Wednesday, July 11, 2007

The “Core” Corps

The news that Hafner has signed a 4-year, $57M extension means that another one of the “core” players has been locked up for the long term. Going into the season, the Tribe faced the prospect of losing Jake Westbrook after this season and Hafner and C.C. after next season to Free Agency. Westbrook, obviously, has been taken care of, and now, with Hafner in the mix (the C.C. discussion will be touched on in a bit), the following players are locked up through the corresponding years:
Hafner through 2013 (club option in 2013)
Sizemore through 2012 (club option in 2012)
Peralta through 2011 (club option in 2011)
Victor through 2010 (club option in 2010) Westbrook through 2010
Lee through 2010 (club option in 2010)
That’s 4 of the 9 positions (and the 4 best position players on the team) in the lineup and 40% of the rotation locked up through 2010.

Now consider the young players under the Indians’ control until their first year of FA year indicated:
Barfield – FA after 2011 season
Carmona – FA after 2012 season
Garko – FA after 2012 season
Mastny – FA after 2013 season
Perez – FA after 2013 season
Shoppach – FA after 2011 season
Sowers – FA after 2012 season

Figuring that Barfield and Garko/Shoppach take up 2 more positions (with Garko and Shoppach’s future tied to where Victor eventually ends up), that’s 6 of the 9 positions locked up for 3 more years AFTER this season.
In 2010, the lineup should include the emerging talent of Sizemore, Barfield, Peralta, Hafner, Peralta, and either Garko or Shoppach. To call that solid would be an understatement. The inclusion of Hafner in that lineup serves as the bedrock that everyone else can feed off.

It’s true that Pronk has struggled this year, but he’s still on pace for 26 HR and 107 RBI with the chance that this contract could trigger a Pronk fury that we’ve become accustomed to and balloon those numbers. Hafner has proven himself to be an elite hitter and a few months of average production doesn’t change that fact (he was 1st in the AL in OPS last year and 2nd in the AL in 2005, behind only A-Rod, and 2004, behind only Manny). Seeing as how those are his only 3 full seasons in the league, there’s no reason that we should expect any less.

Back to the big picture, specifically in the rotation, where you can pencil Carmona in and the possibility that either Sowers or Atom Miller or Chuck Lofgren (the latter two who haven’t even had their service clock start) project into the rotation and the Indians are sitting on 60% or 80% of their rotation pretty solidly in place or en route

And that doesn’t include the Hefty Lefty, about whom there’s a prevailing attitude emerging from skeptical Cleveland fans who are perpetually casting a gloomy eye to the future that the news that Hafner means that they’ll have to accept that “2 out of 3 ain’t bad”, already assuming that C.C. is gone.

At the beginning of the season, how many people thought that we would sign Westbrook and Hafner?
Why not C.C.?
Hafner’s agent (Scott Parker) also represents the Crooked Cap and there’s this quote from C.C. when asked about how a Pronk extension would affect him:
"It would be huge [if a deal is reached]. I would be happy. I would definitely take that as a good sign about getting something done with me. Everybody wants to stay. The core of this team has been together for a long time. We've been through a lot together, and we want to bring a championship to Cleveland together."

My head is racing after that quote and the excitement may result in my having trouble sleeping tonight, but for now, let’s table the C.C. talk and take the bird in the hand and give kudos to the Dolans for giving an elite, somewhat-homegrown player this money and give thanks to the fact that Pronk will remain in a Tribe uniform for the next 5 years.

The contract represents the second instance (with Westbrook’s deal) that the Dolans are “spending when the time is right”, locking up their OWN players to keep a talented “core” together. Keeping Hafner on the team is the biggest move to date and should be applauded…by the fans of Cleveland on Friday, when the Tribe plays KC at the Jake. Featherheads should show up to recognize the Dolans with their attendance and Hafner with their appreciative adulation.

The pieces continue to fall into place and obviously a lot can happen between now and then, but the Indians’ core continues to grow and Pronk in a Tribe uniform through 2013 is reason to celebrate.

18 comments:

Voltaire said...

Cue me giggling in glee.

Shapiro is a genius. I have always said this, and I will continue to say this.

Let's go get 'em in '07!

t-bone said...

Come on, C.C., let's do this!!!

Cy Slapnicka said...

"We're more like a family than a team here," said Sabathia, during the All-Star Game festivities. "We get along on and off the field. Our families get along."

Hmmm, hopefully these statements indicate a shift in CC's thinking...compared to earlier comments that sounded like he wanted every last dollar.

As a reminder for you out of towners...free preview of MLB Extra Innings this weekend through InDemand (hopefully this means Comcast)...the Tribe is being broadcast in HD on Friday.

Pat Tabler said...

Just arrived in my inbox:
Message from Shapiro Concerning Hafner Contract

Since you're an important part of the Indians family, we wanted to inform you officially of our major announcement today at 3:45 p.m.

We have agreed with 1B/DH Travis Hafner on a four-year contract extension (Six-Year deal overall including 2007 and 2008) through the 2012 season with a club option for the 2013 campaign.

Not only is Travis Hafner among the elite hitters in Major League Baseball today, but he will now have the opportunity to establish himself as one of the great players in the proud history of the Cleveland Indians organization. This contract is not only a credit to Travis's offensive performance, but also a testament to who he is as a teammate, his relentless work ethic and his strong desire to help bring a championship to Cleveland. We are pleased to have Travis and his wife, Amy, in the Northeast Ohio community for many years to come.

The signing of Travis Hafner is yet another example of ownership's commitment to the long-term stability and competitiveness of the Cleveland Indians organization. This signing, along with the others that preceded it, should give you reason for great excitement and optimism for both 2007 and beyond.

In the last four months alone, the Dolan ownership has committed nearly $100 million dollars to Jake Westbrook & Travis Hafner. These deals -- coupled with existing commitments to CC Sabathia, Grady Sizemore, Victor Martinez, Cliff Lee, David Dellucci, Jhonny Peralta and others -- represent future financial commitments of over $160 million dollars.

We thank you for your continued support and look forward to seeing you at the ballpark during the second half as we set our sights on our goal of playing postseason baseball this year.

Sincerely,

Mark Shapiro
Cleveland Indians Executive Vice President

By the way, all season ticket-holders got this and must be considered part of the "Indians family"

E. S. Furniss said...

Isn't Wayne Garland still under contract till 2012 too?

Pronk signing is fantastic news. Take a deep breath Shaprio and then go back up up the Brinks truck to CC's house and make it a trifecta.

SlickBomb said...

It's an absolute steal considering the dollars A-Rod will leverage out of New York and Co.

t-bone said...

I've said it before, and I'll say it again, THANK YOU to our ace in the hole, Cleveland-native AMY HAFNER!!!

doby14 said...

the time is NOW...
I don't want anymore close finishes. No World Series Championship since 1948...
go for bullpen help and a reliabe bat. I can't wait any longer, I've had enough years with top farm teams...

Cy Slapnicka said...

t-bone, that is an excellent point. i don't think we can underestimate that factor enough.

Voltaire said...

T-Bone, now you're giving her credit? You blamed her for his poor production this year!

t-bone said...

i believe i have used amy as the "ace in the hole" (many times) more than reason for a sub-par year (once, when riding a PC-esque emotional roller coaster).

the sad thing is, i'll be using valuable tax-payer dollars to research this on friday. until then, let's celebrate!

Voltaire said...

Agreed!

I can't make it to the Jake, but I wish I could. I hope he gets a standing O his first AB.

t-bone said...

BoSox Air (and other good stuff if you keep scrolling down...)

Nye! said...

How long does the team control the rights to Gutierrez, Francisco, and Choo? What about Marte?

I know we don't yet know if any of those guys will pan out (esp. Marte, obviously), but you could be looking at controlling 9 out of your 9 lineup spots for the next three years, I believe.

Pat Tabler said...

Gutz – FA after 2013 season
Francisco – FA after 2013 season
Choo – FA after 2012 season
Marte – FA after 2012 season

Also of note from the bullpen crew:
Cabrera– FA after 2011 season
Mujica – FA after 2013 season
Betancourt – FA after 2009 season

Only FA after 2007 - Nixon
Club options after 2007 held on - Byrd, Borowski, and Fultz

Nye! said...

Forgive my ignorance. How do you calculate control years? It's something like 3 years of service to be eligible for arbitration, then 3 years of arbitration, or something, right?

Love the blog, by the way. Just discovered it and will be visiting regularly.

t-bone said...

from baseballamerica.com:

When is a player eligible for free agency and salary arbitration?

For a player to be eligible for free agency, he must have a minimum of six years service time. This is different from the arbitration rules, where the top one-sixth (in terms of service time) of the players between two and three years of service are eligible for arbitration.

How do options work?

When a player is added to a 40-man roster for the first time, the major league team is permitted three optional assignments of his contract, or three "option years." This gives them the option to assign that player to the minor leagues without requiring him to clear waivers. For each season thereafter in which the player is assigned to a minor league team, one option is used up.

When a player is out of options, he can still be assigned to the minor leagues, but first he must clear waivers.

A player can receive a fourth option if he has less than five seasons of pro experience. Draftees who immediately sign a major league contract will qualify unless they reach the majors quickly and stick there. Otherwise, they'll have their three options exhausted after their first three years in pro ball. A season is defined as any year in which the player spends 90 days on the active list. Short-season and Rookie leagues don't last 90 calendar days, so a player assigned to those leagues for an entire year won't accrue a season of pro experience. Also if a player has a long-term injury, he usually won't be credited for a season that year. (The exception is if he goes on the disabled list after spending 60 days on an active list, in which case the DL time counts as service time.)

How do waivers work?

A waiver is defined as a permission granted for certain assignments or for the unconditional release of a major league player.

A team asking waivers must notify the commissioner's office by 2 p.m. ET Monday through Friday. The commissioner's office will then notify all of the other teams of the waiver request. The other teams then have three business days to file a claim. If no team claims the player, the waiver is granted and the player may be assigned as the team desired. If a claim is filed, the team may withdraw the waiver request and keep the player if they so choose. Otherwise the player shall be assigned to the claiming team. If more than one team files a claim, the priority goes to the team with the worst record within the same league as the team filing the waiver request.

Waivers are required for assignment to the minor leagues for any player who does not have options remaining.

Does a year spent on the disabled list count as a full season for arbitration and free-agency purposes?

Yes, time on the DL counts as service time. The only exception is that it doesn't count against Rookie of the Year eligibility. So when Chipper Jones spent the 1994 season on the disabled list, he got credit for a year of service time, but was still a rookie in 1995.

What exactly is a simulated game? You hear about pitchers on rehab participating in simulated games but I've never gotten an explanation.

A simulated game is basically a structured practice, where a pitcher will throw to hitters, simulating a real game experience. Pitchers will generally throw simulation games as one of the steps of their rehab, before they go on a minor league rehab assignment and throw in an actual game.

Rockdawg said...

All right pronk-a-donk....now that you've got that out of the way, time to start hitting...Granted he has not exactly been a poor hitter this year, just not what we've been used to. I want to see some laser shots, and I want to see them now!! Imagine what our record would be if Haf were playing up to his potential. Also, I see Borowski did it again last night, and in typical Borowski fashion, ended up with a win. The ERA (5.45) and WHIP (1.47) are still a concern for me.
Can't wait to tune in to LeBron hosting the ESPY's tomorrow night, I have a feeling he will do a good job, unlike most athletes that try to cross over to entertainment.