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DetDawg
(@detdawg)
High-A rising star
Joined: 1 year ago
Posts: 253
 

This isn't an original idea of mine, but it may be harder to manipulate the service time of Andres Gimenez with the delay of the AAA minor league season by a month.  If Gimenez isn't on the 25-man roster, what do the Indians do with him?  I don't think they just want him to be playing simulated games in Arizona for a month if they want him to be ready to play in about 6 weeks into the season, or whenever it is that allows the Indians to avoid having Gimenez be a Super 2 guy with 4 arbitration years.


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The Prosecutor
(@pros)
Short-A newcomer
Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 53
 

@detdawg

I don't think it will harm him to spend a month taking batting practice, infield practice, lifting weights, and hitting live pitching in intrasquad games. Maybe it would be better to spend that time playing against AAA teams, but he won't go backwards. If it results in the Indians having him for an extra 162 games in the prime of his career then it's worth having him work on his skills for a month rather than playing AAA games. The pitchers he will be facing in intrasquad games will be AA/AAA level guys, just from the Indians' organization rather then some other. 


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Edible14
(@edible14)
Low-A dreamer
Joined: 1 year ago
Posts: 105
 

@pros I go the opposite way on this. Treating the players with respect and not transparently fucking them over on service time is a *good* move, and might help them sign team friendly extensions. The Padres just locked up Tatis on a deal that looks pretty team-friendly (not without risk, but if his career goes the way people think it will, he will be a bargain most of that contract). They were able to do that because they generated a ton of good will by not fucking him on service time. The White Sox agreed to deals with a bunch of their core with the same idea. 

If Gimenez is legit, then before next season starts they will want him extended. They only started their relationship with him this off season. I can't imagine convincing him to sign an extension if you've done all this.

Plus, the CBA is about to be redone. And the players have a lot of leverage and motivation. It might be that they've completely changed that incentive structure by the time Gimenez gets to that point. 


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DetDawg
(@detdawg)
High-A rising star
Joined: 1 year ago
Posts: 253
 

The Indians have manipulated service time and entered into long-term agreements previously.  I don't see Gimenez as any different.

Having said that, I've read that there is another reason that the Indians may be disinclined to manipulate Gimenez's service time, and it makes some sense.  Specifically, the argument is that the Indians' have so many legitimate SSs in the system that the Indians may never get to the point of having to go to arbitration 4 times with Gimenez, or even arbitration in his 3rd season (instead of 4th).  Freeman, Arias, and Rocchio come to mind as legitimate replacements at a fraction of Gimenez's future cost.  

As of now, it looks like Gimenez could be eligible for arbitration in '23.  Maybe he's still with the Indians then, and maybe not.  But, I'd be surprised if he was with the team in his 3rd and 4th arbitration years, when a productive player can start getting expensive.  My guess is that, instead, he'll be a valuable trade chip to fill in a position of need in 1, 2, or 3 years.  And, assuming he plays up to the promise he's shown to date, he'll be more valuable the sooner that he's traded, giving the acquiring team control of Gimenez for a longer period of time.  The fact that he's likely going to be a Super 2 would make him less valuable than he otherwise would be assuming, of course, that there is still such a thing as a Super 2 in the future.

This post was modified 9 months ago by DetDawg

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DetDawg
(@detdawg)
High-A rising star
Joined: 1 year ago
Posts: 253
 

Josh Naylor is one of 7 that Keith Law is picking as breakout players this season.  He notes he's less sure of this list that those he's made in the past due to the shortness of the 2020 season.

Law observes that Naylor is better able to use his athleticism now that he's lost weight is better conditioned.  He also comments that, while Naylor doesn't strike out as much as would be expected for someone with his plus-plus power, his decision making needs to improve so that he starts making better contact with the pitches he does swing at - illustratively, his ISO was below .100 in '20, which is difficult to believe for someone who has the ability to hit the ball so hard. 

I'm optimistic about Naylor as well, and believe he's got a chance to be a linchpin in the lineup.

The link below is behind a paywall.

2021 MLB breakout candidates: Keith Law picks seven ready to take a step forward – The Athletic


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Edible14
(@edible14)
Low-A dreamer
Joined: 1 year ago
Posts: 105
 

Some thoughts:

Nearly every Indians fan wants Bobby Bradley to be the 1B. I don't really. I think Bauers is likely to have the better career long term. He's a better defender (and more versatile, even though he's not good at all in the OF), and he has never had the issues with strikeouts Bradley has. People want to say Bauers Ks a lot but he's been a 20% or lower guy in the minors his entire career and is around 30% in the majors. Bradley is around 30% in the minors and was 40% in the majors in a brief stint. I expect both of them will be playing their way out of favor by mid-season this year. I can see Bauers sticking around the league on the waiver wire and through NRI deals, maybe eventually figuring it out. I don't see Bradley getting as many of those sorts of second chances. The Indians have gone to a really contact-first approach with hitting (see: Eddie Rosario, most of their top prospects), and Bradley doesn't fit that. Neither does Bauers. At some point this year I think either Nolan Jones or Josh Naylor are your new everyday 1B.

CF is looking to be a disaster this year. Mercado doesn't seem to have figured it out. Zimmer still Ks too much. Rosario doesn't seem like he can really play it. What's weirder is that the team isn't giving Daniel Johnson time there. If they're convinced Johnson is a corner guy only, then the next hope might be Steven Kwan.

Richie Palacios had a really impressive AB the other day. He was up against Josh Osich, who is a 32 year old journeyman lefty trying to make the Reds as an NRI. Osich has a good slider that usually is his go to pitch against same handed batters like Palacios (and said LOOGY type arsenal is possibly why he's unlikely to make the majors at this point given the 3 batter rule). Palacios smoked a slider into the gap. Palacios missed 2019 with an injury and thus hasn't been seen in awhile. But the bat is legit, and he is going to add to an impressive pile of middle infield depth (assuming he doesn't get moved to outfield or something).

If they're keeping a lefty, it should be Kyle Nelson. Gose has had a good spring as well, but for roster control purposes they should probably start with Nelson. He can be optioned, where Gose would immediately be in the "has to stay up or get DFA'd" position. Both of them are likely to be useful to the team this year. 

1B is really thin at the top of the org. Seeing old catcher Ryan Lavarnway and 6th year minor league veteran Connor Marabell take reps there doesn't inspire confidence. At AA and AAA your best prospects might be Mitch Reeves and Gavin Collins, both of who are marginal prospects made less valuable by moving them off of more premium defensive positions (OF for Reeves, C/3B for Collins). Hopefully somebody breaks out in A ball. 


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Edible14
(@edible14)
Low-A dreamer
Joined: 1 year ago
Posts: 105
 

One thing that strikes me as odd going into the season: how expensive the bench and bullpen are. 

For a team that will probably start the year around $50m, they will feature:

Approximately $4m between Wittgren, Shaw, and Maton as relievers. The starters will be making less than $3m combined. 

Austin Hedges making $3.28m

Amed Rosario making $2.4m

Ben Gamel making $1m ish if he makes it

Meaning they'll have just 7 position players (Jram, Cesar, Eddie, and Berto the others) making above minimum and almost half won't be starters.

I bring this up because in recent years the team has seemingly had the refrain that it's better to put someone like Mike Freeman, Michael Martinez, Delino DeShields, or Joba Chamberlain filling these roles is better than using some young guys. But a big part of me wonders if we would be better off if we had given more of that kind of time to guys like Yu Chang, Brad Zimmer, or Cam Hill. Like I get the service time game for someone like Lindor or Nolan Jones, but I find it baffling we do it to guys like Daniel Johnson.


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yalbert
(@yalbert)
Draft Prospect
Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 2
 

don't know where the messengers have gone, but they're not here. As for the roster, I can't figure out how or why the Indians sent Bradley down for Bauers.  No one was going to pick up Bauers off waivers and if they did ....so what.  My depth chart for 1st base looked something like this:  Bradley, Naylor, Chang, Miller, Bauers. More mildly surprised at Zimmer being sent down for Gamel ...but at least Gamel can hit.

Comments welcome


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rsamak
(@rsamak)
Draft Prospect
Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 20
 

To me Bradley clearly out produced Bauers and its debatable if Bauers is still better on D. With Bradley, Naylor, Jones, Miller capable for 1st what is the worry of losing him?

After seeing TMac, Plesac, Civale hammered it was nice to see Allen come through with a good start. Was feeling good about the team until the starters began a downward trend. It's spring and in AZ but have head that as an excuse before.


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yalbert
(@yalbert)
Draft Prospect
Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 2
 

@rsamak I'm more concerned with scoring runs than our pitching .....not saying  the pitching can't go South, just that I have more confidence in it.  

So who's going to play CF in Columbus ....Zimmer or Johnson ...or Mercado ....what a cluster f*ck.


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Mackie_Lundquist
(@mackie_lundquist)
Draft Prospect
Joined: 1 year ago
Posts: 21
 

They probably rotate, but I think Jet Johnson needs the most time.

Zimmer and Mercado have both established their defensive bona fides. They have yet to establish they can hit major league pitching consistently.


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Edible14
(@edible14)
Low-A dreamer
Joined: 1 year ago
Posts: 105
 

So long, Adam Plutko. Plutko currently sits atop the all time leaderboard in home runs per 9 innings (minimum 200 IP), and joins the Orioles in a very homer friendly park, in a division where the only park that isn't outright friendly to home run hitters is Tampa's. Plutko becomes the guy let go so the Indians can get Bryan Shaw on the roster. Likely the trade was merely a way of getting Plutko to his new team faster as something of a courtesy to him. As part of their long standing strategy of helping guys they're about to jettison find new homes (see: Billy Hamilton and Mike Freeman).


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DetDawg
(@detdawg)
High-A rising star
Joined: 1 year ago
Posts: 253
 
Posted by: @mackie_lundquist

They probably rotate, but I think Jet Johnson needs the most time.

Zimmer and Mercado have both established their defensive bona fides. They have yet to establish they can hit major league pitching consistently.

Zimmer has been living off of his defensive bona fides from a couple of years ago.  He regressed last year in his return.  I think he's lost a step, he took some missteps in the OF, and his advanced stats were mostly negative or neutral.  To be honest, I don't know how good he is anymore.  And remember, speed is a perishable skill, one that is lost earlier than most others, particularly for players of Zimmer's body type.  IMO, Mercado is the superior defender right now, with Zimmer possibly having a leg up on offense.

This post was modified 8 months ago by DetDawg

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Mackie_Lundquist
(@mackie_lundquist)
Draft Prospect
Joined: 1 year ago
Posts: 21
 

Does anyone have a sense of how the lineups will look in the farm system? I am especially interested in middle infield.

Columbus: Clement, Miller

Akron: Arias, Freeman

Lake County: Rocchio, Bracho

Lynchburg: ???

Where do the other two dozen middle infield prospects get plugged in?

This post was modified 8 months ago by Mackie_Lundquist

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Edible14
(@edible14)
Low-A dreamer
Joined: 1 year ago
Posts: 105
 
Posted by: @mackie_lundquist

Does anyone have a sense of how the lineups will look in the farm system? I am especially interested in middle infield.

Columbus: Clement, Miller

Akron: Arias, Freeman

Lake County: Rocchio, Bracho

Lynchburg: ???

Where do the other two dozen middle infield prospects get plugged in?

I've been working on my own depth chart. I think the prudent thing for the org to do would be to basically rotate everyone at 3B/SS/2B and DH. If they did that, I could see:

Columbus: Jones (rotating between 1B, 3B, RF, with Bradley getting some DH time along), Clement, Miller, Freeman (Monasterio or Krieger being the bench)

Akron: Arias, Palacios, Fermin, Rocchio (Friis, Marcos Gonzalez, or Ike Freeman as bench)

Lake County: Bracho, Nova (3B, part of the Clevinger deal), Tolentino, Tucker (Bench: Maestra, Delgado, or Schneeman) 

Lynchburg: G. Rodriguez, A. Martinez, Sanquintin, Tena (Bench/alternates: Jordan Brown, Cairo, Valdes)

That's an aggressive projection but it could work. A few things though:

I think they're going to end up having to squeeze out some of their 3B prospects for this. Tyler Krieger could end up cut at some point, and I think Nolan Jones ends up spending a lot of time at other positions. Palacios could settle into a 3B role for Akron (he also could move to OF), bumping guys like Schneeman or Marcos Gonzalez to the fringe. Gabriel Rodriguez has long been thought to be destined to move to 3B, and I think this year settles it. 

The guys getting screwed here are definitely the 2019 draftees, Brown/Cairo/Valdes. If Mahoning Valley still existed i think you could basically swap them into Lynchburg quite easily, letting Sanquintin and Martinez start a bit slower. But given that low level leagues are already starting a bit behind, that there is no short season A, and that there will be a new crop ready to fill out AZL after the draft... I have to imagine they need to start those two up in Lynchburg. 

Obviously this also squeezes a number of marginal guys - Connor Smith, Monasterio, Jonathan Lopez, Jesse Berardi, Jose Tena, and more. 


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