peers for possible future selection by the Baseball Hall of Fame Veteran’s Committee for consideration for the Baseball Hall of Fame.

I would have loved to see Feller pitch in his heydays, but I have only seen him in his later years at MLBPA Alumni charity exhibition games when fun had more of his attention that barreling that ball in there close to the ribs at his peak speed of 100 plus mph. What a joy it must have been to be a Indians fan back in the late 1940′s or even one of the Cleveland faithful today who ever got the opportunity to have a long and important discussion with such a baseball icon at an Indians home game.

 
 

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Photo: Commons.wikimedia.org

People want to throw out poetic phrases and resolute adulation at a time like this, but Feller was more than baseball. He was a war veteran, a father and a true image of everything that is right with the game of baseball. It saddened me a few weeks ago to hear of Feller being transferred from the esteemed Cleveland Clinic to a hospice unit after battling an invisible foe, leukemia for most of the 2010 season.

Feller passed away from pneumonia finally losing the most important fight of his life. But I want to remember Feller for his virility and strength back in June 2009 when he was one of the starting pitchers in the inaugural Baseball Hall of Fame Classic at 90 years of age.

I want to remember him as the player who’s Bob Feller Museum in Van Meter, Iowa was built by his own son Stephen, an architect. I want to remember him for buzzing the tower of “Mudcat” Grant during one of those MLB Alumni games then staring Grant down at the plate. I want to remember Feller as a fighter, a competitor, but most of all as a true baseball immortal.
 

Talbot was the Perfect Choice for Cleveland


AWinner@Flickr.com

Every once in a while a trade is consummated that  instantly makes you see that it might be the best thing to happen to that minor leaguer. You do not want to see him leave your system, but you know that he might be legitimately stalled within your farm system by a logjam within your system. And it is a shame to see a player stand still instead of moving forward in their  maturation process to becoming a Major Leaguer.
 

So when the Tampa Bay Rays announced that they had made a trade with the Cleveland Indians for catcher Kelly Shoppach in early December, you had the immediate feeling that the “Player To Be Named Later” would be plucked from the Rays 25-man roster, or be a top prospect from a Rays farm squad. So it was no real shock to me that the Rays took their time finalizing and whittling down the choices with the Indians and finally deciding “officially” late Monday night to send pitcher Mitch Talbot to the Indians.

And the final decision on Talbot was a very intelligent and completely necessary move for the Rays. But it was also a great pitching pick-up for the rebuilding Indians who  will be using young pitching talent in 2010 to build a strong foundation for the Indians future. And this decision actually saved the Rays from having to make a difficult decision this Spring for the second season in a row.
 

Talbot, who was out of minor league options, might not have even been considered for a 25-man roster spot for the Rays and in all likelihood would of had to change the mindset of the Rays Coaching staff  to make the team reconsider a spot for fellow pitchers like Andy Sonnanstine or Wade Davis in 2010.  And it is not unheard of in recent Rays Spring Training history for a pitcher to  come into Spring Training Camp in mid-February and sweat and battle his way the entire Spring, and the team ends up not having him on their final 25-man roster.


CBC-Raleigh.com

But with Talbot going down in 2009 with injuries while with Triple-A Durham Bulls, he ended up throwing only 54.1 innings, which could of had the Rays losing a bit of confidence in one of their top pitcher prospects. How soon it slipped the minds of the Rays to forget that in 2008 Talbot posted his second consecutive 13-9 record for the Bulls. 

Talbot even had to endure a brief 24-hour call-up with the Rays on July 2,2008.  All this from a guy that Baseball America  selected in 2008 as having the best change-up in the International League. How soon  a player could fall from grace with an organization, and they forget you were their selection as Triple-A Pitcher of the Year in 2008, and had the best change-up in the Rays system for the fourth year in a row. Throw on top of that being a member of the Bull 2009 Triple-A Championship team, and you get a pitching prospect who’s future should be bright in the eyes of his organization, and not  shaded by clouds of doubt.


Rob Carr / AP

But with the Indians selecting Talbot as the final piece in this deal, it actually opens up a different career path to the Majors for Talbot. He will report  with the other Indians pitchers’ to Arizona this Spring, and could be firmly in the mix to secure a spot in their 2010 rotation. This should give Talbot a early dose of confidence that he can get his name muttered by the Cleveland Coaching staff this Spring. And because the Rays included his name for consideration in this trade,Talbot will be given a fair chance to make his first Opening Day roster in the Major Leagues.

They say that sometimes things happen for reason. Well, this trade actually might be just the extra push forward Talbot needs to secure a spot on a Major League bench. He is a hard worker and deserves this chance, and hopefully we will see his name listed on the roster on 2010′s Opening Day. And  with the added experience of serving in the Rays Bullpen in the past, Talbot could also bring a nice secondary piece of the puzzle for the Indians. Talbot  in his personal life enjoys flying during his off times from baseball. Hopefully his  renewed chance in Cleveland will finally give him a chance to fly high and secure a spot in the Major Leagues. And I am think he is the right guy to have at the controls.

“Guess-timations for Jason Grilli for 2010

 


@Grillcheese49/Twitter.com


I am not a true fan of crossword puzzles or games like Chess. But I got to tell you, I am so psyched right now to try and figure out this word puzzle/mystery. You see, Jason Grilli aka Grillcheese49 on Twitter has been leaving small clues and a few hints recently about his pitching destination for 2010.  And I have to admit it here, but trolling the web looking for answers can get my endorphines  kicking it at about 120 mph right now. I forgot how much fun it used to be following a lead, or just a simple photo and finding an aswer within it all.

I have a lot of respect for the insider job that ESPN’s Buster Onley does every day right now during the Hot Stove season. I honestly have not worked this hard to nail down a team or a possible player’s new location since college. And I am not working with a safety net right now, and could basically get it all wrong with a flick of the fingers upon this keyboard. 

I do not possess the savvy insider sources that people like Peter Gammons or Onley have at their disposal daily. I do most of my work down here in the darkest recesses of light, and ever so often a beam shines down and I grab ahold of it tightly. Right now I am going by what Grilli has tweeted to all of us over the last week and using them as definite clues to piece this puzzle with more clarity. But the reality of this dark situation is that this new form of social interweaving like Twitter and Facebook can also work in deflecting people and organizations far away from the truth.

 @Grillcheese49:There were 8 teams interested. One clear choice. Details coming soon. Hope to share by Monday. ( 4:57 PM Nov 27,2009 from UberTwitter)

Well Jason, it is now early Monday, and only a few hours before you “officially” tell the cyber-world of your playing intentions for 2010. I am going to try and piece together some of the previous information given out by you,and try and make an educated guess on where you are going to be playing in 2010. Hope you do not mind, but I might have a lead on your future employer by reading through the lines a bit, and hope

I am at least within the ballpark when you announce it sometime during today. I may end up being totally wrong, and that is okay too because I am a blogger with no real connections who is just using his mind for more than a hatrack right now.

@Grillcheese49: The answer is coming people this week. I promise. Let’s play the Feud. There are 30 teams in MLB. The top 5 answers are on the board.
(9:27 AM Nov 27,2009 from UberTwitter)

I have to admit, I did not take all 30  MLB teams when I was trying to figure out which team you might have scooped you up come Monday. I  did however remove your prior teams like the Colorado Rockies,Texas Rangers,Chicago White Sox,Florida Marlins and Detroit Tigers. It was a bit hard to rule out the Marlins completely at first because you still have a home in Florida. But,I figure that  for the most part, when a player leaves the Marlins, they are not too anxious to get back into the aqua blue uniforms.

@Grillcheese49: Longest drum roll ever…..I know. If it were up to me I would tell ya. Don’t want to be banned from Twitter like the NFL players do. Haha
( 3 hours ago from UberTwitter)


Do not worry Grilli, I am pretty sure there is nothing within the MLBPA union contract about social networks  yet, but they probably will add it into the talks in 2011 when the MLBPA  Union contract is up for renewal. I really wish I did have someone within a the MLB front offices that I could bounce this  guess-timate off of at 1 AM on a Monday morning…..But I do not.

So I am out here in “Blog-ville” after 1 AM trying to piece the puzzle together considering you gave me an awesome clue with the Twitpic posted late on Sunday. And the wildest part of it all is going to be my  own personal opinion on if you are seeking to play for a potential playoff team,or just a great opportunity to stay with a team’s Bullpen for a few years. That at first almost lead me to make the mistake of thinking you might be wearing a Tampa Bay Rays jersey in 2010, but something on your Twitpic tonight led me away from that conclusion quickly.

 Someone trying to piece together puzzles like this need to have a keen eye for unobvious observations to sometimes notice things other leave behind as clues or even honest mistakes in their posts or comments. When you posted the picture tonight of your signature already on your 2010 contract, you left the biggest clue of them all. As most people can see now, the MLB authorized Club Representative signature might be the key to this entire puzzle.

                     
                     
Grillcheese49/Twitpic


So if I take that position of “Director of Baseball Administration” as a clue under the Club Reps signature, then I can quickly narrow it down to  a total of six teams that have that position currently listed within their MLB front office. We have 3 clubs each in both the American League and the National League that employ a person in that present job title. But then again,it could just be an ambiguous  job title that is printed on a standardized MLB/MLBPA contract for all I know. But  a gut reaction has me really doubting that.

I could be wrong even about the title of the Club Representative, but I am going to roll the dice here on this one and hope Lady Luck is in my corner tonight/today.  And for that simple reason, I  am putting the following six MLB clubs could be your final destination for the 2010  MLB season:

Oakland Athletics:  The A’s currently have Pam Pitts as the Director of Baseball administration for their club. I think you have more of a inclination right now to be looking for a team that is going to be fighting for a potential playoff spot in 2010. For that reason, I am eliminating the A’s from contention for your services. (75-1 chance)

Kansas City Royals: Jin Wong is posted as the active Director of Baseball Administration for the Royals on their MLB website. This is a team that I feel is more in the rebuilding stage than ready to take center stage right now. They could probably make some no
ise,but might not have the overall staying power in 2010 to get you closer towards a playoff chance. (50-1 chance)


Cleveland Indians:
The Director of Baseball Administration for the Indians is Wendy Hoppel. For some reason I think this is the AL club that might make you salivate the most right now. With the young talent they have accumulated the last two seasons with trades involving CC Sabathia,Victor Martinez and Cliff Lee, the Indians could be a nice dark horse contender in the AL Central as early as 2010. (4-3 chance)


Out of the National League, I am considering these three clubs as your possible destination for the 2010 season:

Chicago Cubs:  The Cubs, even if they are going through a ownership transition,still currently list Scott Nelson as their Director of Baseball Administration. But even with the dust settling in the front office after the final sale approval by MLB owners just recently, this club is a bit more fragile within their 25-man roster. Might not be a great fit, but could be a  dark horse player for your services. (12-1 chance)


Atlanta Braves:
  This is the closest MLB team to your home now in Florida that has a person with the title of Director of Baseball Administration in their club’s front office. John Coppolella currently holds that post. Might be a location favorite, but also has a division you have pitched in before with the Marlins. ( 15-1 chance)

Philadelphia Phillies: This club is the last one to have a club representative with the title of Director of Baseball Administration  in the MLB. With Susan Ingersoll Papaneri at the controls. I am going to go with a wild hunch  that you are seeking a solid position on a team that could grow into an extended contract. With the Phillies, you  may have a spot in their Bullpen renovation. If you do seek a good chance for a possible 2010 playoff scenario, then this just might be a great destination on a possible playoff team. ( 5-1 chance)

This is where the whole shebang of guessing can get a little more difficult for me. I think you can strive for more in both Cleveland and Philly without a major problem. And even if your 2009 salary was only $ 800,000, I can see you going maybe over $1 million with incentives without a real contract problem. Put that all together with the photo above and look at the possible first name lower loop in the signature, and I have to say the name seems to point towards Cleveland (Wendy Hoppel).

But that is the fun with guessing right? I think the perfect 2010 scenario might be with the Phillies to expand your career and get into a possible playoff situation in 2010. But it might also  could be beneficial as a veteran on a young club to be with a team like Cleveland who could shock the AL like the Rays did in 2008 with their developing players leading the way coupled with experienced pitching behind them.

So I am going to guess that the Chief Wahoo will be proud you are with the Cleveland Indians in 2010.  And even if I am wrong about all of this, I think it has been a great chance for me to practice some skills I have not used in a long, long time. It has been  a lot of fun Jason.

I truly wish you the best of luck and hope you stay injury free in 2010. If you play for a team that does head into Tropicana Field, I will look for number 49 and introduce myself to you. And if you do become an Indian on Monday, get your player uniform number negotiation skills ready, because leftie pitcher Tony Sipp currently hold your number 49 on the Indians active roster. But then again, no one on the Phillies 40-man roster currently sports a “49″ on their back.

Explanation of Type “A” and “B” Arbitration Senarios

 

With Arbitration days starting on Monday December 1st, MLB’s GM’s have other things beyond the Holiday Season to think about on this date. Not out of their minds is the fact that several MLB free agents will be looking for their own types of Christmas presents either from their current clubs, or a new suitor for 2009.

 

On Monday, teams will be making major decisions regarding their Type “A” and Type “B” arbitration eligible free agents and/ or roster babies. These decisions will not be made lightly, and sometimes a teams’ June Draft can be effected by the results, both positively or negatively with their decisions.

 

The Tampa Bay Rays are lucky enough to not have a single member of their 40- man roster sitting in either of these categories in 2009. With Rocco Baldelli and Trever Miller being offered contract buy-outs before this period, the team is not responsible or can reap any advantages to them signing for another team. Cliff Floyd and Eric Hinske also are free and clear free agents able to talk and sign with any team in the MLB they desire, with no compensation for the Rays.

 

Most MLB players tend to wait until December 1st to get a realistic view of if their  2008 team does in fact, have them in the team’s future by offering arbitration, or letting them go as free agents.  There are many players’ throughout the majors this off season who are waiting anxiously to get the positive or negative word on their current teams’ desire for them for the upcoming season.

 

 

            

 

Some players like Chicago Cub’s ex-closer, Kerry Wood could be offered arbitration, but the team will have to gamble that he will not accept it. Wood has already been replaced as the Cubs closer by former set-up guy, Carlos Marmol.

So the chess game will begin, and the Cubs would offer, but they will need a solid statement that Wood will want to go elsewhere in 2009. But some of these players come with baggage. Not injury or even a agent like Scott Boras, but a Type “A” or “B” designation that will give their old squad a type of  draft rebate if they are signed by another club.

 

For some teams this rebate system has helped them in the past get an extra prospect or two who could help in the long run for their franchise. The Type “A” guys are pretty easy to find this off season, they are the guy that are being tossed around for examination by almost every competing club in baseball. They are the top tier free agents that have been drawing the most attention, and will command the most in return for their services.

 

I am going to take an example from the list of Type “B” arbitration eligible players to try and illustrate the process. The list of potential Type “B” guys include such  field players as: Milton Bradley, Ivan Rodriguez, Gregg Zaun, Paul Lo Duca, Casey Blake, Ken Griffey Junior, Luis Gonzalez, Frank Thomas, Garrett Anderson, Mark Grudzielanek, Mark Loretta,Juan Uribe and Jeff Kent.

 

Not to outdone is the list of potential pitchers also eligible for arbitration: John Smoltz, Brad Penny, Jon Garlend, Randy Wolf, Paul Byrd, Alan Embree,Randy Johnson, Brian Shouse, Brendan Looper,  Dave Weathers, Jason Isringhausen,Brandon Lyon, Arthur Rhodes, Joe Beimel, Denny Reyes, Rudy Seanez, Luis Ayala and  Eric Gagne.

 

You might notice that I left 2 people off this list because it is generally thought that they will retire quietly before Spring Training in 2009. Former Mets outfielder Moises Alou and outstanding pitcher Greg Maddux are considered by many to take a bow out this off season and pursue other avenues in life.

 

 

                               

 

Okay, for the sake of arguing, let me take one  Type “A” Arbitration player to put him through a series of  possible arbitration events to see what might happen starting tomorrow morning. I will select currently LA Angels first baseman Mark Teixiera as my example of an Type “A” candidates. He is one of the diamond being shined bright by his agents and fellow MLB teams as a cornerstone to a lineup and a star for years. 

 

To start off, let’s consider that the Angels do want to retain his services in 2009, they would start by offering him arbitration after the December 1st date.  If Teixiera accepts the arbitration offer, he will get his 2009 salary determined by the  arbitration process.  He earned a salary of $ 12.5 million dollars for 2008, and had a typical year at the plate and in the field. This would result in a  higher salary for 2009. Now, he can still sign with the Angels before his hearing and would be the property of the Angels for 2009, thus ending his other suitors’ pursuit of him.

 

Typically, a team will sometime offer arbitration to a player thinking they might not even respond. This was not the case in 2002 when the Atlanta Braves tried to fake their interest in Gregg Maddux as a front for a trade. Maddux accepted their offer and went on to post a huge 2002 salary.

 

                                             

 

So with that in mind, if the Angels do not offer any arbitration to Teixiera, it he becomes a free agent with the Angels not getting any compensation for him. Players are considered for their status as “A” or “B” type arbitration candidates based on their statistics the prior 2 seasons.

 

Teixiera would fall into the “A” category based on his Plate Appearances, Batting Average, On-Base Percentage, Home Runs, Runs Batted In for all players in his position classification. Since he played mostly first base this year, his arbitration ranking will come from the final statistics of every player in the MLB who played first base in 2009.

 

If the Angels offer arbitration, but Teixiera would rather play somewhere else and decides to sign with another franchise, the Angels would receive 2 picks in the 2009 Amateur Draft in June for Teixiera’s signing elsewhere. And so the chess match will begin on Monday as to the desires of the MLB’s clubs and their players for 2009.

 

Okay, let’s spell this completely out so there is no misunderstanding here.  Let’s say his old team, the Atlanta Braves want to get Teixiera back into a Braves’ jersey for 2009.  The Angels will then receive 1 draft pick from the Braves’ 2009  Amateur Draft selection.  Let’s say they have the 22nd pick of the 2009 draft. The Angels would get that draft pick and also another additional pick as compensation for the Braves taking back Teixiera into their organization.

 

The Angels would also get another draft pick sandwiched between the first and second rounds if he was a Type “A” eligible candidate.  The Angels can only get the First Round pick of the team signing Teixiera if it falls between pick number 16-30. If the Braves had one of the first 15 picks, they are protected and  it can not be taken from them for arbitration supplemental picks.

 

If the Baltimore Orioles’ decide to take Teixiera, they would not have to give up their high First Round draft pick to compensate the Angels for the Teixiera signing. Instead, the Angels would be rewarded the Orioles’ second round pick and a “sandwich pick’ between the first 2 rounds of the draft.

 

 

 

Now onto the second case in point. Let’s say that the L A Dodgers offered current third baseman Casey Blake arbitration and he turned them down and signed somewhere else. The Dodgers would not get that team’s First Round pick as compensation, but the Dodgers would get a supplemental pick between the first and second rounds. Also to be taken into consideration is the fact that the “losing” team can receive draft pick compensation without arbitration if their free agent   is signed before December 1st.

 

If a player is not offered or even offered arbitration, the cycle of draft picks ends and the team will not receive any other compensation if he leaves his 2008 club for another team in 2009. I know all of this sounds confusing and might be better suited for an advanced Algebra class, but in the next few days we will be hearing these senario and phrase more and more.

 

I thought this might be a nice way to show the possible results of players switching clubs after the December 1st arbitration starting period. Hope this helps dissect the madness and makes the whole process seems bit easier to digest and understand……………So where is Teixiera going, and what will it cost the team signing him?

 

 

  

 

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