ryanraburnAccording to MLB.com's Jordan Bastian, the Cleveland Indians have signed former Detroit Tiger Ryan Raburn.

That'll show 'em!

No not really. But Raburn comes to the Indians a year after fizzling out with the Tigers. He can play many positions, but not necessarily all of them very well. He'll be coming over on a minor league deal with an invite to spring training.

In fact the utility man was pushed around the diamond last year when the team signed Prince Fielder to play first and assigned Miguel Cabrera at third and had too many outfielders to keep Raburn there full-time. So they made him a second baseman. 

He comes to the Indians are someone who will likely see most of his time in the corner outfield spots if he makes the club. Raburn is a perfect piece to slide into that spring training bench competition. And everything else considered, he's a right handed hitter. He has similar numbers against both right-handers and left-handers, showing some solid consistency. He should be able to be someone who can just come off the bench and play and give you some decent at-bats.

Raburn was a solid player for the Tigers up until last year. His numbers have steadily declined in terms of his average as he's seen more playing time, but he's good for 15 home runs, 20 doubles, 50 RBI and a decent on-base percentage in around 100 games at his best. Last year he hit a dismal .171 with a .226 on-base percentage in 66 games before the Tigers optioned him to Toledo in May. He would have stood to make a good chunk of change had the Tigers not non-tendered him.

He'll join the fray for a final bench spot, which is rather open right now, and could even garner some DH at-bats given that the position is still wide-open for the taking.

JGomez02The Indians swapped Jeanmar Gomez for an outfielder on Wednesday after they had designated the starting pitcher for assignment last week to claim Russ Canzler. 

Cleveland received Quincy Latimore from the Pittsburgh Pirates. Latimore was drafted in 2007 out of High School and will turn 24 next month. He has yet to play above Double-A, having spent 2012 and 2012 in Altoona for the Pirates. In his two seasons with the Curve he has hit .245 with a .308 on-base percentage, 30 home runs, and 130 RBI. 

He is not big, but touted as someone who has some good power and had to rebound in 2012 from a bad April. 

Gomez meanwhile goes to a team where he could perhaps have more of a chance to provide depth to in the starting rotation. He has simply fallen down the line of starting pitching options, which of course resulted in him being designated for assignment. The Indians clearly had no use for him with the trade and can now hope they've acquired a decent prospect with some potential as a corner outfielder.

It has been a quick down-turn for Gomez who started 2012 in the Indians starting rotation after impressing enough to win a spot in spring training. Gomez went on to have an decent first few months, having stayed afloat and actually been a main reason for the Indians early contention. But then the wheels fell of and since, Gomez has been an afterthought. He couldn't adjust back in Columbus and is now on his way to a new organization.

Gomez went 5-8 with a 5.96 ERA in 20 games and 17 starts for the Indians last year. In 2011 he went 5-3 with a 4.47 ERA in 11 games and 10 starts. Gomes is very much a guy who needs to rely on control, and while he had it in 2012, having only walked 34 hitters in 90 innings, he could not get away with having been hit, giving up 15 home runs.

Meanwhile, the acquiring of Quincy Latimore ups the number of people named Quincy from 0 to 1 in the organization, but unfortunately gets rid of the Indians only Jeanmar. That is unfortunate, yet exciting.

KellyThe hay was in the barn.  Done deal.

That's what we all went to bed on Friday believing, or at least we were instructed to believe that was the truth.  By Sunday night, the whole thing had gone up in smoke.  On Thursday, Browns fans watched the Oregon Ducks, rooted for their savior-to-be Chip Kelly best the #5 Kansas State Wildcats 35-17 in the Fiesta Bowl.  Chip went back to the team hotel, got what we hope was a good night's sleep, and started talking to Jimmy Haslam III and Joe Banner on Friday afternoon in Scottsdale.

Aside from firing Pat Shurmur earlier in the week, this was pretty much the first act that the new braintrust had on their agenda, despite the Mr. Haslam receiving the keys to the kingdom back in October.  This was about hiring the head coach, but really it was finding someone to drive the darn bus after Mike Holmgren was told to abandon ship as the Team President in November.  Rumor had it that they were looking for someone to be the everything guy as the Head Coach, then find a more hands-off General Manager that would fit everyone's vision, after the fact.  Of course, all of that was built on the inevitable hiring of Chip Kelly.

Regardless of what claims you'll hear out of the new bosses in Berea, the interview was about Chip Kelly listening to a lucrative NFL offer, but it was all about Kelly interviewing the Browns, to see if the job was good enough for him to leave his cushy gig in Eugene, Oregon.  The reputation for college coaches making the jump to the NFL ranks is sketchy, at best.  Really, Jimmy Johnson is the only relevant name to win at both levels, but Kelly does not possess an actual title, despite his undeniable success with the Ducks.  At first glance, Browns fans remember the Butch Davis experiment, then cite Bobby Petrino and Nick Saban as examples what could go wrong with this notion.

From where I sit, I like to point out Jim Harbaugh, Pete Carroll, and Greg Schiano.  The jury is still out on Schiano, but in the combined five years that Harbaugh and Carroll have been with their current teams, they have four playoff appearances between the two of them.  Kelly is an innovator, but unlike the NFC West kings of the headset, Chip Kelly has never worked with the NFL in any capacity, and that scares people.  That alone makes him a risk, sure.  However, what's easy to lose sight of is how long Harbaugh and Carroll had been in the college game, and how much the NFL has changed in that time.  In my eyes, that made the former University of New Hampshire Offensive Coordinator worth a roll of the dice.  Frankly, it isn't like things could get all that much worse for the Cleveland Browns.

Unlike the Chiefs, who interviewed Andy Reid last week and hired him before he could leave town, the Browns let Kelly out of their sight.  He met with Philadelphia on Saturday, and ultimately made the decision on Sunday night to return to Eugene.  The Bills were set to interview Kelly as well, but hired Doug Marrone, the Head Coach of Syracuse that was widely believed to be Plan B for the Browns.

In the early AM hours on Monday, the Browns and Eagles are without a coach.  Word is that the Browns are interested in Montreal Alouettes Head Coach Marc Trestman, who has NFL experience, but will also interview with Chicago.  What remains to be seen, through no fault of their own, is how Haslam and Banner rebound from this PR mess that's been created.  Cleveland fans, admittedly quick to overreact, have drawn comparisons between Kelly's choice to decline any offer (if one was made) and LeBron James televised decision to shun Cleveland for the Miami Heat in 2010.

Bottom line: No Chip Kelly for the Browns this time around.  It appears that the Browns put their eggs in one basket, but that basket didn't have the heart to leave the University of Oregon.

Stay tuned...

2013 01 chip kelly brownsIan Rapoport of NFL.com is reporting that the Cleveland Browns and University of Oregon coach Chip Kelly are close to a deal that would make Kelly the Browns' sixth head coach since the franchise returned to the NFL in 1999.

Rapoport says the deal is close, citing a "a source informed of (Kelly's) situation."

Kelly, who has never spent a minute working in the NFL in any capacity, would bring a sense of offensive excitement to the Browns, but also brings along as many questions as answers.

But for a Browns team that has tried everything - and failed - since firing Marty Schottenheimer as coach after the 1988 season, it may be time to try something new.

Of course, nothing is official until Kelly actually signs on the dotted line. At this time last year, Kelly and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were finalizing a deal for Kelly to coach the Buccaneers before Kelly changed his mind and returned to Oregon for a fourth year.

So Browns fans may want to hold off on buying those souveneir visors for just a few more days.


brett myersChris Antonetti started off the New Year by bolstering the Indians' starting rotation with a proven veteran on a short-term deal. The one-year deal with a club option was first announced by Gene Frenette, a reporter for the Florida Times-Union in Myers's hometown of Jacksonville. Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com was the first national writer to confirm the report. The official announcement is pending a physical. Financial terms have yet to be released. Myers, who appeared in 70 games last season as a reliever for the Astros and White Sox, is 32 years old and has made 249 Major League starts, making 30 or more in a season seven different times.

Myers posted a 3.31 ERA last season in relief. In 2011, as a starter for the Astros, Myers posted a 4.46 ERA over 216 innings. In 2010, Myers had his best season, throwing 223.2 innings with a 3.14 ERA. With Myers, the Indians are getting versatility, an experienced arm, and a guy who has shown the ability to eat innings. Myers made it clear earlier this offseason that he wanted to pitch for a team that would make him a full-time starter. Paul Hoynes said on Twitter that the Indians will use Myers in the rotation.

Myers does have some character concerns, being accused of domestic violence in 2006 and being involved in an altercation with a media member in 2007. But, the trade-off to his occasional attitude problems include a career 2.9 BB/9, nearly 1700 innings worth of experience, and a World Series ring with the Philadelphia Phillies in 2008.

Expect the Indians to make a few more moves before the start of the season, including another starting pitcher and a left handed reliever.

RCanzler01Over the past few days the Indians have made a few minor roster moves that should be of note. The first helps facilitate the official signing of first baseman Mark Reynolds to his one-year, $6 million dollar contract

To make room for Reynolds on the 40-man roster, the Indians made the semi-surprising decision to designate Russ Canzler for assignment, making him available to other teams. The Indians could retain his rights, and would probably like to, but the move is a little surprising considering Canzler not only played, but was given a meaningful opportunity at the tail end of 2012, where as someone like Thomas Neal, was just there.

It isn't the end for Canzler, but it does dent his chances for winning a roster spot, which is something that is definitely up for grabs with the Indians still not having signed an option for designated hitter or right field. With Canzler being able to play in left, it could have helped him, but the lack of roster spot could make him a little more than an afterthought, unless he wows the staff in spring training.

Meanwhile, the contract details on Mark Reynolds have come to light a little more. We knew he would have the chance to earn a little more through incentives, up to $1.5 million more in fact. All of that can be earned in plate appearances, with him being able to earn the full amount if he reaches the 600 plate appearance mark.

In addition to designating Russ Canzler, the Indians have brought in a few veterans as depth options for them to stash at Columbus and fill out their spring training roster. One name is very familiar, as they've brought back Joe Martinez on a minor league deal with an invite to spring training. Martinez returns after a year in the Diamondbacks system. He spent 2011 with the Indians, earning Triple-A International League Playoff MVP honors in the Clippers last title run. He filled a valuable swing role for the Clips and is someone the Indians can turn to if they need a reliever or a starter at any point.

They also signed catcher Brian Jeroloman, formerly of the Toronto Blue Jays organization. Jeroloman can fill the backup or even starting catcher role in Columbus in 2013, or extreme last resort catching option if both Carlos Santana, Lou Marson or Yan Gomes all somehow cannot play. Luke Carlin was able to fill the Indians role as second backup in 2012 and was a member of the Clippers squad for a few seasons until he signed a deal with the Angels this offseason. He saw some time when Carlos Santana had suffered a concussion last year, so if there was ever a need, right now it looks like Jeroloman is that guy.

scott-kazmirTwo more roster moves of note on this Friday evening for the Cleveland Indians. One is the continuation of a move made a few days ago and another is the fruition of a report from some time ago.

First things first, it did not take long for the Toronto Blue Jays to pounce on Russ Canzler. The new-look Jays have been involved in a flurry of moves this winter, and even a few have involved them trading some players with the Indians. Not only did the teams complete the swap for Mike Aviles, the Indians claimed Toronto's Mike McDade off waivers and in return, the Jays claimed Cleveland's Russ Canzler on Friday.

Canzler had a real opportunity to play at the major league level in September this past season. What he did, .269 average with three home runs and 11 RBI, combined with his 22 home run, 79 RBI season for the Clippers, apparently was not enough for the Indians to keep him around on the 40-man roster when they signed Mark Reynolds.

And now, Canzler is property of the Toronto Blue Jays. The man I like to call Crusty Rusty seemed to have an edge on the competition in a roster spot this spring, but with Rule V pick Chris McGuiness and McDade, the pool of those types of corner guys with power potential got a little crowded. Now it's a little more open, with Matt LaPorta perhaps also being in the mix.

As for the signing the Indians made, it comes exactly a month after ESPN's Buster Olney reported that the Indians, among other teams, scouted left-handed starterScott Kazmir in winter ball. Now the Indians have signed him to a minor league contract and will slot him into their rotation battle. Will he win a spot? He'll have to come in and impress, but he certainly has the opportunity to reclaim his potential.


2012 12 browns scheinerThe Cleveland Browns made a front-office move on Tuesday, hiring Alec Scheiner to be the team’s new president.

Schenier spent the past eight seasons with the Dallas Cowboys, the last five as senior vice president and general counsel. With the Browns, he will oversee all aspects of the Browns’ day-to-day business operations, including in-game stadium enhancements (finally) and local TV/radio broadcasting.

He will also work closely with CEO Joe Banner on strategic planning (as opposed to just regular planning), including stadium projects.

Now we know why owner Jimmy Haslam spent so much time talking with Cowboys owner Jerry Jones when the Browns played in Dallas early in the year.


thompson uncaAfter playing two straight games against slow-paced opponents, Ohio State finally had a chance to stretch its legs against the up-tempo UNC-Asheville Bulldogs.

The Buckeyes fell one point of tying their season high, beating the Bulldogs 90-72 on Saturday afternoon.

Sam Thompson, surprisingly, led Ohio State with a career-high 18 points from five of seven shooting. Thompson was among four Buckeyes players to score in double digits as Deshaun Thomas chipped in 17, Lenzelle Smith, Jr. scored 16 and Evan Ravenel tied a career-best with 12 points.

"We watched film a lot on them the past couple of days and we noticed that they didn't stop the ball particularly well," Thompson said. "We knew that if we could get stops, we knew we could push the ball up the floor and could get to the rim and create for ourselves and other people. We definitely tried to capitalize on that."

Ohio State (8-1) shot 59 percent from the floor while holding UNC-Asheville to just 42 percent shooting. The Buckeyes did a good job defensively, but Keith Hornsby exploded, scoring a career-high 26 points from nine of 12 shooting.

"Honestly, he's a good player," Smith said after the game. “He came in here rolling. You've got a guy like that with a hot hand, you don't contain him early in the game it's always going to be tougher."

The Buckeyes will get another tune-up game against Winthrop on Tuesday before hosting the Kansas Jayhawks this Saturday.

choo hat_tipPer just about every MLB writer worth their weight in the industry, the Indians and Reds are nearing the completion of a trade that would send Shin-Soo Choo and another, unnamed, player to the Cincinnati Reds in exchange for outfielder Drew Stubbs and shortstop prospect Didi Gregorius. Some believe that the Indians would then trade Gregorius to the Arizona Diamondbacks in exchange for starting pitching help, with Tyler Skaggs and Trevor Bauer being the chief targets. Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com had the story first.

Nothing is complete yet, however, there seems to be a lot of buzz about this story and the hold-up is likely the second deal with the Indians and Diamondbacks. If Stubbs and Gregorius are the return, and no other deal is complete, the Indians will get a player widely regarded as a fourth outfielder and a shortstop with a tremendous glove and a bat that's a work in progress. Stubbs, who has a .241/.312/.386/.698 slash line in nearly 1800 at bats, is coming off a season where he batted just .214 and struck out 166 times in 493 at bats. In 2011, Stubbs struck out 205 times in 604 at bats. He has stolen at least 30 bases in each of the last three seasons, with 40 swipes in 2011. Gregorius, who made his Major League debut last season, has a career .699 OPS in the minors. He only has 48 games of experience in Triple-A, so there's certainly a chance that he could develop more at the plate.

This is mostly just a small blurb to update what the Indians are doing. If something big does break, a front page article will certainly show up tonight.

Ross The No. 7 Ohio State Buckeyes improved to 6-1 on the season after destroying the Long Beach State 49ers 89-55 Saturday afternoon.

Deshaun Thomas led all scorers with 18 points, going seven of 16 from the floor in 28 minutes of action. LaQuinton Ross continued his impressive play against the 49ers, shooting 50 percent from the field on his way to scoring 16 points.

Ohio State coach Thad Matta knows how important it is for his team to find scoring options outside of Thomas, "As you look across the board in college basketball and as you get into conference play, the Big Ten defensively is as good as there is in the country,” Matta said. “Just having different guys out there that can knock shots down is something that is going to be advantageous."

The Buckeyes shot 47 percent from the floor while holding the 49ers to just 31 percent.

Four Buckeyes players scored in double figures as Lenzelle Smith, Jr. hit three 3-points on his way to 14 points while Sam Thompson chipped in 13.

Midway through the first half, Ohio State was struggling. The Buckeyes were failing to hit shots as they led just 16-13 with 10 minutes until intermission.

Ohio State ripped off a 9-0 run to push its lead to 12, then ended the half on a 12-4 run to enter the locker room with a 39-25 lead at the break.

The Buckeyes started the second half with back-to-back baskets that forced 49ers coach Dan Monson to call a timeout. Monson was furious with his team, who had played the Buckeyes tough for most of the first half.

"This game was over one minute into the second half. To me, that's where [my] team has got to grow,” Monson said. “It is a bad basketball team, but it doesn't have to be. We have better players than what we played today. That's something that we've got to, we have to play better."

Long Beach State has already played North Carolina, Arizona and Syracuse this year, but Monson thinks Ohio State is the better than anyone they’ve played this year in one specific area, "I think Ohio State is the best defensive team," Monson said. "When you get in those big games like that, the defense usually overrides the offense. And I really like Ohio State is balanced, and yet they have a go-to guy. Thomas can go get a basket anytime he wants and then they have other guys."

Who’s Next?

The Buckeyes host Savannah State this Wednesday at 7:00 p.m. EST. The game will be televised by the Big Ten Network.

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