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Adam Burke

0HRPorchViewNow that the 2013 MLB season is finished, the hot stove rumor mill will heat up and the Indians will likely be mentioned a lot. Contenders tend to get more air time than bottom feeders and the Indians and their somewhat surprising season will have them on the national radar. The Indians certainly have some concerns and some holes to fill.

The weaknesses of last year’s team were pretty clear and positions like third base and right field will dominate the fan base’s offseason intrigue. But, the bullpen, which as we know is Jekyll and Hyde from year-to-year, may be my biggest concern for next season. Last week, I looked at the starting rotation, specifically the situations with Ubaldo Jimenez, Scott Kazmir, and Justin Masterson. As I continue to delve into the offseason question marks, the bullpen may be the most important. The Indians can expect bounce back seasons from Asdrubal Cabrera and Nick Swisher, but can they expect the same from Vinnie Pestano? Can they expect Cody Allen to be as effective? Is Bryan Shaw that good? There are few certainties with bullpens, but that’s especially true of the Tribe’s pen as we enter the 2013-14 offseason.


Nino Colla

CPerez02Whoaaaaaa! The Indians do not waste any time when the World Series is over. For the third straight year, they've made some big time decisions shortly after the last official game of the MLB season was played.

And one of them is going to dramatically impact their team and their offseason plan. 

So with that, let's skip the gibberish and fluff and get right to the meaty part of our first big piece of offseason news because it is quite tasty.


That's right, the Indians have cut ties with their closer for the past few yearsChris Perez in what was an unexpected first move of the offseason. The writing was pretty much on the wall that Perez would likely not be with Cleveland in 2014, but in the manner that this went down is pretty surprising. The Indians wasted no time in cutting ties with their controversial back-end reliever who is due yet another raise in the arbitration process, his final year of it before free agency.

"He was arbitration-eligible again this year and he was due for another raise," Antonetti said. "We had to make some determinations of where our team needs are and how we're going to allocate our resources moving forward."

And this is why the Indians cut him. It has nothing to do with him getting charged with possession or the comments or anything. This had everything to do with money. You don't pay a closer what could be close to a $10 million dollar salary. And considering he would get that in the process, why would he sign a shorter deal? 


Nino Colla

BlockCHatThis may or may not be known to you reading this yet. But the Akron Aeros are no more.

Ardent fans of the Indians minor league system are probably aware of the change that was announced a few days ago, and people in Akron are certainly buzzing about it. Outside of Akron through, and unless you are a die-hard minor league fan, you probably haven't heard.

And if you are a die-hard minor league fan, you probably really don't care.

Akron is going crazy though, because owner Ken Babby has changed the name of the Aeros, who've been called such since the team moved into Canal Park in the mid-90's. They were the Indians since they moved to Akron in 1989.

And now starting in 2014, the city of Akron has a new team name...


Andrew Clayman

akronrubberduckhatLove it or loathe it, this week’s unveiling of Akron’s new professional baseball identity has already succeeded in all the ways its crafty devisors intended. The end of the Aeros and rise of the RubberDucks—while admittedly April Foolsy at first glance—has put the Indians’ Double-A affiliate in more headlines and hashtags than any of its Eastern League Championships ever did. It’s not a silly marketing mistake, nor a heartfelt nod to Akron’s industrial past—as some would have you believe. It’s straight up business, Son. And in #QuAkron, it was pretty much inevitable.

Back in 2011-- a full year before ambitious young owner Ken Babby bought the club—the Akron Aeros held a somewhat unexpected “re-branding contest,” in which fans were asked to vote online for one of five potential names for the team. Showing a surprising lack of marketing savvy back then, one of these five options was to keep the name “Aeros”—which had served the club admirably for 15 years with basically zero complaints from anyone ever. Obviously, any good bloodsucking marketer knows that there’s no money to be made from a shirt you already sold, so including “leave well enough alone” on the ballot was a mistake from the get-go. 

The four alternative team names, meanwhile, were selected from fan suggestions and conspicuous in their quirkiness—fitting the mold of recent Minor League notables like the Albuquerque Isotopes, Montgomery Biscuits, and Lansing Lugnuts. Unfortunately, all Akronites seemed united in their disdain for these newly proposed monikers, as “Aeros” was easily re-elected over “Vulcans,” “Gum Dippers, “Tire Jacks,” and… “RubberDucks.”


Adam Burke

0HRPorchViewAfter a brief hiatus to decompress from the baseball season and let the postseason sort itself out, the View from the Porch is back and talking about pitching. The Indians have some big decisions to make as they try to make contention a reality for a second straight season.

The San Francisco Giants didn’t do the Indians any favors earlier this week when they re-signed Tim Lincecum to a two-year, $35M extension. With the Indians trying to determine a course of action for Ubaldo Jimenez and Scott Kazmir, the price tag of the Lincecum signing cast a grey outlook. The starting rotation, which was a major question mark entering the 2013 season, looks like a major question mark entering 2014.

A year ago, it was impossible to think of the Indians being priced out of the market for Ubaldo Jimenez. A year ago, a lot of people hoped that the Indians would decline Jimenez’s option, despite the fact that it was obvious that the team would pick it up because the starting rotation lacked depth, proven Major League caliber talent, and Jimenez came relatively cheap. The decision was a no-brainer, solely because the Indians had no better alternatives. It looked to be a terrible decision during the month of April. Jimenez went 1-2 with a 7.13 ERA over his first five starts. He struck out 19 and walked 13 over 24 innings. The Indians struggled their way through an 11-13 start.

Something strange happened after that. Jimenez went from being to punching bag to being the puncher, or if you’ll allow me a cheap pun, the puncher-outer. From the start of May through the end of the regular season, Jimenez was outstanding. He gave up 48 earned runs over his final 27 starts covering 158.2 innings. That’s a 2.72 ERA. He struck out 175 batters and walked 67. Over a 13-start span in the second half of the season, Jimenez posted a 1.82 ERA. And when the Indians needed Jimenez the most, he posted a 4-0 record, a 1.09 ERA, and a 51/7 K/BB ratio in six September starts.


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