Tag: AL Central

Jason Castro to Twins: Latest Contract Details, Comments, Reaction

Veteran catcher Jason Castro reached an agreement Tuesday with the Minnesota Twins on a new contract.

Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports cited a source and reported the news. Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reported that it was a three-year, $24.5 million deal.

Although Castro’s overall statistics, including a career .232 average, don’t jump off the page, it’s important to remember evaluating catchers requires grading on a curve. The number of impact hitters at the position is limited, which makes his power potential more valuable.   

The 29-year-old backstop has racked up double-digit home runs in four straight seasons despite not playing more than 126 games in any campaign. His best season came in 2013, when he finished with 18 long balls and a .350 on-base percentage.

Those types of numbers are hard to find at the catcher spot, and that created a little more intrigue around his status entering the offseason, though he had a .307 OBP with 11 homers in 2016.

In September, he didn’t rule out a return to the Astros, but he made it clear he wanted to explore the possibilities, per Jake Kaplan of the Houston Chronicle.

“It’s kind of a weird feeling coming down to the end here,” Castro said. “It’s been a great six-and-a-half years here, and I’ve really enjoyed everything about it. But the future’s kind of up in the air, so we’ll see what happens.”

In the end, Castro decided it was time for a change of scenery after spending his entire career so far in Houston. The Astros may look to move Evan Gattis behind the plate to fill the void because it’ll be easier to fill a hole at designated hitter than it would be at catcher.

Catchers always require some additional off days due to the wear and tear of the position, but Castro still needs to stay more involved to make the new deal pay off. He played in just 113 games last season, compared to 139 for the Kansas City Royals‘ Salvador Perez, a top-tier option.

That said, it’s still a solid investment for the Twins given the catcher’s power upside. They’d like to see him move back closer to those 2013 numbers going forward, though.


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Justin Verlander Defends Kate Upton’s Tweets Regarding MLB Cy Young Award Loss

Kate Upton, the fiancee of Detroit Tigers ace Justin Verlander, expressed her frustration with this year’s American League Cy Young voting Wednesday when it was announced Boston Red Sox pitcher Rick Porcello won the award despite receiving fewer first-place votes.  

In a series of NSFW tweets, Upton had some pointed words for baseball writers who failed to include Verlander on their ballots:

Hey @MLB I thought I was the only person allowed to f–k @JustinVerlander ?! What 2 writers didn’t have him on their ballot? He had the majority of 1st place votes and 2 writers didn’t have him on their ballots?!! can you pick more out of touch people to vote?@MLB. Sorry Rick but you didn’t get any 1st place votes? you didn’t win. #ByeFelicia@MLB keep up with the times and fire those writers

On Thursday, Verlander explained the reasons behind Upton’s outrage in a Twitter conversation with the New York Daily News‘ Mark Feinsand: 

Verlander finished the 2016 season 16-9 with a 3.04 ERA, league-best 1.001 WHIP and 10.0 strikeouts per nine innings. Porcello, meanwhile, went 22-4 with a 3.15 ERA, 1.009 WHIP, 7.6 strikeouts per nine innings and a league-best ratio of 5.91 strikeouts to one walk.

According to the Baseball Writers’ Association of America, the two voters who failed to include Verlander on their ballots were Fred Goodall of the Associated Press and Bill Chastain of MLB.com. 

Chastain admitted in a conversation with Feinsand that he sent his ballot in a week before the regular season ended, and he disclosed that his choice for first place was between Porcello and Baltimore Orioles closer Zach Britton.

Over the final week of the season, Verlander pitched 14.2 innings and allowed one earned run. In his lone start during that same stretch, Porcello allowed eight hits and three earned runs in a 5-3 Red Sox win over the Toronto Blue Jays

“I feel bad that people are upset about this; I did the best I could,” Chastain said. “I went around the clubhouse, I asked guys. I agonized over this. The biggest thing for me was between (Baltimore closer Zach) Britton and Porcello.”

Tampa Bay Times writer and chairman of the BBWAA’s Tampa Bay chapter Marc Topkin noted neither Chastain nor Goodall voted with malicious intent.

“Both Bill and Fred are longtime veteran, experienced baseball writers and certainly have the ability to make what they felt were the proper decisions,” he said, per Feinsand. 

While the 33-year-old Verlander may have come up short in the voting, his production throughout the second half of the season indicated he should remain effective well into his mid-30s. 

After he went 8-6 before the All-Star break, Verlander posted an 8-3 record, 1.96 ERA, 134 strikeouts and 24 walks in 110.1 innings after the break. 

Based on those stellar stats, Verlander should be in the Cy Young conversation for a couple of more seasons as he seeks to maintain his status as one of the AL’s premier pitchers. 


Stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com unless noted otherwise. 

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Kate Upton Comments on Fiance Justin Verlander Not Winning MLB Cy Young Award

Major League Baseball announced Boston Red Sox ace Rick Porcello won the 2016 American League Cy Young Award on Wednesday, which left Detroit Tigers hurler Justin Verlander in second place.

His fiancee, supermodel Kate Upton, was not pleased with the results (Warning: NSFW language):

As Upton mentioned, Verlander finished in second place despite garnering the most first-place votes. She was wrong, however, about Porcello’s failing to receive any first-place votes, as the Baseball Writers’ Association of America shared:

Upton wasn’t the only one upset with the results. Verlander’s younger brother, Ben, weighed in on the Cy Young voting:

Verlander has a case that extends beyond the first-place votes he received. He finished with a slightly better WHIP than Porcello (1.00 to 1.01) and threw more innings (227.2 to 223.0) in the process. He also posted a better ERA and comparable numbers to Porcello and fellow finalist Corey Kluber in other categories, per FanGraphs:

However, the numbers were close across the board, and Porcello enjoyed advantages in some of the statistics as well. His Red Sox also won the American League East at 93-69, while Verlander’s Tigers were left on the outside of the playoffs looking in at 86-75.

While team performance isn’t necessarily a final determinant of individual awards, that Porcello’s team made the playoffs likely helped his cause.

The Cy Young results were more personal to Upton given her relationship with Verlander, but this isn’t the first topic from the sports world she discussed on her Twitter page. For example, she was not pleased when Arian Foster and other NFL players knelt during the national anthem earlier this year, either:

Upton isn’t happy her fiance missed out on the Cy Young, but she can take solace in knowing he already has the award on his resume. Verlander won the 2011 Cy Young the same year he captured the AL MVP when he won the pitching version of the Triple Crown by leading the AL in wins (24), ERA (2.40) and strikeouts (250).

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Terry Francona’s 2nd Manager of the Year Award Pads Sterling Hall of Fame Resume

Terry Francona would surely trade his American League Manager of the Year awardand presumably every other piece of hardware in his trophy casefor another crack at the 2016 World Series.

His Cleveland Indians got to Game 7. They could taste it. Their first championship since 1948. 

Instead, it was “wait until next year.”

Since Francona can’t make that trade, he’ll accept Manager of the Year honors as a consolation prize and another line on an increasingly unimpeachable Hall of Fame resume.

The Baseball Writers’ Association of America announced Tuesday that Francona won the AL version of the award for the second time in his career—he also won it with the Indians in 2013—in somewhat of a landslide.

Francona received 22 of 30 possible first-place votes. The Texas Rangers‘ Jeff Banister received four first-place votes, while the Baltimore Orioles‘ Buck Showalter and Boston Red Sox‘s John Farrell got two each.

Voting is based only on regular-season results, but it’s safe to assume Cleveland’s deep postseason run would have tipped the scales further in Francona’s direction.

The 57-year-old skipper ushered the Tribe to a 94-67 finish and an AL Central crown despite losing his best hitter, outfielder Michael Brantley, for all but 11 games.

The Indians also lost two of their top three starting pitchers—Danny Salazar and Carlos Carrasco—in the season’s second half and limped into the playoffs with a deeply depleted rotation.

That’s when Francona’s boldness and creativity took over, as he utilized his bullpen in unorthodox ways—admittedly with a massive assist from super-reliever Andrew Miller and closer Cody Allen. That duo combined for 33 innings and yielded just three earned runs in the playoffs. 

Miller, especially, was Francona’s lifeline. He went to him early. He went to him often.

The Indians fell short of the finish line by a few agonizing inches. Without Francona at the helm, though, they likely wouldn’t have gotten that close.

He accepted the accolade with humility, per USA Today‘s Jorge L. Ortiz:

When something like this happens, if somebody thinks it’s an individual award, it’s the furthest thing from the truth. One, it’s players, incredible players. It’s front office, ownership, the coaches. The coaches work so hard every day, and I’m the one who gets to take a bow every once in a while. I wish we could do this together because they deserve it.

That’s a nice sentiment. Francona, though, has reached a point where he can bow alone.

Through 16 seasons as manager of the Philadelphia Phillies, Red Sox and Indians, he owns a 1,381-1,209 record, good for a .533 winning percentage. Since his four forgettable years in Philadelphia, he’s never endured a losing season.

He’s also won three pennants overall and two World Series titles with the Red Sox in 2004 and 2007.

The first of those titles was the one that busted the Curse of the Bambino and featured Boston’s legendary American League Championship Series comeback over the archrival New York Yankees.

The Red Sox were down 3-0 in the series. The momentum turned in the ninth inning of Game 4 when a pinch runner named Dave Roberts stole second and ultimately scored the tying run.

That same Dave Roberts was named National League Manager of the Year on Tuesday, per the BBWAA, for his work with the Los Angeles Dodgers, a cool factoid CSN Chicago’s Christopher Kamka highlighted:

Francona is signed with Cleveland through 2020, so he’ll have more chances to end the Indians’ World Series drought. Even if he doesn’t, he appears destined for a Hall of fame bust.

He’s now won 38 postseason games, which places him sixth on the all-time list behind Joe Torre (84), Tony La Russa (70), Bobby Cox (67), Bruce Bochy (44) and Jim Leyland (44). The first three are in the Hall of Fame, and the other two likely will be.

He’s currently 30th on the all-time list for regular-season managerial wins. Of the men ahead of him, 24 are either active managers or in the Hall.

Wins and losses ultimately define a manager, but the job is as much about the unquantifiable stuff, including keeping players happy and motivated.

“Tito does such a good job of setting the tone in the clubhouse,” said Miller, who played for Francona in Boston and Cleveland, per Sporting News’ Jesse Spector. “It’s loose. That’s his style.”

He also pulls the right levers. Every skipper is open to second-guessing, but what Francona did with the Indians pitching staff this October was nothing short of remarkable.

It was a strategy born of desperation,” as The Ringer’s Michael Baumann noted, “but from that desperation sprung a solution that was, through 10 of the 11 wins Cleveland needed to take home a title, practically unbeatable.” 

“Practically” is the key word. Francona’s machinations didn’t result in champagne and confetti. Ultimately, he left Cleveland fans hungry rather than satiated.

But he added another feather to his decorated cap—and moved himself one step closer to Cooperstown.


All statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com.

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Justin Verlander’s Cy Young-Level 2016 Gives Tigers Golden Trade Opportunity

There’s a one-in-three chance Justin Verlander will win the American League Cy Young Award on Wednesday. Two things will happen if he does.

One: A trophy case that already features a Cy Young alongside a Rookie of the Year Award and a Most Valuable Player Award will look even better. Two: His trade value, which skyrocketed in 2016, will inch even higher.

Thing No. 2 is relevant in light of current events in the Detroit Tigers front office. Following the Tigers’ second straight postseasonless campaign, ESPN.com’s Buster Olney warned in October that Detroit would be in a trading mood this winter.

In recent days, general manager Al Avila has been busy saying “Yup” to every news outlet within earshot.

“Our organization has been working well over its means for several years, for our market size, if you compare our payroll with the rest of baseball,” Avila told ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick, referencing a payroll that has ballooned from under $100 million in 2007 to $198.6 million on Opening Day in 2016.

“It’s gotten to the point, quite frankly, where it can’t continue to go up and up and up,” Avila continued. “At what point do you say, ‘Enough?’ We have to start making some adjustments. Whether they’re subtle or bigger depends on what teams out there are looking for and how some of our guys may fit them.”

The road ahead for the Tigers involves getting younger and cheaper. They can’t do this by waiting on young talent that’s already in place. The Tigers graduated AL Rookie of the Year finalist Michael Fulmer to the majors in 2016, but he was the lone standout in a farm system that Baseball America had ranked No. 26 in MLB going into the year.

Detroit’s first step forward must involve trimming some old and expensive fat. Hence why every big-money Tigers star is rumored to be available, though Verlander and Miguel Cabrera carry the most intrigue.

One is a two-time MVP and lifetime .321 hitter who still has a strong case for the Best Hitter in Baseball crown. The other is a decorated ace who put two injury-marred seasons in 2014 and 2015 in the rearview mirror with a return to form in 2016. Verlander put up a 3.04 ERA in 227.2 innings and led the AL in strikeouts (254) and WHIP (1.00).

When it comes to trade value, however, one of these things is not like the other.

Cabrera is awfully good, but he’s also 33 years old with seven years and $220 million remaining on his contract. In early November, Craig Edwards of FanGraphs found that Cabrera isn’t likely to offer any excess value beyond that. Detroit may therefore have to eat some of his contract in order to flip him for young talent.

Verlander is in a different boat. He’s owed a relatively reasonable $84 million over the next three seasons, and Edwards projected him to provide excess value on top of that. Hypothetically, the Tigers should be able to move his entire contract and get some young talent in return.

In a normal offseason, the availability of aces on the open market would be a threat to push back against Verlander’s trade value.

But this is no normal offseason. The best free-agent starting pitcher is Rich Hill, who is equal parts talented and fragile. After him, it’s a dark and decrepit landscape that, thanks to a surprise twist, doesn’t even include Jeremy Hellickson anymore, with the Philadelphia Phillies’ announcement he accepted their qualifying offer.

As such, the only force that could lower Verlander’s trade value is pessimism about whether he has more seasons like 2016 in him. He is also 33, after all. One great season at this point in his career arguably wasn’t enough to undo the disappointment of the prior two seasons, in which he had a 4.08 ERA in 52 starts.

Or, interested parties will be optimistic—as they should be in this case.

Verlander was successful in 2016 because he was overpowering. He went from striking out 7.2 batters per nine innings in 2014-15 to striking out 10.0 batters per nine innings in 2016.

What’s more, his average fastball was 93.5 mph—short of his 95.6 mph peak in 2009, sure, but better than his 92.3 mph average in 2014 and his 92.8 mph average in 2015.

And per Brooks Baseball, the revival of Verlander’s velocity started strong and got even better throughout the year:

After he struggled to get back to full strength in 2014 following offseason core muscle surgery and then battled an oblique injury at the outset of 2015, this was a good sign that Verlander’s previous issues had less to do with age and more to do with physical ailments that are now behind him.

“All of a sudden, it becomes fun again,” the 6’5″ right-hander told Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports in September. “I was allowed to compete with the other team as opposed to competing against myself.”

Of course, optimism about Verlander’s velocity can only be so ironclad. At his age, the possibility that it could decline again can’t be ignored.

But even if it does, two things could ensure his dominance doesn’t also diminish: spin and location.

According to Baseball Savant, Verlander threw a higher percentage of high fastballs in 2016 than he had since 2009. Batters hit just .145 against them. That’s related to how, in addition to improved velocity, his fastball had the highest spin rate of any four-seamer thrown by all pitchers with at least 2,000 pitches.

However, this was only Verlander doubling down on a trend he started with inferior velocity the previous year. He held hitters to a .146 average on high heat in 2015, with one factor being that there was little difference in the spin rates of Verlander’s 2016 fastball and his 2015 fastball:

  • 2016: 2,565 RPM
  • 2015: 2,500 RPM

In January, Mike Petriello of MLB.com noted that Verlander wasn’t the first pitcher to succeed with high-spin heaters up in the zone. That’s been Chris Young’s weapon of choice his whole career. And no matter how much Verlander’s velocity may decline over the next three years, it’s not likely to get to a point where it matches Young’s mid- to high 80s “heat.”

Thus, Verlander’s 2016 wasn’t just a return to form. It was a return to form with a good fail-safe in the event he can’t maintain that form going forward.

This is not to characterize him as the only Detroit star who’s worth monitoring as the rumor mill continues to go round and round. Cabrera shouldn’t be ignored, and Ian Kinsler and J.D. Martinez may be most likely to be moved.

But in Verlander, the Tigers have just the thing that can serve both their needs and the market’s needs: a big-name ace who’s worth a high asking price.

Let the bidding begin.


Stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com and FanGraphs unless otherwise noted/linked. Payroll and contract info courtesy of Cot’s Baseball Contracts.

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Ian Kinsler Trade Rumors: Latest News, Speculation on Tigers 2B

If the Detroit Tigers start to tear down their aging roster and build for the future, second baseman Ian Kinsler will be an attractive piece for an opposing team.

Continue for updates. 

Dodgers Look at Kinsler

Thursday, Nov. 10

Per MLB Network’s Jon Morosi, the Los Angeles Dodgers believe Kinsler is a potential fit for their roster but did not have any substantial talks with the Tigers during the general manager meetings this past week. 

The Dodgers do have an opening at second base with Chase Utley entering free agency this offseason and Howie Kendrick being shopped as a potential trade candidate, per Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports. 

Tigers general manager Al Avila previously said the team would likely be taking a different approach this offseason by trying to add more young talent and create more financial flexibility, per Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press:

I can’t call it a rebuild, because we haven’t really broken anything down. I’m not comfortable with the word ‘rebuild.’ I don’t think that’s the right term. I’ve read ‘retool,’ but I don’t know if that’s the right term. I don’t know if there’s a term for what I want to do here. I really don’t. If you guys can come up with a slogan, let me know, and we’ll go with it.

Per Evan Woodbery of MLive.com, Avila said Tuesday the Tigers were willing to hear offers for players like Justin Verlander and Miguel Cabrera but were not actively shopping them. 

The Tigers do have an aging and expensive nucleus heading into 2017. Cabrera, Verlander, Kinsler, Victor Martinez, Anibal Sanchez and Jordan Zimmermann are all 30 or older. 

Per Cot’s Baseball Contracts, the Tigers currently have $179 million in payroll obligations for 2017 before factoring in players who are eligible for arbitration.

Kinsler has an affordable $11 million salary with a team option for 2018 at $10 million, per Spotrac. He did have a strong 2016 season with an .831 OPS, but at 34 years old, it’s fair to wonder how many more peak years he has left. 

Because Kinsler’s contract falls closer to team-friendly territory than the longer-term deals for Cabrera or Verlander, it would make sense for the Tigers to dangle him in a deal to see if it brings back any significant bites from a team. 


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J.D. Martinez Trade Rumors: Latest News and Speculation on Tigers OF

Detroit Tigers outfielder J.D. Martinez has become the subject of trade rumors this offseason.

Continue for updates.

Martinez Reportedly Most Likely Tiger to Be Dealt

Thursday, Nov. 10

A rival executive told Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports that outfielder J.D. Martinez is the Tigers star most likely to be dealt this offseason, citing his status as a free agent following the 2017 season and Detroit’s collection of right-handed power in the lineup. 

With Miguel Cabrera, Justin Upton, Ian Kinsler, Victor Martinez (switch-hitter) and Nick Castellanos, the Tigers are loaded from the right side of the plate.

Certainly, Martinez’s pending free agency makes him expendable. And Buster Olney of ESPN Insider reported in October that the Tigers would listen to offers on all of their players this offseason, even guys like Cabrera and Justin Verlander, franchise staples.

While Olney acknowledged that hardly meant the Tigers were about to embark on a fire sale, it was an indication that the front office was at least considering a mild makeover after the team failed to reach the postseason in 2016.

And general manager Al Avila already suggested the Tigers were interested in lowering their payroll and weren’t, at the time, interested in offering Martinez a long-term extension, per Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press:

I don’t foresee any talks of a long-term contract at this point. In saying that, we’re going to keep an open mind in what possibilities come across this winter, this coming summer. I’m not going to rule out that we wouldn’t consider a long-term deal, but sitting here today, we’re not thinking that way right now. Can’t say we wouldn’t be thinking about that down the road.

Martinez, 29, is an appealing trade chip.

He hit .307 with 22 home runs, 68 RBI and 69 runs scored in 2016. He was amazing in 2015, ripping 38 homers and 102 RBI. He’s sandwiched that breakout campaign with seasons where he hit at least 22 home runs but also played 123 games or fewer.

And based on Avila’s comments, it’s hard to imagine the Tigers won’t at least entertain the notion of dealing Martinez.


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Todd Frazier Trade Rumors: Latest News, Speculation Surrounding White Sox 3B

The Chicago White Sox are reportedly listening to trade inquiries for third baseman Todd Frazier as part of what could be a busy offseason for the organization.

Continue for updates.

Latest on Frazier’s Trade Availability

Thursday, Nov. 10

Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports reported Wednesday that Frazier is among a high-profile group of potential White Sox trade assets this winter that also includes Chris Sale, Jose Quintana, Brett Lawrie, Melky Cabrera and David Robertson.

“I think they’re in the exact same place they were in during the summer,” a rival executive told Rosenthal. “They’ll listen on everyone, but I think they’ll focus on trying to move the short-term guys first and then listen on the big guys—and ultimately not move the big guys.”

Frazier would fall into the category of “short-term guys.” He’s under team control for only one more season and can hit free agency after the 2017 campaign, according to Spotrac.

The 30-year-old infielder slugged a career-high 40 home runs during his first season with the White Sox after spending his first five years with the Cincinnati Reds. His batting average fell to a career-low .225, and his .302 OBP was the lowest since his rookie season.

While the latter numbers are concerning, finding the type of power he possesses isn’t easy, which equates to value on the trade market. And it’s no surprise the White Sox may be looking to shake things up after going 78-84 to miss the playoffs for the eighth straight season.

That said, Colleen Kane of the Chicago Tribune noted Frazier expressed interest in sticking with the White Sox in August after building a straightforward relationship with general manager Rick Hahn:

I would rather they build around this, to be honest with you. I like it in Chicago. I like the atmosphere. I like the people there. I think they’re all genuine. … When Rick comes and talks to me about things, I haven’t had any bad (feelings) about it. He goes about his business the right way. He says, ‘We’re going to do this,’ and eventually it happens. You can be happy with that. Good, bad or ugly, he tells the truth.

Several teams make sense as trade partners on paper if Chicago does opt to move him. The San Francisco Giants, Los Angeles Angels and New York Yankees are among the clubs that could use both more power and an upgrade at third base.

Ultimately, Frazier doesn’t get on base enough to serve as the main piece of an offense despite his pop. But he’s a perfect fit as a No. 5 or No. 6 hitter who can deliver a lot of runs for a team with a strong top of the order.


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Andrew Miller Trade Rumors: Latest News, Speculation on Indians RP

With the Cleveland Indians looking to get over the World Series hump in 2017, trading star reliever Andrew Miller could make their task more difficult.

Continue for updates.

Report: Teams Inquiring About Miller

Wednesday, Nov. 9

Per Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports, the Indians are getting calls about Miller from other teams, but general manager Mike Chernoff described any potential trade as “a long shot.”

The Indians acquired Miller from the New York Yankees on July 31. The lanky left-hander turned in a fantastic 2016 season, posting a 1.45 ERA with 123 strikeouts, 42 hits allowed and nine walks in 74.1 innings between the two teams.

With Cleveland’s starting rotation ravaged by injuries in the postseason, the team asked Miller to carry a heavy load out of the bullpen. Miller was brilliant, recording 30 strikeouts while allowing only 12 hits in 19.1 innings over 10 appearances, and was named the ALCS MVP, though the burden caught up to him in the World Series, when he allowed three runs over his last two appearances against the Chicago Cubs

The Indians operate on a limited financial budget, making Miller’s $9 million salary in each of the next two seasons more than mere chump change to them.

They would be foolish to immediately shoot down trade requests for any of their expensive players if the return is to their advantage.

With a team that will return starting pitchers Carlos Carrasco and Danny Salazar, who missed most of the postseason, and outfielder Michael Brantley, who missed all but 11 games last season because of shoulder injuries, the Indians should be in the playoff mix again next year.

Miller makes their pitching staff deeper and provides an incredible bridge to closer Cody Allen. Unless the Indians get blown away with an offer, the southpaw will likely still be in Cleveland when the 2017 season begins.

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Complete Offseason Guide, Predictions for the Cleveland Indians

As Milli Vanilli once sang, “Blame It On the Rain.”

OK, maybe Rob Pilatus and Fab Morvan never actually sang those words, but the short rain delay heading into the 10th inning of Game 7 in the World Series robbed the Cleveland Indians of the momentum it had picked up thanks to a fabulous eighth-inning rally to tie things up with the Chicago Cubs.

It’s not an excuse, it’s a fact—and it may be the only reason the Cubs, and not the Indians, emerged victorious when play resumed.

While it was a disappointing ending to a terrific season, Cleveland is in terrific shape to make another playoff appearance, and perhaps another deep run, heading into the 2017 season. Of course, the roster won’t be exactly the same as some changes are inevitable.

What follows is an overview of some of the decisions that the team will have to make and how the roster might look when Opening Day rolls around roughly five months from now.



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